Q: I’m training at home like everyone else, but I don’t have a lot of weight. In fact, on many exercises, like dumbbell bench presses, the weight is way too light. Is there anything I can do to keep my muscle growth moving forward without going heavier?
A: First, bodybuilding is called “progressive-resistance” training because adding weight and/or reps to your exercises can increase muscle size…
We say “can” because getting stronger does not always mean getting bigger. Strength may also be the result of neuromuscular adaptation—nervous system efficiency—or better coordination/leverage.
Nevertheless, there’s no question that to make a muscle bigger, something in your workout must change, forcing your muscle to cope with new hypertrophic demands.
Luckily, that change doesn’t have to be more weight, reps, or volume. In fact, you can flip the hypertrophic switch simply by changing your rep speed on some sets. For example…
Instead of lifting in one second and lowering in three, use the X-celeration mass tactic: Make your reps faster, only 1.5 seconds total for each—a controlled piston-like action…
Late Olympic coach and muscle-building expert Charles Poliquin said that one of the least used hypertrophic stimulators is changing rep tempo.
In other words, switching to speed reps at the right time will get you more mass fast…
What is the right time? Right after a slo-mo set that pre-exhausts the slow-twitch fibers. That will not only help trigger more fast-twitch growth fibers on your speed set, you’ll also get some new size in your slow-twitch fibers.
Try it on the DB bench presses you mentioned. Do a slow-mo, controlled set first for anywhere from eight to 15 reps, rest 20 seconds, then blast out a speed set.
If you want to see how we’re doing it for every body part, we explain all of the ins and outs in the home-training section of our updated Quick-Start Muscle-Building Guide 2.0. We outline complete workouts combining speed-rep sets with slo-mo training to pre-exhaust the slow-twitch fibers and trigger the best fast-twitch hypertrophic response.
We also show how to use stretch-position moves to get even more mass stimulation. We’ll have more on that in a future newsletter…
For now, try the above: Slo-mo followed by X-celeration to trigger home-grown mass creation.
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Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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