Q: I’ve always gotten pretty good size and strength gains from
A: Great question! For new readers, the myofibrils are the force-generating actin and myosin strands in the muscle fibers. If you have more of those than usual, you would be considered myofibrillar dominant. A good example of that is Mike Mentzer, who was squatting over 500 pounds at age 16…
Keep in mind that during his pro-competition days, most of his workouts were pre-exhaustion, which is more geared toward sarcoplasmic-size increases. That’s because you do a single-joint isolation exercise immediately followed by a big compound move for the same bodypart…
The first exercise pre-fatigues the target muscle so you can push it further past the growth threshold with the help of other muscles on the second exercise. So flyes isolate the chest muscles, then you continue to force the pecs to work with bench presses with help from the front delts and triceps.
While Mentzer was getting some myofibrillar stimulation with that method, it primarily expanded the sarcoplasm, as he was not doing the big exercise first. It’s why he got big, quality size—his muscles really blew up by engorging the sarcoplasm.
What if you’re more sarcoplasmic dominant, as most hardgainers are—should you focus on heavy weights to target your myofibrillar deficiency? NO. You will get a little stronger, but you won’t get a lot of muscle size. The sarcoplasm appears to contribute the most to muscle growth, so unless you’re a powerlifter, you should still focus on sarcoplasmic expansion. It’s the only way for hardgainers to get that bodybuilder
As for your question, yes, try 4X with lower reps. Our colleague, the late Charles Poliquin often recommended that as a hypertrophic stimulus to “easy gainers”—say 4×6. He even suggested 4×2, supersetting two exercises for the same muscle, with a minute of rest after each low-rep superset. Interesting, but NOT something a hardgainer would benefit from muscle-size wise.
NOTE: Spark a huge surge in muscle hypertrophy with the proven 4X mass method, verified by top bodybuilders, stress researchers, and muscle physiologists. Read more…
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.