Anyone looking to gain muscle mass fast, be it for the purpose of raising their basal metabolic rate or creating a more muscular physique, should know about Max Contraction training. Max Contraction training requires only one “repetition” or, rather, contraction per exercise but it is quite possibly the most taxing weight lifting regime you will ever try. In each exercise, the muscle is brought to a fully contracted position and then held there for a maximum of 120 seconds. The workout is therefore virtually motionless and yet your muscles are noticeably hard at work. Here’s how it works:
Muscle fibers work with an all-or-nothing system, i.e. when a muscle contracts, a few muscle fibers are contracting maximally and the rest are not contracting at all. When contracting a muscle (e.g. raising your heels as high off the ground as possible to fully contract the calf muscles), more and more fibers must be engaged until the muscle reaches its fully contracted position. Holding this contraction requires even more muscle fiber recruitment as the fibers initially engaged are spent. Eventually, all of the fibers involved will be recruited and exhausted and the contraction will become impossible to hold as you reach full failure.
If you are still skeptical, think about what is going on in your muscles during a traditional lifting regime. When you perform heel raises, to use the same example as above, the heels are raised slowly from zero resistance to the maximum and back to zero resistance again. The maximally contracted position with the most muscle fiber recruitment only makes up a fraction of the total time under tension and therefore taking a muscle to total failure requires a far greater expenditure of time (for an equal or lesser result).
If you are serious about lifting and you think you can leave all your previous ideas about training at the front door then give the Max Contraction System a try. I can strongly recommend John Little, the creator of the Max Contraction System’s book “Beginning Bodybuilding” to anyone.