Q: I just read a few of your articles about 3D Muscle Building, and you say some guy built 60 pounds of muscle in four weeks. Come on. I hate it when the impossible is touted as being the norm. That never happened, which is probably why you don’t show pictures of the guy. The only photos I see are Jonathan’s before and after. His 20 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks is impressive, but it’s a far cry from 60 pounds in a month. Got any pictures of the 60-pound gain? I didn’t think so.
A: We’re as skeptical as the next guy, but believe it or not, it did happen—back in 1971. It was called the Colorado Experiment, and it was Arthur Jones’ attempt at proving that his Nautilus machines and high-intensity training could build muscle very, very quickly (and we do have the pics; see below).
A few things you should know, however: Viator was gaining a lot of muscle he had already had at one time. In fact, prior to the experiment, he had won the Mr. America—the youngest man to ever win it. He was a true genetic marvel when it came to putting on muscle. Another thing is that prior to the experiment Casey had been very ill from an allergic reaction to medication he was taking after an industrial accident. So his body was somewhat starved down at 165 pounds.
Nevertheless, 60 pounds in four weeks is an incredible accomplishment no matter who you are or from what physical state you start (or restart). Here are those photos you are asking about…
We outline the program he used during the experiment in our 3D Muscle Building e-book (page 99), but it’s only somewhat applicable to the average trainee. Why? Because for one he used one set of 12 different exercises, many of them on Nautilus machines, which most people don’t have access to. The second reason: As we said, Casey was a genetic superman who could contract an enormous number of muscle fibers in any one set. Most experts believe that on a standard set to failure most trainees only get at 30 percent of their fast-twitch fibers due to nervous-system fizzle and/or fatigue. Casey, on the other hand, could probably contract more like 70 percent or more. He was an almost pure fast-twitch animal hard-wired for bodybuilding.
And to make his one-set-to-failure training even more effective, we believe he may have used a version of X-Rep partials. We make that assumption because of something Jones wrote in his Nautilus Bulletin #1 just prior to the experiment:
In all cases partial repetitions should also be performed until a point is reached where any amount of movement is impossible.
Those end-of-set partial reps in the strongest position of an exercise are what we now call X Reps, and we believe they are the missing link to better muscle gains with short high-intensity programs (see our e-books for why X Reps are so effective at bringing in more muscle fibers with the most growth potential).
Casey was also using 3D POF for some of his bodyparts. How do we figure that? If you analyze POF, you’ll notice that it incorporates specific exercises so that the target muscle is trained at three distinct points along its range of motion—midrange, stretch and contracted. That has a direct correlation to Jones’ Nautilus machines and training principles. (Jones’ methods were a big influence on Steve when he was developing POF.)
For example, Jones designed the pullover machine so that it trained the full-stretch and complete-contracted positions of the lats, while the Nautilus pulldown trained the muscle’s midrange position. Casey used both of those exercises in his Colorado Experiment program to train one of the largest muscles in the human body, the latissimus dorsi, through its full range of contractibility. That’s what 3D POF is all about, although it’s full-range training with standard equipment, including barbells and dumbbells, for every bodypart. (Nautilus machines are nice, but you don’t have to have them to train your muscles through their full range of motion, as we explain in 3D Muscle Building.)
So what we’re saying is that 60 pounds of muscle in four weeks did happen, but there were a number of stipulations. Don’t expect those kind of results—but then again, who knows how much muscle you can gain with correct training and diet. That’s up to you—your genetics, intensity-generating abilities and motivation.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson