Broadly, BBS calls for a very intense, ultra-slow weights workout once a week, potentially lasting no more than 12 minutes in total and is positively critical of long sessions or specifically designed to improve "aerobic fitness".
Even if this system is effective, do people think it's paleo, compared say to more 'natural,' or 'spontaneous' approaches?
I just finished Body By Science recently and highly recommend it.
Even if you don't follow their training plan, it's worth it for the background information. It does a great job of explaining muscle fiber composition, cellular metabolism, Krebs cycle, gene expression, the benefits of strength training, the harm of cardio, and so on. The authors give extensive citations to back everything up. It's great as a science-based primer to the underlying physiological basis for Paleo and the information is useful even if you aren't into weight training.
The training plan is actually a fairly small portion of the book. My biggest complaint about the training plan is that it's very Nautilus oriented. They did a good job of convincing me that Nautilus equipment is great but I don't have access to those machines so it's somewhat useless information to me. There is a brief section on adapting the basic workout to free weights but this section is tiny and has the feel of something that the authors tacked on just to avoid the criticism that the book is a Nautilus-only plan. It isn't clear what specific recommendations apply only to working out on Nautilus machines versus free weights so adapting takes some trial and error.
Since early January, I have been following a free weight strength training plan that is influenced by Body By Science. Obviously it's a little early to draw solid conclusions but so far I'm making gains that blow away my past experiences with conventional protocols (which I have extensive records for comparison). I'm getting better gains from working out one day a week versus 3-4 days a week in the past so I'm definitely sold. Makes me want to find a gym with Nautilus equipment so that I can try the exact Body By Science plan!
This is my first post here and all I have to offer is my own personal experience.
I am a 62 year old former athlete who for 6 years has been unwillingly sedentary due to a host of physical problems acquired in a lifetime of sport. College hockey player turned marathoner (@215 lbs.)/40 mile per week runner and lifelong weight lifter. As my foot arthritis, 3 knee surgeries, torn labrum, and 3 ruptured lumbar discs caught up to me I would resume training only to get reinjured. In November I began a paleo diet along the lines suggested by Dr. Harris. Encouraged by weight loss and a general sense of well-being I began Dr. McGuff's BBS. I'll spare you the numbers but this is the first time I have been free from injury recurrence in 6 years. My body shape has been transformed-the pear is gone, the V is somewhat back. More importantly, the neuropathy in legs and feet and all back pain is gone.
I have never liked nautilus machines but without them I could never have gotten started on this regime otherwise. I have substituted free weight lifts for variety-and when I have a spotter-and to assist in the stabilization you don't get with machines.
I know most of you were posting about levels of fitness and competition that I will never revisit but for me BBS has worked. One negative, it is mentally draining to have your goal of lift be failure.
Pure rubbish? Try telling that to Arthur Jones, creator of Nautilus, and Casey Viator:
"...during the first l4 days, Viator gained 28.93 pounds, a daily average of 2.06 pounds. During the next 3 days, he gained 3.92 pounds, a daily average of 1.3 pounds. During the following 5 days, he gained 6.09 pounds, a daily average of 1.2 pounds. And during the final 6 days, he gained 6.34 Pounds, a daily average of 1.05 pounds."
"Total "training time" (in and out of the gym) was exactly 298 minutes...4 hours and 58 minutes, an average of 24.8 minutes per workout." In about a month.
And Casey was no lightweight to begin with.
Also, Tim Ferriss:
Total workout time in 4 weeks? 4 hours...
A little longer than BBS, but pretty incredible results in very little time.
Also, if you had read the book, you would have seen pictures of people getting results with the BBS system.
And Dr. McGuff has owned his own gym, Ultimate Exercise since 1997. His co-author, John Little, has written three books on high intensity training, also owns a gym and with his wife have supervised more than 60,000 workouts...
But hey, since you are a competitive powerlifter, and have taken classes with respected coaches, you probably don't need to read the book to comment on it. You already have it nailed...
There are a couple concepts to this style of training- one is high intensity training (HIT) and one is super-slow.
HIT is a proven concept that has been used by some of the most elite body builders (Casey Viator was one of the originals) and mere mortals. In HIT one does low volume (often 1 good set) focusing on performing "big" exercises (squats, deadlifts, etc) intensely. Applying HIT properly, one could make significant gains with 12 minute workouts once or twice a week. But you still first need to take 12 minutes to get to the gym, 12 minutes to warmup, and 12 minutes to cooldown, etc, so of course saying "just 12 minutes" doesn't translate to reality.
Super-slow? I haven't tried that. I doubt he would promote it if some people didn't respond well to it. If anything it could be easier to use proper form and avoid injury.
Paleo: doesn't seem like there would be much super-slow. Explosive, yes. Dragging something heavy seems different than either explosive or super-slow. But just because it doesn't re-enact paleo doesn't mean it isn't good.
There is a difference between McGuff's approach and SuperSlow. It isn't quite as slow :) You still do multiple reps of each lift.
I've been following the Body By Science lifting plan for almost a year now. I've probably skipped about 1/5 of the weeks. I've been sticking to what he calls the Big Five. I also do sprints once or twice a week on an elliptical machine with the resistance all the way up and hit about 650 watts. It may not be the most paleo motion but it seems to work well and wears me the hell out.
I feel that I'm making great progress using BBS. Every week I do more on most of the lifts than the previous. I continue to get more muscular in appearance. I'm about as strong as I was about 6 years ago when I had been hitting the gym 3 days a week and did multiple sets on each machine for about 2 years straight. My wife is seeing similar results using BBS.
My own thoughts on BBS... I've been doing it since the autumn (so I'm certainly biased) but then I've use a variety of approaches before.
BBS hasn't worked any worse than any previous workouts, but it's difficult to know whether it's any better after such a short time. I'd say it has been slightly better but then I usually improve relatively quickly after switching to a new program and tend to improve more as I go on.
I don't have any theoretical attachment to BBS or not-quite-super-slow-but-pretty-slow itself. My one assumption is that more intense is generally better. BBS makes a pretty compelling case that BBS is the optimally intense way of stressing your muscles, allied to argument that heavy muscle activation is the most efficient route to the 'global metabolic conditioning' conventionally associated with cardio. This strikes me as pretty standard HIT logic to me. I'm open to either BBS or more power-based training generally being more intense.
McGuff's case is convincing insofar that all his claims rationally follow and are heavily referenced. I have no reason myself to judge claims like '45-90secs is the optimal time to train a muscle under BBS conditions,' or that performing a second set of such exercise produces no benefits... I just have to defer on the assumption that the empirical data he cites actually says what he says. Wish I had the book on me as a consequence, but have lent it out. I've never come across any comparable empirical case for the superiority of other HIT types and certainly doubt that non-HIT but more voluminous training is better.
I do intuitively think that more than just weight-lifting would be optimal, but McGuff isn't explicitly anti this- he notes that as muscular ability improves activity levels tend to spontaneously increase- his argument against extensive exercise is because of wear and tear, not because he thinks it's worthless.
Exercise is exercise. It's all good in varying amounts depending on age/fitness and what you want to achieve.
Be wary of anyone who says they know (or have discovered) the "best" or the "only" way you should exercise; be it short or long, fast or slow, weighted or bodyweight, frequent or infrequent, machines or no machines, aerobic or anaerobic, cardio or no cardio, walking or jogging or sprinting or swiming, or anything else... they are wrong.
In my opinion there is no "best" other than to find activities that you enjoy enough to keep doing and remembering that abit of variety is usually good.
I like the fact that they promote paleo dieting, and I agree that chronic cardio is worse than useless.
But as a competitve powerlifter who has been weight training for years, who has taken several strength and conditioning classes with respected coaches like Charles Poliquin, and with several friends who are accomplished natural bodybuilders... I think it is pure rubbish (and almost a case of fraud) to tell people they can change their body composition in 12 minutes per week!
Personally, I would hesitate to lead someone on by saying they could change their body in 12 minutes per day! But per week? Pure B.S. The superslow single rep gimmick has been around forever, and I have never seen a photo of someone who built an impressive physique that way. Notice how the authors never discuss any real-world people who have succeeded with their program? And I don't care if McGuff is a M.D. Most M.D.'s know next to nothing about effective weight training.
As a former Nautilus employee back in it's prime, I too thought Jones had found the rosetta. It was ultimately a program, like most, that works for a while and isn't particularly useful for long term hypertrophy. There were never legions of bulked up success stories. The few big names associated with Nautilus later admitted juicing. As stated above, Viator and Ferris were simply recapturing gains already achieved. The go-to wisdom will always be...old school: http://www.martygallagher.com/thoughts-on-the-nautilus-revolution
I have tried BBS. I like the idea but I personally did not see significant gains working out 1x/week, even doing super-slow sets to failure and making what seemed like deep inroads. It may work well for maintenance of existing muscle, but I'm a "hard gainer" who is trying to add lean mass and it didn't do much for me. Ironically, the program I went to instead is from an old book by Ellington Darden (that advocates a 3x/week approach), which is working well so far.
(The irony, for those not in the know, was that Darden was an early employee and huge advocate of Nautilus and Jones' theories back in the day).
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