Rodney McBride

The Concept of Irradiation

The Concept of Irradiation

When it comes to strength promoting tension in your muscles is the goal. Muscles in general when they tense (contract) generate force which in turn produces movement. So the harder you can tense your muscles the more force you will nurture and the stronger you will become.

In strength training this notion is amplified to an even higher degree so that weights, especially heavy weights, can be moved efficiently and safely. The concept of Irradiation takes advantage of this understanding by encouraging neighboring muscles to tense harder. Let me explain. 

The strength technique of Irradiation is technically called the Law of Irradiation. The Law of Irradiation was discovered by Sir Charles Scott Sherrington and is part of a group of physiological laws named the Sherringtion Laws. Sherringtion defined Irradiation as the ability of one muscle when it tenses strongly to recruit the tension of nearby muscles. 

If you squeeze your fist really hard you will feel tension in the hand and forearm. If you squeeze your fist harder you will now feel tension in your upper arm along with the tension in your hand and forearm. If you squeeze your fist even harder you will now feel tension in your chest, shoulder and lat along with the tension in your upper arm, hand and forearm.

This cotension from several muscles contracting strongly together will magnify your overall strength. Another way to put it is tense all your muscles and adjacent muscles really hard during a lift not just the primary muscle being used. This is Irradiation. 

This strength technique works with free weight compound movements the best not isolated exercises (for the most part) and weight machines (never). Compound movements are full body exercises like the deadlift, squat and bench press. 

It will take some time and practice to master this skill but believe me you will be amazed at how strong you will become and how dense (not big) your muscles will get. Remember tension=force and Irradiation is just one of many tension cues you can use to enhance your strength.

1 comment:

  1. This was a great read. It was very easy to understand. Thank you!


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