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Old 03-18-2011, 09:30 AM   #1
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Default Relative Stimulus vs. Absolute Stimulus

Do you believe a real, absolute stimulus (say 75% of your 1RM) is better for stimulating muscle growth, or do you believe a relative stimulus is just as effective?

A relative stimulus means using a weight that taxes the muscles, but is relatively light compared to your overall strength and utilizes advanced techniques to make a lighter weight more difficult.

For example, if you incorporate 4 second negatives and rest-pause, you will be forced to use a lighter weight. This will be just as hard for the body to complete as using an absolute stimulus. But is it just as effective for overall growth? Is the stimulus the same?

So which do you feel is best/better? Do you feel the overall benefits of absolute stimulus are supreme (including CNS conditioning and overall stresses placed upon the body), or do you believe relative stimulus is equal.

NOTE: Using an absolute stimulus DOES NOT mean you have to training heavy (80% plus). It certainly could be with 60-65-70-75%. It simply means you do nothing other than lifting the weight using natural cadence reps, regardless of the percentage used.
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Old 03-18-2011, 10:34 AM   #2
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I like the 80-100% range for the sheer thrill and endorphins. Anything below that just isn't my preferred style of training. I think as long as you are having fun in the gym however and eating properly you should continue to grow so long as you are pushing yourself. So if taking 8 seconds to do a rep suits you then go for it.
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:01 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
Do you believe a real, absolute stimulus (say 75% of your 1RM) is better for stimulating muscle growth, or do you believe a relative stimulus is just as effective?

A relative stimulus means using a weight that taxes the muscles, but is relatively light compared to your overall strength and utilizes advanced techniques to make a lighter weight more difficult.

For example, if you incorporate 4 second negatives and rest-pause, you will be forced to use a lighter weight. This will be just as hard for the body to complete as using an absolute stimulus. But is it just as effective for overall growth? Is the stimulus the same?

So which do you feel is best/better? Do you feel the overall benefits of absolute stimulus are supreme (including CNS conditioning and overall stresses placed upon the body), or do you believe relative stimulus is equal.

NOTE: Using an absolute stimulus DOES NOT mean you have to training heavy (80% plus). It certainly could be with 60-65-70-75%. It simply means you do nothing other than lifting the weight using natural cadence reps, regardless of the percentage used.
IMO absolute stimulus is way better than relative stimulus any day, unless of course the volumes at the end of the sessions are generally equal. With relative stimulus, in theory, the volume lifted ends up being a lot lower than with an absolute stimulus session because of the time involved to do each rep.

I still feel, that within reason, volume of the lifted weight loads is key but not to the extent of lowering the weights load to ridiculously low levels; anything medium to higher intensity weight loads done for a decent volume (of overall weight load) seems to work, at least for me it does.
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Old 03-19-2011, 06:45 PM   #4
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To me, it's all about heavy weight. So I guess absolute stimulus.
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Old 03-26-2011, 09:31 AM   #5
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I go for absolute stimulus since training with heavier loads increases the release of testosterone. although i do use relative stimulus as well, i like for focus more on absolute stimulus because i feel those are the exercises that causes the muscle to grow much more. You can't forget that fast twitch muscles (type II fibers) are the muscles that grow the biggest and strongest, and are stimulated by either lifting explosively or by absolute stimulus.

When training with relative stimulus (slow negatives, using a lighter load, slow contractions, etc.), although it will cause muscle damage which in turn will allow muscle growth through proper nutrition, I personally would choose absolute stimulus.

A disadvantage of training with absolute stimulus all the time is that it will take a toll on your joints and CNS which is why there needs to be a balance between the two. For muscle growth and strength? ABSOLUTE STIMULUS
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Old 03-28-2011, 12:35 PM   #6
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I've never personally trained using relative stimulus. I see a guy at my gym doing some rest-pause and slow negative work. He is leaner and slimmer than am I, but he does look strong on some of his lifts when I notice (DB shoulder presses, for example). I think it can have its place, but I think absolute is probably a better way to go for overall muscle growth.

I could see using relative if there are weak points on which you want to target or if there is an issue with your form on a particular exercise that you want to correct or "feel." Otherwise, Eh.
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Old 03-28-2011, 02:54 PM   #7
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personally i think if you are gonna try to make a light weight hard to lift you may as well just use a heavy weight that is hard to lift in the first place.

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Old 03-28-2011, 03:01 PM   #8
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personally i think if you are gonna try to make a light weight hard to lift you may as well just use a heavy weight that is hard to lift in the first place.

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Old 03-31-2011, 04:02 PM   #9
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But I do think that the use of light weights can be beneficial during times of training but I think that's a seperate issue. Some people also respond differently to different stimuluses. I've done programs with low volume and heavy weights and as I did get stronger I didn't get much bigger. But then when I went on to incorporating along with heavy weights, negatives and rest-pauses with llighter weights I gained more mass. I'm a big advocate for absolute stimulus and lifting heavy weights but I like to included some relative to add different stimuluses to the muscles.
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