Review: Pete Sisco’s Train Smart Static Contraction and Power Factor Training!
Pete Sisco’s Train Smart static contraction body building routine is quite possibly the coolest, and most revolutionary weight training or body building routine that I’ve encountered in some time.
Train Smart is this mostly because it strongly challenges the core precepts I have been “pre-programmed” to believe are necessary to facilitate optimum muscle growth. You know, frequent and intense training sessions.
If you’re like me, you’ve been getting to the gym 3-5 times a week for the last 10-20 years, week in and week out, come rain, sleet, snow, ice storm, hurricane, tornado and what not.
Although over the last few years I have slowly and begrudgingly been coming to the realization that more is not necessarily better (as witnessed by many debilitating injuries) the Lifetime strength body building routine takes this concept not one, but three steps farther than you’d expect. Here’s the gist of the concept…
By his own admission Pete Sisco (a longtime pro who has edited numerous books for IronMan magazine), is a lazy so-and-so who wants to get in and out of the gym in as little time as possible while maximizing weight gain. Lucky for us, Pete also happens to be smart as a whip, with a background in mathematics. Pete realized that in order to maximize productivity, he needed to track and measure the ongoing success of continued workouts in a precise manner. In other words, he needed an empirical method to measure intensity, and thus developed…
The Power Factor (a measurement of sheer power), and Power Index (more like an endurance measurement). The Lifetime Strength body building routine comes with an Excel spreadsheet that will calculate all this stuff for you. The first few chapters of the book illustrate the importance of these two measurements, as well as showing how to use them to accurately measure the effort put into each workout to ensure consistent progress.
But even this isn’t as interesting as the focus of this program. Here’s what Pete says…
“In physics, moving a 100-pound weight 12 inches is the same amount of work as moving a 200 pounds 6 inches. Both of the above examples are also equal to moving a 400 pound weight 3 inches”.
See where this is going?
That’s right — towards Power Factor Training and Static Contraction Training — the backbone of this Lifetime strength weight lifting routine. Please note that you will perform one type of training or the other, but not both. Static Contraction Training will result in a very intense, but a very brief workout. If you happen to enjoy spending more than 10 minutes in the gym at a time, you’ll be better off with Power Factor Training…
Power Factor Training involves performing partial reps; approximately 2-4 inches of movement for 15-25 reps (in your strongest range). Depending on your experience level, you’ll do a maximum of 1, 3, or 5 sets per exercise.
Static Contraction Training: no reps here — you’ll hold the weight for a maximum of 5 seconds at the top of your rep range, but not in “lockout” position (where your bones and joints are locked, and your muscles are not brought into play).
What’s amazing is the documented results, as well as the increasing intensity and decreasing frequency of workouts. At one point, Pete’s test subjects are spending more time getting changed than performing reps, and workouts are slated for every 8 weeks or so (Pete spends a good deal of time explaining the importance of rest and recuperation. In other words, after an intense workout, you do not return to the gym again until you are sure you can workout with equal or greater intensity. If that takes 3 days, 10 days, even 8 weeks, that’s the time you take off!).
Obviously, I’ve just skimmed over the basics here, the program itself is much more detailed, there’s lots of interesting and compelling data presented (this is supposed to be an overview of the program, not a ten page analysis! :-).
Although I’ve just started messing with the program myself, I’m pretty excited about making some major progress. I tried messing around with partial reps and static holds the other night, and ended up with some pretty decent muscle soreness in muscles that normally never get sore. Hey.. that’s got to be a good sign, right?
Although my impression is that Lifetime Strength is a program best suited for a body builder who has some lifting experience under his (or her) belt, Pete wrote and constructed the Lifetime Strength body building routine for his 22 year old nephew (a beginner to weight training) who wanted great, fast results without having to read 3,000 pages of documentation. If you don’t have access to a power rack, smith machine, or a spotter (at least occasionally), you may find it a little tough to perform some of the exercise properly, and with maximum intensity.
The book itself is a nicely formatted PDF ebook, very attractive, easy to read, and very good flow to the writing. Probably one of the better written ebooks I’ve read in a long time, if the truth be known!
Best of all, Pete Sisco’s Train Smart body building routine also comes with a 48 minute audio seminar, so you can listen if you don’t like reading. I read the book first, and then listened to the audio file, and found it to be very helpful — filling in the loose ends from the book. Together, it’s a nice, comprehensive package. There’s also an online membership site, complete with calculators and so on. It’s all pretty cool, and I can’t wait to give it a try!
In my opinion, the Train Smart body building routine is best suited for lifters with at least a small amount of experience who have hit a wall or plateau, and need something completely revolutionary to take them to the next level.
Anyway you slice it, this is an intriguing and inspiring read, and well worth the money, in my opinion.