A hybrid is a combination of two or more different things, put together specifically to achieve a particular objective. And thats exactly what hybrid cardio isit combines intense muscular activity to cardio, which results in not only achieving the best of both worlds but also creates new mitochondria in the muscles. Or in other wordssuper hybrid muscles.
When talking about super hybrid muscle, were referring to a muscle that has essentially been reconfigured, adding mitochondrial density, which results in a bigger stronger muscle with more endurance capacity. This is accomplished by combining cardio and strength training into a single activity.
I learned a lot about hybrid super muscle through the book The Purposeful Primitive, written by Marty Gallagher. Its one of my all time favorite books. In it, he presents some very interesting ideas about muscle strength and endurance.
Lets start with a bit of history. Early adopters of the concept of hybrid super muscle included Len Schwartzwho was actually the firstJohn Parillo and Ori Hofmekler. As I said, it all started with Dr. Len Schwartz when, in 1995 he said that in his latest project, he would be working a new form of exercise, which would help athletes to develop long strength. And what is long strength you ask?
Long strength is the ability to exert significant strength for an extended period of time. This is exactly the sort of strength that the ancient warrior cultures sought to develop. That is the key difference that set them apart from their foes.
According to Dr. Schwartz, a key positive attribute of long strength exercises is that over time, they can essentially reconfigure the fiber composition of the working muscle groups. Eventually, the muscles develop long strength and actually morph.
John Parrillothe second proponent of long strengthbegan having his bodybuilders doing really high intensity cardio. He claimed that doing this actually altered the muscle composition. He called this form a resistance training the 100 rep extended set, saying that it helped the body to construct more mitochondriathe muscles cellular blast furnaces. He also says that this increases muscular growth by developing the circulatory pathways that provide nourishment to the muscles.
Ori Hofmekler is the third early adopter of the long strength concept. Ori developed a weight training system that he called, Controlled Fatigue Training. According to Ori, this type of training was specifically designed to develop these super hybrid musclesones that were capable of generating and sustaining strength for extended periods. Ori had spent time researching ancient cultures and based on what he had found, he became convinced that ancient warriorsthe Spartans, the Gladiators and the Vikings in particularwere so successful because they had developed a great deal of Hybrid Super Muscle.
These ancient warriors would have need great amounts of sustained strength and endurance for fighting and doing all of the other things they were called upon to domarching long distances dressed in full battle gear and lugging supplies, carrying the wounded, rowing mammoth ships across the sea and more.
So what does a guy today need to do in order to build Hybrid Super Muscle? For starters, you can look to the ancient warrior culturesthe Spartans, the Vikings and the Gladiatorsand learn from them. Remember that all of the training they did was in preparation for the battles ahead. In other words, they were training for functionality rather than aesthetics, meaning that their training routines would have incorporated activities that simultaneously developed both strength and endurance.
Today, to build Hybrid Super Muscle we can start by engaging in aerobic activities that have a strong element of resistance. Lets look at what some of the early adopters of the long strength concept came up with to add resistance to aerobic activities. Dr. Len Schwartz had developed a system in which athletes used heavy hand weights in combination with a variety of foot patters.
As mentioned earlier, John Parillo had his guys do maximum intensity cardio or his 100 rep giant sets using standard weight training equipment from the gym.
And lastly, Ori developed his Controlled Fatigue Training system, which incorporates the pushing and pulling of weightsor even bodyweightin specific patterns. The key point here is that all three of these systems rely upon unorthodox exercise protocols to force the muscles to reconfigure and develop long strength.
What each of these three men did was to develop a complete training system that required muscle groups to work at maximum effort for extended periods. The goal of these training systems is of course to enable the muscles to develop long strength or in other words Hybrid Super Muscle. Earlier, I mentioned that Dr. Schwartz had said that these activities enabled the muscles to increase the mitochondria or cellular blast furnaces. Lets take a look at this so you can see what this means to you.
As I said, mitochondria are the cells powerhouses. They take in nutrients, break them down and create energy in the processthats why theyre called cellular blast furnaces. They also generate the majority of the cells supply of ATP, which is a source of chemical energy. Exactly how many mitochondria are in a cell will vary, depending on the cell and its role.
For example, nerve cells will have far fewer mitochondria than muscle cells, which require a great deal of energy. Now you see why were concerned about mitochondria and how increasing the number we have in our muscle cells. The more mitochondria there are in the muscle cells, the greater the energy capacity, which fuels both strength and endurance.
By combining cardio and resistance activities it causes the composition of muscles to transform from predominately type II or type IIb into Type III. By doing this, we are able to push beyond our genetic limits, much like the ancient Spartans, Gladiators and Vikings did. Having more mitochondria in the muscle cells means that more nutrients can be processed, giving the muscles the ability to work considerably harder for longer periods. Theyre also able to grow larger and are able to resist getting tired for longer periods.
Knowing this, we can see that the goal of cardio combined with resistancesometimes known as hybrid cardiois push our muscles to undergo a reconfiguration and increase the number of mitochondria in the cells. The result of this is that the muscles morph into a hybrid muscle fiber that is a type III, which is an intermediate fast twitch fiber that is a cross between type I and type IIb.
These type III hybrid fibers utilize both aerobic and anaerobic pathways for energy metabolism. They also have greater capacity for both strength and enduranceor in other words, long strength.
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