Yesterday I mentioned that once your strength gains tail off, another way to achieve change for new hypertrophy gains is to switch exercises…
That switch is easier with add-on exercises, as there are many—not so much with the ideal moves. Still, with a cable set-up, it can be done, such as going from dumbbell decline presses to cable chest presses.
Let’s look at another change-to-gain strategy…
2) Alter rep speed. In Old Man, Young Muscle, I included Speed Sets, usually one at the end of an STX sequence or one set on the add-on exercise…
While my standard rep speed is one second to lift and three to lower, a speed rep is about 1.5 seconds for the entire rep.
It’s NOT throwing the weight—you remain in control. It’s simply a faster tempo on both the positive and negative stroke. That faster cadence has the potential to involve different fibers and/or affect the previously worked fibers with unique stress. (See OMYM for research and more analysis on this mass tactic.)
At the other end of the rep-tempo spectrum is what I call X-centric reps. That’s lowering in six seconds and raising in one.
When I was the editor of Iron Man magazine and training with Jonathan Lawson, this X-centric method did such great things for our physiques that we wrote an entire ebook on it, The X-centric Mass Workout, Featuring NA and 4X Training.
It was written before the “ideal-exercise” epiphany from Mr. America/Mr. Universe Doug Brignole, so the workouts need an overhaul, but the information on negative-accentuated training and the 4X method is excellent. Yes, that’s a half-assed shameless plug.
Incidentally, an X-centric set works well as a change-to-gain tactic on the first set of an STX sequence….
So in the Old Man, Young Muscle workout, you take the ideal exercise and instead of 20 standard reps on set 1, you do eight to 10 reps lifting in one second and lowering in six…
You still get the long tension time, more than a minute, but you also get the uniqueness of the slow negative on every rep. Really a great change-to-gain mass switch.
Tomorrow I’ll give you change-to-gain mass method #3. Hint: It’s rated X.
Latest Release: Get the ideal exercise for each muscle, the best add-on moves for ultimate mass, complete 35-minute workouts, exercise start/finish photos and details on building muscle fast and efficiently in Old Man, Young Muscle.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
Former Editor in Chief, Iron Man Magazine
The “New” Perfect Physique
You’ve probably believed that women go crazy over huge muscles. You’ve probably even aspired to look like Arnold at some point.
The picture of the perfect physique seems to have changed over the years…
There were several years when it seemed women preferred a leaner and smaller physique like Brad Pitt’s in Fight Club.
Luckily, that seems to have just been a fad, and a more muscular look has become more desired again. Not pro bodybuilder big, but something in between with good muscularity and chiseled detail…
Alain Gonzales refers to it as the “Athletic-Aesthetic” physique, and women go wild over it.
Check out Alain’s 12-week program here: