Body by Science / HIIT Experiment

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Almost 20 years ago, Tony Robbins was promoting a John Little exercise routine called static contraction, which is briefly mentioned in Body By Science. It is basically no movement and a 10 second hold to failure involving super heavy weights. Body By Science explains why static contraction is not ideal because it does not exhaust the slow twitch muscles. I also think the really heavy weights is dangerous too, eg I was holding up 3 times my weight on the bench press and that might be too much intensity to be healthy.

I was wary of reading another John Little promotion so it took a lot of time until I was able to force myself to read Body By Science. I plan to start the exercises this month. Here are some thoughts I had about the book.

I think the recovery time needs to be longer than a week after someone has done this workout for a while. By the time I progressed to the heaviest weights when I did static contraction, it would be more than a month between workouts. Body By Science discussed psychology where some people felt one week was too much time between workouts and they felt like they had to lift more frequently, so that's probably the resistance to waiting longer than a week. I think the stronger a person gets, the heavier weights they lift, the more energy they use and damage they cause, and the more time off the person needs for recovery and growth. So one explanation for people hitting a limit or regressing is that they might need 2, 3, 4 weeks or months between workouts in order to give the body enough time.

I also think it is safest to do these exercises with a machine rather than free weights. If using free weights, I think there has to be a safety mechanism. For example, with the bench press, there can be two bars that go the length of the body so that the bars catch the barbell above your body when you are exhausted and can no longer hold it up.

For accessories, a timer is needed to know how long it is taking to reach failure. So recordkeeping the amount of weight and time is a good idea. Lifting gloves help a lot too. I have a pair of Harbinger gel gloves recommended by Little a long time ago.
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I've done 9 workouts following this book. After the 6th workout, my data appeared to show that I plateaued at the 3rd workout. I decided to increase rest time, which had been 6-8 days. Days after previous workout increased to 9 days, 12 days, and 11 days for workouts 7 through 9. At the latest workout 9, there was a noticeable improvement in one of the exercises, so I will be increasing the weights for that exercise for workout 10.

I think people may quickly become impatient when they don't get week over week improvement and even have some regression. For me, that's a sign to increase rest time. I'm fine with the level I'm at, and it's a bonus to increase weights. My primary goals are just preventing total atrophy of muscles (use it or lose it) and relationship bonding with my wife as we are lifting partners. Having done static contraction for 3 years a long time ago, I know gains are slow, and after gaining a lot of strength over years, the ideal time between lifting can exceed a month.
 

Prodigal Son

Ambassador
Ambassador
FOTCM Member
I've done 9 workouts following this book. After the 6th workout, my data appeared to show that I plateaued at the 3rd workout. I decided to increase rest time, which had been 6-8 days. Days after previous workout increased to 9 days, 12 days, and 11 days for workouts 7 through 9. At the latest workout 9, there was a noticeable improvement in one of the exercises, so I will be increasing the weights for that exercise for workout 10.

I think people may quickly become impatient when they don't get week over week improvement and even have some regression. For me, that's a sign to increase rest time. I'm fine with the level I'm at, and it's a bonus to increase weights. My primary goals are just preventing total atrophy of muscles (use it or lose it) and relationship bonding with my wife as we are lifting partners. Having done static contraction for 3 years a long time ago, I know gains are slow, and after gaining a lot of strength over years, the ideal time between lifting can exceed a month.
Remember that the aim is not to increase weight week in week out, or seek improvement. The aim is to go to muscle failure with a minimum of four slow repetitions over a time frame of between 45 - 90 seconds. This will allow growth of new muscle tissue. Only after consistently exceeding 90 seconds is it necessary to add extra weight to bring repetitions back into the required time frame.
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
The aim is to go to muscle failure with a minimum of four slow repetitions over a time frame of between 45 - 90 seconds.
I know the 45-90 seconds, though I wondered about how many repetitions because I didn't see it in the book. Was the four repetitions in the book?
It also has a 10 min video with McGuff himself doing the exercises
In the video with McGuff working out, he goes way beyond 90 seconds. So I'm going by 2 minutes before increasing weights.
 

ScioAgapeOmnis

The Living Force
Also the converse is true - doing something as often as every day is effective if done right. Look at anyone who works in heavy labor, like farmers or construction workers or movers. They tend to be really big and strong from all that daily work. Rehab in hospitals is also done daily to get you back on your feet. Also check out the calves of overweight people or who used to be overweight. They never walked to failure, not even close, they just carried more weight than you on a daily basis.

If HIIT is extremely high intensity and very low frequency, then the opposite works too - mild intensity, high frequency. You can always juggle volume/intensity/frequency. It may not have the same impact on your mitochondrial DNA like super high intensity does, but if you’re after muscle strength and size and the health benefits that come with such development, there are many ways to get there.

It depends on your goals, your schedule, and your personal preferences. But for example, on the extreme opposite end from this book, doing one set of push-ups, pull-ups, and squats (or whatever exercises you like to accomplish the same effect) at a regular speed and like 1-2 reps shy of failure every day will develop strength and size very effectively. It can be accomplished 3-5 minutes before you shower and go to work. Feel free to take days off whenever, always listen to your body.

What I found over the years is consistency trumps all other variables. People give up after weeks or months, and then resume again next New Years resolution or whatever just to start over. Just pick whatever intensity/frequency/volume combination you can stick with long term, don’t overthink it, make sure your form is good, and cover the major muscle groups with compound exercises like the big 5 in the book.

The 3 other variables that are just as important as training is eating, sleeping, and stress management. If you can’t get those right, you won’t be recovering effectively for your next training session and may end up hurting yourself more than helping. On the up side, lifting heavy things sure stimulates the appetite and makes that steak even more enjoyable and helps you fall asleep easier and more deeply if you don’t get in your own way with bright screens and light before bed.
 

genero81

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I still do the HIIT workout but I found doing the big 5 is too hard on me. The overall stress on my body takes longer to recover from than is ideal. If I break it up and do 3 instead of 5, it's much more doable. I can recover faster and do the other exercises later in the week.

But I agree, consistency is key. I also work in an exercise class once a week as well. It usually only takes a couple of days to recover from that. Generally speaking, I find it necessary to rest one day for each Body by Science exercise done properly to failure. After reaching failure, I rest 7 seconds and push out one more rep. I do that with each exercise.
 

anartist

Jedi Master
FOTCM Member
Will do that!

One additional question I have regarding this training. It should be performed once a week. What about the rest of the week? Can I i.e. run or do other lighter workouts? Or the body need regeneration and I should not do anything else? What are your thoughts and experience about that? Thanks!
My understanding is that it is the fast twitch muscles that need up to a week to recuperate. Your slow twitch muscles will have recuperated long before then, say after 2 days? So you could do 'traditional' exercises (weights or whatever) as long as you do the kind of 10 reps for 3 sets sort of thing and NOT to muscles failure, just muscle burn.
 

hlat

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I waited a full 14 days after my previous workout. For the latest workout, I increased the weight for one machine because I reached 2 minutes at the previous workout. I also hit 2 minutes on a different machine in the latest workout, so I will be increasing the weight on that one at the next workout. I'm reaching 2 minutes and increasing weights with the time between workouts being increased to 11-14 days, rather than time between workouts at 6-8 days and experiencing no progress.
 

nicklebleu

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
I waited a full 14 days after my previous workout. For the latest workout, I increased the weight for one machine because I reached 2 minutes at the previous workout. I also hit 2 minutes on a different machine in the latest workout, so I will be increasing the weight on that one at the next workout. I'm reaching 2 minutes and increasing weights with the time between workouts being increased to 11-14 days, rather than time between workouts at 6-8 days and experiencing no progress.
That’s been my experience, too. Generally 7 days is too short. After a pause of 2 - 3 weeks I do very well, and as soon as I cut the time inbetween back to 7-8 days, I not only stagnate, but also go backwards.

I have been doing the BBS schedule for about 2 years now (with some periods off due to traveling - usually between 3 and 5 weeks), and I seem to have peaked. I have started to add other training modalities to the mix: I now do two sessions of rowing per week in between the BBS sessions (one fairly hard with the HR up to 160 bpm) and one fairly sedate one (keeping the HR around 110 bpm). I do that mainly for the sake of my back, because as soon as I stop doing that, my back starts playing up again. I still am in the process of ‘titrating’ the workouts to find the best mix.

Early next year I am planning to move to a colder climate and I’m planning to take up some running again - up where I live it’s just ‘too bloody hot’!
 

3DStudent

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
but if you’re after muscle strength and size and the health benefits that come with such development, there are many ways to get there.
doing one set of push-ups, pull-ups, and squats (or whatever exercises you like to accomplish the same effect) at a regular speed and like 1-2 reps shy of failure every day will develop strength and size very effectively. It can be accomplished 3-5 minutes before you shower and go to work. Feel free to take days off whenever, always listen to your body.
Good to know, thanks. I've neglected exercise and need something that's quick and can be done at home. I haven't read BBS so I think this could work. I just want to be functional and feel in shape, but a few pounds lost would be nice too.

What I found over the years is consistency trumps all other variables.
That's one thing I can do, and sometimes I have trouble breaking consistency.

The 3 other variables that are just as important as training is eating, sleeping, and stress management.
I got eating down and it's the easiest for me. But sleep needs more work. Stress is come and go, and goes hand in hand with sleep.
 

goyacobol

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
That's one thing I can do, and sometimes I have trouble breaking consistency.
@3DStudent ,

Welcome to the club. We all struggle with this consistency but that is kind of the nature of 3D. I think that is because we need to always be paying attention to reality from one moment to the next. I often prefer to reach for that ideal next step without realizing that each day we live is full of valuable lessons that seem mediocre. Still, we have an opportunity to see these otherwise neglected lessons as immensely valuable lessons that provide knowledge that leads to our next step on our journey. In a sense we need to trust the Cosmos and Cosmic Mind to provide those lessons so we can advance towards a brighter and more loving future for us and for others.
 

Nicholas

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Here is an interesting video of Drew Bayes interviewing Doug McGuff. I haven't watched it yet but it should be interesting.
 
Top Bottom