Last month, the American College of Sports Medicine held its annual conference in San Diego and shared insights on building muscle that could be game changers for a lot of people. Guys, if you’re hoping to gain strength or a bit of size, this is going to interest you too.
New Protocols for Building Muscle
One of the event’s Paper of the Year was focused on a protocol for building muscle known as the 3/7 method. It is one of a string of breakthroughs that have been made in this area, and according to the presented research, it is quite an effective one.
The authors of the paper were track and field coach and two-time Olympic shot-putter Jean-Pierre Egger from Switzerland and neurophysiologist Jacques Duchateau from Belgium’s Université Libre de Bruxelles. They studied a new approach Duchateau had been using that made it possible for athletes to train with less time and effort to achieve greater strength gains.
What is the 3/7 method?
The 3/7 method was originally created by Emmanuel Legeard, a strength coach from France. It involves lifting about 70 percent of your one-rep max (which is the weight you would be able to lift 12 times before reaching failure). That weight is lifted in five sets. Those sets are broken into reps of 3, 4, 5, 6 and 7. Between each set, you take 15 seconds of rest.
Duchateau was drawn to this protocol for building muscle because it appeared to bring together two of the best-known methods of achieving this goal. Using the 3/7 method’s heavy weight-lifting places mechanical stress on the fibers of the muscles. The short rest periods between sets causes metabolic stress on the muscles because they are being starved of oxygen. According to Duchateau, these two different factors trigger muscular growth in their own way.
The paper was award winning and was published in the Exercise and Sport Science Reviews journal. In the paper, the authors compared using the 3/7 method with using other bench press protocols.
Building Muscle Strength and Size
According to the study authors, the main advantage of the 3/7 method for building muscle when compared to other protocols was its efficiency. It boosted both strength and muscle growth (though not explosive power) and outperformed conventional bench press of 4 sets of 6 reps with 2.5 minutes of rest between each set. Its results were comparable to 8 sets of 6 reps using the same weight.