Q: What’s your opinion of rest/pause training, the way Mike Mentzer used to do it? I’ve read that he did heavy singles with six to 10 seconds between sets, and he did only four of those rest/pause singles for each exercise.
Ronnie Coleman won the Mr. Olympia eight times, and his incredible monstrous physique set a new standard in the pro ranks. Check out the back shot on the right—striations on top of striations. Incredible… [Read more…]
Q: I love 4X training. It’s gotten me bigger than I’ve ever been, but my gains have leveled off. I’m thinking about doing the last set in stage style for more intensity. Do you think that will work? Any tips if I try it?
A: We love experimentation. It can make good gains great, so we say try it on for SIZE…
Let’s start by explaining the 4X method for our new readers who aren’t familiar: You pick a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but you only do 10; rest 30 to 45 seconds, then do 10 more—and so on until you complete four sets. If you get 10 reps on your last set, you add weight to that exercise at your next workout…. [Read more…]
Q: I need to build up the inside of my chest, the cleavage, so to speak. A training friend told me that really squeezing and flexing at the bottom of cable crossovers will get my inner pecs popping. Is that true?
A: While full-range cable crossovers can help develop the entire pec muscle—even the inner sections—believe it or not, the BEST way to attack that insertion point of the target muscle is by emphasizing stretch overload… [Read more…]
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 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, and 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 Double-X Overload (DXO) works so well on warmup sets is because of the enhanced occlusion and nervous system activation.
For those unfamiliar with DXO, it’s an X-Rep partial in the semi-stretch position between each full rep. That provides a slightly more explosive action, which has been shown to heighten nerve force (many top-level powerlifters do light, explosive sets for that very reason—it helps them lift more weight). [Read more…]
Q: I’m trying to get that crisp division between my pecs. I want to be able to see the inner part of my chest muscles from the lower part all the way up to the collarbone. I do lots of cable crossovers, but I’m only seeing a bit of detail in my lower chest. Any suggestions?
A: One problem may be fat in the area. A bit of adipose covering the pecs will blur or negate any detail. You need to be fairly lean to see the chest-muscle division (cleavage) from top to bottom.[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 want to thank you for the great programs and excellent tips, like X-Reps. My background is in Olympic
A: You didn’t really ask a question, but we just wanted to commend you on being brave enough to give all-4X training—every other week—a try.
So many trainees are stuck in the must-always-train-heavy-to-grow mentality that they miss out on significant muscle-size stimulation. It’s probably the key reason most complain about such slow gains. Plus, they get injured much more often.[Read more…]
Q: I’ve made the best gains of my life the past year with X Reps, going from 185 to just under 200 pounds. But my gains have stalled. You talk a lot about muscle adaptation, so I’m wondering if I’ve adapted to X Reps. Should I stop doing them for a while so I can pack on more muscle?
A: Adaptation to training techniques and even bodypart routines can happen in as few as six workouts. If you train a muscle twice a week, that means you can adapt in three to four weeks. We’ve talked about phase training, which is downshifting intensity for one week with sub-failure workouts after four to six weeks of all-out workouts. But sometimes even that’s not enough to kick-start new gains once you resume a high-intensity phase. Usually, you have to mix things up somehow…