Frank Zane wasn’t the biggest bodybuilder of his era, but what a physique. He won the Mr. Olympia weighing around 190 at 5’9”. And 40 years later, the physique he displayed way back then is still considered an ultimate ideal by many, us included… [Read more…]
Q: I just started the Size Surge program for some new size this year, and it feels great so far. I love the workouts. One problem I’m having is that on some exercises that I’m supposed to pyramid the weight up, I don’t get enough reps on the second heaviest set. For example, on dumbbell presses, my reps go 9 and then 4 or 5 after I add weight. Should I just keep doing that, use the same weight on both sets or what?
A: We’ve answered a similar question concerning barbell curls before, and we suggested using the same weight on both sets; however, that’s a single-joint move. It sounds as if you’re having problems pyramiding on the big compound, or multi-joint, exercises, which is common for thin guys looking for muscle size… [Read more…]
Q: You’ve talked about doing different things on the last set of a 4X sequence, like rest/pause. Are there ways to change the other sets in the sequence for variety? I’m a big fan of “change to gain,” so I like as much variation as I can get. By the way, 4X training is incredible—I’ve gained almost 10 pounds in six weeks using it with POF. Thank you!
A: Yes, change to gain—if your workouts are the same, your results will be lame. (Maybe we should’ve been rappers—Nah.)
We’ve experimented in the past with a unique approach to 4X—but it’s not for the meek. Remember, for 4X you use a weight with which you can get about 15 reps, but you only do 10; rest 40 seconds between sets then do it again. Here’s the hybrid drill:
Set 1: Raise the weight in one second and lower in six, getting around eight reps. That’s what we call an X-centric, or negative-accentuated, set. (Note: That’s almost a minute of time under tension.)
Sets 2 and 3: Use a normal cadence—one-second positives and three-second negatives, going for 10 reps. (40 seconds TUT)
Set 4: Use a speed cadence—about one second for the positive and one second for the negative.Get as many as you can—probably around eight to 10, depending on the exercise. We call this a speed set.
The late Olympic coach and muscle-building expert Charles Poliquin said that the most underused mass stimulus is rep cadence—and the above gives your muscle three different ones to deal with as well as unique tension times—and you use the same weight on all sets…
The X-centric reps on the first set act as an excellent warmup, pushing a lot of blood into the target muscle with a tension time of almost a minute and providing a good stimulus to the nervous system with slow negatives.
They also provide muscle-building benefits right off the bat—you get myofibrillar stimulation with the slow negatives and sarcoplasmic expansion with the long tension time. That’s the double-dose of muscle growth we’re always harping on.
Next you do sets 2 and 3 with a standard cadence—one up and three down. Tension time is around 40 seconds.
Then, on the last set, you do more explosive-style reps, but you still control the weight. The 2-second-reps tempo is speed style and has been shown in studies to activate dormant 2B power fibers, so be prepared for some major fiber churn and burn. Good luck getting 10 reps on this set.
We recommend trying it on just the big midrange movement of a Positions-of-Flexion workout because it can be so traumatic. If you try it on all 3 POF exercises for a muscle, do a 3X sequence for the stretch- and contracted-position moves—only one standard set instead of two. It’s another mass tactic to get you huge.
If you don’t have the 4X Mass Workout yet, you can pick it up for just $9 HERE.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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This shot of three-time Mr. Olympia Frank Zane shows him in the studio hitting a classic biceps shot. His physique was a true work of art… [Read more…]
Q: I got The 4X Mass Workout e-book, and it’s fantastic! I tried it on arms for a few weeks, and they blew up at every workout. I measured, and I gained a quarter-inch in only three weeks. Thank you! They’d been stuck for over a year at just under 17″. I’m convinced and ready to use 4X on all bodyparts. I want to do your full-range Positions of Flexion method for each muscle, 4X on all exercises, but the POF routine in the 4X e-book is a 2-way split. I don’t think I can work legs and chest on the same day. Is there an alternative?
A: Don’t be a wuss! That’s the Phase 2 Size Surge program Jonathan used to pack on 20 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks, so suck it up and just do it…
Kidding! That 2-way split is too taxing for some trainees (not just wusses), which is one reason Jonathan provides a 3-way POF split in his Size Surge e-book (pages 55-57). Here’s how that less-taxing mass plan pans out… [Read more…]
Q: Maybe I missed it since I’m a relatively new subscriber to your newsletter, but what is the Ultimate Exercise for shoulder size; wide-grip dumbbell upright rows or dumbbell presses?
A: We first identified each Ultimate Exercise for every major bodypart in our first e-book, The Ultimate Mass Workout. There’s a comprehensive chapter on each one, why they are best, and also a few complete programs with just those moves—like V-handle chins for lats… [Read more…]
I opted for another quick, multi-joint mass attack today, all midrange work. Took 35 minutes… [Read more…]
I opted for a quick, multi-joint mass attack today, all midrange work…