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MAX PYRAMID SUMMARIZED Posted by John Little under Uncategorized

Fred Fornicola was nice (and diligent) enough to go through the massive amount of
posts from last week�s
blog and excise certain of my (and others) suggestions in an attempt to itemize the
method�s key points
(which I�m posting below). I�m absolutely stunned by the volume of positive
response this method has
received and hopefully everybody�s interest will result in all of our ability to
advance exercise by retaining
the stimulus component while taking steps to further reduce force and wear and tear
issues (and proper
strength training as Dr. McGuff and I have explained thoroughly in BBS is already a
huge leap in this
direction) even further. I would also suggest that those interested read the
article I posted on the method
for (hopefully) additional clarification: http://www.bodybyscience.net/home.html/?
� John Little


The Max Pyramid is simply a training option. I like it because I think that if one
can reduce the forces
coming back to the body and the wear and tear, while still retaining the productive
elements of the stimulus
then it�s a step in the right direction. It also requires virtually a �zero�
learning curve as you don�t have to
focus on slowing down on the turnaround points and moving at a specific cadence.
Having said this, it�s also
a new protocol as against the �Big 5? that has been employed very successfully for
decades. I don�t think
the stimulus component is necessarily any better with Max Pyramid than with the
protocol we recommend in
BBS, so if it�s more practical to stick to a �Big 5? (or a �Big 3? performed as we
recommend in BBS), then
stick with that. The forces are also very low in the BBS �Big 5? workout and it has
a much longer (and
better established) track record. Don�t worry about switching over, particularly if
it will require seeking out a
special trainer. Just get to the gym, work hard, don�t overtrain, get adequate rest
and recovery and you�ll be
doing fine!


The goal should be to obtain a sequential recruitment and exhaustion of fibers,
while limiting the forces
coming back to the body and the wear and tear that attends dynamic (read: motion)
attempts at inroading.
Training in the position of Max Moment Arm will recruit all fiber types throughout
all of a muscle, and, thus,
should not negatively impact your full-range strength (it may be perceived that way
to some degree, owing
to the greater strength expressed in the position of optimal leverage versus the
lesser demonstrable
strength expressed in the position of a leveraged disadvantage � but in either
position it is the muscles that
are moving the limb, and the fibers within the muscle are fully addressed and
stimulated to become
stronger with the MP protocol. Remember that motor units distribute their fibers
homogeneously throughout
the length of a muscle. So as you start to recruit high threshold motor units,
you�re doing so
homogeneously throughout the whole distribution of the muscle. As a result, the
Type S and the Type G
responses that Arthur Jones wrote about years ago are probably more of a
neurological event. And, if you�re
truly worried about this, you can always salt in a full range workout as you feel
the need (and probably
should do so). Consequently, if you�ve spent some time training your muscles
through a regular range of

range and your trainer or training partner makes them quickly for you. A good
workout to try the MP on would be: 1. I wouldn�t attempt to perform all of these
movements in one workout but there is room for individual choice and tolerance
here. but intermediates and advanced would probably be better served with a Big 2.)
Chest Press or Overhead Press 3. The �lock position� refers to the position in a
pressing exercise where your limbs are locked straight. so feel free to experiment.
MP can also be used for bodyweight training. HOW MUCH WEIGHT TO START WITH? I would
start with a load about 30 or 40 percent lighter than what you would normally rep
with on a SS protocol and then work up to your normal work weight (or slightly
higher depending upon whether or not you can sustain that load for 20-seconds). HOW
MANY EXERCISES? I�ve found that 2 or 3 movements (a Big 3) is plenty for anyone who
has been training for a while. I would recommend as minor a weight increase as your
machine will allow (which is typically 10-lbs) as this keeps the forces down and as
long as you move immediately to the next weight � and the weight employed isn�t so
light as to make it a bounce back between the slow twitch and intermediate twitch
fibers for several sets WHAT KIND OF EQUIPMENT? The protocol will also work well
with selectorized as well as plate-loading machines. in other words. Maximum Moment
Arm is the when the distance between the axis and the resistance is maximal or.)
Pulldown or Seated Row Again. WHAT IS MOMENT ARM EXERCISE? In essence. thus muscle
fiber involvement is reduced to some degree (depending upon the load employed and
the degree of involvement of the bones for support). ANGLES . where your leverage
is the worst (resulting in your muscles have to work harder by recruiting fibers
more aggressively to sustain or generate a contraction).) Leg Press 2. then you
will produce a strength increase throughout the entire muscle. Having a stack of
smaller plates at the ready by the machine/s you will be using will help this
process along nicely.motion rep modality and then go to a Max Contraction Training
protocol (as we suggest in Chapter 7 of Body By Science). such as when your legs
are fully extended in a Leg Press or your arms are fully extended in an overhead
press. I think a beginner should use a Big 3 (and may even be able to tolerate a
Big 4). Just make sure that your weight increases are in the 5-10-lb. At this point
your leverage is optimal and the Moment Arm is minimal.

Yes. The main crux of what John offers is quite simple: reduce wear-and-tear on the
body while imposing a strong enough stimulus to improve the muscular and
cardiovascular systems. SPIN OFFS OF MP OPTION#1 In keeping in line of what John
has described as the back bone for Max Pyramid. maybe these suggestions may help
some of you. Lower the weight after your 20-second hold. Thus.The hold point is not
�potentially� the weakest point in the ROM. NOTE: Each set (on the return portion
of the protocol) probably will NOT be able to be sustained for 20-seconds � and
that�s okay. At this point. I have taken the liberty of expanding his core concept
a bit based on professional and personal needs and as such. Remember to start out
with a load that is not threatening to you. then contract your muscles until the
weight is approximately one-inch off the weight stack and hold for 20-seconds.
increase the resistance by 10 or 20 pounds (whichever increment that particular
weight stack allows for). The 20-second hold was chosen (over say a 5-second or
10second) is because it keeps the sequential recruitment process going more
aggressively in a manner that will result in lighter weights being employed. thus
reducing the forces coming back to the body. contract against the resistance for
another 20-seconds and so on until you reach a load that you either cannot move
from the stack or that you cannot sustain a contraction against for the requisite
20-seconds. I believe I cover the above two points to some degree in the essay I
wrote about this protocol (the part about having 200 units of force pushing out
against 200 pounds of resistance. a large load isn�t necessary to recruit all
available muscle fibers if you use leverage to your (dis) advantage.e.. you�re
aware you�re contracting against a resistance but it�s not demanding � and then
proceed from there. You are inroading to a much greater degree if. you will be
failing in the muscle�s weakest point in the ROM but this doesn�t mean that the
fiber recruitment isn�t maximal. it IS the weakest point in the ROM owing to the
disadvantageous leverage. you complete a leg press and are unable to move 60 lbs
than if you complete a leg press and are unable to move 150 lbs. If your leg press
starts you in a position where your lower leg is at a 90-degree angle to your upper
leg. Taking that in to . however. i. one plate at a time.). the inroad from
performing a sequential recruitment of fibers in your position of Max Moment Arm
(where strength is not expressed greatly but that is the most difficult) is
actually greater. A muscle can be loaded in different points (with loads that
correspond to the strength of the lever system) of the ROM and a sequential
recruitment will still take place until all available fibers have been recruited.
for the sake of illustration. reverse direction and come back up the stack.�
MEASURING PROGRESS Progression is achieved via load and time. until you reach a
load that you can again contract against for 20-seconds or you return to your
starting weight (whichever comes first). Newton�s 2nd Law. etc. GOING THROUGH A SET
The big thing to remember is the angle of your limbs during the exercise.

Do this over 4-5 sets until you are at the weakest leverage position (which is the
original position John described in his article). Like the original concept of MP.
immediately push the weight back out but this time shorten the range by a couple of
inches. lower the weight all the way down and now go out again but this time just a
few more inches less for 20 seconds.not an easy way to use the MP protocol that
you�re dying to try�so I offer you this approach: Take a light enough resistance
and push the foot plate out to almost a lock position. Again. It would work this
way. The following approach works well for: -solo training -fixed resistance -plate
loaded equipment -selectorized equipment that offer large jumps in weight
First.consideration. I slapped a magnet on the back and I can put it on any machine
I use that is metal so I don�t need to count. so you are on the Nautilus Leverage
Leg Press and you train alone�. you will need to experiment on finding that right
resistance for each exercise movement so there is no way to determine where to
start other than trying and finding where to make your tweaks. This is a non-
intrusive warm-up. If you picked your weight correctly. 2. Ok. you will have one
helluva time holding that position for 20 seconds. In this post. work your way back
up the pyramid so lower the weight and go out just a few inches past that bottom
spot and hold for 20. OPTION #2 Another way (which I may have mentioned in the
essay on this protocol) is one that we used prior to MP. I offered some ideas on
how to implement MP using bodyweight only exercises in an earlier post. for
instance. You chose a weight that is a little lighter than what you might do
dynamically in a typical BBS set. This is putting your legs/hips in their strongest
leverage position.5 to 3 minutes) your involved muscles will fatigue to the point
where the load begins to overtake you and the weight returns to the stack. which is
simply to move your limbs into the position of Maximum Moment Arm and then sustain
THIS contraction for your TUL. Do this until you are back at your original position
and what seemed ridiculously light will be one nasty final set. Start the clock.
Hold for 20 seconds and come back all the way down. Now. . Press the weight slowly
into the position of Maximum Moment Arm. I would recommend buying a digital clock
large enough to see the display. with a Leg Press: 1. 3. I�d like to offer an off-
shoot of how MP was originally described. 1. I bought one on eBay (Trisonic) for
under 5 bucks and that included shipping. Over time (say. 4.
But I noticed that my TULs were lower than they were the last time I did a Big 5
workout two weeks ago. � A NEW PROTOCOL | TRAINING THE LOWER BACK � 110 Responses
to � MAX PYRAMID SUMMARIZED � 1. Chris K says: April 26. I�m still exploring and
experimenting. 2010 at 4:43 pm Fred. I did an MP Option 1 last week. Stop the clock
and record your weight and TUL. That�s what got me wondering if I�m overtraining or
not resting for long enough.5. The workout today was a Big 5 as described in BBS. .
I noticed today that my TULs were lower (even with lower weight in some cases) than
they were the last time I did a Big 5 workout. Chris K says: April 26. my post may
have not been clear. This also reduces force and wear and tear while still
maintaining the appropriate stimulus. Sorry. It�s a little more tedious and harder
to endure. Sorry I wasn�t clear in my last post. but it is effective. and I only
did three exercises. with dynamic super-slow reps. and thought I would mix it up
and try a Big 5 this week. 2. The workout last week was an MP with Option 1. My
TULs for that were in the 4:00 min range. Today was a Big 5 workout as described in
BBS. I decided to go back to a Big 5 dynamic workout today because I�m still
exploring and experimenting. 2010 at 4:35 pm Fred. which was two weeks ago.

That�s why I wondered if I might be overtraining. with palms facing me and hands
spread about shoulder width. in that the starting position of the bar is quite a
bit in front of the body. 2010 at 9:39 am Fred or anyone else! I really appreciate
your help. 2010 at 4:45 pm Oops! I had some problems with the first post and it
seemed like it didn�t go through.) and proceed from there. This seems like a very
different motion. 5. longer rest. I noticed that the pull down machine in the Big 5
videos on YouTube is quite different. as I do with the machine I use. or not
allowing enough days off between training sessions. Means a lot to me as I�ve been
unable to find a local trainer familiar with these protocols.ly/chqgLr I use the
grip explained in BBS. Doug was pulling the weight at maybe a 70% angle from in
front of his body. then consider the options that are availble (reduce volume. 3.
change TUL�s. This means that instead of pulling the weight down from directly
overhead. Chris K says: April 28. Fred Fornicola says: April 27. Looks like they
both made it. One thing I forgot to mention is that the one exercise that has not
felt right at all is the lat pull down. Chris K says: April 26. etc. 2010 at 1:02
am I wouldn�t make adjustments just yet as having one off day is not a sign of bad
things to come (conversly having a good day doesn�t mean you should jack your
weights up right away) so give it another workout or two and if progress has halted
or refgess. At my gym we have this type: http://bit. so I wrote another one. . 4.

Previously you had talked about the position of full contraction being the only
point where it is possible to recruit the greatest amount of fibers (if the
resistance is high enough also) for a given muscle. I think MP would represent the
(at least my) current knowledge on
. Any ideas? 6. I have followed your writings regarding muscle building for a long
time.I�m feeling a lot of strain in my forearms the way I�m doing it. lats) are
fully exerted.aspx Anyway. John Little says: May 4. A recent study by McMaster
University (an institution that is truly breaking new ground in exercise science.
MPS refers to the growth and repair rate of muscle (or size) and the researchers
wanted to see how this was influenced by the amount of weight (or load) that one
used in one�s training. What is the current knowledge regarding this? 7. the
conclusion of the researchers was that taking a set to momentary muscular failure
(or the effort/intensity) was of greater consequence than the actual �load�
employed in doing so (which makes it a rather nice fit for the MP protocol
actually). you may recall that they also conducted the study that we cited in BBS
that established comparable aerobic/endurance benefits of 6-minutes a week training
versus 90-minutes-a-week training) has concluded that the amount of weight employed
is not as important for muscle protein synthetic rate (MPS) as was once believed.
Anyway.lww. Donnie Hunt says: May 3. I�m not sure if I�m doing something wrong or
this is just not the right machine. 2010 at 6:46 am Hi Donnie. here�s the
conclusion of the study: . and this actually causes me to fail before the larger
muscles (biceps. Your newest recommedation for performing static contractions in
the most leverage disadvantaged range makes alot of sense.1216. You can read the
report here: http://journals. 2010 at 6:21 pm Hi John.

4. McGuff. 8. Thank you and Dr. How do I arrest this process without stopping my
workouts? My wife is wondering whether I am on the prowl for a younger woman. ex
athlete who has been doing BBS for 4 months and MP for one I have the following
observations and questions: 1.I have lifted and competed all my life but have never
been pain/injury free pushing this much weight and intensity until the past 5
months. Ed 9. With proper form is there a limit to how much weight should be
lifted? My BBS leg press is at 570 lbs and it is creeping up in the MP protocol.
John Little says: May 6. 2. oft-injured. induces a greater acute rise in mixed MPS
compared to a work-matched control. The greater acute increase in mixed MPS after
exercise at 90RM and 30FAIL is likely related to recruitment of more type II muscle
fibres not activated in 30WM. Thank you. These findings support the notion that
heavy and light training loads may elicit similar training-induced increases in
muscle hypertrophy provided exercise is performed to maximal failure. Even though I
have lost 23 lbs. Questions: 3. biking 2-3 times a week? How about bike sprints
(running is out for me)? 5. My balance-compromised by peripheral neuropathy due to
l-s issues-is nearly completely back to normal. my shirts and suits are nearing
their limits. Do I compromise the benefits by walking. 2010 at 2:57 pm . Ed M. 2010
at 11:15 am John: As a 62 y/o. I continue to build mass-lots of it. independent of
training load.CONCLUSION: These data suggest that training to maximal failure.
says: May 6.

back straight). thanks for your kind words and I�m happy that BBS (and its
attendant protocols) have proved helpful to your condition/s. you will still reap
the health/metabolic benefits from training in this fashion which will serve you
well throughout the rest of your life.� �cardio� or any of the other beliefs most
people have for engaging in them. Both strength limits and muscular ones are
genetically mediated. They are not necessary if you are training intensely enough
with your BBS workouts and will bring unnecessary force and wear and tear issues to
your body that. I wouldn�t do any of those things if you�re doing them for �health.
Keep up the great work and thanks for your post! John 10. The position I chose to
hold was with the bar just below my knee cap. depending upon your genetic
predisposition). but even mesomorphs have a limit to how much muscle they can
build. so I�m afraid I don�t really have a definitive answer to your queries. It
sounds like you�re a mesomorph. Dan says: June 17. As long as your form is solid.
so � and I can�t believe I�m saying this � don�t worry. With regard to your fourth
question. I�m sure you muscle mass gains will slow down and/or arrest soon (or
maybe not so soon. I would employ the MP protocol so that you can limit the forces
coming back at you as you grow stronger. again.. John. In any event. do you think
this exercise is suitable for MP and if so where would you suggest lifting the bar
to? . might prove VERY problematic as you get older. It sounds like a nice
�problem� to have! First. you will progress until you reach the upper limits of
your genetic potential. I think I had good form (head up. 2010 at 3:48 am I did MP
deadlift last night and it didn�t feel very safe with lots of strain at the very
bottom of my back just above the coccyx. having been injured through the years by
athletics.Hi Ed M

Static Contraction

Kettlebell swings

Kettlebell full body

Kettlebell swings