Q: I’ve been getting amazing muscle-size gains with Progressive-Speed 4X [included in The Super-Size Crash Course]. Should I do more speed reps or more X-centric slow-mo reps to get the best mass results? I want to grow as fast as possible.
A: Don’t we all—but it’s hard to say which is best, as both styles trigger specific hypertrophy results. For the uninitiated…
Speed, or X-celeration, is doing each rep in about 1.5 seconds—moving as fast as possible while still controlling the weight (no throwing). A 10-rep set will last only about 15 to 20 seconds.
X-centric, on the other hand, is lifting in one second and lowering in six—more of a slow-mo negative-accentuated style. Sets of seven to nine reps last 50 seconds to a full minute.
We’re big fans of Olympic coach and muscle-building expert Charles Poliquin, who always preaches using a variety of rep speeds for max-mass gains. Here’s why…
Slow-speed lifting [like X-centric] brings about more metabolic adaptations than high-speed lifting does. [It’s] also associated with increases in muscle glycogen, CP, ATP, ADP, creatine, phosporylase, PFK and Krebs cycle enzyme activity. Training at faster speeds does not induce those changes. Also, performing slow reps builds the connection between the mind and muscle.
Faster-speed lifting tends to engage more muscle fibers, thickening the myofibrils, but slower-speed lifting can enhance that as well as encourage size gains via the above “metabolic adaptations.”
Back to Poliquin:
Pierre Roy, a national weightlifting coach in Canada, told me that he was using five-second eccentric contractions for sets of six reps in preparatory training periods when he wanted one of his lifters to gain size.
Mix up the speeds of your sets to fire up your mass jets.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson