Well, 25 sets of ten reps later, I can feel the soreness coming tomorrow.  At the same time, it felt good to get out some of my frustration at recently losing muscle mass.

The decision to do this was largely based on a recent article in one of the journals that we receive from the National Strength and Conditioning Association.  My NSCA certified friends may have read it.   Basically, a couple Exercise Science PhDs from Taiwan wrote about how to create muscle growth.  While sharing everything they said in its entirety is beyond the scope of this blog, they proposed a new theory on how muscle grows.

Why is this significant?  Mainly just because no one truly understands exactly how muscle grows.  Yes, we know through studies what numbers of sets, numbers of reps, and rest times combine best to make muscles grow.  However, we don’t understand how that truly happens at the cellular level.  I typically write about the most commonly accepted theory of both sarcoplasmic hypertrophy (more fluid in the muscle to provide more energy) from sets of 8 to 12 reps and myofibrillar hypertrophy (bigger size of the muscle fibers themselves) from sets of 3-5 reps.  They combine well, and they make sense.

However, these two homeboys decided to make up something new.  They said that muscle growth may largely be a result of fully exhausting the energy held within the muscle.  So, they said that the point is to put the muscle through as much work as possible in a given amount of time in order to fully exhaust its energy stores.  Then, the muscle will respond by over-compensating for the future by holding more energy within it.

The moral of the story is that the PhDs from Taiwan said that you should do 2-5 exercises with 3-5 sets each of 8-12 reps for each muscle group (in conjunction with different types of power exercises and heavy exercises).  That’s kinda what I did except I did it for a particular motion rather than a particular muscle.  They would have said to do all of that stuff for your back itself.  I did all of that stuff for the entire pulling musculature (so, largely back and biceps).  I’m just not too enthralled with isolating a single muscle anymore.

Anyway, that was some level of reasoning behind my workout.  Also combined with the fact that most natural bodybuilders do stuff like this.  It’s just a lot of sets with a lot of total work done by the muscles.

1.  Warm-Up

2.  Pendlay Rows (Barbell Rows from the ground)
Goal:  135 x 10.
Actual:  135 x 11.  145 x 11.

3.  Chinups
Goal:  Bodyweight + 20 x 9.
Actual:  BW +20 x 11.  BW + 25 x 10.

4.  T-Bar Rows
Goal:  90 x 10.
Actual:  90 x 11.  100 x 11.

5.  Pullups
Goal:  BW + 10 x 10.
Actual:  BW + 10 x 9.  BW x 8.

6.  Dumbbell Rows
Goal:   105 x 8.
Actual:  105 x 9.  105 x 7.

7.  Hammer-Strength High Rows
Goal:  ?  I haven’t done this in a very long time.  I was just looking for another exercise to add
Actual:  80 x 11.  80 x 10.

8.  Barbell Curls
Goal:  95 x 10.
Actual:  Pain in wrist.  Switched to EZ-bar (aka “Cambered Bar”) curls.  90 x 6.  70 x 10.

9.  Seated Dumbbell Curls
Goal:  ? It’s been months since I did these…
Actual:  25s x 8.  20s x 11.

10.  Standing Cable Rows
Goal:  80 x 10.
Actual: 80 x 10.  70 x 10.
The 80 was hard, and I want this exercise to be something I do very fast repetitions with.  The idea is to focus on velocity rather than weight.

11.   FST-7 Pendlay Rows
Goal:  115 x 10 for all seven sets
Actual:  115 x 10.  115 x 10.  115 x 10.  115 x 10.  115 x 10.  115 x 10.  115 x 10.
Frankly, I wasn’t too excited about my form on the last two or three sets of these.  I started swinging at the hip a little bit, but I want to keep my hips at a constant angle the whole time so that it’s entirely back musculature doing the work. But then again, I really wanted that 115 x 10… 🙂

12.  Cool-down

13.  Eat carbs.


I’m thoroughly enjoying the high volume again.  Hopefully it will stimulate some muscular hypertrophy!  My PhD bros from Taiwan tell me that it will.