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Quads Way Stronger on 2nd Set?
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Reconstruction
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yes, my first set on the leg extension machine is very painful- my quads really burn and I can barely finish 8 reps. I take a break, do the hamstring curl machine for a set and then come back to the leg extension machine. And the second time around, I increase the weight by 10 pounds and I sail right through.

I am asking if this is normal because none of my other exercises work this way- usually the second set is more difficult.

I guess it is that my quads are warmed up for the second set but why do just my quads act this way? The difference between sets is really shocking and it has been like this from the beginning.

thanx

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_LIFToholic_
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This happens with squats and bench with me. Probably cause they take a bit to warm up. Bigger muscles may take more to feel loosened up.

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kakno
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Your warmup probably sucks.

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Reconstruction
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kakno wrote:
Your warmup probably sucks.



yes, I think it is plain that the quads need to be warmed up but my question was why just the quads (no other muscle behaves like this) and why do they need to be warmed up in the same way as the exercise itself (eg- skipping rope or even doing a step class beforehand is not good enough, I must do one set on the machine first). Just curious. The difference in strength is really surprising. As far as I can guess it is because this machine invokes an unnatural movement that I never use in real life.

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Reconstruction
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_LIFToholic_ wrote:
This happens with squats and bench with me. Probably cause they take a bit to warm up. Bigger muscles may take more to feel loosened up.



thank you :)

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mat_angus
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Read CT's articles about neural activation


Mathieu

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mwhities
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kakno wrote:
Your warmup probably sucks.


I agree. Not sure of the weight you loading but, going straight into your work sets with out proper warm up is not good.

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Field
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Im pretty sure this is normal on just about every kind of exercise imaginable.

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Reconstruction
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Thank you for the responses. Thanx to the neural activation hint, I think I got my answer!

from http://www.T-Nation.com/...nd_rest_periods

notice last sentence of quote. It takes me about 3 minutes to pop over to the hamstring curl machine and then come back to the quad extension machine.


".......1) Rest periods for strength: If your main goal is strength, the length of the rest intervals should be long enough to allow the nervous system to recover almost completely, but not so long that you lose what's called the post-tetanic potentiation (PTP) effect. The PTP effect refers to the phenomenon by which your contraction strength potential will be increased for up to five minutes after a heavy set because of a greater neural activation.

The peak effect (greater potentiation) occurs around two to three minutes after a near-maximal contraction. The effect then gradually loses its effect so that it's gone by around the fifth minute. So when training for strength, you should rest around three minutes between sets of the same exercise.

You'll still have the full potentiation effect with less rest, but you'll also have some neural and/or muscular fatigue which will counter the PTP effect. When you're doing a proper strength session, you should actually become stronger with every set of an exercise (until cumulative fatigue sets in after four or five sets).
......"


it also says later that

"It has been shown that contracting a muscle group before working its antagonist will increase the strength in the later exercise."


which I guess is what I am doing with the hamstring curl machine

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mat_angus
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From HP mass program (CT's) :

'On sets 4 and 5 ? and only if you've been performing rocket-launch reps ? you'll notice that the reps of these two sets feel effortless. And even though you're increasing the load each set, the weight might actually feel lighter than the previous sets. This phenomenon (the weight feeling lighter) often occurs when performing reps with explosive acceleration. You've basically tricked the nervous system to overreact to your contraction signals.'


(page 4 : http://www.T-Nation.com/...like_an_athlete )


Mathieu

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Professor X
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Field wrote:
Im pretty sure this is normal on just about every kind of exercise imaginable.



Yep. I usually spend a good 10min just warming up shoulders...and then the entire first exercise is mostly just for that (machine overhead presses). I have injured my shoulder too many times now (not training related) to not spend quite a bit of time warming up the area. I can't think of one exercise where I am not stronger by the later sets.

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Reconstruction
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mat_angus wrote:
From HP mass program (CT's) :

'On sets 4 and 5 ? and only if you've been performing rocket-launch reps ? you'll notice that the reps of these two sets feel effortless. And even though you're increasing the load each set, the weight might actually feel lighter than the previous sets. This phenomenon (the weight feeling lighter) often occurs when performing reps with explosive acceleration. You've basically tricked the nervous system to overreact to your contraction signals.'


(page 4 : http://www.T-Nation.com/...like_an_athlete )


Mathieu


Thank you! I just read that article. Somewhere else in that article he mentions (under neural ramping)


If done correctly, somewhere around the third or fourth set, even though the weight is heavier than the previous sets, the weight will actually feel lighter. When you experience this "heavier-but-feels-lighter" effect, you'll know you're in the groove, baby, and you're ready for growth war.


That comment "you'll know you're in the groove, baby...." - that really strikes me because I am very familiar with the in-the-groove aerobic high. Which doesn't happen right away. And this aerobic groove is due to endorphins (aka pain-killers) being released as far as I know and not about neural ramping etc.

So maybe this neural ramping etc is really just endorphins have kicked in allowing the person to lift more weight with less pain. Is any of the neural ramping proven etc?

Just curious. Who's to say it is not just endorphins?

thanx

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kakno
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Reconstruction wrote:
mat_angus wrote:
From HP mass program (CT's) :

'On sets 4 and 5 ? and only if you've been performing rocket-launch reps ? you'll notice that the reps of these two sets feel effortless. And even though you're increasing the load each set, the weight might actually feel lighter than the previous sets. This phenomenon (the weight feeling lighter) often occurs when performing reps with explosive acceleration. You've basically tricked the nervous system to overreact to your contraction signals.'


(page 4 : http://www.T-Nation.com/...like_an_athlete )


Mathieu


Thank you! I just read that article. Somewhere else in that article he mentions (under neural ramping)


If done correctly, somewhere around the third or fourth set, even though the weight is heavier than the previous sets, the weight will actually feel lighter. When you experience this "heavier-but-feels-lighter" effect, you'll know you're in the groove, baby, and you're ready for growth war.


That comment "you'll know you're in the groove, baby...." - that really strikes me because I am very familiar with the in-the-groove aerobic high. Which doesn't happen right away. And this aerobic groove is due to endorphins (aka pain-killers) being released as far as I know and not about neural ramping etc.

So maybe this neural ramping etc is really just endorphins have kicked in allowing the person to lift more weight with less pain. Is any of the neural ramping proven etc?

Just curious. Who's to say it is not just endorphins?

thanx

No. After doing the exercise for a few sets your muscles are warm, your joints are lubricated, there's less resistance from your own body and your mind is ready to lift things up and put them down. Everything just works better if you do some light sets first on any exercise. Nothing aerobic, no endorphins.

Maybe you're talking about something different but if it's the "second wind" I find it occurs when exercising has made my blood acidic enough to make my cerebrospinal fluid acidic enough to tell the hypothalamus to breathe enough to give me enough oxygen to keep doing whatever it is I'm doing.

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Reconstruction
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kakno wrote:
......
Maybe you're talking about something different but if it's the "second wind" I find it occurs when exercising has made my blood acidic enough to make my cerebrospinal fluid acidic enough to tell the hypothalamus to breathe enough to give me enough oxygen to keep doing whatever it is I'm doing.


huh? That make it sound really aweful. Is that for real or you just making that up? - about the blood getting acidic? I am sort of interested in the whole acid/alkaline thing these days.

My groove happens after about 20 minutes so not sure if you are referring to that or the long distance runners second wind that happens much later.

thanx

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alexus
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hey wow...

i usually find my 3rd set of squats feels smoothest / easiest. and that is after an extensive warm-up. i've tried adding more warm-up sets so my first work set feels smoothest / easiest but there seems to be something magical about my 3rd set of work weights (when i do straight sets).

i had heard about potentiation and figured it was about waking things up properly... but this helps a lot:

> the post-tetanic potentiation (PTP) effect. The PTP effect refers to the phenomenon by which your contraction strength potential will be increased for up to five minutes after a heavy set because of a greater neural activation.

i wonder if it really has to do with a tetanus (as it applies to the activation of muscle fibers)... yay stuff for me to research, how cool!

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kakno
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Reconstruction wrote:
kakno wrote:
......
Maybe you're talking about something different but if it's the "second wind" I find it occurs when exercising has made my blood acidic enough to make my cerebrospinal fluid acidic enough to tell the hypothalamus to breathe enough to give me enough oxygen to keep doing whatever it is I'm doing.


huh? That make it sound really aweful. Is that for real or you just making that up? - about the blood getting acidic? I am sort of interested in the whole acid/alkaline thing these days.

My groove happens after about 20 minutes so not sure if you are referring to that or the long distance runners second wind that happens much later.

thanx

That's how breathing is regulated in all healthy humans. Nothing dangerous at all.

What you're talking about sounds more like endorphins.

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Reconstruction
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kakno wrote:

That's how breathing is regulated in all healthy humans. Nothing dangerous at all.

What you're talking about sounds more like endorphins.



Thank you.

Well I tried a different approach tonite and more than doubled the amount of weight for the quads but the hamstrings remained the same. I want to really thank you, I am so glad I posted the question. I am now up to 105# on the leg extension machine IF I do 3 sets before that with very large number of reps and only progressively increasing weight. It is shocking. I thought it would take me months or years to get that high but it just needed those prior high rep sets.

I was always hesitant about warming up (apart from an aerobic warmup) because I didn't want to use up my strength but I see now that it doesn't work like that.

I still don't know why this only happens with the quads? I used the same approach on the hamstring curl machine but got no further than I normally do. But at least now my quads and hamstrings are tied- they are each pulling the same max weight, which I guess makes sense. Maybe the way I walk around just uses my hamstrings more than my quads so they are always more warmed up? I think my quads are somewhat tighter (less flexible) than my hamstrings, if that makes a difference. Maybe they just have less healthy muscle tissue overall?

thanx again

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