Check out Arnold in his prime below and his son Joseph, age 21. The resemblance is uncanny. Are genetics important in bodybuilding? Absolutely, as is the case in most sports.Read more
You already know that some type of overload is necessary for growth-fiber thickening. That’s called myofibrillar size.
The strands in the muscle fiber enlarge, giving you bigger muscles. Heavier loads can produce that…[Read more…]
Q: I’m into high-intensity training, doing one all-out work set per exercise. But I just read your 3D Muscle Building e-book and see the logic in Positions-of-Flexion mass training. Do you think I could combine the two and get good mass results doing one work set for each of the three positions for each bodypart? Like, for my quads, I would do squats (midrange), sissy squats (stretch), and leg extensions (contracted), one all-out set for each.
A: That’s an excellent way to get acquainted with the mass-building power of 3D POF. In fact, we’ve used a similar program over the winter years ago with good results. The only problem was that when motivation was low, which it can be when it’s cold outside, gains aren’t so great. To make that 3D triple HIT approach build muscle as quickly as possible, you have to be gung-ho and train every work set like it’s the last set of your life. Summer is probably a better time to lock in that mindset.[Read more…]
Q: I’m making some incredible progress using your Double-X Overload technique, but I wanted to let you know that I don’t just use it on my work sets. DXO works for warmup sets, too. I usually use it on at least one of my two warmup sets for the big [midrange] exercises. I feel much stronger on my work sets. Great technique!
A: That’s a good tip. We love feedback from fellow weight trainers who think instead of just following the pack. One reason DXO works so well on warmup sets is because of the enhanced occlusion and nervous system activation.[Read more…]
Q: I’ve been following your newsletters and noticed you guys talking about rest/pause not too long ago. Can you explain the technique a little more and the reasoning behind it?
A: Rest/pause is basically taking a very short break after you hit exhaustion on a set, and then repping out again with the same weight. The brief rest/pause allows the lactic acid to clear somewhat from the muscle and the nervous system and ATP to regenerate to a degree as well.
Our first exposure to rest/pause was through scientific-minded pro bodybuilder Mike Mentzer. He used the technique on a series of heavy singles. He would do around four max singles with 10 to 15 seconds of rest between each. The first two singles he would usually get on his own; then on the third he would need help (forced rep). For the fourth rep, he would either reduce the weight enough so he could get another single by himself or do another forced single.
Mentzer’s is a good variation for big midrange movements every so often. The drawbacks are that singles are very dangerous—especially if you let your ego get involved—and that type of low-rep training is more geared to strength development than muscle size—although trainees with a lot of pure fast-twitch fibers like Mentzer may get an equal amount of size and strength from max-single rest/pause.
Another rendition of rest/pause is DC training. Here you take a weight that allows you to get about nine reps. Then you rest for 20 seconds and do another set with the same weight—getting around six reps. You rest for another 20 seconds and do a third and final set with the same weight, getting around four reps.
That’s geared more toward building size than strength, and it’s an excellent variation for big midrange movements, like presses and rows. [There’s more about DC and other rest/pause styles and how to apply them in the 3D Muscle Building e-book.]
We’ve found that rest/pause is a good shock tactic that adds muscle size quickly during our ripping phase, but we’re not so rigid with the application. For example, we’ll rest/pause for 15 seconds and then rep out for five or more extra reps on any exercise, be it midrange, stretch, or contracted—and we may even add X-Rep partials to that second phase. Another favorite is to use it after a Double-X Overload (DXO) set.
Try this rest/pause technique…
On incline presses, do one straight set of about nine reps. Rest for two to three minutes and reduce the weight by about 20 percent. Now do a DXO set, putting an X-Rep partial at the bottom between each full rep.
That gives you a more explosive-style set that stresses the semi-stretch point at the turnaround for extra fast-twitch activation. When you reach exhaustion, probably around six or seven, rack the weight and count to 15. Then unrack the weight and do standard reps to exhaustion—and, if you’re looking for max-growth effects, add X-Rep partials at the back end of that set.
That’s a very concentrated anabolic stimulus. You get extra force generation, pump, burn and plenty of out-of-control profanities—it’s an all-encompassing technique that can reshape your physique.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
What Would You Do to Protect Your Family?
Mike Westerdal is a renowned personal trainer and national best-selling physical preparedness author, but he’s also a father and a husband… who would do anything to protect his family.
He used to get pushed around when younger and spent years building up his body and becoming stronger, getting mentally and physically tough the hard way. As he got bigger, he learned to handle himself, and working in security, he learned first-hand how violence really plays out.
Some of the other guys online who show off their self-defense videos and books need to get a grip. The level of skill needed to pull off their basic moves is CRAZY for most ordinary people.
If a defense system requires more than a few hours to master, it’s not a program.
The only techniques you will ever use are the simple ones.
They need to work for an ordinary person without prior training, technique, or ability.
So even if you think you don’t have time to learn how to defend yourself…
You don’t need to spend years training to be a martial artist.
One of the most motivating pics we ever saw when it comes to arms is Arnold’s biceps shot on the cover of his best-selling book Education of a Bodybuilder. Holy sky-high bi’s! It doesn’t look real—but it is (no PhotoShop back then).[Read more…]
Q: I saw someone mention that Arnold used Positions of Flexion. Is that true? I’m thinking about trying it, but I’m not sure if it will work.
A: Arnold, the Austrian Oak, used a lot of exercises, so he definitely favored a multi-angular approach in his training. If you look at the workouts he used during his bodybuilding dominance, you’ll see shades of Positions of Flexion (POF), such as bench presses (midrange), flyes (stretch), and crossovers (contracted) for his massive chest.
One bodypart on which he did make a conscious effort to train those three particular angles was biceps. His favorite routine was barbell or dumbbell curls (midrange), incline curls (stretch), and concentration curls (contracted)…[Read more…]
Q: How do you feel about one-arm and one-leg work? I’ve read that training one side at a time can help you contract more muscle fibers. Is that true?
A: We’ve seen studies that show unilateral work to be better at neuromuscular stimulation and therefore heightened muscle-fiber activation. Our main problem with one-limb exercises is time and energy expenditure.
Working one arm or one leg at a time takes
Q: I just want the best workout program for building muscle. Please simplify all the rhetoric and just tell me which one is the absolute best.
A: That’s easy. There is no best routine. It’s the nature of how the human body adapts. We always say it takes
That’s the reason our own programs are constantly evolving—a new exercise, a new X-hybrid tactic, a drop set, etc. And after 10 weeks or so, we often move to a new program from one of our e-books (Jonathan recently went all the way back to our first X-Rep transformation program, with a few new alterations).[Read more…]
Q: I’ve been going to the gym off and on for about a year, but I decided to get serious. I got your Quick-Start Muscle-Building Guide to get off on the right foot, and it’s absolutely great. It answers all of my questions, and the programs are working fast. I can already see my body changing, and the sleeves on my T-shirts are getting tight. My question is, What program should I go to next? I know you recommend the 3D Muscle Building e-book and a full-on Positions-of-Flexion routine, but there are like 5 different programs in [that one e-book]. Which one should I use?
A: Not every program is ideal for all trainees, so we like to provide choices by providing a few programs in each e-book. (Plus, we’d rather you be a little overwhelmed with all the info rather than disappointed).[Read more…]