Q: I had your original 10-Week Size Surge book from many years ago and just picked up the Size Surge 2.0 e-book. Thanks for revising it to include 4X training! I’m 45 now with a lot of joint damage from heavy “lifting,” if you want to call it that. So your [moderate-weight] 4X method is perfect and has me making new muscle gains. Thank you! My question concerns the “finisher” set you recommend in one of the workouts. Do you think pure-negative or negative-accentuated sets are better?
A: For the uninitiated, the Size Surge 2.0 e-book has a few new workouts compared to the original, including an alternate Phase 2 routine that’s Positions of Flexion with a few heavy sets, 4X work, AND a one-exercise mass finisher using an intensity method…
For example, you end the full-range POF chest workout with wide-grip dips, and next to that exercise in the routine it says (PN or NA). That’s pure negatives or negative accentuated…
For PURE NEGATIVES, you use your legs to get into the top position, then you lower in six seconds.
For NEGATIVE ACCENTUATED, a.k.a. X-centric, you lift in one second and lower in six—no help necessary from a partner or other muscle groups.
No help necessary makes NA more convenient; however, you can’t use as much weight, so your muscles don’t get the same overload.
Does the extra weight make pure negatives better? Not necessarily. Here’s why…
While the time of a PN and NA set are close to the same, 40 to 50 seconds, the TENSION TIME is not. Why? Because between pure-negative reps, the tension is off the target muscle. It’s like a series of rest/pause eccentric singles.
So a pure-negative (PN) set is best for STRENGTH with a size side effect.
Negative accentuated, lifting in one second and lowering in six, has you use a lighter weight, but you keep tension on the target muscle through the entire set—and you still get myofibrillar micro trauma with the moderately heavy weight…
So a negative-accentuated (NA) set is best for SIZE with a strength side effect.
You may be wondering whether you involve more fibers with pure negatives because of the heavier weight. Possibly—but not enough to make a big size-building difference. Nevertheless, it’s a reason to use the X-centric + X-celeration tactic (also in Size Surge 2.0)…
At the end of an X-centric set—say rep 8 when you can no longer lower in six seconds—immediately launch into a speed set. Each rep should last only 1.5 to 2 seconds, and you should get 5 to 10 semi-explosive reps, depending on the exercise…
Studies show that these speed, or X-celeration, reps can involve more fibers, even dormant ones, to enhance the growth effect.
So feed your need for speed to plant the muscle-size seed. And then grow like a weed.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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