Q: I’ve noticed in a lot of your e-book routines that you often recommend just two work sets for an exercise Why? Should I do more? I’ve read that most bodybuilders do four or five sets per exercise.
A: As Arthur Jones, the creator of Nautilus machines said: “You can train hard or you can train long, but you can’t do both.” Short and hard or long and not so hard both work. Despite what some die-hard high-intensity trainers say, gradually increasing volume is a form of overload that can result in more muscle—if you don’t overdo intensity. It’s a balancing act. Us? Regardless of whether it’s one of our low-set workouts or high tension time workouts, we’re about
We want to build the most muscle in the shortest time with the shortest workouts possible. Why? Because to keep our lives sane (and keep our jobs) we only have so much time to spend in the gym. If we chose the mega-volume approach, we’d have to train for 2 1/2 hours five to six days a week—and our families would probably have us put in a padded room somewhere. (Plus, when hard training and long training begin to commingle, steroids become necessary for most trainees, and we refuse to go that route.)
Life and time constraints have us relying on tactics like drop sets and rest/pause, etc. for slight volume increases because they don’t add a lot of time to the workout. And, of course, X Reps and X-hybrid techniques can make a single work set as effective as two to four regular work sets. Take the simple concept of X-Rep partials at the end of a set, one of the most efficient mass-building tactics you can use…
At exhaustion, when the key fast-twitch growth fibers are finally engaged, you don’t stop the set; you move the resistance to the point at which the target muscle is strongest—like near the bottom of a chinup—and you continue to do six- to eight-inch partial reps. Yes, it hurts, but that extends the set and forces more key fast-twitch activation for exponential growth stimulation (and the hurt, or burn, triggers more growth hormone release, a potent muscle builder and fat burner).
Another way to make your workout more efficient is to change your hand or foot position slightly on each set. For example, if you do two sets of incline presses, on the first set use a grip that’s slightly wider than shoulder width; then on the second set, move your hands in to shoulder width. That can change the angle of pull on the target muscle slightly—and one slight change can produce big gains.
It’s all about creating
If you have tons of time, good recovery ability and no family life, volume training is an option that can work. If you’re in our boat—short on time but still want to look like a ripped bodybuilder—you’ll need to figure out ways to make your workouts more efficient and always evolving.
That’s what we’re all about—and why X Reps and X-hybrid techniques are a big part of the efficient fast-mass solution. [Note for new readers: The first two X-Rep e-books, The Ultimate Mass Workout
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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