The symbol of the Phoenix represents evolution, as does PHX Strength’s framework, methodology and applied protocol for optimal muscle building, trademarked Automated Muscle. These evolved features diverge from traditional HIT philosophies, generally consisting: (1) A weight load time per set of exercises to bring the targeted musculature safely and efficiently to momentary failure in approximately 90-120 seconds; (2) A repetition speed of 10 seconds to raise the load and 10 seconds to lower the load; A ten-second push past “failure” stimulating adaptive strength; and (4) An assertion that one, 20-minute workout per week was sufficient to get strong and stay strong. The main objective during each exercise was to keep a creepily slow speed until the musculature in question “failed”. If failure occurred anywhere between 90-120 seconds, the load was increased during the next workout.
Our years of research adamantly disagree, owing to notable physically and psychologically shortcomings. First, “muscular failure” is an elusive and subjective, difficult to measure with consistency, and in cases, so taxing on nervous system that the psyche goes into fight, flight, or freeze mode. When the burning discomfort becomes too overwhelming, clients to terminate the exercise prematurely. Known as the “threshold push,” the client’s excessive straining 10-seconds on an immovable weight load took such a toll, many clients would experience “ROBAT” – acrimoniously describing the phenomenal, “Run Over by A Truck” effect we know all too well. This partly necessitated the once weekly only recommendation: the nervous system needed a week to fully recover, while the musculature itself recovered anywhere between 48 and 72 hours.
Secondly, most dogma supporting the high-intensity, slow-motion theory believed that minimize momentum eliminating injurious force and better muscle isolation. However, the excessively slow speed rendered smooth execution nigh impossible. In opposite, Automated Muscle is designed to capture control, rather than reduce momentum. Absent adequate momentum, segmented movement often recruitment ancillary muscle and negate the intended muscle isolation. Move a weight extremely slowly and bodily shaking, and later ROBAT, is near predictable.
The efficacy the traditional HIT protocols as safer, efficient, and yielding of superior return on investment, compared with most mainstream fitness practices, is irrefutable. Yes, at PHX strength, our standard of smooth movement and proper execution requires an increased speed, and when properly sequenced, also greatly reduces risk of injury, improved muscular loading, BUT notably facilitates faster recovery, requiring a second weekly workout.
In contrast, the Automated Muscle protocol includes (and differentially not limited to):
- Cluster Sets, with a cumulative set time of 90 seconds, with the occasional 48-72 second, one-set-to-failure workout to benchmark.
- A repetition speed of 3-4 seconds (not 10-12) to raise and lower the weight.
- Our proprietary application of the metronome to automatize movement speed.
- Two workouts per week, sometimes three, with two days’ recovery, not six!
Cluster Sets provide just enough rest interspersed throughout the exercise set to accumulate double the bang for buck. Typically, “muscular failure” will occur during the last set, allowing the body to accumulate more muscular stimulus, before neural fatigue. Automated Muscle does NOT employ the “threshold push” past failure. Adding the 30 second rest periods cause the desired failure to occur suddenly and predictably, offering an unprecedented level of objectivity the relieves client anxiety.
Incorporating the most cutting-edge research on Motor Learning, our “three-second” qualifier best ensures captured momentum and smooth-movement, exercise execution. A repetition’s turn-around must prove smooth and seamless to not add momentum, but maintain the momentum established. Optimized progress meanwhile begs for increased workout frequency.
“The Metronome Method” properly teaches the motor skills to pace an exercise set for smooth, uninterrupted movement. Thus, our tagline, “Pace Is the Trick.” With the client’s external focus on the metronome’s prompts, automaticity – the automation of movement – is the mastery sought. If movement is automated, then the exercising subject no longer must micro-manage the skill of keeping perfect form, thereby negated any need for auxiliary faculties. Automaticity is the bedrock objective of Automated Muscle whereby physical exhaustion, not psychological, can trump, inspiring compliance, sustainability, and reduced exercise anxiety. More than ever before, clients report vast improvements in strength, muscle, joint health, and overall workout satisfaction, not begrudge.
And that’s it in a nutshell. Should you have any further questions, do not hesitate to email our Director of Education, Albert Coleman at [email protected], the creator and Founder of Automated Muscle.