Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat

Quick Wits: Brad Schoenfeld and Maximizing Muscle Growth with Mechanical Tension

May 30, 2024 Philip Pape, Nutrition Coach & Physique Engineer
Quick Wits: Brad Schoenfeld and Maximizing Muscle Growth with Mechanical Tension
Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
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Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
Quick Wits: Brad Schoenfeld and Maximizing Muscle Growth with Mechanical Tension
May 30, 2024
Philip Pape, Nutrition Coach & Physique Engineer

Today, we're diving into the world of hypertrophy (that's science-speak for muscle growth) and uncovering one of the most powerful principles for packing on size: mechanical tension.

Now, if you're a serious lifter or a student of the iron game, you've probably heard of Brad Schoenfeld. He's like the Yoda of muscle-building research, and his work has revolutionized our understanding of what it takes to optimize gains.

One of the key concepts that Schoenfeld has championed is the idea that mechanical tension – the force that's generated when our muscles contract against resistance – is the primary driver of hypertrophy.

But here's the thing: not all tension is created equal. To really maximize muscle growth, you need to be strategic about the way you apply that tension. And that's where Schoenfeld's research comes in.

Learn about mechanical tension on today's Quick Wits!

--

“Quick Wits” are short mini-episodes between full episodes to give you an actionable strategy or hit of motivation.

These mini-episodes give you practical advice on fitness, training, and mindset based on my everyday experience with clients that you can implement right away.

If you enjoy these bonus episodes or have feedback on how to make them better, just send me a message on IG @witsandweights or hit me up in the free Wits & Weights Facebook community.

📲 Send me a text message!

Support the Show.


🎓 Join Wits & Weights Physique University

👩‍💻 Schedule a FREE nutrition/training audit with Philip

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Show Notes Transcript

Today, we're diving into the world of hypertrophy (that's science-speak for muscle growth) and uncovering one of the most powerful principles for packing on size: mechanical tension.

Now, if you're a serious lifter or a student of the iron game, you've probably heard of Brad Schoenfeld. He's like the Yoda of muscle-building research, and his work has revolutionized our understanding of what it takes to optimize gains.

One of the key concepts that Schoenfeld has championed is the idea that mechanical tension – the force that's generated when our muscles contract against resistance – is the primary driver of hypertrophy.

But here's the thing: not all tension is created equal. To really maximize muscle growth, you need to be strategic about the way you apply that tension. And that's where Schoenfeld's research comes in.

Learn about mechanical tension on today's Quick Wits!

--

“Quick Wits” are short mini-episodes between full episodes to give you an actionable strategy or hit of motivation.

These mini-episodes give you practical advice on fitness, training, and mindset based on my everyday experience with clients that you can implement right away.

If you enjoy these bonus episodes or have feedback on how to make them better, just send me a message on IG @witsandweights or hit me up in the free Wits & Weights Facebook community.

📲 Send me a text message!

Support the Show.


🎓 Join Wits & Weights Physique University

👩‍💻 Schedule a FREE nutrition/training audit with Philip

👥 Join our Facebook community for live Q&As & support

✉️ Join the FREE email list with insider strategies and bonus content!

📱 Try MacroFactor for free with code WITSANDWEIGHTS. The only food logging app that adjusts to your metabolism!

🩷 Enjoyed this episode? Share it on social and follow/tag @witsandweights

🤩 Love the podcast? Leave a 5-star review

📞 Send a Q&A voicemail

Philip Pape:

On today's Quick Wits, we are exploring the concept of mechanical tension, which is a key muscle building principle championed by the renowned researcher and author, brad Schoenfeld, and that potentially underlies all the things we've learned since then about the secret for maximizing muscle growth. Welcome to the Wits and Weights podcast. I'm your host, philip Pape, and this twice-a-week podcast is dedicated to helping you achieve physical self-mastery by getting stronger, optimizing your nutrition and upgrading your body composition. We'll uncover science-backed strategies for movement, metabolism, muscle and mindset, with a skeptical eye on the fitness industry, so you can look and feel your absolute best. Let's dive right in. Welcome to another Quick Wits, your personal trainer for flexing your brain, muscles and getting jacked on knowledge. Today we're diving into the world of hypertrophy, which is just science speak for muscle growth and we're going to talk about one of the most powerful principles for packing on size called mechanical tension.

Philip Pape:

Now, if you're a serious lifter or a student of the iron or a long-time listener of Wits and Weights, you've probably heard of Brad Schoenfeld. He's kind of like the Yoda of muscle building research. His work has revolutionized our understanding of what it takes to optimize your gains, and a lot of his stuff holds up really solidly and underpins many of the I'll call them sub principles that I talk about a lot on this show. One of the key concepts that Schoenfeld has championed is the idea that mechanical tension, which is the force that's generated when our muscles contract against resistance, that's all that is. It's the force when we generated when our muscles contract against resistance, that's all that is. It's the force when we contract our muscles against some load, some resistance, and his idea is that that is the primary driver of hypertrophy. So, in other words, if you want to build muscle, you have to challenge your muscles with heavy enough loads and sufficient volume to create that tension that for many of us, sweet, sweet tension that gets us results. It's like giving your muscles a nice big hug, right, that says, hey, I love you. Now I want you to grow for me. So that's mechanical tension, but not all tensions created equal, because to to maximize muscle growth, you have to be strategic about the way that you apply it, and that's where I think we get into the sub principles and where Schoenfeld's research comes in. So his work and I want to give him so much credit because it's it's what they call seminal in the space, in the evidence space. Here.

Philip Pape:

He identified several factors that influence the muscle building potential of mechanical tensions, and you'll recognize these. These are common variables we talk about all the time, things like the load right, how heavy the weight is. The volume that's, how many sets and reps. The frequency, which is how often you train each muscle group, and the intensity how close you get to failure. Now, some people use the word intensity to also refer to the load, but we are using it in the sense of training close to failure, proximity to failure, and you've heard all these principles before. You've heard about these variables. By manipulating them in your training, you can then fine-tune the mechanical tension you're placing on your muscles and optimizing your gains. Aha, now we see it's the variables coming together to get the tension where we want it to be. We're not just doing them for their own sake, and they're going to differ based on you and your response. So, for example, you might focus on lifting heavy weights for fewer reps, so let's say sets of three or sets of five to maximize tension on the eccentric or the lowering phase of the lift. Right, that's going to help do that. When you have super heavy weights, you might go higher volume or higher frequency to create more what they call tension over time. Now, some of these things, these principles, have evolved like time, under tension, and you know we often talk about partials, lengthened partials, things like that. We can get into the weeds, we can argue over effective reps. There's so many little like models and branches of models that have come over the year and at the end of the day, just remember, like even if all of this makes sense, it's not one size fits all right. Different muscle groups and movement patterns, different individuals, different goals will require different combinations of these variables to elicit the best results. So we can't just give you like this is the exact volume, this is the exact frequency, this is the exact load.

Philip Pape:

If you understand the fundamental role of mechanical tension, however, in muscle growth, and then you apply principles that Schoenfeld and then many other researchers since have identified, then you are in an intellectual position and a practical position to take your training to the next level and then see the gains right. And again, I'm talking in generalities here, because this is really more of the theory of mechanical tension, knowing that it's not a mystery. It's tied to the training variables that we know and love, and if you can create, you know the things that go along with that, focusing on your form in the gym, working hard and not giving up. You know, creating that mind, muscle connection, squeezing every last drop of which are going to change based on exercise selection when you're doing it, during the workout. You know how it's programmed from a set rep scheme, your rest periods, and then everything you do outside of the gym is going to affect it as well, affect your response to it. Right, then, just keep this principle in mind, keep mechanical tension in mind.

Philip Pape:

And you know, if you want to get, if you want to geek out on this stuff, definitely check out some of Brad Schoenfeld's work, um, his books, papers. They're like kind of the Holy grail of hypertrophy, and they'll give you a new appreciation for this stuff if you love to geek out on it. But until next time again, I want you to keep, keep learning, keep tensing those muscles, keep growing them, keep growing your brain and your body and then keep getting those gains. That's what we're all about here. And thank you again for joining me for another episode of Quick Wits. Go out there and, as the old schoolers used to say, get swole. Thank you for tuning in to another episode of Wits and Weights. If you found value in today's episode and know someone else who's looking to level up their wits or weights, please take a moment to share this episode with them and make sure to hit the follow button in your podcast platform right now to catch the next episode. Until then, stay strong.

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