Total tension complex

Simply strong

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In the total tension complex I believe it states the purpose is hypertrophy. It says to do a front squat pyramid with a pair of bells you can press 6-8 times.

I’m somewhat sceptical that this will build lots of lower body muscle. Would it not be more effective for lower body hypertrophy to perform the complex with a pair of bells you can push press or jerk for 6-8 reps?
 

Kettlebelephant

> 1k Posts
Everyone who's completed it had great overall results, no need to change anything.
Besides, the difference for almost anybody would at most be one bell size (4Kg jump)...
Do you really think doing it with a pair of 28s will do that much more than doing it with a pair of 24s?
 
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Simply strong

Double-Digit Post Count
That’s a fair point. I just find it surprising I guess given the legs are so much stronger.

Do people find that they can pyramid up to a higher number of squats compared to presses?
 

Kettlebelephant

> 1k Posts
As far as I know most people get 2-5 more pyramid "steps" with the squats.
Just try TTC, you'll see that you don't want to add more load. Keep in mind that on "squat days" you'll do ~100reps. That's a lot of volume, a lot of time under tension and a strong stimulus for the legs even though you're not moving much weight (compared to e.g. barbell squat variations).
 

Shadow

Double-Digit Post Count
Certified Instructor
That’s a fair point. I just find it surprising I guess given the legs are so much stronger.

Do people find that they can pyramid up to a higher number of squats compared to presses?
I have done The Total Tension Complex with pair of 24kgs for six weeks. I managed to get 7 presses and 10 squats. So I would say most of the people manage to do more reps in squats than in press. The hard part of the program, at least for myself, was climbing the ladder down.
 

justin peter lynch

Double-Digit Post Count
That’s a fair point. I just find it surprising I guess given the legs are so much stronger.

Do people find that they can pyramid up to a higher number of squats compared to presses?
That is true but remember you should be pressing with your entire body, legs included..

that added stress increases time under tension for your legs.. which is one reason pressing is before legs, other way around your legs would be too tired to press and your press form would suffer possibly leading to injury..
 
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Steve W.

> 1k Posts
You can use a different weights for squat day and press day, as long as you can still get your one press rep with the squat weight.
 

Simply strong

Double-Digit Post Count
How much time should it take you to pyramid up to 10 reps and back down?

Is there value to putting a time limit on it before allowing yourself to move up in weight? Like S&S has the 100 swings in 5 min I mean.
 

Steve W.

> 1k Posts
How much time should it take you to pyramid up to 10 reps and back down?
From the article:
The rest periods between sets are up to you. Short, long, or anything in between—you will get stronger no matter what, although for different reasons.
The number of reps at the top of the pyramid is not fixed, so you won' t necessarily ever do exactly 10. In my experience, once you get up in the 9-12 range the sessions become a slog. So you want to choose a weight such that you only end up in that range in the third/final phase.

Is there value to putting a time limit on it before allowing yourself to move up in weight?
It's a six week program using the same weight throughout (or weights if you use different weights for the press and squat days). So you don't move up in weight during the program.

The guideline for the weight selection is:
a pair of kettlebells you can strictly press 6-8 times after one clean
If you want to repeat the program, the same guideline would apply. If you have a big discrepancy between the weights you can press and squat for those reps, it may make sense to use different weights for squat day and press day.
 

kennycro@@aol.com

> 1k Posts
Has anyone experimented with the different rest periods? What was the difference you noticed?
Longer Interset Rest Periods Enhance Muscle Strength and Hypertrophy in Resistance-Trained Men

Dr Brad Schoenfield's is one of the Hypertrophy Gurus.

This study determined...

"...That longer rest periods promote greater increases in muscle strength and hypertrophy ...

So, you can increase muscle mass with longer rest periods between sets.

However, in other research and anecdotal data (based on the Bodybuilding Protocol) have demonstrated that shorter rest periods are more effective for increasing muscle mass.

The downside is that when implementing this method, Power and Maximum Strength drop through the floor like a rock.

The Three Hypertrophy Mechanisms

In another piece of research, Shoenfield determined optimally increasing muscle occurs when these three mechanism are employed.

1) Mechanical Tension

Maximum Strength Training with heavy loads and long rest periods.

2) Muscle Damage

This is produce by. at time, pushing an exercise to failure or close to it.

It also occurs when a full range loaded movement is performed; like Full Squats or Dumbbell Bench Presses. Both place the muscles in a loaded stretch in the bottom part of the movement.

3) Metabolic Stress

This is another term for "The Pump", which is the primary mechanism for hypertrophy.

When moderate to high repetitions are performed, there is an increase in lactate, which produces an anabolic effect.

As Arnold said, "You don't grow without the burn".

"The Pump"

When moderate to high repetitions are performed, the heart pumps blood to the muscles (Arterial Blood Flow).

However, the muscle contraction restricts blood back to the heart (Venous Blood Flow).

The blood is trapped in the muscle, literally balloon it up.

Short Rest Periods

Performing short rest periods of 30 to 60 seconds keep most of the blood trapped in the muscles, increasing lactate.

Thus, with each set, the muscle swells in size.

It is similar to blowing up a balloon. With each breath you blow into the balloon, the larger it get.

Occlusion Training

The underlying mechanism of why Occlusion Training works for increasing muscle mass is that it restrict venous blood flow to a greater degree than the traditional moderate to high repetition protocol. Talk about a burn.

Summary

Schoenfield's research is contradictory, which makes it confusing.

However, what we know is that one of the primary factors for increasing muscle mass is by increasing Lactate.

Based on the anecdotal data of bodybuilders over decades and research on how lactate triggers an anabolic response, it appears that increasing muscle mass is optimized when rest periods between set are short; 30 to 60 seconds between sets.

The downside is that muscle mass is increased at the expense of Power and Maximum Strength.

Longer Rest period increase muscle mass but appear to be somewhat less effective than short rest periods.

The same is true for Hypertrophy Cluster Set Training, that I am a proponent of.

However, the Longer Rest Periods and Cluster Sets come in a close second; increasing muscle mass as well as maintaining and/or increasing Power and Maximum Strength.

Practical Experience

One of the best method of learning is being your own lab rat.
 
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Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Senior Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
@Simply strong, I recommend a simple approach - do the program as written, once or maybe twice, then go about tweaking it, e.g., adding more squats, and see what you think - and let us know when you do.

-S-
 

BrianCF

More than 300 posts
I hate it when total tension threads pop up. They make me want to stay from s&s.
Avoid Presses, Rows and Squats. Is this a strong forum? Run it for 6 weeks, do a few getups on off days as a tonic. You really think you're going to lose anything? Especially doing a 5 minute snatch test. Don't be so rigid.
 
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