Endovex According to Holman and Lawson, the longer tension time can trigger more growth by creating occlusion, or blocked blood flow, which triggers a full-blown pump as well as a number of key anabolic responses such as activating more muscle fibers and more anabolic hormones. This is the precise stress that promotes a tremendous increase in the size of a muscle cell and possibly in the number of muscle cells (research ties stretch-position overload to hyperplasia, or muscle-fiber splitting).
Many professional bodybuilders have used burns in this manner. For instance, Larry Scott, one of the first champions to extensively use burns, would perform 6 full reps of preacher curls to failure with a heavy barbell, and then immediately do 6 partial reps in the bottom position before finishing his set. Scott built some legendary arms with this technique!
Another option for burns is to do them near the peak-contracted position. Swedish bodybuilding sensation Andreas Cahling, who looks more jacked today at the age of 60 then most guys a third of his age, used this variation of burns quite effectively during his competitive years on movements such as leg extensions, leg curls, rows, chins and pulldowns. In Joe Weider’s Ultimate Bodybuilding, Cahling revealed how well this method worked for him:
To give you an idea of how much benefit I received from incorporating burns into my routines as a means of pushing selected sets past failure, consider my progress during the year leading up to my Mr. International victory. A year before, Endovex I was not yet doing burns, and had cut out at 185 pounds. In none of the previous 3-4 years had I gained more than 3-4 pounds of solid new muscle mass. But after eight months of doing burns, I was up to 196 super-hard pounds of dense muscle mass and won my biggest title!”
Try burns in your next workout. Do them at the end of every last set of an exercise to fully exhaust the muscles involved. Do them in the bottom range, in the top range, at your sticking point, or simply in mid-range. At the end of the day, I don’t think it really matters where you do them as long you prolong the time under tension until there’s nothing left in the tank.
Typically, these end-of-set partials are only a few inches in range and should be done for 6-10 reps – less than 6 and you’re wimping out, and more than 10 means that you should have been able to perform one more full-range repetition before “burning” out!
Deadlifts are one exception where burns may not be appropriate, but you can use them on squats – just make sure to set the safety rods appropriately. Of course, a spotter is always “handy!”
Training is no different than unclogging a toilet. Working smarter, not harder, applies just as much in the gym as it does in the bathroom. You want to get the most results with the least amount of effort and time. So take the plunge with burns! I’m not saying that they won’t kick the “crap” out of you, but you can expect fast results. When all your effort in the gym is in the toilet, use short, quick strokes to get things moving again.