Q: Speed Sets [1.5-second reps] feel great and are working. Just wondering why not do the first high-rep set with speed to get at more fast-twitch fibers. Or how about all sets in the entire workout in Speed style?
A: Have you been watching elite-bodybuilder training videos? Mr. Olympia winners like Jay Cutler use a rapid-fire cadence on almost all of their work sets…
Those last two words—“work sets”—are a hint. They often do slower, lighter warmup sets…
And that kicks off the reasons I recommend doing at least the first high-rep set with a 1/3 tempo…
1) The first set acts as a warmup for the target muscle—moving fast could produce or worsen injury.
2) A slow eccentric, or negative, stroke appears to have hypertrophy benefits, including satellite-cell proliferation.
3) A slower-rep set exhausts the slow-twitch fibers on the first easy reps to better activate fast-twitch fibers at the end of that set and from the very first rep of the Speed Set that follows.
4) You can get different fibers involved; using different rep tempos is one of the most ignored hypertrophy triggers because of that, according to Olympic coach and muscle-building expert Charles Poliquin.
So I highly advise doing your 20-rep set that starts your STX body-part routine with a slower cadence, rest 20 seconds, then do a Speed Set…
That, in a nutshell, is the Slow-Twitch Exhaustion mass method, explained in Old Man, Young Muscle.
Could you do all of the rest of your sets in that body-part routine in Speed style? Yes—if you’re only doing the ideal exercise….
But what if you follow the ideal exercise with an add-on move, which is a different exercise?
More on that tomorrow. Stay tuned…
Your Efficient Mass-Building Handbook: For complete mass workouts that include Speed Sets, the ideal exercise for each muscle, and the best stretch and contracted add-on moves, get your copy of Old Man, Young Muscle.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
Former Editor in Chief, Iron Man Magazine
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