John Grimek, at 5’ 8 1/2” and around 220 pounds, was one of the most massive bodybuilders of his era. He was the AAU Mr. American in 1940 and ’41, and at age 38 he beat Steve Reeves for the 1948 NABBA Mr. Universe. He retired from competition the next year.
Q: What do you think about stretching between sets? I’ve heard a lot of big bodybuilders do it, but I’ve seen studies that show stretching can make you weak.
A: The old study you’re referring to showed that stretching a muscle for 20 to 30 minutes before training it compromised strength. That’s a lot of stretching—and one reason we don’t do much prior to a workout-—just some range-of-motion loosening… [Read more…]
Q: I’m using The Basic Power-Density Workout from your Power-Density Mass e-book. So for most
A: Absolutely. Using one Ultimate Exercise for both the Power and Density sequences streamlines the workout, as you need only one piece of equipment. But if it’s possible at your gym, go to a different exercise for Density—just make sure it’s a big multi-joint move.
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…]
Q: In the “X Factor” interview at X-Rep.com, Jonathan says you guys tried a static contraction at the end of isolation exercises with only mediocre size results. But I just got the X-Rep Update #1 e-book, and you’re recommending them. Why have you found static holds more effective now than in the past?
A: When we first used static contraction many years ago, we did them on contracted-position exercises, like leg extensions, holding the flexed position for as long as we could after full-range exhaustion. That’s a hold after a number of regular reps. We got good gains, but later that hold at the end of a set evolved to X Reps on the big midrange exercises instead of isolation moves, and that worked much better at building bigger, fuller muscles.[Read more…]
Q: I’ve been lifting for about 1 1/2 years, trying to build a mass base, but it’s just not happening very fast. I like the idea of 3D Positions of Flexion [training each muscle in its midrange, stretch, and contracted positions], but almost everyone I talk to says to stick to only the big, basic exercises and forget about isolation moves. Should I just continue using the big basics and hope I build size and strength, or is now the time for me to try 3D POF?
A: Using only the big, basic exercises, what we call midrange-position moves like squats for quads, is fine for, say, a six-week phase every so often (like winter); however, we firmly believe that those who make big gains using only big exercises have an abundance of pure fast-twitch fibers and exceptional nerve-to-muscle connections (neuromuscular efficiency). They are genetically gifted, unlike the majority…[Read more…]
Q: Looking in the mirror, I see that somehow I’ve gotten very fat. I go to the gym, but I guess my eating has been out of hand for too long. Is there anything I should concentrate on during my workouts to help lose the fat? I plan to do cardio after every weight workout, something you’ve suggested. I desperately want to be ripped enough to see abs!
A: First, get your diet under control. You must start eating clean—cut down the junk—and get on an anabolic-meal schedule. Your best bet will be a typical bodybuilding diet, so eat at least 25 grams of protein at six meals a day. Try to eat every two to three hours, and get some carbs too—enough to refill muscle glycogen stores, which is about 200 grams a day. If you need examples, see X-treme Lean; it contains our complete meal-by-meal diets to help you get ripped…[Read more…]
Q: I love Positions of Flexion. I can totally feel it working new fibers, and the pump is off the charts. I’ve been doing midrange, stretch, and then contracted, but I just saw that you sometimes recommend the stretch-position exercise last. Is that a good idea? Why do that?
A: The standard order is midrange, stretch, and contracted, as you’ve been doing. For example, for triceps, it’s close-grip bench presses (midrange), overhead extensions (stretch), and pushdowns (contracted)…[Read more…]
Q: I’ve been using an X-centric set [lift in one second, lower in six] for every muscle and have noticed more cuts, veins, and I’m pretty sure more muscle size. I usually use it on the last set of a 4X sequence, but I’ve heard it’s better on the first set to get more of a warmup. Which is better, the X-centric set on the first or last set of 4X?
A: In a previous newsletter, we outlined how to use an X-centric set on the last set of a 4X sequence with The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout. We showed a lat routine with 4X on the first exercise.[Read more…]
Q: I heard that you guys prescribe high-rep sets to etch in muscle cuts. That’s wrong. I’m a certified personal trainer, and I learned that high reps do not make a muscle more defined. You can only do that with diet to thin your skin.
A: You’re correct that higher-rep sets don’t “etch in muscle cuts” per se; however, as we discuss in our Fat-to-Muscle e-book, high-rep sets, 15 to 20, do heighten muscle burn, and that lactic acid surge can increase growth hormone output. [Can J App Phys. 22:244-255. 1997.] GH has been shown in research studies to be an extremely potent fat burner. In other words, it thins the skin by reducing subcutaneous fat—and that eventually gives you more muscle detail.[Read more…]