Load Shift Training

Load shift training is the perfect tool for increasing strength, adding six to twelve pounds of new muscle, and preventing injury in twelve short weeks. Do you strategically change the number of sets and rep brackets to accommodate higher loading during the course of a four-week training routine? If not, you're selling yourself short. It's time to catch on to these tactics that have been proven to be highly successful by our clients.

Your weakest link will rip your pec off

We work with thousands of clients over the course of a year, and in 95 percent of cases, strength athletes have strategic weaknesses that prevent them from increasing their totals, improving performance, and getting rid of nagging injuries. Much of this originates with the front side of the torso being more developed than the rear, which causes bad posture and muscle imbalances and stresses connective tissue, especially in the shoulder region. You are only as strong as your weakest link. When that link breaks, the related injury can keep you out of the gym for an extended period of time.

The training routine below involves much more than specialized exercises. It also includes manipulation of volume, loading, speed of movement, and more. Advanced trainees must strategically increase the weight load over the course of a four-week routine to drive muscle growth and strength gains by stimulating fast twitch muscle fibers, which have the greatest potential for growth.  However, increasing the weight load every week is much easier said than done. It requires the proper manipulation of the nervous system.

Use intensity weeks for rapid strength gains

We will use a load intensity week during week three of this routine, which drops the reps from five to four to help drive a higher load by 10–15 percent in comparison to the previous week. The number of sets is reduced during the intensity week to lower the volume in an effort to not only prevent overtraining but to also build a supercompensation for week four. The objective is to use the increased weight loads achieved from week three during week four while returning to the higher rep range and set amount from week two.

Drive supercompensation to boost muscle growth

So what happens when you simultaneously increase loading and volume? Muscles grow like crazy, with clients gaining six to twelve pounds of muscle over a twelve-week phase of training if they play their cards right with nutrition, supplementation, and rest. Clients always report a surprising boost in strength and work capacity during week four, which is a direct result of the supercompensation created during week three. Consider that doing less volume than what the body can tolerate during the intensity week builds more work capacity for the week following by allowing neurological and metabolic (muscles) recovery factors to get ahead of the game. We have found that two to three work sets during the intensity week is the limit, as the fourth set typically results in premature failure that overstresses the nervous system.

Shoulder pain? Check your posture

Dr. Serrano does no less than a thousand patient strength athlete evaluations each year, and within a few seconds, he can begin identifying problems based on the forward head posture and internal rotation of the shoulders. Assigning corrective exercises and other strategic program features such as the ones listed below can fix many nagging injuries and weaknesses within six to twelve weeks.

Do yourself no harm

Another common recipe for injury is overtraining, caused by doing too much work or poor recovery conditions related to difficulty with sleep cycles, diet, stress levels, and more. Consider that a reduced training volume, free of movements that irritate injuries, will lead to much faster rates of injury resolution.

Time to pull more than you push

Why do we have more pulling than pushing movements in the routine below? Consider how many more sets of pressing exercises you've done over the course of your training career in comparison to pulling. As a result, it's best to address potential imbalances with more pulling during corrective training cycles. This workout can also fit into a max effort type of concept, allowing you to do your compensatory acceleration speed work on a different training day.  Simply start the workout with your max effort exercise and begin the routine below with reduced sets if needed.

Feed the machine to boost strength, growth, and rates of recovery

We mentioned the importance of playing your cards right with nutrition, sleep, and recovery factors to ensure that you get the most out of load shift training. Amino Loading along with Dr. Serrano’s 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis are vital for hard training strength athletes by providing a proprietary blend of amino acid growth materials that are quickly delivered to muscles. Hard strength training drives blood to working muscles, increasing the potential for nutrient delivery. 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis bypass digestive hang ups and get right into the bloodstream to support accelerated muscle growth and recovery. Protein shakes and food provide too little, too late around training because they take too long to digest. For an excellent nutritional guide, see our "Feasting for Massive Muscle" two-part article.

Don't feel wrecked after training! You should be razor sharp

Done correctly, load shift training will tax the muscles and the nervous system, requiring optimal recovery support to ensure your success. Most trainees learn quickly how to deal with sore muscles following training, but few recognize the signs of neurological fatigue, which provide important guidance as to how to adjust the training volume and intensity. Keep in mind that the nervous system governs strength. The faster muscles recover, the more quickly the nervous system will respond to training. The day following training our clients who use Amino Loading with 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis feel razor sharp, which indicates that the nervous system has recovered very well from training. Based on many years of Dr. Serrano’s research, including his own extensive experience as a competitive powerlifter, elaborate patient trials, and more, the 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis were built to fuel performance and improve body composition in addition to accelerating recovery. The nervous system can't fully recover until the muscles do, making the muscle recovery elements of the 100% MR and Muscle Synthesis crucial to your long-term success!

Use load shift training for massive muscle and strength gains without injury

Exercise Sets Reps Tempo Rest
A1. Prone dumbbell back raise 2 6–8 3-1-1-2 30
A2. Prone 30-degree incline Y raise 2 6–8 3-1-1-2 30
B1. Dumbbell press 30-degree semi-neutral grip (Fat Gripz) 3–4 5* 3-2-x-0 75
B2. Neutral grip/towel pull-up 3–4 3* 3-1-1-1 75
C1. Unilateral rotation pull-down (fat bar single handle grip or grenade) 3–4 5* 3-2-1-2 75
C2. Chest supported neutral grip row to hips (Fat Gripz Extreme) 3–4 5* 3-1-1-2 75
D1. Special dumbbell fly 2–3 6–8 3-2-1-1 30
D2. Dumbbell reverse fly 30-degree incline 2–3 6–8 3-1-1-2 30

*For week three, subtract one from the number of reps. Reduce the number of work sets by one.

The first two exercises will help with common posterior shoulder and upper back weaknesses while building upper back muscle. Be sure to hold the top position for two seconds while gaining a full range of motion to earn the most benefits. The proper form may require you to use anywhere from five- to twenty-pound dumbbells, but it's best to get it right with a lower load to gain the most benefits. Boosting upper back muscle will increase the circumference of the torso, which, in turn, reduces the length that the barbell must travel during a bench press. Proper engagement of the upper back is crucial for maintaining proper deadlift and squat positions as well. Starting the workout with these movements places a priority on these important muscles while also helping to activate the musculature for training, which, in our experience, leads to less shoulder pain during the rest of the workout.

A semi-neutral grip dumbbell press allows for a more natural range of motion, alleviating stress on the shoulder joint in comparison to barbell pressing. Keep in mind that your dominant arm can take on 55–60 percent of the load when using a bilateral barbell movement such as the bench, which will limit strength increases over time while increasing the likelihood of injury. Heavy dumbbell work will enable you to correct a deficit in strength over time, leading to a much bigger bench! We included the Fat Gripz option to increase the challenge of the exercise, but you will likely find that there is less elbow pain when pressing dumbbells.

We provided the option for neutral grip or a towel pull-up grip pending the trainee experience and grip strength. Towel pull-ups are very difficult and require a spotter. If you find your grip strength wiped out with one or two towel pull-up sets, you can finish with neutral grip pull-ups. Pulling your own body weight has a huge impact on improving grip strength as it relates to the deadlift especially. Pull-up variations are often overlooked by strength athletes who opt for lat pull-downs, which don't provide the same benefits as it relates to the development of upper back musculature and stabilizers. Remember that weak lats are a leading cause of elbow injuries.

A majority of horizontal pulling movements focus on rowing the load to the rib cage, which is naturally a very strong range of motion. For the chest supported neutral grip row to hips on the 30-degree incline, pull the dumbbells to the hips. This does a great job of activating the obliques and hips, which act as important stabilizers and are often neglected. We suggest the Fat Gripz with this exercise to not only improve grip strength but also improve the recruitment of the back musculature. If you have been working with fat barbells or Fat Gripz, try the Fat Gripz Extreme size for a new challenge!

How many times in your training career have you done any unilateral vertical pulling? Probably never, but this movement is very important to balance the strength of the limbs while making sure the lats fire correctly. Our clients have often identified one arm as being 15–20 percent weaker than the other during this movement, which points to an increased risk of injury and suboptimal performance. The lats are an internal rotator and proper function helps to relieve shoulder pain while increasing benching performance. Use a fat bar cable attachment to help with grip strength and muscle recruitment. Advanced trainees can use a grenade cable attachment for a greater challenge. Start the movement with your palm neutral and rotate your palm to face you as you bring the elbow to the bottom of the rib cage for a full range of motion.

The unique hand position of the special fly provides a fresh stimulus for the pec muscles while putting less stress on the shoulder joint in comparison to traditional flies. Keep a 20-degree bend in your elbows to avoid stressing them, and remember that the form and tempo execution of this movement is much more important than the load.

These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease. SST™, Superior Supplements and Training™, 100% MR™, Muscle Synthesis™, Muscle Synthesis Powder™, Alpha Omega M 3™, Amino Loading™, Fat Reduce™, and Zero Tolerance Fat Loss Plan™, Fat Cell Cleansing™ are trademarks of Superior Supplements and Training LLC, OHIO USA. Your results may vary and depend on many factors. No endorsements of any product or training system is intended, expressed or implied by any athlete who may be pictured in illustration of this article. Copyright © Infinity Fitness & Training Inc, OHIO USA 1999-2012, All Rights Reserved.