Supercompensation, Strengthh Gain, and the Placebo Effect

Here is a post in my journal, I asked many people to take a look, however I got no responses in terms of answers so it was suggested that I put it here in order to get a greater response.

Just some questions I was pondering, maybe someone on here could give me some help?

In terms of getting stronger in terms of 1rm, what is the cause from a scientific view?
Because if you lift a weight and it is below what you can actually lift, view inhibition due to neurlogical safety barriers it would necessarily have to be below your max, by n%. So if your body can only lift max-n%, approximately what might n be? In what form does the increase take, a lowering of n or a gain actual max potential. Obviously eventually it has to go to ur max, but is it a decrease and then rebound in n?

What biolgoical factors go into increasing your strength what sets your body into rebound or recovering to this new higher level? Or is it more of a conditioning matter, and you are further increasing your conditioning to perform at the max level with no n actual existing as the state above but rather maybe x which would be factors such as fatigue, other psychological factors if fatigue is considered atleast in part psychological, efficiency of movement. So would it then b max-x with the gain being attributed to the max mostly with some maxes coming from a decrease in x?

Also do all training stimulouses necessarily cause supercompensation in terms of a sharp decrease then eventual rise, obviously their is fitness-fatigue and so on, but how far do different stimulouses compensation in whatever form you wish to use it differ. Such as heavy weight max attempts taking more recovery time than max effort submax weights in general. Is this just from not being able to ellicit the same type of max effort, such that plyos would cause even longer to recover from and therefore sprints the longest?

What are we looking for in terms of training, the biggest “profit” the most fitness from the least fatigue? Or the most fitness without regressing to injury? Does changing of stimulous effect the compensatoin rates? How large is placebo effect of believing in your program or believing in the need for recovery? In a sport of small gains could theoretically the placebo effect account for a lot?

Sorry for the questions if some seem to be niave then dont bother, but if anyone has any insight I know I asked a lot, but input would be greatly appreciated.

fast twitch fibres exhibit the following:
rapidly transmit action potential
high activity level of myosin ATPase
rapid rate of calcium release and uptake by hte sarcoplasmic reticulm
generate rapid crossbridge turnover

The speed of all four above causes a fibre to contract can up to 2-3times faster than a slow twitch fibre.
So hence, develop any of those areas above, and the fibre will contract faster, or have more torque, hence, more strength without the fibre becoming larger.

Without being too scientific :smiley: , recruitment seems to be what 1RM measures. So when you are in a position to allow your body to recruit maximally then you will set PBs as is the case for sprinters when they start to drop volume and probably more importantly intensity during a taper.

also, high intensity max efforts require a synchronous pattern of motor unit firing patterns. (ie, many motor units are recruited simultaneously)
v’s say endurance efforts, whereas the firing pattern on motor units is mainly asynchronous (ie, some units fire while others recover)

So MU recruitment is what causes max strength? So intermediate lifters would necessarily recuit less MU than elite lifters causing the difference between max strength?

Bold, how do you go about developing the areas you mention? I understand how to develop my chest with bench or legs with squat, but how do i go about developing my rate of calcium release? And do slow twitch muscles not contribute to max strength?

Why does the organism supercompensate after a lift?

I am not good with the physiology part of it and if that is more of what you are looking for and find this too basic feel free to skip over and disregard tje post, but think of training max strength as a skill. Kind of like learning to shoot a basketball. You are teaching your nervous system to recruit a maximum number of muscle fibers. The maximal effort and repetition effort(provided its at a high enough of a percentage of maximum) both have their various advantages as far as how the mu’s are recruited.

Like any other skill in theory, the more one ‘practices’ the more benefit you can gain. The reason you can’t say lift your max, rest for five minutes and then throw more weight on the bar is because of fatigue. Fatigue is probably at least in part due to CNS inhibition rather than someone tearing down too much muscle or running out of ATP, glycogen or something of that nature.

This is kind of a protection mechanism. The body does not want to cause injury to itself so as a way of protecting itself it inhibits its ability to produce force. Once the body feels as though the stress is over, the inhibition/fatigue diminishes and you are left with a performance gain.

If you lift using a high enough percentage of your maximum strength before the performance benefit diminishes(I think zatsiorsky in strenght and practice mentions that the performance benefit lasts for about 3 times as long as the fatigue) then you will see further performance gain.

Obviously this can’t be carried on indefinately as the same stimulous repeated over and over eventually stops causing an adaption and thats where periodization comes in. Probably all stuff you are pretty familiar with.

muscle fibre type
fiber diameter - large
capillaries - low
mitochondrial - low
myosin ATPase - high
calcium capacity - high
glycolytic capacity - high
speed of contraction - fast
speed of relaxation - fast
force capacity - high
fatigues -quickly

type 11a
fiber diameter - intermediate
capillaries - intermediate
mitochondrial - intermediate
myosin ATPase - high
calcium capacity - medium/high
glycolytic capacity - medium/high
speed of contraction - fast
speed of relaxation - fast
force capacity - intermediate
fatigues - moderate/quickly

type 1
fiber diameter - small
capillaries - high
mitochondrial - high
myosin ATPase - low
calcium capacity - low
glycolytic capacity - low
speed of contraction - slow
speed of relaxation - slow
force capacity - low
fatigues - slowly

compare - what rep range works the type 11B? and 11A?

Also, cross section has a lot to do with force ability, is a 1cm cross section of type 11B twice as strong a 2cm cross section of type 11B? That i am not sure off? More nerves generally mean finer detail, ie, the fingers might have one nerve per say 500 fibres, whereras the calf muscle, may have 1 nerve per 2000 fibres. But your fingers are not as strong as your calf are they!!
YOur neuromuscular junction is the site where the nerve impulse is transmitted to the muscle fibre. after a impulse, a chemical reaction takes place and the chemical is released from the membrane. this causes the impulse the spread over the entire muscle fibre. within 5 milliseconds, that chemical is destroyed…
for the chemical to leave the membrane, a high threshold of microvoltage is needed to be acheived.
this chemical reacts with triad sacs surrounding fibres, thus releasing Ca+, thus causing activation of the actin filaments.

Fatigue related to maximal efforts only…
where all motor units are recruited fatigue is accompanied by a decrease in neural activity as measured by a EMG.
this decrease in neural activity supports the argument that this from of fatigue is partially caused by failure in the neural or myoneurall transmission.

This supports the CFTS training priciple. Allowing extra time for the nervous system to recovery between bouts of high intensity.

And about the placebo effect, I definately think there is some truth to that. I know in highschool we did just about everything we have learned not to do(eg. pyramid rep schemes, no periodization, a very high number of assistance exercises, only two lifting balls to the walls workouts a week, etc) but we had a coach that could challenge us so just everybody who was in there consistently made some pretty amazing gains in strength.

First, I just want to thank you guys for your help and patience.

Jstu, I agree with the learning, and you probably dont know the answer to this, but if there is such protection in the case of lifting and other physical exertion, then unlike other tasks it seems to me the body is only working at a fraction of its potential, so it would seem rather than actually getting stronger it is more likely that the body is just becoming better equiped to express its strength, ie the pulling the car off the child, Phidippides run then death, obviously in these untrained athlete cases the strength is there it is just able to be expressed, so it would seem that weight training is just making a person better able to express their strength? But why the added muscle? Why do these unique cases rarely result in injury, besides the second example that I chose which is the only example I know of where it actually happens stupid me for picking it? Is it that typically the body only expresses a small n portion of tru strength. So the body has to result to other measures to increase strength, muscle gain, effiency?

Bold perhaps I am missing it here, as I have no education in this area, but I am still confused about what you are saying. You state the four things happen which cause fast twitch muscle fiber to contract faster, so in the next post, are you basically just saying to work fast twitch to get stronger? I understand the descriptive items regarding the muscles and I follow the CA+ mostly.

So when someone can work at submax levels for reps say around the 6-8 range, then after only a week or so of working at the 3 rep level then can max greater, is this due to a carryover from the typeIIa? Why is max strength used in sprinting workouts, wouldnt it be more type IIa, then type IIb used, or am I getting confused and the difference is not that different between the two?

i dont think you are getting confused, just that its starting to make you think. a sprint can last up to 10-11sec. Type 11B fibres will last approx 6sec! Hence, if all you train is type 11B fibres, guess what will happen to you in that last 40m?? Hence a broad cross section of training is needed to train both type 11A and 11B in both cross section and in the four areas mentioned above.
also, if you develop a muscle fibre to carry out those 4 items faster, and acheive a larger cross section in type 11B and 11A fibres, then…

If you know the fundamentals, you will know if others are just pulling wool over your eyes with fancy words. You get too see what charlie is talking about and how it makes sence. You get to see if others are just full off half truths and find holes in their ideas.

You are right. The average person’s ‘set limit’ is set pretty conservatively. That is why in rare cases you hear about the old ladies lifting cars to save their grandchildren and stuff like that. Strength, from a neural perspective, is just increasing the preset limit. The reasons the limits are there is most likely protection against rupturing muscle or ligaments.

This is only a theory I have heard so it could be wrong(it may even have been posted here so if it has apologies to whomever for using your information) That the idea is the body always wants to have that reserve in cases where there is a real reason to use near its full potential(extreme life or death, fight or flight scenario). So if it used the maximum amount of muscular expression possible all the time, then the body would more likely be injured or maybe even depleted in some other aspect, causing humans to be unable to perform when it truly mattered most. ( consider it natural idiot proofing, cause lets face it. If we could all squat 1000+ pounds with ease you know we would be trying it all the time :smiley: )

Muscle size I am honestly not too sure about. It seems to best respond to the repetition method, even at lower intensities than what would be required to raise max strength. This is just a guess, but I always assumed muscle size was dependent on how fatigued the various MUs are and the body’s anabolic response in relation to the fatigue. It may be much more complex than that I am really not sure.

So would it be that muscle comes more from extra reps since you are pushing the muscle further compared to just low rep high intensity work, which may not necessarily be pushing the body all that much, but more the cns since the capabilities are already there to go much more intense?

Could someone please explain to me the apprx times when a person would supercompensate from different types of exercises, ie plyos, low rep high weight, low rep low weight but still high intensity, isos, sprinting? Or at least a basic idea of why they differ and if bones, ligaments supercompensate? And maybe if muscle and cns supercompensate at the same time? And does all exercise necessarily lead to supercompensation of the nike check style?

Obviously dual factor comes at this from a slightly different matter. Are there any even more advanced ways to look at this?

Is there any known way to know when an athlete is at their peak from the previous workout, obviously there are many measures but from my understanding its a lot of guess work that goes into it and you just try to stay on the side of undertraining and sometimes get lucky and hit it right on.

How much of a gap is there between the guesstimates and optimal?

Why does the body adapt to exercises so that your gains are necessarily lower and plateau after a time?

Sorry I keep shooting these out, but I have been getting some decent answers, I wish more people would chime in on this, I think this is helping out on a more practical sense than a lot of things on here.

Anyone? Anyone at all?

about the little old laddies lifting a car off somebody. It is an extreamly rare occurance. Perhaps more myth than anything. But think of it this way. There was a car acident in the 1st place to cause somebody being stuck (pretty likely). A below average person is there to help (agiain likely). the car, although on somebody, has not killed them (how, they weight up to 1.5T +) So, for somebody to still be alive under the car, perhaps only 50-100kg is actually pressing on that person? Perhaps less? Therefore the car is piviting on something (as it has been in an acident). A slight push and the car pivots to the heavier side. Alas, the little weak person lifted 2T…

Yea I agree with you there bold, I have attempted to look up on numerous occasions legitimate cases of super strength from average individuals, there have been many theories about it, most disproven the others lack of information, but I have yet to find anything really legitimate showing an extraordinary spike of strength in these occasions.

While I dont doubt there can be spikes in strength in fight or flight and other situations, I doubt the extreme magnitude.

I wonder what the real protective mechanisms are making us hold back?