Q: I’m making amazing gains using the Basic Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout, [which is only one Ultimate Exercise for each muscle]. My workouts take about 40 minutes, which is fantastic, and I really feel both the Power and Density sets on each exercise. My only concern is that I’m not getting all the muscle growth possible because I’m not using full Positions of Flexion. I’ve got most of your e-books, and you base your best programs on POF [three exercises for each muscle—midrange, stretch, contracted]. Am I getting the most growth possible using only one Ultimate Exercise for each muscle?
A: Well, almost. Scientists contend that force generation is the number-one max-mass trigger. Fortunately, you’re using the best exercise for optimal force production—the key big compound move—for each muscle. In other words, most of the Ultimate Exercises are big multi-joint exercises that put the target muscle in its best ergonomic position for maximum leverage—and you begin each with a Power pyramid to amplify force. You’re obviously covering that get-big pathway exceptionally well, but we fully understand the want for even more muscle mass.
We also recommend not locking out on the Ultimate Exercises in order to keep tension on the target muscle. That’s especially important during the Density sets (4X). That produces occlusion, or blood-flow blockage, which will help increase the capillary beds, mitochondria and endurance components of the key 2A muscle fibers, the dominant type in the biggest bodybuilders. And that happens most effectively during the Density sets on each Ultimate Exercise in the Basic Power-Density Workout…
While the Density sequence on a big Ultimate Exercise may not be quite as effective as a contracted-position isolation move for achieving optimal muscular tension and occlusion, such as crossovers for chest, if you do the Ultimate Exercise with a fairly slow cadence, like two seconds up/two seconds down, you will elicit a strong tension/occlusion effect. So that pathway is covered fairly well in your Ultimate Exercise routine. For chest it’s…
•(Power pyramid), 3 x 9, 7, 5-6
•(Density, 10×10 style), 4 x 10
But what about the stretch-overload pathway? Most of the Ultimate Exercises do NOT put the target muscle into FULL elongation, so this is the most neglected size-building pathway in an Ultimate-Exercise-only program.
The target muscle does move into semi-stretch, but is that enough to trigger stretch-overload hypertrophy? Well, some Ultimate Exercises produce more of a stretch than others. For example, close-grip chins provide a fairly good stretch for the lats at the bottom of the stroke (photo shows the top position, not stretch)…
However, decline presses for the chest (pictured near the top of the page) do not produce a great pec stretch for most trainees. That requires some type of flye exercise…
Is lack of stretch a growth limiter for some bodyparts in Ultimate-Exercise-only programs? Possibly. We believe stretch overload is one of the most neglected anabolic accelerators. Remember, one animal study produced a 300 percent muscle-mass gain after only one month of stretch overload “workouts.” In the study, the stretch was actually a partial-pulse action in the fully stretched position, not full-range reps. Interesting.
So could you fill the stretch-overload deficit by adding one set of an X-Rep-only stretch move for each bodypart or just your weaker ones in the Basic Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout? Great idea! And it wouldn’t add much time to your 40-minute sessions. Just add this to the above Ultimate Exercise Power-Density chest workout…
•(X-Only stretch overload), 1 x 15-20
Notice that the POF version of The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout (pages 25-28, after the Ultimate Exercise version) contains all of the stretch-position exercises for all bodyparts, such as pullovers for lats, sissy squats for quads, and so on…
That means you can easily pick out any of the stretch moves to add some more muscle mass. Warning: That one X-Rep-Only set of a stretch-position exercise will make you sore; be prepared.
Note: While almost all of our programs are constructed around POF, 3D Muscle Building is the official POF e-book and contains a table of exercises for each Position of Flexion for every muscle. It also has individual POF bodypart analysis and programs as well as a number of effective POF workouts, including Jonathan’s 20-pounds-of-muscle-in-10-weeks program, in which he used POF the second five weeks.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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