Holistic training

Holistic training

As we have already seen, both linear and non-linear periodization have weaknesses that stand in the way of optimal conditioning. But why not just summarize all three periodization cycles into one unit? That is exactly what the Holistic Training aims to do, which is why it is called “conjugate” (= connecting) training. The result is that not every training session, week or training cycle follows just one aspect of development, but in one training session all three are equally considered. Well-known examples of this are the training system of Dr. Fred Hatfield or the well-known 3-2-1 training system.

Fig.3: Example of an advanced training model according to Hatfield
Sets Reps Intensity Speed
1+2 4-6 maximum Explosive, pause briefly between reps
3+4 12-15 As high as possible Moderate, short break between reps
5+6 20-25+ As high as possible Slow, constant tension, no breaks between reps
Table from: Bodybuilding – A Scientific Approach, Dr. Frederick Hatfield

 

Since these training systems train both maximum strength, hypertrophy and strength endurance in each workout, periodization into individual cycles is not necessary. This also eliminates unwanted deconditioning.

But in favor of such a training design also speaks another, on closer inspection, perhaps even more important aspect. This form of holistic training also takes into account the structure of the muscle tissue itself (see Fig. 4). The musculature also responds differently to the respective repetition ranges at the cellular level. This means that training in only one area, even cellular, only partially develops the muscle:

  • High repetition rates to increase the mass of the mitochondria in the muscle cell, which make up 15-26% of the cell. These high repetition rates in the range of 20-25+, which are often ignored, increase the number of capillaries. This leads to an improved blood supply and thus to a little more muscle mass.
  • The sarcoplasm (material within a cell, excluding nucleus) responds to a mixture of strength and endurance, the typical hypertrophy range of 12-15 reps. With a share of 25-30%, it accounts for a large portion of the total mass.
  • Low repetition numbers with corresponding “heavy” weight increase the number of myofibrillar elements, also involved with 20-30% in size.

Holistic training is built on the view that the cell components that contribute most to muscle size are also the most trained. Myofibrils, sarcoplasm and mitochondria account for a majority of the cell, so most attention should be paid to them.
Fig. 4: Proportions of cell components on muscle tissue / method of adaptation cell component percentage of cell content method of adaptation

Fig.4: Portions of cell components on muscle tissue / adaptation method
Cell component Percentage of cell Adaptation method
Myofibrils 20-30% Strength (6-12)
Mitochondria 15-25% Endurance (20-35)
Sarcoplasm 20-30% Strength and endurance
Capillaries 3-5% Endurance and constant tension
Fat deposits 10-15% Nutrition
Glycogen 2-5% Nutrition
Connective tissue 2-3% Strength
Other subcellular substances 4-7% Endurance, strength, nutrition and regeneration
Table from: Bodybuilding – A Scientific Approach, Dr. Frederick Hatfield

 

 

Considering the cellular structure of the musculature, it becomes clear why a holistic training is superior to the conventional linear and non-linear periodization concepts. First, there is no deconditioning of the capacity achieved in one cycle, because in the next cycle, another type of muscle fiber is targeted. On the other hand, even at the cellular level, the muscle is always stressed as a whole.
The other aspects of classical periodization are taken into account. Training in the endurance zone also strengthens tendons and ligaments, thus helping to prevent overwork in this area. Training in the rage of ​​strength, on the other hand, helps to improve inter- and intramuscular coordination and thus achieve maximum strength and power development.

Integration of further periodization forms