Q: I heard that close-grip bench presses can build the inner pecs. But then a pro bodybuilder said that’s false. He said no exercise can build the “inner” pecs—or “lower” biceps for that matter, and that those are muscle-building myths. Which is correct?
A: While close-grip bench presses won’t direct development to the inner-chest area, some researchers suggest that putting a muscle into elongation, or stretch, against resistance can thicken the fibers at the insertion point. For example, doing flyes for more chest beef near the sternum…
Renowned researcher Jacob Wilson, Ph.D., noted, “Reps in the lower range of a muscle [stretch], can actually add sarcomeres to a muscle fiber, which would fill out the area of a muscle where it is inserted.”
We believe that may be a big reason we made such dramatic progress so quickly the first year we integrated X-Rep partials at the end of some of our sets—we were adding sarcomeres to muscle fibers for much more muscle size and detail. [For more on X Reps and the routine and tactics we used for our initial X transformation, see The Ultimate Mass Workout, available HERE.]
Q: My trainer told me that lighter weights don’t build any muscle, despite what I read you guys preaching often. He says only heavy weights create mass, and light weights or high reps for mass are muscle-building myths. Is that true?
A: Absolutely false. In fact, research shows that very light weights can match or even surpass the hypertrophy created by heavy weights—like this one: Appl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2012 Jun;37(3):551-4. Epub 2012 Apr 26…
It is often recommended that heavier training intensities (∼70%-80% of maximal strength) be lifted to maximize muscle growth. However, we have reported that intensities as low as 30% of maximum strength, when lifted to volitional fatigue, are equally effective at stimulating muscle protein synthesis rates during resistance exercise recovery.
That study, along with Mr. America Doug Brignole, convinced us to try lighter-weight, higher-rep training. He claimed it was getting him bigger and bigger—while he was in his 50s. We tried it and it worked, big time.
Our version is called TORQ, tension-overload repetition quantity, sets of 30-20-15. That high-end hypertrophic tension time is something most bodybuilders never get—and may explain slow-to-no growth. [For programs and info on Tension Overload Repetition Quantity, see The 4X Mass Workout 2.0, available HERE, or The Ultimate Power-Density Workout 2.0, available HERE.]
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
What Would You Do to Protect Your Family?
Mike Westerdal is a renowned personal trainer and national best-selling physical preparedness author, but he’s also a father and a husband… who would do anything to protect his family.
He used to get pushed around when younger and spent years building up his body and becoming stronger, getting mentally and physically tough the hard way. As he got bigger, he learned to handle himself, and working in security, he learned first-hand how violence really plays out.
Some of the other guys online who show off their self-defense videos and books need to get a grip. The level of skill needed to pull off their basic moves is CRAZY for most ordinary people.
If a defense system requires more than a few hours to master, it’s not a program.
The only techniques you will ever use are the simple ones.
They need to work for an ordinary person without prior training, technique, or ability.
So even if you think you don’t have time to learn how to defend yourself…
You don’t need to spend years training to be a martial artist.