Principles of Muscle Building

Principles of Muscle BuildingIntroduction:

Muscle is an important element in the performance of the athlete and in motor activities in general. Proposing muscular reinforcement to a subject can not be limited to a simple implementation of methods or processes, but also involves questioning and therefore analyzing the processes upstream and downstream generated by these practices:

– upstream :

– evaluation of the muscular functional capacities of the subjects (volume, extensibility, stiffness and compliance);

– reading and parameterization of the specificity of the constraints involved in sporting gestures;

– downstream:

– list and analyze specific muscular adaptations.

These prerequisites seem necessary in order for the musculation to lead to a transformation of the subject in his neuro-sensori-motor system (innervation, movement control, myotendinous structure).

Three objectives are given priority:

– qualitative: to improve a specific muscular response adapted to the constraints of the sporting gesture;

– preventive: “equip” at the myotendinous and sensory level the subject in order to prevent it from possible traumatologies;

– quantitative: increase the myotendinous mechanical power so that the subject can cope with the stresses of the activity practiced.

These objectives in the management of the subject assume for the masseur-physiotherapist and the trainer the mastery of a triple field of knowledge:

– knowledge of the fundamental elements of muscular physiology directly related to motor activities;

– knowledge of physical and sports activities (APS) in terms of gestures, biomechanical and energy constraints, dominant contraction regimes, physical qualities necessary and indispensable for expertise;

– knowledge of the general principles of force training, its planning, training modalities and loads.

Elements of muscle physiology and biomechanics:


Following the models of Weber (1846) and Hill (1936), that of Shorten seems the most complete; it comprises three elements:

– a contractile component; it corresponds to the slippery bridges and myofilaments of actin and myosin in the sarcomere; it is the seat of the transformation of chemical energy into mechanical energy;

– a series elastic component (CES) with:

– an active part, situated in the contractile part of the bridges;

– a passive part, located mainly in tendon structures and in intramuscular collagen;

– a parallel elastic component (CEP), located in the connective tissue and the sarcolemma surrounding the muscle fiber.

It should be noted that the reserve of extensibility, ie the compliance of the ETUC, is much lower than that of the CEP.

When the muscle is at rest, the compliance of the contractile component is high and decreases with the contraction of the muscle.

The viscoelastic structures in series absorb a part of the contractile energy produced, which allows a damping of the tensile stresses due to the contraction. In situations of plyometric type, the energy absorbed by the elastic elements, by storage, can be added to the contractile force (cf infra).


During a muscular contraction, the force increases by the intervention of two mechanisms:

– recruitment of a growing number of motor units (MUs); this occurs for 80% of the maximum force (spatial summation);

– increase in the frequency of the nerve impulses (20% of the maximum force); this repetitive activation is mainly in the last recruited MUs (temporal summation).

Thus maximum strength and maximum recruitment are not necessarily linked, except in the face of situations of great stress where the subject must produce a “force of despair” by lifting the inhibition of the Renshaw circuit. By creating dishabituation, moderate stress is in practice an effective means of developing strength through more massive recruitment of UMs, and a mental presence of superior attention and intent.


Classically, there are three main categories of UM: type I, or slow twitch (ST), or UM slow; type IIb, or fast twitch (FT), or fast UMs; type IIa or intermediate UMs.

Each of them has different physiological and biochemical characteristics, but all are dependent on the motor innervation they receive. Thus STs are recruited when the internal voltage or the load to be mobilized is low (up to 50% of the maximum resistance [RM]); in contrast, a tension greater than 80% of the RM stresses the fibers IIB. In terms of terrain, we can already see a causal relationship between force and speed.

When the exercise is slow and progressive (in ramp), there is a rigid order of recruitment: size principle or order of recruitment by size Henneman 1965, Costill 1980. With the progressive increase in tension, “Speed ​​tools” (IIB fibers) are recruited last.

Exceptions to this order of recruitment:

– For movements of explosive type (by a mechanism of lowering the recruitment threshold).

– Concentrically recruited MUs for high voltages in ballistic exercises are at very low thresholds for low voltages in the eccentric mode.

– A last exception concerns electrostimulation: it appears that, according to this modality, the increase in the contraction time is more important for the weak stimulations than for the high stimulations, thus causing an exception to the order of recruitment in voluntary stimulation .

Types of loads to be used for explosive force:

This force is fundamental for all PSAs of power type, but also in half. To remedy the disadvantages of the concentric methods proposed by Zatziorsky in 1966 (methods of maximal efforts, repeated efforts, dynamic efforts), an interesting compromise is doubtless found in a generic form of work called the method of contrasts or the Bulgarian method.

Principle: in the shortest possible time, very high voltages, very few repetitions, and then mobilize light or very light loads on also few repetitions. It seems that this principle produces a transfer of force towards the explosive force (prestressing), as well as an increase in the speed of contraction, all the more so as the contrast is marked, the work at low load, or even only the weight of the body, then realizing itself with a more significant explosiveness.

This generic principle of all speed work (including APS technique) is a concern for quality and mental commitment (less fatigue), non-habituation by alternating tensions, vigilance and of sensory maintenance of velocity in its intra- and ntermuscular coordinations.

Muscle strengthening and muscle typology:

Except for a few sporting disciplines of continuous endurance (long distance in athletics, Nordic skiing etc.), performance in all others is based on speed, explosiveness and intermittent repetition of explosiveness. Expertise is therefore based on the “fast” and not on “slow” actions or phases of play; thus possessing a larger pool of fast fibers appears to be ideal for an athlete.

If it seems easy to go from “fast” to “slow”, the opposite is still problematic, although in fundamental physiology cross-innervation experiments have demonstrated the possibility of total reversibility, thus conferring a primordial role on the ” innervation.

Although some experimental and field studies have shown a moderate and transient increase in the volume occupied by the fibers IIb by transformation of the fibers IIa, the fact remains that this possible reversibility is an “unequal battle”.Indeed, in a day of 24 hours, rare moments are offered to recruit the whole of the MU and / or create extreme muscular tensions.

Consequently, if there is a choice to be made in terms of methodologies to counter this disability and to go towards the neuromuscular and energy specificities of APS, it is certainly not to “add” in terms of “slow” , but rather to opt for a development of maximum force and ballistic force.

Contraction regimens used in motor activities:

Any APS consists of propelling (gear, opponent, balloon etc.) or to propel.

Historically, but alas still too often today, the concentric mode has been massively and systematically used by practitioners. Not only are sports very rarely used exclusively by this regime, and when it is, their participation in the gesture is to be balanced, this mode of contraction has more drawbacks than advantages.

Virtually all PSAs, regardless of the actions performed and the muscle groups involved, operate in an eccentric-concentric alternation. This sequence can be realized in a very short time (short coupling time, “percussed” plyometry) or less violently in a round trip with longer coupling time (spring type, “non-percussed” plyometry).

This alternation is in physiology the stretch-shortening cycle, in biomechanics the cycle storage-restitution or resistance to stretching-relaxation, finally in terms of terrain of plyometry or putting in eccentric tension-restitution.

The expertise is therefore based on a muscular quality of sequencing whose essential base is the capacity of the muscle to resist its own elongation under the effect of external pressures or high internal tensions. For a muscle or a muscular chain, the objective is therefore to possess an important active stiffness (without impairing its extensibility), but also to be able to store, store for a short elongation (compliance) an energy which can be restored without delay. sites and Z-striations.

For the sake of clarity, we will take the operating model of the boom.

For the same bending of boom, the performance is different depending on the stiffness of the material. With a low speed of movement, the beginner (A) folds a “compliant”, compliant pole, which can not store in its phase of elongation and restore in its shortening phase only very little energy.

The expert (B), in order to bend a stiffer boom identically, must arrive faster in the bumper. The resistance of the material to the elongation results in a quantitatively superior storage and then a restitution, thus a better performance.

Without excess, the analogy with the pliometric activity of the muscle is evident and leads to several remarks:

– the active (contextual) stiffness is not antinomic of extensibility (the pole can always fold); the inextensibility would be of the passive, constitutional stiffness, and, for a muscle, acquired by lack of maintenance;

– the greater the stirring, the more the storage-restitution effect is expressed when the material is subjected to high tensions;

– for an optimum level of deformation, a boom can only restore what it has stored; it means that for any form of impulse (stroke, jump, dribbling, round-trip muscular movement) the field objective must be to optimize the entry into the impulse rather than its exit; other arguments, notably sensorial, reinforce this logic.

Thus, to consider the different contractile modes is to present the muscle as a structure with variable geometry where the concept of elongation is transversal.

Isometry consists in maintaining a degree of elongation and in combating elongation.

The concentric consists of creating shortening, but struggling against elongation.

The eccentric is pure resistance to elongation.

The plyometry is first of all an active resistance to elongation.

This entry into reflection through contractile modes must lead us far beyond, in an approach that concerns learning, training and rehabilitation. This transversal approach must lead the educator and the reeducator to consider their actions in which a total interdependence of three key concepts is constantly considered:

– resist elongation (neuromotor);

– develop elongation (myotendinous extensibility);

– perceive the elongation (proprioception).

The only muscular development, which concerns the structural aspect, is therefore no longer sufficient and must become a neurosensorimotor development, in its conception as in its implementation.


In terms of gestures, resisting the distance of the insertions entails two modes of eccentric work:

– pure braking, little used in sports practice, except in situations where it is necessary to increase the deceleration of the body (example: receptions in gymnastics); in this case it is a matter of rapidly blocking the muscular elongation and maintaining a posture;

– preparation for concentric contraction; by taking the example of a stroke, a dribble, a sudden variation in direction, the more articular flexion (chain of extensors), the more the foot-ground contact time increases, the more damping and absorption, the less rapid transmission of forces, the greater the amount of energy stored in the CES dissipates as heat; the effectiveness of these practices lies in the ability to resist muscular elongation over a short time and with very little amplitude in order to restore the stored energy more quickly and completely.

In the literature, this eccentric mode is still associated with a phase of braking perceived as negative. This is no doubt true in pure biomechanics, also true when a subject descends on a very steep path, true even for subjects with excessively compliant musculature; it is on the contrary a key phase for the expertise, positive a posteriori in the areas of explosiveness and reactivity.

Physiological sites and effects of eccentric work:

Elastic component series:

For the active part of the ETUC, the eccentric work diminishes the compliance of the contractile system; in its passive part, it increases the stiffness of the tendinous system by increasing the density of the collagen.

This aspect is particularly interesting in PSA, since if the tendons are to be “soft” to absorb the traction and tensions, they must also be stiffer to transmit force more quickly and favorably to the bone levers.

Stripes Z:

The eccentric work results in a certain number of curvature s which are essentially due to microlesions or even necroses of the Z-striations, and in particular in the fibers IIb which have thinner Z-striations. This phenomenon is not only transient and reversible, but is a “necessary evil” to reach a higher functional level.

A force can only be exerted from a point of support. To resist elongation but also to produce shortening force, actin filaments must rely on a strong anchorage to Z-striations. There is no point in “inflating” the metabolic machinery between two Z-striations if those they are not more solid, more steep. To reinforce tissue, the mass and density of the collagen (connective tissue) must be increased, a phenomenon made possible by cicatrization; the training therefore aims at deliberately destructing these striations Z in order to give them a superior resistance.

A question has long been asked: does eccentric training improve concentric performance? The response is negative if the measurements are made immediately after or shortly after the training is stopped (on the contrary). On the other hand, the answer is in all cases largely positive and lasting for a period that respects healing and restructuring.

Neuromotor adaptations:

For a subject confronted with intense eccentric work, there is a facili- tation of reciprocal inhibition, an inhibition of reversed myotomic reflex, as well as increased myota- tic regulation.

Note: This mode of work is often dismissed as “dangerous”. In muscle building, everything can be at risk and it is appropriate to apply a principle of simple precaution, progressivity. Moreover, trained athletes do not show any traumatic traces after restructuring and the same damage is observed in non-experts by concentric stresses.

Assessment of eccentric mode:

Advantages :

– It allows in some cases preferential recruitment of type IIb fibers.

– It increases the active muscular stiffness, thus allowing a greater efficiency of the stretch-shortening cycle and the reactive explosive force.

– It predisposes the concentric response by facilitating the myotatic loop.

– It makes it possible to generate voltages of 30 to 50% higher than the isometric voluntary maximum force.

– It reduces the coupling time of a plyometric gesture.

– It improves the concentric force after restructuring Z-striations.

– It lowers the sensitivity of Golgi tendon organs (OTG).

– It increases the density of collagen tendon.

– It corresponds to the basis of the logic of sequencing contractile modes in almost all sports gestures.

– It does not consume much metabolic energy.

– It consumes little nervous energy (less recruitment of UM for equal work in the concentric mode).

– It is effective in the prevention of myotendinous lesions and in the treatment of these operated and non-operated lesions as well as in the treatment of joint instabilities.

– It has little effect on muscle volume.


– Muscular aches, the kinetics of recovery and overcompensation being more or less long according to the tensions created and the levels of training.

– Risk of muscle or tendon injuries in case of improper training.

– Prudence concerning young subjects, even if one notices in their usual playful motility the frequent and spontaneous use of this contractile mode.


This is the diet used in most of our daily activities and sports. For the same muscle, this is an eccentric-concentric alternation performed within the shortest time (coupling time).

The energy storage during the eccentric phase is all the more important because this contraction is active, short and of low muscular amplitude (little joint displacement).

The force developed during the concentric restitution is considerably greater than it would have been without this prior active resistance. This increase in strength is explained by three main factors:

– stiffness of the myotendinous system;

– restitution of stored energy to the voluntary contractile force;

Participation of the myotatic loop promoting the rate of expression of the concentric force.

Coupling time is a key moment for performance (on gesture and performance).


Its evaluation and measurement reveal a level of physical quality and a level of technical expertise in each APS.

This measurement is carried out by Bosco ergo-jump. This platform, by its multiple sensors, measures the pulse of a subject according to four modalities. Here, the vertical relaxation is measured (muscular explosiveness and reactivity), allowing to obtain a fairly good representation of this reactivity under other conditions of movement.

Four parameters are obtained: flight time (TV) (ms -1 ); contact time feet / ground (TC) (ms -1 ); height of the theoretical variation of the center of gravity (CG) (cm); expressed power (W) (kg -1 ) of body weight.

“Squat jump” (SJ):

From the 90 ° position knees, hip hands, static 1 second, produce the largest vertical pulse. The SJ evaluates the purely concentric explosiveness of the lower limbs of a subject.

“Counter-movement jump” (CMJ):

From the standing position, hands hips, in a round-trip movement without stopping up to 90 ° knees, it is about producing the largest vertical pulse.

This test evaluates the muscle elasticity qualities of the subject’s extensor chain (CMJ / SJ difference). Given a movement of great muscular amplitude, we are in the presence of an eccentric phase not very active, therefore of a form of plomometry not percussed.

“Drop-jump” (DJ):

From a stand-up counter-top to 40 cm, drop on the carpet, hands at the hips, and produce the largest vertical impulse possible.

We are here in the field of pc plumbometry similar to that encountered by the subject in PSA. The DJ / CMJ reports and especially DJ / SJ testify to its qualities of muscle reactivity and explosiveness.

All authors agree to note a progression of 5 to 6% CMJ / SJ and 11 to 12% DJ / SJ, this progression representing the relative importance of the elasticity and the active muscular stiffness.


– following numerous measurements and in order to obtain better readability of the different results, we set up a plyometric index: IP = TC / TV; this index is correlated well by the results of power expressed as well as the heights of the GC; a subject may be considered to be little plyometric beyond an IP of 0.3;

– the more the eccentric active stiffness has been developed, the more the subjects will have high performance scores in DJ with the elevation of the counter-top: 60, 80, 100 cm;

– all subjects saw their score improve for DJs performing barefoot (less mechanical absorption by soles and less “sleepiness” of the sensory receptors of the muscles of the arch of the foot);

– SJ, CMJ and DJ with arms help improve GC elevation by about 25% and thus evaluate the segmental coordination of the subjects.

“Rebound-jump” (RJ):

A fourth test evaluates the depletion of the IP during a bounce sequence for 15 or 30 seconds. This test makes it possible to highlight the capacity of a subject to make or not to last a reactive muscular quality.

The ergo-jump is therefore an indispensable tool to appreciate the physical qualities of an athlete for all forms of impulse that the APS can present. These various tests should encourage us to be very careful about the use and the relevance of the Sargent-test given its conditions of execution and with regard to sports contexts.

Pliometry and yield:

Apart from an increase in performance, plyometry can save energy considerably (in the race, for example, the aim is to reduce the energy cost of the stride). By the prior work of active stiffness and the myotatic facilitation, the plyometry thus constructed leads to an increase in efficiency (ratio between the mechanical energy produced and the energy expenditure).

All authors attribute to pure concentric work a yield of about 20 to 25% to approach the 70% in jumps and races at 32 km / h.

If a subject is forced to jog at an unusual (slower) pace, a more pronounced fatigue is noticed. For each stride, in fact, the eccentric voltages are lower, resulting in less energy storage on this phase; the bearing times are lengthened, thus reducing the mechanical restitution after the vertical of the support. The subject must in this case more “push”, that is to say preferentially use a contractile mode less profitable and less efficient (concentric).

Pliometry and traumatology:

Without precautionary principle and without respect for certain conditions, the plyometric training can lead to immediate traumatologies by:

– exclusive and / or abusive use;

– intensity too high;

– lack of placement and physical alignment;

– lack of concentration ;

– absence of previous (eccentric) muscular equipment.

The shocks produced lead to joint pathologies and periostitis, the large traction imposed on myotendinous and tenoperiosteal junctions at the time of the inversion of the muscular constraints leading to tendinopathies.

It is therefore imperative to approach plyometric work in terms of quality and progressivity following (or simultaneously) to an equipment of the myotendinous system in the direction of active stiffness.

As regards the child’s relation to plyometrics, as we have noted for eccentric work, this type of solicitation has long been habitual to them. It is not the muscular reinforcement understood and adapted that traumatizes, but rather the sports practices themselves when they are carried out improperly without sufficient internal equipment, resulting in fact to technopathies in the medium or long term.

Balance of plyometric mode:


– It develops a force greater than the maximum voluntary force.

– It reduces the coupling time.

– It increases active stiffness and decreases compliance.

– It increases the yield.

– It improves intra- and intermuscular coordination.

– It increases muscle reactivity.

– It increases the sensitivity of neuromuscular spindles.

– It facilitates the synchronization of the muscular activity and the myotatic activity by reduction of the inhibitions.

– It decreases the sensitivity of the OTG.

– It corresponds to the gestures of the quasitotality of the APS.

– It has no effect on muscle volume.


Traumatic hazards in the conditions described above.


It is the most known, the oldest, and still today, almost exclusively. In fact, in everyday and sporting practices, the pure concentric mode is only very rarely present, and even if its program legitimates it: in a period of renewed training, within the framework of general reinforcement, predominantly coupled with isometry (concentric one-time statodynamics), its systematic use remains insufficient to meet the muscular constraints of the APS. If it seems to be adapted to certain sports (pedaling, rowing), a too superficial analysis of certain movements may lead to the use of forms of work that do not conform to reality. The example of starting in the starting blocks suggests that all the extensors of the lower limb operate concentrically. However, given the configuration of the starting blocks (Duchateau 1993), the heel is left without support at the moment of the push, thus imposing a prior eccentric contraction.

Finally, we have already seen that to develop concentric force in the medium and long term the ideal was not always to use this contractile mode.

Balance of the concentric mode:


– It facilitates recovery when it finishes a series in eccentric stress. By working in amplitude, it allows to preserve a capital of sarcomères in series.

– It promotes muscle compliance: in this way muscle could store more elastic energy, but, with regard to the needs of sports disciplines, the question of the usefulness of this type of adaptation remains.

– It acts on the nervous factors: by soliciting for a given tension a large number of UM, it proves effective to the heating and close to a competition.

– It has little effect on the passive structures of the muscle, so few constraints on them, which constitutes a positive point in reeducation.


– Large consumer of metabolic energy compared to other contractile modes.

– Large consumer of nervous energy: motor innervation.

– Diet most favorable to muscular hypertrophy, advantage in the event of amyotrophy but objective not always sought after by sportsmen.

– It develops little strength compared to other modes.

– It does not correspond to the logic

of the schemes in the quasi-totality of the PSAs.

– It has very little action on the development of capacities of proprioceptive integration (coding of the movement).


This mode is generally well known and abundantly used by the masseur kinesitherapist; however, its relevance and interest in PSA remains to be clarified.

Note: Two types of isometric situations must be distinguished according to the mode of application of the resistance.

“Concentric” stress isometry:

Even without displacement, the exercise goes in the direction of a reconciliation of the insertions (example: thrust against a fixed element).

This type of exercise makes it possible to develop a maximum isometric muscular tension in safety, the resistance being subjected to the voluntary force of the subject.

This type of situation can be considered as a tendinous stretch (stretching of the myotendinous junction into active internal tension).

“Eccentric” Isometry:

The aim is to maintain an articular position by resisting muscular elongation. This type of situation can be considered as a preliminary form of eccentric exercises (force of subject subjected to external resistance). This type of situation can be considered as myotendinous stretching (stretching of the tenoperostasis junction into active internal tension).

Analysis of the voltage / length curve reveals a maximum total (active and passive) voltage for most muscles at the maximum length and a maximum active stroke voltage.

These two observations make it possible to better measure the constraints.

Assessment of the isometric mode:


– It can be implemented easily with simple means.

The increase of the force is mainly in the worked angular position, which makes it possible to optimize the qualities of a subject for a preferential segmental position in an APS.

– It can be programmed according to the load and / or the holding time.

– It does not cause articular friction.

– It increases the muscular stiffness.

– It develops a superior force (10%) at the maximum concentric force.

– It allows a massive recruitment of UM whose observed muscle tremor would be the sign.

– It makes it possible to transform the concept of additional charge into an induced internal tension concept, thus minimizing the traumatic risks by reducing the quantitative factor (of the load and / or the number of repetitions).Principle: to precede any anisometric work by an isometric stress to reduce the quantitative aspect by giving the static sequence a pre-recruitment role of UM.

Whether reducing the number of repetitions and / or loading, this generic methodological principle is widely used today by modern methods of muscle strengthening, whatever the contractile mode envisaged. It allows by a pre-recruitment of UM and a pretension, to minimize the dynamic constraints, to preserve the goal of creation of maximum internal tension without which there is no expectation of transformation of the muscular response; finally, it protects the subject and allows the younger ones access to a muscular reinforcement without risk.


– Although interesting in fixation and segmental stabilization tasks, it can not be sufficient on its own, not reflecting the richness and complexity of dynamic functional muscular activity of the APS. It does not therefore constitute an end, but probably a stage.

– It increases the force only in the muscular length worked.

– By static definition, it is unfavorable for inter- and intramuscular coordination.

– By abusive use, it decreases the intramuscular vasculature.

– It is not favorable to the rate of contraction (except in concentric statodynamics).

– It is favorable to hypertrophy (which can be of course an advantage in the case of amyotrophy).

Interactions of the parameters of the muscular force with the physical and sporting activities:

The relationship between the speed of execution of a gesture, the expressed force and the duration of the expression must be thought through in the specific context of the APS, so that their analysis leads to more coherent content, thus better meeting the needs of the athletes.


All athletes seek to develop their speed of execution; if it is admitted that force and velocity according to certain contractile modes have inversely proportional expressions, this observation has too often led the man of the field to oppose these two concepts. On the contrary, it seems to us, in the light of the arguments already put forward, that for a large part speed depends on force.

In concentric mode:

An increase in the maximum force allows either to develop a determined force at an increased speed or to produce a greater contractile tension for a given muscular shortening velocity. In both cases, there is an increase in the power P.

While it is true that the relationship differs according to the loads used in training (the use of light loads mainly increasing the speed for light resistances and vice versa), it should increase the training contrasts in order to touch all areas of power; the expertise of a pongist is not exclusively in his (light) racket, but in the speed of mobilization of an important load (his body).

In eccentric mode:

The maximum dynamic force is greater than the maximum concentric and isometric forces. However, it should be noted that the measurement is made on the value of the resistive load that the muscle must slow down and that this does not really reflect the potential of muscular force developed since there is braking, therefore negative work: more the load is high and the higher the speed acquired in the braking situation.

The increase in maximum force allows better control of the braking of a given load or of resisting at the same speed for a higher load. Concerning the relation to the sports field, our analyzes of the eccentric and plyometric modes are sufficient to demonstrate the impossibility of improving the speed of execution without development of the force in these two contractile modes.


These relationships refer to the concept of endurance. Traditionally, it is conceived as the capacity to maintain an effort of submaximum intensity as long as possible: long stroke on the energy and great number of repetitions concerning the muscular reinforcement. In fact, PSAs offer two main types of solicitations:

– or it is a matter of maintaining the highest possible speed over an uninterrupted period and in this case it involves few sports practices; at worst, it is to maintain for a very long time a submaximal speed; at best, it is speed endurance when the action time is relatively short;

– or it is a question of repeating often and for a long time (therefore intermittently) a muscular explosiveness and a maximum speed, and in this case a large number of APS are concerned.

Therefore, and in order to respond to these relationships, the training methods must take into account the nature, quantity and mode of expression of that force or velocity specific to motor activities. Thus, for most APS, being enduring means being able to repeat often and for a long time maximum intensities, and only a qualitative, intermittent and contrasted attitude can answer the logic of these activities.

Methods of development:


The methodological principles proposed relate primarily to the sporting subject but also to all the subjects, whether they are little or not sporting; in this case, the requirements and intensities are corrected without the proposed logic being modified.

The central objective of muscle building in PSAs is to act on the relationships between force and velocity, thus obtaining an effect on maximum force, maximum power, and explosive force.

Planning for the development of a dominant quality depends on the time available, the initial level of the subject and is built in a succession of work cycles characterized by:

– their duration (3 intense weeks and 1 week of lesser solicitation);

– a priority type of development;

– a number of weekly sessions;

– an optimal duration of the sessions.

Each session content specifies:

– a number of workshops (corresponding to priority and secondary muscular groups);

– a number of series;

A number of repetitions in the series;

– a recovery time between each series.

A series of work specifies:

– the contractile mode (s) used (single or alternating in the series);

– the resistance used: percentage of the maximum resistance, or without load, using only the weight of the body;

– the optimum number of repetitions or solicitations.

From annual planning emerge three main moments:

– a cycle of training resumption;

– six to eight cycles of development and specific force orientation;

– a precompetitive cycle.

This applies to a single competition or goal period. In case of double objective (winter, summer), a double periodization is carried out over the same total duration. For PSAs with regular year-round competitions, muscle building should not be ruled out on the grounds that some of its effects could have a negative impact on the “form” of athletes. It seems that the attitude to adopt must be that of a continuous “homeopathic” dosage of solicitation, maintaining the intensity but decreasing the amount of work.


Progressivity principle:

If the search for maximum voltages is necessary in order to cause the expected mismatches, one must be attentive to the level and age of the subjects, and to set up situations that are certainly constraining but progressive and measured in certain contractile modes (eccentric and plyometric). The introduction of isometry prior to any series of work makes it possible, for the beginner as for the expert, to reduce the stresses of the additional loads while maintaining a high muscular tension.

Principle of quality:

Producing and being able to repeat the gestural quality is the characteristic of an APS. The same is true in muscle strengthening where the intensity of the stresses and the total mental implication of the subjects justify a limited number of repetitions per series.

Contextualization Principle:

Speed ​​of execution and muscle reactivity are fundamental physical qualities for PSAs and are present at every stage of development in each series of work. This is a necessary principle on the one hand to counteract certain slow situations, but also because it is illusory to think that they will develop later in planning. A slight dynamic and / or reactive work is carried out at any time, becoming preponderant as the subject is constructed.

Principle of alternation:

Alternating loads and / or voltages:

The alternation of mobilization of heavy and light loads inside a series preserves the inter- and intramuscular coordination for gestures requiring a high speed of execution while respecting the modalities of recruitment of UM.This contrast results in the same effects in terms of induced voltages (isometric introduction and reduced charges).


(2 ‘90%) + (6  40%) + (2 ‘90%) +

Or (2 ‘90%) + (6  40%) + (2 ‘90%) +

· Or series = (iso 6 seconds; 60%) + (6 ‘60%) + (6  without load).

Alternating regimes:

A number of studies have demonstrated the greater effectiveness of “mixed” series rather than the single use of a diet.Within a cycle, in a series, a regime is dominant in the search for a major expected effect and associated with other modes to minimize its own disadvantages, to maintain or anticipate effects derived from the advantages known from other regimes .

Alternation in the year:

From the knowledge of recovery times and overcompensation for each contractile mode, it becomes possible to define a logical order of sequence of these regimes and thus to plan the training.

Recovery time:

Each regime imposes a physiological restoration delay that depends on the level of training, the intensity and the workload, and the nature of the mechanisms involved. To create the expected mismatches, a subject does not wait a total recovery to chain his sessions.

Overcompensation period:

At the end of each cycle begins a process of overcompensation, based more on theoretical reasoning and field observation than on actual scientific experiments. This overcompensation represents the period after which the functional capacities of the subject have not only returned to their initial level (compensation) but continue to progress beyond this level.

Without maintenance of the qualities acquired, a gradual return to the starting level occurs. Thus, the more destructive the contractile mode, the longer the time for compensation and overcompensation, and of course the more the system is used massively away from a competitive objective. It is also possible to hypothesize that this system will be more effective a posteriori than it will have resulted at the moment in a significant loss of functional resources.

Thus, planning involves taking advantage of the delayed effects of all schemes by aggregating them for a specific purpose.



– Increased diameter and number of myofibrils; this concerns all fibers but especially fibers IIB (the reverse is also observed in amyotrophy).

– Thickening of the connective tissue by increasing the mass and density of the collagen.

– Increased muscle vascularization.

– Hyperplasia still controversial.

Development methodology:

– Use of the most favorable regimens for the taking of muscular volume: concentric and incidentally isometry.

– Large amount of work: ten sets of ten repetitions, the eleventh repetition being impossible to realize.

– Metabolic exhaustion of the muscle: put the muscle in difficulty of refueling by granting him only a maximum of two minutes of recovery between series.

Thus, using 70% of the RM in the first series, there is a decrease in the load for each series: to “harden” the work, it is desirable to precede or follow each series by repetitions of different regimes.


The concept of muscular hypertrophy is very often and directly associated with musculation: criticized by some, sought by others, a certain number of precisions are necessary.

If mathematically the strength of a fiber is proportional to its volume, in many cases the muscular force is more important than the increase in the area of ​​normal muscular section suggests.

The prime factor of the PTO is essentially “neurogenic” before being “myogenic”. This is the observation made by the masseur-kinesitherapist by seeing an increase in the strength of his patients without having filled their amyotrophy.

It is also the increase in the strength of the muscle group contralateral to that carried out unilaterally (in voluntary reinforcement or under EMS).

The athlete does not try to systematically take muscular volume, but rather to increase his relative strength (absolute force / body weight).

Thus, and provided that the volume of training is “reasonable”, the increase in strength pleads first and more in favor of the nervous factors and at least of a structural factor, myotendinous stiffness. Moreover, in terms of terrain, hypertrophy is always easier to obtain than any other quality of explosiveness or speed.


For reasons of writing, the regimes are compartmentalized, which is far from representing the reality of the methods used today based on the alternation of tensions and regimes.

The three types, maximum force, maximum power and explosive force, represent the totality of the needs of the various physical and sporting practices.

Maximum strength:

This effect is specific to the rate of contraction; in this sense, these processes act more on the absolute force than on the speed (even if the fibers IIB are recruited).

On the other hand, if the force peak is improved, there is little effect on the build-up phase (Schidbleicher 1985); on the other hand, the effects are more significant on nerve control.

Maximum power:

The forms of work carried out at a maximum speed with respect to the load have a non-negligible influence on the recruitment of fast fibers.

The major disadvantage is in quantitative terms: indeed, these forms predispose to muscle mass intake.

Explosive force:

The effects of these processes result from the combination of three factors:

– mechanical stiffness of the myotendinous system;

– massive recruitment of UM from the beginning of the movement;

– types of fibers recruited.

This ability to mobilize the greatest possible force in the shortest time corresponds to the expectations of the APS in the creation of movement (starting force), and the fight against braking and damping.

These different methods require working in the absence of fatigue, with a maximum concentration, using loads that are certainly slight but also important in order to combat the braking action of the antagonists. It is not speed that is important but its intention.

The interest of biologists in the strength and effects of training through muscle building has led practitioners to develop effective modern content. These methodologies not only make it possible to better target an objective, to better serve PSAs in their logic and diversity, but also and perhaps above all to transform the image of bodybuilding by making it safer and useful for the individual.