Q: I’m using a Positions-of-Flexion program from 3D Muscle Building. I’ve read a lot about the pro bodybuilders’ training, and I’m just not sure three exercises per muscle, as you recommend in POF, is enough. Can you help me understand why that’s sufficient for building the most mass?
A: First, realize the all pro bodybuilders use anabolic steroids. Those drugs heighten recovery and growth significantly. That means they can tolerate a lot more volume at each workout. On top of that, the pros have genetics for building muscle and recovering from work far superior to us normal mortals…
One of the top pros from many years ago, said in an old IRON MAN column answering a question about volume from a drug-free bodybuilder:
It’s not the amount of exercises you do, but how you execute and combine them that’s important. The basics work best. You really shouldn’t need more than three exercises [per bodypart]. Doing six or eight different exercises is only going to get you overtrained. Obviously, it’s even more likely to happen if you’re a drug-free lifter.
Now your choice of exercises shouldn’t be random—and that’s precisely why Positions-of-Flexion mass training evolved. It’s a logical way to pick three exercises for each muscle so that you train it through its full range of contractibility. The easiest bodypart with which to grasp the concept is triceps…
Midrange. To train the middle range you use close-grip bench presses. Your arms are perpendicular to your torso. [Note: If you use a split that has you train triceps after chest, use lying extensions instead of close-grip bench presses, as the presses will be redundant.]
Stretch. To fully elongate the triceps, use overhead extensions. Stretching the target muscle against resistance is highly anabolic—one animal study showed a 300 percent increase in muscle mass after only one month of progressive-resistance stretch workouts. Yes, 300 percent!
Contracted. This position puts the target muscle in a position to flex against resistance—and the best contracted-position exercises have continuous tension, which blocks blood flow to the muscle during the set and triggers sarcoplasmic expansion. The sarcoplasm is the energy fluid in the muscle fibers.
Notice that those three exercises train the triceps at three different points along the muscle’s arc of flexion—arms overhead, arms perpendicular to the torso, and arms down next to the torso. That insures full, complete development and triggers exceptional fiber activation. In other words, POF gives you a triple dose of muscle growth for every bodypart.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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