An Experiment In Fatigue Management

I like lifting heavy weights. I like the feeling of the knurling and the bar in my hands or over my shoulders, so it should come as no surprise that it’s been my life’s work up to this point. Always trying to find new ways of improving my rate of progress, and often wasting my time to gain such insight, I’ve come across something that claims to “make fatigue look retarded” and allow more weight to be lifted for more reps. It’s called M-Time and it’s a curious beast indeed.M-Time is the name of a fatigue management technique put forth by Dan Moore , a researcher who looked to find ways to mitigate the known components of fatigue in weight training which includes, but is in no way limited to,  metabolic cost of muscle contraction, substrate depletion, byproduct buildup, and occlusion. Dan attempts to mitigate this with M-Time, which is short rest period (5 to 10 seconds) in between each repetition. The idea is to totally rack the weight, count the rest, make you rep, rest, repeat. I decided to try this in my own training with the weighted chinup.

I’m 6’3″ with an even longer wingspan, so most pulling exercises work against my natural levers, placing more stress on the relatively weaker bicep which fatigued long before my lats. My training before this experiment was grounded in HIT using a rest/pause technique where I would perform reps until failure, rack the weight for 15 breaths, rep again until failure, rack and repeat for one continuous set. Total reps for the 3 mini-sets usually fall between 11 and 15 reps for this exercise. I had recently become stuck at 13 total repetitions with 25lbs around my waist and instituted the use of M-Time after a brief, episodic layoff. Yesterday, I performed 13 total repetitions with 40 lbs around my waist. It seems that what I expected would happen did: by mitigating the rate in which fatigue builds in my biceps, I’m able to use a greater load, thus creating more tension and growth. Good stuff.

The downside? I’m not convinced it works for all exercises, as application with the floor press has yielded mixed results, likely due to the “groove” that one has to get into. It’s a little difficult to quickly set your hands, pinch your shoulder blades back, and be ready to de-rack in 5 seconds time. Deadlifting application would only apply to speed work and may even increase the load that can be moved quickly. However, I’m n=1 and I suggest giving it a try, but only after you read through the why and how over at Dan’s site.

As a nice finisher to a post about heavy iron, I leave you with a Henry Rollin’s quote:

“The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.”

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