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Maximum Muscle Development with Chaos Training

Chaos is the scientific study of orderly disorder. It offers a way of seeing order and pattern where formerly only the random, the erratic, and the unpredictable (viz., the chaotic) had been observed. If a rock cliff is inspected, with its many jagged and irregular patterns splitting off in all directions, it can be concluded that the rock's pattern appears the same whether looking at 100 square feet or 1-square inch of area. Hence, although the overall structure appears different, i.e. the divergences and measure of rock cut, the fragments that constitute the composition maintain close resemblance. Consequently, although chaotic in appearance, its nature is predictable and purposeful. Similarly, exercise can be very chaotic yet predictable, ever changing from one workout to the next but with direction... extreme variety coupled with standardization for purposes of sufficient measurement and comparison.

Chaos Training(TM) is the randomization of exercise stimuli that includes a limited measure of standardization in order to maintain a benchmark in which to compare exercise performance. In other words, this method provides from workout to workout an accurate method of measurement, to establish and test training progress, yet it allows for dramatic alteration of the stimulus, making exercise (at the very least) more enjoyable and interesting. Chaos TrainingTM is an ideal method for maintaining motivation while instilling structure ? two indispensable considerations for trainees as well as exercise instructors needing to collect feedback data from their clients.

Now, perhaps the most relevant concern when altering a program too frequently is consistency in the maintenance, and collection of data, to determine whether there is progress and by how much. Essentially, trainees must have a benchmark from which to compare, to determine the cost or benefit of current and future protocols. However, a person should not maintain the exact protocol from workout-to-workout for too long, since this causes an over-adaptation to the exercise stimulus. In other words, a person wants to adapt to the program by developing larger and stronger muscles, but does not want to adapt to the methods of exercise that act to stimulate gains.

On that basis, a highly variable routine enhances productivity, yet there needs to be some degree of consistency to gauge progress. This is possible so long as there remains some consistency at some point in the workout. And the best time and place for being consistent and standardized is at the commencement of a workout. Consider, for example, a trainee deciding always to alter his workouts, e.g., no two workouts will be exactly the same, or that it may be several weeks or months before the same sequence and set variables are repeated in the same manner. Three different workouts (for any exercise) using the breakdown/rest-pause method of exercise could appear as follows:

WORKOUT 1

3 repetitions (5/5 cadence)
30 second rest
3 repetitions (5/5 cadence)
30 second rest
1 repetition at a slow 10/5 cadence followed by...
8 top partials + 1 forced

WORKOUT 2

3 repetitions (5/5 cadence)
40 second rest
4 repetitions (3/4 cadence)
0 second rest
4 negatives, followed by 10-second static hold at bottom

WORKOUT 3

3 repetitions (5/5 cadence)
60 second rest
8 repetitions (3/3 cadence)
0 second rest
2 forced, followed by 1 set of pec decks x 5 reps

At first glance there appears to be no resemblance among the three examples, with each consisting of various loads, reducing or maintaining the same weight and tension times, allowing for different levels of recovery and metabolic demands, etc., in order to accommodate the various prescriptions.

Obviously a thirty-second rest is much different from a 40- or 60-second rest, or if a trainee implements near-zero rest. The magnitude of necessary weight reduction to complete a further 3 repetitions in a similar style, for example, will be much greater with a few seconds rest only than if preceded by a recovery break of 60 seconds. Repetition cadence can also have a bearing on performance and demands; a slower cadence makes it more challenging to complete a particular number of repetitions (consider lifting 100 pounds in one second as opposed to five or ten seconds). The altered mental and physical energy reserved for the remainder of the workout after the first set, the second set, and so on, must be considered.

However, close examination discloses that each example initially consists of 3 repetitions, all performed in an identical manner of 5 seconds up and 5 seconds down (for 30 seconds total); and that is the benchmark ? a biomarker buried within a realm of chaos. An increase in the load under the same conditions would conclude an improvement in lifting ability or function. Thereafter, the trainee is free to be inventive and spontaneous for the remainder of the workout for that muscle group. This is but one example of how a person can apply Chaos Training', limited by one's imagination.

(May be reprinted freely if linked to www.ExerciseCertification.com)

Brian D. Johnston is the Director of Education and President of the I.A.R.T. fitness certification and education institute. He has written over 12 books and is a contributor author to the Merck Medical Manual. An international lecturer, Mr. Johnston wears many hats in the fitness and health industries, and can be reached at info@ExerciseCertification.com.

Visit his site at http://www.ExerciseCertification.com for more free articles.

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