Q: I love the Power/Rep Range/Shock POF program [on pages 103-114 in the 3D Muscle Building e-book]. I’m making excellent gains with it, mostly in strength. I’m more of a small-framed guy at 5’10, 175 pounds. I read your discussion on the study that showed low reps don’t do much for hardgainer types like me, so I’m wondering if I would get more size by deleting the Power week. Should I just do RR/S, alternating between the Rep Range and Shock workouts?
A: If all you’re after is a muscle mass multiplier for more size, with smaller increases in strength, that may be an option; however, you sound pretty stoked about all the new strength gains you’re getting (we got incredible strength gains on that program too!). We’d suggest you keep the Power week—just don’t do it as often. More specifics on that in a moment from the creator, Eric Broser. First, let’s review the P/RR/S protocol for those who aren’t familiar with it…
Week 1, Power: Train every exercise with straight sets—no supersets, tri-sets or drop sets—and keep your reps in the four-to-six zone, resting about three minutes between sets.
Week 2, Rep Range: For the first exercise, pick a weight that allows you to get seven to nine reps. For the second exercise, it’s 10 to 12 reps. On the third move, the rep range up to the high end of fast-twitch recruitment—13 to 15 reps. That works exceptionally well with the 3D POF exercises: For example, for upper-chest, we used incline presses (midrange-position exercise) for 7-9 reps, incline flyes (stretch-position exercise) for 10-12 reps, and then high cable flyes (contracted-position movement) for 13-15 reps to finish off the muscle group with continuous tension, occlusion, and a full-blown skin-stretching pump.
Week 3, Shock: This week is for putting your muscles through the meat grinder with supersets, drop sets, multi-rep rest/pause, and so on. Almost anything goes, as you’re trying to annihilate the target muscles. Reps for most muscles stay in the eight-to-10 range, but extended-set techniques are a must. For example, a midrange exercise supersetted with a contracted-position exercise, using X Reps, X Fades, and Static Xes along the way, and then finish with a drop set or two on the stretch-position exercise—like incline flyes—with more X Reps.
Power/Rep Range/Shock is a great way to cover all the muscle-building pathways over three weeks…
• Power week you use straight sets for low reps and longer rest periods, so you focus primarily on max-force generation (pure fast-twitch fiber activation).
• Rep-Range week has you run the gamut of hypertrophic rep ranges, so you hit a multitude of muscle-fiber types.
• Shock week
Now to answer your question. According to Broser, some trainees get more muscle stimulation and growth accumulation from the Rep-Range and Shock weeks. As studies suggest, those who have more endurance-oriented fast-twitch fibers (high glycolytic, high oxidative) need the longer tension times those types of workouts provide to grow. Steve is in that camp. The solution is to do more Rep-Range weeks: P/RR/RR/S or P/RR/S/RR. That way you’re getting fewer Power weeks in the sequence, which don’t do a lot for hardgainer types, although they will help improve your neuromuscular efficiency (nerve-to-muscle connections) for strength surges, as you’re finding out. [Note: The complete Power/Rep Range/Shock 3D POF program is included in the 3D Muscle Building e-book.]
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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