I've been a published iron-game journalist and author for nearly 25 years and one of the most frequent questions I'm asked is, "What are some of the most radical and perhaps bizarre methods you have ever heard of for increasing strength?"
There are at least two dozen bizarre methods I can quickly think of but three that are perhaps the most thought provoking are as follows:
1. The Mandibular Orthopedic Repositioning Appliance (M.O.R.A.).
2. The "Homostatic Stance"
Here's an encapsulated summary of each one.
The Mandibular Orthopedic Repositioning Appliance
The Mandibular Orthopedic Repositioning Appliance (or M.O.R.A.) is better known to the average person as a simple mouthpiece.
The M.O.R.A. positions the jaw in a balanced manner so that when a person clenches their teeth, the muscles of the jaw will be contracting in an even manner. This allows the bodybuilder or powerlifter to concentrate more fully on the lifting of the barbell, but it's also said to align the jaw in an optimal way so that nerve transmission is unimpeded. Another theory describes the device as somehow tapping the adrenal gland for an increase of adrenal secretion. Supposedly this will increase the strength potential of the average lifter by as much as 10-15%, and perhaps as much as 5% in those of world class caliber.
While this may sound like voodoo, there have been studies that support the M.O.R.A.'s efficacy. If you want to try one, talk to your dentist the next time she's cleaning your teeth.
The Homostatic Stance
The second method for instant strength increases is the "Homostatic Stance." This method was invented by a chiropractor named Dr. Sipple. Simply take your regular stance, be it in the squat or overhead press, but with one slight difference. Position one foot (usually your shortest leg) approximately 3 inches ahead of the other and medially rotate (turn in) both feet slightly.
It seems that by altering your stance in the manner described, the stress between the working muscles is set in harmony with one another. Best of all, there's no knee pain. If you elect to give the "Homostatic Stance" a go, say in the squat, back off your normal exercise poundages and give yourself a month to get accustomed to this new position before once again using your previous exercise poundages.
Claims of a 50% increase in strength and about 100% in endurance have been made. I personally have not been witness to this nor is there any scientific data to back up these claims so I'll let you make up your own mind about the "Homostatic Stance."
The Myo-Genetic Set
The third method for increasing strength is the Myo-Genetic Set. This valuable training concept was created by Dr. G.K. Knowlton, a chiropractor and prolific writer in the iron game many years ago. Nowadays, the Myo-Genetic Set is generally known as a strip set, but it's a good deal more structured than that.
The basic premise of the Myo-Genetic Set is as follows:
Load up a barbell (after a specific warm-up) with a poundage you're capable of lifting for a near maximum single effort (MSE). If the poundage you've chosen for the Myo-Genetic set isn't quite heavy enough, simply use very strict form and do a super slow rep. If the weight is too heavy, you may have to use some controlled cheating. After a few workouts you'll be able to gauge your starting poundages more accurately.
Begin by doing one-rep in full exercise range of motion.
Quickly remove enough poundage so that a second single rep can be performed. This should be done in a manner that will not allow you to stop and rest.
Perform 8 to 10 consecutive single reps in the manner described. Completion of the final rep is considered to be one set.
Do only 1 to 2 sets per major/minor muscle group. Do only 6-8 Myo-Genetic Sets per any given workout. If for example, you were training the total body on a scheduled workout day, you'd only do Myo-Genetic Sets for say, 3 or 4 of the muscle groups.
Work each muscle group once and at the most, twice per week when using the Myo-Genetic Set(s) concept. I'd recommend against using this method for more than a total of 4 to 6 weeks in duration.
As mentioned earlier, be sure to warm-up (general and specific) completely before performing a Myo-Genetic Set.
I hope you've enjoyed reading about the 3 radical methods I've presented for increasing strength. I'd be interested in hearing from you regarding unusual methods you've heard about or used personally for making huge leaps in strength.
Until then, stay flexed!!!