Originally Posted by flow
Steve-do you think a NEW stimulus is a MORE DEMANDING stimulus?
All new stimulus are demanding in unique ways. "More" demanding is relative to the situation. We can't remove actions from their context.
If we use "more demanding" to mean the body will respond and add strength and muscle, then yes, these stimulus do exist. But they have to be viewed in context.
Adding 90% work was "more demanding" for me and resulted in change. This is not the best stimulus for someone who is still relatively weak though. They need consistent, step after step progression. No stimulus is greater than that in the long run.
Quite frankly I don't personally like to view training through the lens of stimulus. Training moves from fairly straight forward as the gains come consistently to more and more complex as the years pass.
Achieving that last 10-20% of muscle and strength isn't as simple as adding new stimulus. There are so many other factors involved...training balance, training wisely, listening to your body, periodization to prevent injury, etc.
A lot of lifters like to:
1) Believe they are in a plateau when they are still making gains.
2) Believe that fancy ninja moves that look cool on paper are more effective in the long run than just charging straight up the hill.
When it comes to muscle building gains slow down. That's reality. Does stimulus re-ignite this? Let me put it this way: I have personally interviewed and documented the training of perhaps 150 top natural bodybuilders.
At some point they all scratch their heads and try different stimulus to reignite gains. There is no re-ignition in the long run. They simply do NOT see 5 pound muscle gain bursts after 5 years of training unless they made very sub-par gains before that point.
Certainly struggling to add a pound or two of muscle each year might require new approaches/stimulus. But before this point it's all about progression no matter what style you use.
The successful people I know made the bulk of their gains when they put their head down and just went forward. They got in a groove and hammered it out for 2-3 years. There wasn't a lot of swapping and shocking involved. They just got tunnel vision and marched forward.
Most people over-think training before they have to. The only stimulus most need over time is another 5 pounds. They generally over-think it because they have unrealistic expectations and expect to add muscle size bringing their bench up to 185 or squat to 225. This doesn't yield much, so the shocking and swapping cycle begins.
If you want my uncensored, NOT long-winded opinion, it's this:
Nothing else matters until you bring your strength up substantially relative to where you started.
Until then swapping and flipping and flopping and all that other stuff is nonsense to me. I probably sound very dogmatic, but I have just never seen a weak bodybuilder.
If someone wants to use giant sets and rest-pause and whatever, have at it. ENJOY training. This isn't life or death. Just get STRONG doing so, and don't feel you have to change ever 8 weeks or you will die. THIS BELIEF IS NONSENSE.