Antagonist: Training method that will save time
It is well known that high load training help to maximise training results. Training with high resistance also accelerates physiological effects such as the secretion of growth hormones. These in turn increase the process of building muscle fibers and lead to improved function of the nervous system, which allows an increase in the recruitment capacity of the muscle unit.
However, the main disadvantage of training against high resistance is the long time it requires, this is because of the basic principle that states that the greater the total load exerted on the muscles during training, the greater the increase in muscle mass will occur.
To put more strain on the muscle and prevent a situation where the muscles are "tired", a long recovery time of about 3-2 minutes between each set is needed. If the training involves a large number of exercises, it may take a long time.
An excellent solution for anyone who wants to save time in training is a training method called agonist/antagonist. The antagonist method was first published in the early 2000s and in recent years has received widespread scientific support.
Antagonist based on the principle that each joint in the body moves by two main muscles, each of which performs the opposite action to it. For example: in the elbow, while performing a bending movement, the one that contracts and performs the action is the biceps anterior muscle known as an agonist, while the posterior triceps muscle performs the reverse alignment action (elbow raid) and is called an antagonist.
While performing an isolated movement in each joint in the body the nervous system controls the action of the muscles, so that when the agonist muscle contracts, the antagonist's muscle is in complete relaxation to allow the movement to take place.
The interactions between the muscles are complex and work even while performing more complex movements, and the one that regulates their contraction is the nervous system. It now turns out that strength training can be streamlined by utilizing these connections.
A study published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research examined the effect of the method on muscle fatigue while performing two popular exercises in the gym.
One group of trainees performed a traditional workout that included an exercise for the chest muscles (agonist) in 3 sets with 2 minutes of rest between sets, followed by a rowing exercise (antagonist) for the shoulder muscles in the same format of sets and rest.
In contrast, another group performed the chest exercise and immediately followed the rowing exercise without rest, which resulted in a saving of about 6 minutes in performing both exercises.
Despite the shortening of the rest time, the second group that performed the agonist/antagonist training was able to perform muscle work about 20% more than the group that performed the traditional training. This is because the muscles were less tired in performing the last repetitions and therefore it was possible to increase the load and thereby improve the quality of the training.
stimulate the nervous system
Over the years several studies have been conducted which have examined how the method brings the muscles to a greater contraction in a shorter rest period. The studies included an examination of the hormonal response to training and an examination of the metabolic products in the muscles themselves. All these showed that the method does not affect the metabolism of the muscle at the local level, but only the action of the nervous system.
a situation is created in which increased contraction of one muscle leads to an increase in the ability of the opposite muscle to contract. A suitable recovery time between sets must also be taken into account, which is also examined and is found to be optimal when it stands at 2 minutes.
It is important to note that this method is especially effective for trainees who perform high-resistance resistance training. In addition, the method is mainly suitable for performing isolated exercises on the exercise machines and not for functional exercises such as squats or push-ups, which activate the agonist and the antagonist at the same time.
One example of an exercise is to arrange the practice sequence in pairs according to their role: muscle agonist followed by an antagonist. One example, knee sprains to the anterior thigh muscle, followed by knee bends to the posterior thigh muscle.
Perform 10 repetitions of high-resistance knee flexion on the exercise machine, and at the end of the exercise, move as fast as possible to perform 10 repetitions of high-resistance knee flexion. After performing the pair of exercises, rest for about 2 minutes, and then perform another set - up to 3 sets.