Q: I was reading some past articles where you guys had mentioned something called Aftershock training. What is that, and should I try it?
A: Aftershock training is supersetting two exercises, but with a distinct reason—more fast-twitch fiber recruitment for new muscle growth quickly (it can rejuvenate standard straight-set 3D POF training, as you’ll see).
How does it work? It’s based on using a stretch-position exercise as the first move in a superset to supercharge the second exercise—get more muscle fibers into the action. You perform the two exercises back to back, so that gives you extended tension time on the target muscle, but there’s more to it than that…
Stretch-position exercises, like dumbbell flyes for your chest, activate the myotatic reflex, an emergency-response phenomenon…
When a muscle is elongated near the extreme, as with dumbbell flyes, your body senses danger, as in possible trauma. That emergency signal hyperstimulates the nervous system, which calls more muscle fibers into action. It’s Mother Nature’s way of trying to prevent injury.
Once you know that stretch-position exercises can call more fibers into play, it makes sense to follow that exercise with another immediately to take advantage of that hyperactivation. You can either follow the stretch-position exercise with a big midrange move, which is called Compound Aftershock, or follow it with a contracted-position exercise, which is called Isolation Aftershock. Here’s an example of each, built from standard 3D Positions of Flexion bodypart routines outlined in the 3D Muscle Building e-book…
Compound Aftershock Quad Program
Squats (midrange), 1 x 9-12
Compound Aftershock superset
Sissy squats (stretch), 1 x 7-9
Squats (midrange), 1 x 7-9
Leg extensions (contracted), 1 x 12-15
Isolation Aftershock Lat Program
Wide-grip pulldowns (midrange), 2 x 9-12
Isolation Aftershock superset
Dumbbell pullovers (stretch), 1 x 7-9
Stiff-arm pulldowns (contracted), 1 x 7-9
Notice in the first example that you do one set of squats first. That’s to ensure you get optimal force generation with a solo set of a big midrange exercise. Then you follow, after a rest, with an Aftershock superset.
Once you understand the concept, you can construct your own Aftershock routines using any of our 3D Positions of Flexion-based programs. For example, the Every-Other-Day Size Surge Mass Program on pages 52 and 53 of the 3D Muscle Building e-book. That has each bodypart routine broken into midrange-, stretch-, and contracted-position exercises so you can easily group them into Aftershock routines or use them as straight-set standard POF mass-training protocols.
Remember, straight-set POF works, big time—for a while—but when gains slow down, you gotta switch things up to keep growing fast—and the Aftershock mass tactic can make that happen.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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