210 – Adam Zickerman on Muscle Hypertrophy vs Strength, Dr Ken Leistner, and the Future of HIT

Adam Zickerman
Adam Zickerman

Adam Zickerman is the Founder of InForm Fitness Studios, Host of the Inform Fitness Podcast, and author of the New York Times Bestseller, Power of 10: The Once-A-Week Slow Motion Fitness Revolution upon which the company program and philosophy is based.

Having started his first gym in a 300 square foot basement in 1997, Adam now spends his time researching, writing, and overseeing 7 locations all while remaining active as a personal trainer. Adam holds an undergraduate degree in biochemistry from Binghamton University and was certified in 1995 as a personal trainer with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).

Adam studied under Ken Hutchins, the architect of slow-cadence strength training, for his level 1, 2 and Master SuperSlow® certifications. Self-taught in equipment design, biomechanics and exercise physiology, Adam has written a comprehensive trainer certification course, for qualified applicants, on the principles of high intensity training and the Power of 10 methodology.

Listen to my first podcast with Adam Zickerman here

In this podcast, Adam and I discuss his highlights from the resistance exercise conference, the relationship between muscle hypertrophy and strength, the legacy of Dr Ken Leistner, the future of high intensity training, and much, much more.

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Enjoy the show!

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Show Notes

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Selected Links from the Episode

People Mentioned

Comments 4

  • Regarding Dr. Ken’s cause of death, this post appeared on Dr Darden on June 15, apparently made by his daughter:

    Hey, Bariann (daughter of Dr Ken) here. Was just looking up my dad and saw this thread. Still waiting on autopsy results – however thought I should let you know my dad was adopted. Really trying to work out genetics as I inherited a blood clotting disorder from my father. Had been complaining of back pain a week before his death. When we know what happened I have no problem passing on information for those that are interested – thank you for keeping my dad’s memory alive (despite his hard ass method of training which I in no way have enough energy to even attempt)

    Obviously, I cannot verify the authenticity of it.

    Regarding evidence based exercise: yup, all HIT people are rational and objective. Not the least bit of tribalism on display in this community! LOL…

    In the spirit of tribalism, I would also point out that SuperSlow/BBS is just one variant of HIT. While Ken Hutchins has made some valuable observations about exercise over time, I think his aggressive and somewhat dogmatic messaging is/was counter productive to the larger goal of getting more people interested in strength training.

    On size vs strength: if you watch enough powerlifting videos, you will see some confounding things, especially when it comes to deadlifts. I’ve seen skinny looking guys at 165 lb bodyweight pull 600+ lb deadlifts, so 3.5 times body weight. And then I’ve seen beefy 250 lbs dudes struggle to lift less weight. (Yes, I know: leverages, proportions, differing ROM. Still it is interesting to see.)

    It seems that both strength and VO2 max are correlated with longevity. But we know that VO2 max has a strong genetic component. It probably isn’t known if training interventions to increase VO2 max produce the same longevity benefit as being born with a genetically high VO2 max. I suppose strength will turn out to be the same thing. Perhaps some people retain strength better as they age due to favorable genetics, and those are the folks who also live longer, again due to those favorable genetics.

    Since Peloton was mentioned, it is probably fair to mention that there are others trying to bring the Peloton approach to strength training: https://www.fastcompany.com/90219278/this-2995-workout-machine-is-like-peloton-for-weight-lifting

    • Thanks Greg. Really appreciate you sharing this here. Please keep us posted here if you learn anything.

      I also really appreciate your comments about size vs strength and genetics. I to know people who are a modest weight and VERY strong. Personally, I’ve exhibited more strength than bigger people than me but perhaps much of that is down to skill on a specific machine.

      I suspect that genetics has more to do with longevity than we realise or want to admit. I recently discussed this with John Little on a podcast that will come out in a month or so. We discuss how health span can be improved but one’s “max lifespan” may not be extended with natural means.

      Interesting new home RT device!

  • Zickerman really captures the love, respect and sense of loss that we all have for Dr. Ken. Leistner was so much more than a just a great trainer/educator, he was a really good person. Adam’s comment “…big heart” really cuts more than one way with Dr. Ken.

    Adam has really done the thing we all thought we could or SHOULD do, expose large numbers of people to HIT and prove to them the difference it can make in their lives. Doing it in the Manhattan market shows an intrepid mind that should’ve scared the hell out of anyone.

    I recommend his podcasts to my clients and those who listen get more clear on what I do with them where maybe I don’t have to time in an exercise session to explain the whys and why nots of the training that we do.

    This guy really lives up to the name on his business. InForm.

    • Thank you Robert. I appreciate you sharing such kind words about both Ken and Adam. I don’t hear this being said enough about Adam and InForm Fitness. Perhaps some people in HIT are just jealous and bitter?

      Yes, his podcast is excellent and a great resource for PT clients!

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