We're continuing the chase for hypertrophy and improved body composition to end our summer's on a high note. August's strength block will be the last accumulation block of Q3 meaning we'll be ramping up our training intensity in September in preparation for Q3 KPI Testing.
Let's do a quick review on the following training terms: Accumulation block, Time Under Tension and the Size Principle.
What does Accumulation mean and what is the goal of an accumulation training block?
Accumulation is just getting as much volume as we can. The difference from intensification is we’re deliberately trying to work body composition, such as improving our fat-mass to muscle-mass ratio, to get more muscle. It’s okay to say that we want to look better, as well as perform better. This accumulation block will build muscle mass and set a foundation for the heavier lifts to come.
This accumulation phase will transition nicely into our later intensification phase where we’re going to be in better condition to handle higher weights more frequently. We will also have greater tensile strength of our joints and ligaments to handle these higher intensities and these heavier loads. We’re going to push through a threshold that we potentially didn’t have before, especially when we’re doing multiple sets of intensities above 80% when your legs are feeling a little tired.
There are a couple of central themes behind Accumulation Blocks: Hypertrophy, Improving Body Composition and Muscular Endurance. August's accumulation blocks focus is Hypertrophy.
TRAINING PRINCIPLE: TIME UNDER TENSION (TUT)
When it comes to building muscle, there are a lot of factors that come into play. You have the basics: rep ranges, total sets, rest periods, technique, and exercise selection. However, there is one variable that often gets neglected, if not forgotten altogether. The amount of time you actually spend lifting the weights per repetition. The tempo of your repetition.
Time Under Tension (TUT) refers to the time that a muscle is under load or under strain during a set of a particular exercise.
The graph below depicts how variable times under tension require different energy system utilization.
TRAINING PRINCIPLE: THE SIZE PRINCIPLE
The Size Principle states as duration and load increases you recruit more and larger motor units to meet this increasing demand. Muscle fibers are connected to motor units and these motor units are selectively activated depending on the task. As a task becomes more demanding, more motor units are recruited and subsequently more muscle fibers.
This was the key reason why July's strength block 6/12/25 was selected prior to this month's block. The more you train, the faster you can access higher threshold motor units. This means more experienced lifters are more efficient each session. Due to their nervous systems recruiting more effectively and adapting appropriately.
BRINGING IT TOGETHER: THE 6/12 METHOD
The 6/12 method paired with time under tension radically impacts the nervous system with differential loads. The differential loading refers to alternating between heavier sets and lighter sets with more repetitions. This has a huge effect, sudden increases in intensity (heavier loads) and volume (more repetitions) lead to drastic responses from the nervous system.
As we all have seen from July's block 6/12/25, increased volume leads to fatigue. By depleting muscle glycogen and increasing muscle acidity. With increased fatigue, the nervous system begins to recruit more muscle fibers to meet the demands of a given task.
Increased intensities require higher-threshold muscle fibers, such as Type IIx and Type IIb. These "faster-twitch fibers" are capable of more force production aka power. And are needed to handle heavier loads.
This is the beauty of the 6/12 method: By alternating between heaver and longer sets, your nervous system becomes more efficient by recruiting more muscle fibers and higher threshold fibers. This will allow us to handle more stress and intensity each week leading into next month's Q3 KPI testing.