WHAT IS IT?
The 2 Up/1 Down technique is a way to overload the eccentric phase of the rep by performing the concentric bilaterally and the eccentric unilaterally.
HOW TO TRACK PROGRESSION?
Progression can be tracked in a standard, progressively-overloading manner—through load and reps increases over time. Though this is the convention, 2 Up/1 Down can also be measured quantitatively via time-under-tension and qualitatively though increased tolerance especially if joint/tissue integrity is a primary goal.
WHO SHOULD USE IT?
Due to the increased muscle damage that comes with deliberate eccentric work as well as the coordination required to maximize the technique, intermediate and advanced lifters will be best able to take advantage of 2 Up/1 Down. Additionally, trainees who are dealing with tendinitis, strains, and/or other structural joint/muscle related afflictions can potentially see massive positive affects from strategic implementation of this technique.
WHO SHOULD NOT USE IT?
In general, beginners are going to be better suited sticking with simplicity. Trainees who have substantial bilateral strength deficits should also probably shy away from 2 Up/1 Down until the disparity is independently addressed.
WHEN TO USE IT?
Because the progression models are going to be similar to straight sets, there isn't any reason to believe that 2 Up/1 Down can't be utilized effectively at any point in a mesocycle provided recovery is monitored carefully. Uniquely, it would seem that the technique also crosses easily between overloading (either through volume or intensity progressions) and metabolic work. Implementing 2 Up/1 Down during a rehabilitation phase would seem to be a general useful tool for expediting recovery from injury.
WHEN NOT TO USE IT?
If recovery from training and/or purposeful suppression of fatigue is a primary goal (as would be the case during a deload, active rest, peak-week, etc), 2 Up/1 Down should be avoided due to the muscle damage that accompanies eccentric overload.
HOW TO USE IT?
This technique should only be used with movements that have an interconnected modality (like an ankle pad or cross bar that resistance is funneled through), are machine-based, provide intrinsic stability, move within a single plane, and isolate a single joint. Though there will be some exceptions to these rules, it is best to operate within this mental model in order to get the most out of 2 Up/1 Down as an intensity technique.
Additionally, the load being used will have to be proportional to the desired rep range (i.e. a target rep range of 6-8 might mean using a load that is ~15RM for bilateral reps). The eccentric should be deliberately slowed and drawn-out to increase the training effect. Exercises should also be chosen with logistics in mind—if it's impractical to make seamless transitions from eccentric-to-concentric and vice versa then the variation should be excluded from consideration.
1) Lying Machine Hamstring Curls- Sets of 8-10 each with ~20 rep bilateral max and 4000 tempo
2) Machine Preacher Curls- Sets of 6-8 each with ~15 rep bilateral max and 5001 tempo
3) Seated Machine Laterals- Sets of 4-6 each with ~10 rep bilateral max and 4000 tempo
HOW NOT TO USE IT?
There are more ways in which 2 Up/1 Down is contraindicated than there are viable ways in which to maximize the technique.
Any variation that would force a change in mechanics when switching between bilateral and unilateral should be avoided. For all intents and purposes, barbells, dumbbells, and cables will have little-to-no-applicability. Complexity within the movement pattern should be minimized so that output and control can be maximized. Absolute load relative to rep range, tempo, ease-of-transition between rep phases, and amount of failure points should all be factors that are considered carefully before implementing 2 Up/1 Down—Any of these being off can torpedo the efficacy of the technique.
1) Wide Pronated Pulldowns- This exercise selection is impractical for a multitude of reasons
2) Goblet Squats- Though this technically could work, the instability and latency with transitioning would severely restrict the benefits
3) Machine Leg Extensions for sets of 10-12 each with ~12 rep bilateral max and 2000 tempo- The exercise selection is valid but the load here would be too heavy for the target rep range and the tempo would be too fast to maximize the technique
BENEFITS OF THE TECHNIQUE:
- Increases eccentric loading which can be a stimulator of hypertrophy
- Ease of tracking progressions
- Can be effectively programmed within almost any type of mesocycle and at almost any time
- Merges some of the pros of bilateral and unilateral training while reducing some of the drawbacks of each (similar to alternating reps)
- Very efficacious for injury rehabilitation
- Works well for overloading and metabolic work
DRAWBACKS OF THE TECHNIQUE:
- Restricted with regards to applicable variations
- Due to the above, a few muscle groups will end up with the majority of the benefit
- Requires a foundation of coordination
- Ill-suited for beginners
- Excessive eccentric loading can lead to irrecoverable muscle damage if left unchecked
WHAT IS IT?