Shredded, Savage, and Dense—Myogenic Tone

by: Josh Bryant

Sand Sprints and Strength

Ever wonder why the physiques of pump and pose fluffers have a different look than the old-head lifters that routinely slay the heavy pig iron?

Success leaves clues. 

Look at the physiques of top-level sprinters, whether it’s Ben Johnson or Harry Aikines-Aryeetey. Or, hey, just go to a high-level track meet and watch a 100- or 60- meter sprinter. These guys are jacked, often more so than competitive natural bodybuilders or those wannabe troll bodybuilders at LA Fitness.

So, why do these sprinters have bodies that most supplement-swallowing gym rats only dream of?

Partially because their muscle has a much denser look. 

This is due to sprinters possessing a higher concentration of contractile muscle. This is noticeably different from gym bodybuilders who only train for a pump, which can be easily deflated.

Myogenic Tone Bible

The reason Ronnie Coleman, Dorian Yates, and Branch Warren are pumped, while also looking strong, is because they come from a strength background.

 They train hard and have built up contractile muscle fibers. The aforementioned bodybuilders’ look of “density” is a result of myogenic tone. Myogenic tone refers to a state of partial muscle activation. Myogenic tone means that, even at rest, the nervous system keeps some tension on the muscle. Because the muscle is partially activated, it can and will be ready to instantaneously produce force, if needed. To develop this, the muscle looks like it’s in a partial state of contraction, as opposed to a muscle looking like a balloon filled up with air. 

So, the way in which Dorian, Ronnie, and Branch separate themselves from the crowd can be attributed to the same factor that causes sprinters to be built like brick shit houses—myogenic tone.

For the most part, myogenic tone results from two mechanisms.

Neural Efficiency: The more efficient your nervous system, the greater your myogenic tone will be. Sprinting improves the neural aspect of running much more than a Kenneth Cooper inspired, testosterone-robbing jog; heavy lifting is superior to light lifting for improving the neural aspect of force production. 

Fast-Twitch Fiber Development: Research has shown that fast- twist fibers are more superficial (closer to the skin surface), in contrasted to slow-twitch fibers deeper in the muscle. By developing fibers closer to the surface, your muscles aesthetically have a more solid/dense look. This effect is amplified with a low percentage of body fat.
SO, what are some ways how can develop myogenic tone?
·      Sprints
·      Heavy Lifting
·      Compound Movements
·      Weighted Throws
·      Jumps
·      Strongman Training
·      Olympic lifting
·      Compensatory Acceleration Training
·      Cluster Sets
·      Overcoming Isometrics

This is just the tip of the iceberg!  Develop Myogenic Tones with one of Josh’s training plans HERE.