You sauce monkeys will be disappointed – the most anabolic environment has nothing to do with some exotic, former East German androgen in IV form. Nope. In my three decades of experience, this is what I have found to result in the most anabolic training environment: training in teams of three. Let’s explore.
First, not everybody is up for every workout, every day. By the law of probability one person will be up, one person will be down and one person will be somewhere in the middle. Those results are typical on a day-to-day basis. The leader of the day will help keep the average up. Group dynamics will always boost training drive, especially when bets and competitions are involved. Healthy competition brings out the best in people.
Second, a team of three is ideal for all training systems. Let’s say the group is training dips and chins for relative strength. Here is how their sets could progress:
The weakest man goes first, and each just keeps adding weight until the last one goes; then they start over. For example, Albert goes first, Bob goes second, Carl goes last, and then they repeat.
And here is how that same group would progress when training for functional hypertrophy, which involves a shorter rest interval:
Albert starts on chins, Bob starts on dips, Carl waits his turn. This rotation keeps the rest interval optimal.
Third, there is always someone better than the others at some specific body part or lift, and this difference brings about healthy competition.
Fourth, as stated yesterday, heavy dumbbell work is paramount to build mass and strength. Once you reach a certain strength level, having partners hand you the heavy dumbbells does wonders for the longevity of your elbows and shoulders, particularly with most variations of incline dumbbell presses.
Fifth, when training in teams of three, changing the weights and cleaning up is a cinch. When lifting bumpers off the end of a barbell used for deadlifts, one lifter can clean one end of the bar off the floor while another person easily pulls the weight off the bar.
Sixth, experienced lifters won’t need stopwatches, as the length of the pause between lifters performing their work sets will be engrained into their internal clocks.
The only hurdle comes when group synergy is at odds with individual training goals. Obviously, if one member wants to be a bodybuilder, one wants to be an offensive lineman, and the third a powerlifter, the program design will center on making compromises. Compromise in this case is not a good thing.
That’s my sales pitch. In summary, finding two other colleagues with the same training goal is in my opinion an outstanding shortcut to success.
Copyright ©2010 Charles Poliquin