Q: I’ve been following your newsletters. Interesting ideas. One question I have is that you talk about emphasizing the ideal exercise for mass for each target muscle, but then say that you follow it with a less efficient one. Why not just do the ideal exercise only for all sets and then move to the next muscle?
A: We’ve found that different exercises can have unique mass-building effects—and research backs that up…
For example, we’ve discussed the animal and human studies showing that stretch-overload alone can produce significant muscle hypertrophy.
That’s why we sometimes follow the ideal exercise with a stretch-position move that trains the target muscle at or near full elongation.
Another reason is unique muscle-fiber recruitment order. In their book Designing Resistance Training Programs, scientists Steven J. Fleck, Ph.D., and William J. Kraemer, Ph.D., come to this conclusion:
[Muscle fiber] recruitment order in the quadriceps for the performance of a leg extension is different from that of a squat. Variation in the recruitment order may be one of the factors responsible for the specificity of strength gains to a particular exercise. The variation in recruitment order provides evidence that to completely develop a particular muscle, it must be [trained] with several different movements or exercises.
So one exercise, even if it’s ideal, may not do the job of complete muscle development.
We know from experience that stretch-position exercises provide another “layer” of mass.
And moves with multiple muscles working together have synergy, which can produce unique growth effects, as explained in Old Man, Young Muscle.
Even so, we suggest that you emphasize the ideal exercise to optimize muscle size.
Then you can add on ones you know have other mass-building qualities. See the new ebook for specific examples for every muscle as well as complete workouts.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
For a limited time, you can get the brand-new Old Man, Young Muscle at 25% off (introductory price)
PLUS you’ll get the Muscle-On, Belly-Gone “Diet” ebook F-R-E-E
That’s a two-days-a-week, shred-your-physique eating plan that can recharge your anabolic environment, build more muscle, and melt body fat (see Steve’s photo on the cover).
Check it all out HERE