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The Matrix training system: Challenging the body with higher reps and lower rest

The Matrix training system

Challenging the body with higher reps and lower rest

The Matrix training system, originally created by Ron Laura, focuses on a range of full and partial repetition movements within sets to stimulate muscle growth. It is specifically designed to activate muscles at multiple points that are not otherwise worked effectively in a normal workout.

If your training is not varied both your mind and your body will find a way to make it easier for you to complete a workout as time goes on.

The training system has been clinically trailed over many years, showing results of muscle mass and strength gains after a 12-week period over conventional workouts.

The most basic form of the Matrix training principles looks something like this:

  • A thorough warm-up to reach a specific weight for working sets
  • 3 to 4 exercises per muscle group
  • Sets consist of 5 full reps, 5 half reps from a stretch or bottom position, 5 half reps from the squeeze or top position, finishing off with 5 full reps. In total 20 reps.
  • 30 seconds break between sets

The Matrix system is basically about overcoming plateaus and toning the body faster while changing rep ranges and rest times. It is also used as a deload phase between heavy weight training cycles because it takes additional pressure off tendons and connective tissue while still stimulating muscle growth. The system is specifically designed to overcome the neural effect when muscles begin to anticipate what will happen next in a workout. It eliminates momentum during the up-phase of a set and resists gravity during the down-phase to build muscle, tone the body while also developing strength. A different body part can also be worked using the Matrix system each day while still following a traditional bodybuilding split.

A split using the system for a week would look like this:

All exercises – 4 sets of 5,5,5,5

Day 1 – Chest & Shoulders

  • Flat barbell bench press
  • Cable cross-overs
  • Decline dumbbell press
  • Military Press
  • Lateral dumbbell raises

Day 2 – Legs & calves

  • Leg press
  • Hack squats
  • Leg curls
  • Standing calf raises
  • Seated calf raises

Day 3 – Arms

  • Overhead rope extensions
  • Cable pushdowns
  • Standing barbell curls
  • Seated dumbbell curls

Day 4 – Back

  • Seated cable rows
  • Lat pulldowns
  • Dumbbell rows

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