Q: Thanks for the X-centric Mass Workout! Mixing heavy work, negative-accentuated sets, and 4X has given me the best gains of my life. My bodyweight increased over 5 pounds, but my abs are sharper with veins in the lower part. I’m stoked, and the ladies seem to like it too. LOL! My question is about NA sets vs. negatives at the end of regular sets. After two heavy sets, you say to reduce the weight on the last set for an NA set on the big exercise [like bench presses]. Couldn’t I just keep the weight heavy and add four to six negatives at the end of that last set? I feel like I need another heavy set. I have a partner, so he could lift and I could lower on the negatives. I think Mike Mentzer recommended this style.
A: In his prime, Mentzer actually recommended a 3-phase set to get big and ripped…
1) Go to positive failure
2) Immediately do a few forced reps—your partner helps you only enough to keep the weight moving
3) Immediately launch into negative-only reps—partner lifts the weight, you lower as slowly as possible until you can’t control the downward motion.
That triple-threat set was designed to completely exhaust the muscle. Unfortunately, that style of training can also exhaust the nervous system quickly and lead to overtraining—unless you’re on steroids, which Mike was…
After Mike stopped competing and started training average drug-free people and athletes, he discovered that his style was overkill. He backed off and recommended the 3-phase set only on very rare occasions.
Nevertheless, your idea of doing only the negatives tacked on to your last heavy set to failure—without the forced reps—is better. It’s much less stress. That’s because the forced reps are the major culprit in short-circuiting the nervous system…
So doing your last set heavy with pure negatives added to the end is a great idea for getting big and ripped. Experiment with that instead of the NA set. If you’re using the Direct/Indirect X-centric Mass Workout, your lower-middle chest routine would be…
Midrange: Bench presses (pyramid), 3 x 9, 7, 6 + negs
Stretch: Flat-bench flyes, 1-2 x 8-10
Crossovers (4X style), 4 x 10
At every other workout, you may want to reduce the weight and do the negative-accentuated set instead of the last heavy + negatives. That’s because NA, or X-centric, gives you a long tension time—almost a minute—and seven to eight slow negative reps: One second to lift, six seconds to lower for about 8 reps…
That extended tension time provides a unique sarcoplasmic mass-building stimulus as well as fat-burning via prolonged myofibrillar work. In other words, you get a double dose of muscle growth plus a huge metabolic boost after your workout during the micro tear repair, which explains your new girl-grabbing abs…
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
One of our favorite proteins has a try-it-free, no-strings offer, and we don’t want you to miss out. No, this is not a trick or scam—it’s simply a way for BioTrust to get you to try their great Low-Carb protein, no strings whatsoever (just pay a small shipping cost). We’re not kidding…This is an incredible offer, but there’s a limited supply, so grab yours today before the offer runs out** —and it’s delicious, by the way!
–> Secure Your FREE Container NOW! (limited inventory)
**One free container per household