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Undersun Fitness’ Frequently Asked Questions

  • What is the reason for the specific rep and set structure?

    The number of sets, repetitions, and speed of the repetitions are all by design. Here is a breakdown of each of the 4 sets:

    Set #1/20 Reps:  The common presumption with a set of 20 repetitions is that it’s just a warm-up set. This is not completely untrue, but there’s more to it than merely warming up the muscle. One of the biggest reasons that individuals have a hard time building muscle is they haven’t figured out mind/muscle connection. In any given movement, or exercise, our brain and body naturally want to recruit as many muscle groups as possible to perform the given task. This is natural, but with resistance training, the trick is learning how to target a particular muscle as much as possible. To do this goes against our instinct so it requires focus to learn to target a specific muscle. Most people have difficulty learning this because they are told that you always have to pick up the heaviest resistance you can find if you want to build muscle. The irony is that the heavier you go, the more likely you are to recruit other muscles. The point of doing the first set with 20 reps is going with a resistance level that you can do with strict form so that you can focus on good quality contractions each and every rep. This is why I call Set #1 an “Activation Set”, where you are forcing your body to activate all of the motor units in the muscle, for a peak muscle contraction, as opposed to recruiting assistor muscles, to complete the movement.  If you’ve selected a resistance that’s still challenging (don’t sandbag it) you will really start to feel that muscle burn after 12-14 reps. Embrace that burn and etch that feeling into your mind. Learning to really feel a muscle is the first critical step in learning Mind/Muscle connection. Now besides warming up the muscle and developing that connection with the muscle, you have the additional benefit of pre-fatiguing the muscle, priming it for your remaining 3 sets.

    Sets 2 & 3: In both Set #2 and Set #3 the focus is on controlled rep speed, both in the concentric, isometric and eccentric contractions. In these two sets you will go with a heavier resistance than you used in Set #1, but make sure that you can still get the same quality contractions that you did in your first set. It’s best to aim for a resistance that feels really difficult at 5-6 reps and then the last 4-5 are extra challenging. If you got to 10-reps and feel like you could do a few more then the weight is too light. 

    Set 4: Just like the first set, your final set serves multiple purposes. The primary focus it to build power. One of the advantages of bands, over free-weights, is that it makes it easy to train more explosively, which activates those fast-twitch muscle fibers. These are the type of muscle fibers that make you run faster, jump higher, and lift heavier. When training with free-weights there’s a significant downside to training with faster rep speeds. Once you get that weight moving fast, momentum carries the weight and robs you of resistance. When using bands you are not able to create momentum, so no matter how explosively you do the movement you get maximum resistance all the way through the range of movement.  In Set #4 we take advantage of this opportunity by doing 15-reps explosively. Use the same resistance that you did in your first set, but now we are going to do them quickly. The one adjustment we want to make is to shorten our Range of Motion (ROM) slightly, to make sure that we have constant tension throughout the movement. In other words, we don’t ever want the band going slack. Even though we are doing 15 reps, our total Time Under Tension (TUT) is shorter.

  • How long is the rest between sets?

    Just like the rest between exercises you want to keep your rest between sets to 60-seconds.

  • How long is the rest between each exercise?

    To shorten your workout time, and keep the intensity high, it’s recommended that you only rest 60-seconds between exercises. This is going to keep your heart-rate elevated as well, which will have a calorie burning effect. If you need more rest time, go ahead and take it. As you progress through the program just incrementally shorten your rest periods and try to get down to that 60-second mark.

  • How many reps do I do?

    The TA2 Muscle Building Program was designed using a 20/10/10/15 Rep Structure, popularized by TA2 Co-Creator, James Grage.  

  • How many sets do I do?

    For each exercise, in the TA2 Muscle Building Program, you will be doing 4 total sets.  

  • How many days a week do you workout on the TA2 program?

    The TA2 Muscle Building Program follows a 5-day muscle building split, with each muscle group trained different days. The most effective schedule is 2-days in a row of workouts, followed by 1-day rest, then 3-days of workouts, followed by 1-day of rest, before starting the cycle again. This split allows for adequate recovery for all muscle groups. Here’s what it would look like:

    • Sunday: Off
    • Monday: Back
    • Tuesday: Chest
    • Wednesday: Off
    • Thursday: Arms
    • Friday: Shoulders
    • Saturday: Legs

  • What is the progression through the 12-Week TA2 Muscle Building Program?

    Progression, in a weight training routine, simply means that as you get stronger you need to continue to challenge your muscles in new ways, in order to continue making progress.  There’s no magical “Progression Strategy” that is going to be more effective than you simply pushing yourself out of your comfort zone each and every workout. Changes in muscle strength and size come from adaptations, made by your body when it is forced to do more than it is used to doing. The rule is this: If you always do what you can always do, then you will always remain the same. In other words, your body isn’t going to build muscle if you keep lifting the same amount of weight every time you workout. The lesson here is that much of the progression in a routine comes from your effort and intensity, more than it is from the types of exercises that you are doing. With that being said, introducing new exercises is important and that’s why throughout the TA2 program new exercises are brought in to challenge you, and maximize progress over the entire 12-weeks.

  • How do I select the right level of resistance with bands?

    When selecting a resistance level for bands it’s natural to want to compare the process to free weights. In other words, how “heavy” is one band versus another. The process is actually very different between the two. Let’s compare:

    Free Weights - The resistance level with free-weights is a constant, meaning that a 30-pound dumbbell always weighs 30 pounds, no matter how you press it or pull it. It’s also constant throughout the range of movement, meaning that same dumbbell weighs 30-pounds at the beginning of a biceps curl, and still weighs 30-pounds at the end.  This is why you need a full rack of dumbbells to create all the different resistance levels that you need.

    Resistance Bands - Bands have what is called Linear Variable Resistance, meaning that the resistance can vary, depending on the starting tension, or how much the band is stretched at the beginning of the movement, and how much it’s stretched at the end of the movement. The more you stretch a band, the more resistance they create. The slacker the band is, the less resistance it creates. This means that with 5 different bands you have much more than just 5 different levels of resistance. In fact, you can create countless different resistance levels.

    Here’s a few examples of how you can create more or less resistance, by shortening or lengthening the band:

    1. DISTANCE FROM ANCHOR POINT: If you anchor the band (to a pole, doorway, etc) and stand close to the anchor point you will have less resistance. If you step back away from the anchor point you will have more resistance. If you are anchoring the band under your feet and pressing over your head, the height of your body will vary the level of resistance.
    2. RANGE OF MOTION: In any exercise, as you start the exercise, the band will be more relaxed at the start of the movement and as you go through the full range of motion, the band stretches, creating more resistance at the end. The Linear Variable Resistance more closely matches the natural strength curve of your muscles. Think about a biceps curl - you’re weakest at the bottom and strongest at the top.
    3. HAND POSITION: Depending on where you grab the band, you can create more or less resistance. If you grab the band in the middle and shorten it’s length, that means that you will stretch the band more, therefore creating more resistance. If you hold the band at the very end, in that same exercise, you will stretch it less, and create less resistance.
    4. STACKING BANDS: If you still need more resistance, after going up to the next size band, and you’ve already adjusted both your distance and hand position, then you can create more resistance by adding in another band. Start by using your existing resistance level and then add in in the smallest band and checking your tension. If you need to go up more you can then move to the next highest. By stacking various combinations of the 5 bands, you can create countless different resistance levels.


    SPECIAL TIP: When training with bands, worry less about the weight itself and focus more on how the resistance feels. You want to make sure that you go heavy enough where it’s difficult at the beginning of a movement and then very hard at the end of the movement, yet still allows you to complete the full range of motion and all of the repetitions in the given set.

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