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THE NEW MINIMUM EFFECTIVE DOSE
THE NEW MINIMUM EFFECTIVE DOSE
By Brian Murray, M.Ed.
Director of Clinical Research, ViiV Fitness
A popular buzzword in the high intensity training strength training community is Minimum Effective Dose (MED). This simply means the smallest dose that will produce a desired outcome. Well, if the desired outcome is improved strength and physical fitness the following takes MED to a completely new level.
Based on my experience over nearly two decades of observing and listening to the feedback of hundreds of clients I decided to have some fun and conduct a small research project using the ViiV-Rx. The ViiV-Rx is a perfect research tool because it allows for force measurement, standardized duration of effort, and accurate reporting.
This project involved both men and women and the study design was this:
Week 1: Maximum isometric effort for 5 seconds on 5 stations in the following order: CHEST PRESS, LEG PRESS, CORE PULL, VERTICAL LIFT, and SHOULDER SHRUG.
Maximum isometric effort for 5 seconds on VERTICAL LIFT only. This exercise was chosen because it was hypothesized that it would have the greatest total body impact.
Week 8: Maximum isometric effort for 5 seconds on the same stations tested in week 1 in the same order.
To recap, only one exercise was performed each week between pre and post testing. Exactly 5 seconds of effort was put forth each week for a total of 30 seconds of effort over the 8 week span between full body workout tests.
The average improvement in total body strength was 30%. That's a 30% improvement that includes increases in the neuromuscular performance of specific anatomical actions (CHEST PRESS, LEG PRESS, CORE PULL, SHRUG) that were not directly activated for two months!
Now that's getting something for nothing.
In addition, the feedback from the participants was consistent. They all commented on how much more energetic they felt, how much better their posture was, how much stronger they felt, how much easier all their daily activities became, and how hard it was to believe that just a few seconds of effort could make such a huge difference.
How's that for a Minimum Effective Dose?
Why did this happen? How can such a small amount of maximum effort affect the entire body?
It's simple. Strength improvement is primarily neurological. It's the nerves that change your strength, not changes in muscles (Read my article titled Muscle Growth with ViiV-Rx). Maximum voluntary isometric effort also leads to much greater improvements in neurological efficiency that are long lasting (Read my article titled ViiV-Rx Makes Weight Lifting Obsolete?) The higher the degree of effort, the higher the degree of voluntary activation and the greater the reach into the entire body.
Remember, it all starts in the brain then flows downward and outward.
The results of my informal study are consistent with findings from unilateral training studies. In a 2018 paper by Andrushko et al., titled Unilateral Strength Training Leads To Muscle-Specific Sparing Effects During Opposite Homologous Limb Immobilization, forearm muscle strength, muscle thickness, and muscle cross-sectional area were all preserved in the casted limb after 4 weeks of eccentric wrist flexion 3 times a week.
The point is this: It's all about the nervous system.
I'll leave you with this:
"Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
-- Antoine de Saint Exupery
This information shows us that we can get pretty damn close to perfection. This is yet another reason why maximum effort isometrics will continue to spread and attract the attention of everyone.
Get on board with us now. ViiV Fitness is so far ahead of everyone else that whoever is in second place isn't even close.