The Consolidation Theory And It's Many Uses In Bodybuilding

Listening to Mike Metzger during one of his lectures and then reading his books I had always wanted to really work his Heavy Duty training based on the H.I.T method. Using H.I.T. (High Intensity Training) makes sense to me; it proposes that during one full-out "set" of H.I.T., by infusing many of the Weider Principals within in it and after working each lifting principal consecutively to beyond muscle failure, a person destroys approximately 94% of their muscle fiber in the area trained. Why continue on with any additional sets of that exercise? You are only leaving your self open to over training and injury by continuing on with that motion.Metzger's analogy went something like this, "Why dig the hole deeper and deeper through more sets when you've reached full muscle failure" when we could rather, "use our rest and the nutrition we absorb to over-fill that hole, which hasn't been dug so deep due to excessive sets within a given exercise routine, adding a surplus...a surplus of muscle means that muscle grows bigger instead of just fighting to get back to the beginning".Now to get to this point of complete and utter failure takes a great training partner who understands the concepts and a very high personal degree of focus, and most importantly intensity. Being willing to truly go to failure every set of the Consolidation Theory is the key to making gains.

To reach complete failure using the Consolidation Theory, one must think of three Weider Principals that can be used in quick succession, within one "set", that will lead the lifter to the goal of increased size, strength, and undoubtedly muscle failure. The steps outlined by Metzger were:

- One warm-up set with 50% of max for 12 to 15 reps.*One minute rest.- 9 to 13 repetitions of an exercise ( using leg extension machine as example) with a full range 3-second eccentric motion and a 3-second concentric motion, where the athlete can physically not lift rep 13 without a serious spot but must be able to complete at least nine without any real help.

*Immediately without taking you legs out of the machine or hands off the bar.

- 9 to 13 repetitions of an exercise using the Partial Rep Principal (for leg ext this would be a the upper half of the the motion to work on the contraction).

*Immediately without taking you legs out of the machine or hands off the bar.

- 3 omni-contraction holds for 10 seconds (get spotter to help the leg bar up to full contraction of the quads then within a 10 second period slowly lower the bar...then repeat with spotter's help for a total of three reps).

* Take a one minute rest, move to next exercise, and repeat through out the workout. You know you did it right when you are only able to crawl out of the machine as soon as your eyes aren't blurry and barley be ready to walk.  If you can quickly bend your knee, or move the body part trained, you know you did not go hard enough at each point or you should have used more weight.  At this point start your one minute rest period as you walk to the next machine and to the same procedure again of warm up set, one minute rest, then right to your entire Consolidation "set". A person can use this technique with any exercise or instrument in the gym; but it is much easier using a selectorized Nautilus machine to be able to choose the weight or drop it if necessary. The trick is finding that perfect weight so you don't have to change during the exercise.  But as you are gaining strength or if you train alone you can just change the weight on the final three contraction holds to finish the "set" of the required types and number of reps.  Optimally one should not rest in-between the three phases at all.Arthur Jones, the creator of the Nautilus equipment series proved time and time again using his H.I.T. method and minimal weight on his machines that in about 30 minutes a week of actual lifting time that even seasoned bodybuilders were able to gain major muscle mass.  He trained them in a full body workout three times a week.  Mr. Jones has great videos on that describe exactly how he feels about lifting super-heavy weights over extended periods of time in the gym and explosive exercises. Dorian Yates, Mike Metzger, Ray Metzger and many others used this technique to lead them to championships.The major mental problem with this type of training philosophy is that you might not feel tired after the 45 minute or less Consolidation workout. Your body might be used to a basic periodization volume workout including many sets leaving you with a different feeling later. You think about wanting to workout later in the day, but don't. The whole idea of this theory is doing the most trauma to the muscle fiber in the fastest amount of time...go home and start eating thus healing and growing.I used the Consolidation Theory religiously for three months and gained over 10% in strength and added a half inch to both my arms, thighs, and calves.  Also adding nearly one full inch to my chest! I trained five days a week for 45 minutes doing five to seven exercises per body part with preferably three minutes or less rest between "sets". I used this schedule throughout my training:

Monday - chestTuesday - backWednesday - legsThursday - shouldersFriday - arms

I found it difficult to stick to the one minute rest periods after the one huge set and walking to the next machine in the beginning.  I started with almost five minutes rest, and worked my way down to about two minutes rest.  It took a while for me to get used to only doing two sets for each exercise and the three second eccentric and concentric movements in the first part of the Consolidation "set" was really burning me out at first. I often felt I could/should have kept training after leaving the gym. But by the third month of using the Consolidation Theory the intensity in my workouts was off the charts, my strength gains were apparent, and my physique changed.  I use this method now in one exercise per a body part per a week in my regular training to break through plateaus.  I plan to return to this after competition season this Fall.

by Thomas Rutherford of