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overfiftylifter

I have received PM and email etc. asking various questions regarding my recent postings on the modified Matrix methods and decided to start a separate topic. I have decided to call this newer approach to Matrix, Matrix Force Training(MFT).

I had a conversation with Dr. Laura yesterday and he has read some of the research related to MFT and been experimenting with the protocol. He is quite excited by what he is seeing so far and will be performing further tests at his Clinic and with others he has contact with.

Most who have tried the methods see very strong local effects. Those who have tried the methods in the squat found very early hypertrophy and are amazed at the reactions from such low loads. Performing the roll-press with this method, which is not easy, produces a very strong shoulder stimulus. Add a few sets of lateral raises using MFT for fun, and the delts are totally fried.

I believe it is important to learn the "tonic rhythm". When this rhythm becomes compromised, it is best to have a short rest-pause and/or use the load breakdown methods.

Additional "add-on" methods have been developed which includes a pre-load sequence. One is, Isometric Pre-load(IPL), where a applied isometric hold is performed before one of the MFT sets is used.

Progression can be accomplished with these methods by increasing load, and/or greater training volume in terms of greater set content or set volume. The key is to produce the desired physical reaction and producing this effect may require different methods due to the variety of trainee's physiology.

If one has questions regarding MFT, please post them here.



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HeavyHitter32

O50,

Can you perhaps describe an example application of MFT with a particular exercise(s)? I am curious about the static hold although in the past statics did little for me.
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

In a nutshell, what differentiates or separates MFT from the 'typical' Matrix protocols?

(or did you describe this in the other thread?)
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overfiftylifter

What makes MFT different from traditional Matrix is the way the patterns are utilized. With the more traditional style, full range movements are used with, on average, a 1/1 cadence. With MFT, reduced ranges of motion and tonic force is used to promote a more constant intramuscular pressure which is a different training goal. The difference is quite noticeable.

Also, add-on's are frequently used to increase the challenges of each pattern with a different progressive manner overall.
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overfiftylifter

The use of Isometric Pre-load(IPL), a add-on feature, means prebuilding tension before pattern execution. One would consider applying this after some time using the system and would be considered part of the progressive nature of the program. Studies that I have reviewed suggest that longer isometric times, using loads at around 40 of MVC, produce greater physical changes than shorter times.

So, before let's say performing the bench press using MFT, you take the load to your beginning "tension position", perhaps depending on your physiology/limb length etc., 1/5 up to 1/4 up, and use a applied hold for 10 to 20 sec.. You are "squeezing" the load, accenting the squeeze to the area of interest, in this case the pectorals, for this period and before proceeding on to the rest of the movement.

In some ways I guess you could call it pre-exhausting the pecs. It makes the squat an even greater ordeal and is definitely not for beginners. Some who have unique vascular systems that have some trouble generating the ischemic effect have found this addition helpful.

Hope this answers your question.
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simon-hecubus

Texas, USA

overfiftylifter wrote:
...With the more traditional style, full range movements are used with, on average, a 1/1 cadence. With MFT, reduced ranges of motion and tonic force is used to promote a more constant intramuscular pressure which is a different training goal. The difference is quite noticeable.

Also, add-on's are frequently used to increase the challenges of each pattern with a different progressive manner overall.


Sorry if I'm making this tedious, but MFT is marked by:

1. 3/3 Cadence

2. The part you described in the other thread about only working within 45d-135d of a possible 180d ROM.

3. Use of Isometrics or other adders to provide progression or added intensity.

That's it in a nutshell, right?
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overfiftylifter

......and using/manipulating many of the Matrix Principles.
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HeavyHitter32

O50,

I know there are countless rep variations suggested as I was able to read some of the "Matrix for Muscle Gain" ebook, but what has proven to be most productive?
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AShortt

Ontario, CAN

overfiftylifter wrote:
Some who have unique vascular systems that have some trouble generating the ischemic effect have found this addition.


Very interesting thank you.

Regards,
Andrew
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overfiftylifter

In developing MFT, the Conventional Matrix, Matrix Alternates, Cumulative Matrix Alternates, Matrix Ladders, and Cumulative Matrix Ladders were the patterns tested.

I just want to add the importance of starting each contraction from a set position. This means that when you start a contraction, it is from a complete stop. Contractions, or squeezes from a stop, from a loaded tension position, seem to enhance the desired effects.
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wellness warrior

Hey O
Terry here - I have been following your experiment on the Matrix website. I tried the MFT this am and believe your on to something. The 3/3 tonic cadence allows me to concentrate /focus more on the movement. This gave me a stronger contraction and the after workout feel is good but not draining. I'll give it a try with some of the matrix patterns mentioned. Thanks for sharing! I appreciate your civilized approach to a discussion.
Be Well
Terry
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overfiftylifter

Terry, hope you find MFT useful. Once the "tonic rhythm", the 3/3 cadence contracted/squeezed out from a static/tension position, is mastered, it can be a eye opener.

You appear to have noticed how MFT can produce strong local stimulus with less systemic fatigue. Some who have problems with recovery can train more frequently with MFT. Many feel invigorated after the workouts.

Please note that I am keeping most of the discussion here about using basic MFT. The more advanced form of MFT, which is more center based, starting closer to 90d, tends to be more difficult to perform, requiring greater focus and is probably best used after working through the basics.

As far being civil in my discussions, I am not critical of other methods. I am just introducing a different training idea which is the merging of several existing sources. No claims are made that MFT is better than other methods. All I can state is that those who have used MFT have been happy with the results. Until a group study is performed, where all the methods are tested against each other, I have problems with strong claims of greatness.

I do post questions to further understand training ideas that I have difficulty grasping. The "little grey cells" don't work quite as well as they used to. I don't believe hostile responses are constructive. It is probably better to not respond at all rather than make negative comments, putting youself on the same plane of the instigator. Acting as if one is on a higher level in the area of exercise physiology, a field that still has a lot of unanswered questions, also puts me off.
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HeavyHitter32

I trained back and biceps this morning. Another outstanding workout having trained all muscle groups over the last 3 out of 4 days. Not experiencing any real systematic fatigue at least yet.

I performed just the wide grip pulldown, bent over barbell rows, and incline dumbbell curls.

I strived for 5/5/5/5 (5 full, 5 top halves, 5 bottom, 5 full). Not so hard to do continuously on the first set, but sets 2-5 required brief 7-10 second pauses about half way in the set to eventually complete the number.

I strongly focused on contraction and tension through the range of motion (avoiding the extreme points). I also briefly stopped at each point before the turnaround. Used a 3/3 cadence at all times.

I implemented some occasional statics for 2-3 seconds at times. Definitely seems to give extra "inroad" to the muscle particular at the end of a given number of "moving reps" whether halves or full range.
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HeavyHitter32

overfiftylifter wrote:
In developing MFT, the Conventional Matrix, Matrix Alternates, Cumulative Matrix Alternates, Matrix Ladders, and Cumulative Matrix Ladders were the patterns tested.

I just want to add the importance of starting each contraction from a set position. This means that when you start a contraction, it is from a complete stop. Contractions, or squeezes from a stop, from a loaded tension position, seem to enhance the desired effects.


Absolutely agree about that.

So, with the other Matrix techniques you mentioned - did one come out ahead or all pretty equal in terms of results with the research?
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overfiftylifter

HH, I never really compared the patterns that closely. After a trainee feels they have milked a pattern with the add-ons, increased load etc, she or he can choose to move to the next Principle. There are no hard fast rules. I would recommend that if you are getting the desired stimulus, stick with the Principle you are using.

One thing I have found is that the ability to use the lower loads increases rather quickly. Don't be surprised needing to increase your working load over the weeks. The load improvement may be small, but that small addition, due to the volume of work, is definitely a strong stimulus. This is one of the elements of progression with MFT.

I will say that due to the greater mechanical stimulus of the Cumulative patterns, they are generally more challenging. One sometimes has to start with performing reduced elements of the Cumulative patterns and work their way over time to the full pattern.
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overfiftylifter

HH, it appears you understand how to use the training variables.

From questions I receive, some want to put greater focus in regard progression of load and lesser use of add-ons. In answer, use the first set as a measuring tool, progress to a greater starting load at the next session if you find at the moment of failure of the first set, you have traveled beyond the pattern. Of course, if you find you still have "gas in the tank" at the end of the set, don't waste the event. Use any of the add-ons, perhaps 30d mid position range contractions, to further promote stimulus.

For those more load centered, and want to stay with the first set work load, keep the rest between sets low and travel as far as possible on each set, perhaps with some short rest-pause. Remember, MFT is a very pliable system.

If one finds the need to use rest-pause often, consider using the variable of breaking down the weight/reducing load on succeeding sets. Under the MFT model, remember that the goal is prolonged tension which is promoted by minimal rest between reps and sets. Over time, you will develop greater muscular endurance and efficiency.
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overfiftylifter

This posting gives a little more detailed example of Basic MFT, which is based on starting movements from approximately the mid point of a exercise and venturing either cephalad or caudal (upward/downward) each set. Basic MFT doesn't use any of the established Matrix patterns. From the approximate mid point, any movements away are stopped so that the end range is still maintaining muscular tension or ?MFT range?. Lockouts and lesser tension ranges are avoided. Each exercise may have different mid range starting point.

Let us apply Basic MFT in the curl. First find the range of motion where tension feels consistent using the 3/3 cadence. One should practice and get a sense of the general feel of the cadence which is going to be applied to all MFT programs. If necessary, download a metronome program and practice. Due to variations in limb length etc., each individual must find there own MFT range.

For this example, let?s say you found this range, using 180d measure from bottom to the top of the movement, is 30d to 120d. Now using 180d, mid position would be 90d. With Basic MFT, we shift the starting point to adapt to the MFT range, making it approximately 75 to 80d. We also figure where two stopping points would occur below and above, equally spaced. For the bottom cycle or set, one point would be the 30d level and a point between 30d and 80d, approximately 55d.

You don?t have to be that precise but get a sense of where to start a concentric contraction between where you started at the mid point and the lower end point. So??..

Set 1, using one of the Basic MFT patterns, start by using a applied hold for 10 sec. at the 80d mid point. Then, take the load to approximately the 55d level, and work 10 partial reps to 80d, pausing each time you return to the 55d. Then, take the load to 30d and perform 10 partial reps from 30d to 55d, again making sure to have a complete stop before each concentric contraction from the 30d position.

Finish this bottom cycle, with a set of 10 reps from 30d to 80d. All the reps are performed using the general tonic rhythm. The reps should feel like smooth short contractions.

The example above is designed to give you a working idea of how to use Basic MFT.
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HeavyHitter32

I performed ascending and descending ladder reps tonight with calves. Really good effect and they are just brutal! I did them in 1/4s both ways....rested 10-20 seconds....and repeated this a couple of times. Curious to see how my lats and biceps respond to them next session.
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overfiftylifter

HH, I am not sure which exercises you use for the lats and biceps but let me recommend you carefully evaluate the tension ranges. If you perform the pulldown, you may find much of the beginning of the movement of little value. You should find with the proper tension range, the lats will start reacting after a few reps and a cramping sensation at the end of first set. Also wish to recommend single arm biceps curl from a low pulley. With the proper tension range, the local effect is one of the strongest in my 45 years of training.
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HeavyHitter32

I use free weights, a plate loaded leg press, and a Powertec multi-station. The pulldown on the Powertec doesn't have great tension at the beginning of the movement as you alluded - some sort of pre-fatiguing will be necessary before getting to that range. I find a wide overhand grip really isolates the lats on this machine when using proper zones and resistance. However, I also throw in some underhand shoulder width grip ones at times too.
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overfiftylifter

HH,it may be possible with the Powertech pulldown to develop enough tension to get the job done. With a regular overhead pulley pulldown, you would probably cut out nearly a third at the top of the movement anyway. The tension range may seem a bit short but it seems to isolate the lats well. I suggest pulling the load down slowly and formulate the tension range where you feel it most in the lats. You may be surprised. In the middle ranges, it feels like you are pulling the load down more with your lats than your biceps.

If low pulley curl is not available, use single arm biceps curl with a dumbbell. I have found a stronger effect using dumbbells than barbell. Work a few slow reps to evaluate the best tension range. You may be surprised how much of the curl is not efficient.
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HeavyHitter32

Yeah, dumbbell curls seem easier on the elbows too with a more natural flow. I've done incline curls with the elbows back and those work well.
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overfiftylifter

International Journal of Clinical Medicine, 2013, 4, 114-121

Low-Load Bench Press Training to Fatigue Results in Muscle Hypertrophy Similar to High-Load Bench Press Training
Riki Ogasawara, Jeremy P. Loenneke, Robert S. Thiebaud, Takashi Abe

Received December 20th, 2012; revised January 20th, 2013; accepted January 27th, 2013
ABSTRACT
The purpose of this study was to determine whether the training responses observed with low-load resistance exercise to volitional fatigue translates into significant muscle hypertrophy, and compare that response to high-load resistance training. Nine previously untrained men (aged 25 [SD 3] years at the beginning of the study, standing height 1.73 [SD 0.07] m, body mass 68.9 [SD 8.1] kg) completed 6-week of high load-resistance training (HL-RT) (75% of one repeti- tion maximal [1RM], 3-sets, 3x/wk) followed by 12 months of detraining. Following this, subjects completed 6 weeks of low load-resistance training (LL-RT) to volitional fatigue (30% 1 RM, 4 sets, 3x/wk). Increases (p < 0.05) in mag-netic resonance imaging-measured triceps brachii and pectorals major muscle cross-sectional areas were similar for both HL-RT (11.9% and 17.6%, respectively) and LL-RT (9.8% and 21.1%, respectively). In addition, both groups in-creased (p < 0.05) 1RM and maximal elbow extension strength following training; however, the percent increases in 1RM (8.6% vs. 21.0%) and elbow extension strength (6.5% vs. 13.9%) were significantly (p < 0.05) lower with LL-RT. Both protocols elicited similar increases in muscle cross-sectional area, however differences were observed in strength. An explanation of the smaller relative increases in strength may be due to the fact that detraining after HL-RT did not cause strength values to return to baseline levels thereby producing smaller changes in strength. In addition, the results may also suggest that the consistent practice of lifting a heavy load is necessary to maximize gains in muscular strength of the trained movement. These results demonstrate that significant muscle hypertrophy can occur without high-load resistance training and suggests that the focus on percentage of external load as the important deciding factor on muscle hypertrophy is too simplistic and inappropriate.
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overfiftylifter

Some who have tried MFT have had problems determining the correct tension range to use later as their "work range". I have recommended just moving the load slowly and feel for differences in muscular tension. Well....another option is to break up the range of motion of a exercise into fifths and perform 3 1/5 reps at each fifth position. This may help some better determine the best tension range which you use later as your work range.
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overfiftylifter

For a somewhat less extreme MFT, or maybe not, I have what I call Mini-15's. This pattern, which is pretty simple and surprisingly stimulating, uses Mini's(could be called a form of oscillating isometrics) and a different structured 21's. Half and full working range reps are performed with the MFT cadence.

After you have found your "working range" you start your concentric contractions at the "working bottom" of the exercise. You perform 3-5 Mini's at this point and then go 1/2 up the work range and return. Perform this cycle of Mini's and 1/2 reps 4 more times. When you finish the last rep of this bottom cycle at the 1/2 position, you begin in a continuous flow of movement, the 3-5 Mini's now from the 1/2, working from this position to the "working top". This action is repeated 5 times. Finish with 5 cycles of 3-5 Mini's and full working range reps. Be prepared for intense stimulus and muscle swelling.

You can prevent adaptation using this pattern and/or make it progressive by adding more Mini's(3 to 10 if you dare) and working from 15's to 21's(7-7-7) over time. Recommend at least 3 sets with 30 sec. rests. I was quite surprised how powerful this pattern was. Using 10 Mini's is a killer. I think you will like this one.
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