We always love running across a photo of an old-time bodybuilder who looks better than us. Come on! [Read more…]
Yesterday, in my discussion on incline presses, I mentioned that recent studies are indicating that stretch overload is a big key to more hypertrophy.
It’s one reason powerlifters have such massive traps—heavy deadlifts, an exercise that puts those muscle in a max-stretch struggle from start to finish… [Read more…]
Q: Your discussion on body types was on point, but I’m surprised you didn’t mention Frank Zane, a classic ectomorph who won the Mr. Olympia.
A: I wouldn’t call Frank Zane a “classic ectomorph.” He does lean more ecto than most competitive bodybuilders, but he went from broad-shouldered stick to pretty damn thick—which had him hanging out with beauty Betty Weider on the beach… [Read more…]
While this newsletter is about training for muscle, it’s always interesting to look back at the evolution of known bodybuilders’ physiques… [Read more…]
Q: I pound away at my workouts, but I’ve only gained about three pounds of muscle in nine months. I’ve gotten stronger, but where’s the size?! I don’t know what to do. I add weight to my exercises whenever I can, but that doesn’t seem to help. I want big, full muscles that will fill out my T-shirts.
A: Are you doing your work sets in the eight-to-10 rep range? Are you resting about 2 minutes between sets? Are your sets lasting about 25 seconds? Are you doing that on all of your exercises? If so, THAT’S WHY YOU’RE NOT GROWING. [Read more…]
Sergio Oliva had perhaps the most incredible bodybuilding genetics of all time—tiny waist, broad shoulders, and long muscle bellies in every body part. You can see that in his famous “victory” pose here… [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: 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…]
Q: In one of your recent newsletters I noticed that you guys recommended using The Basic X-traordinary X-Rep Workout to an advanced trainee. Can someone who’s been training a while really make new gains with such an abbreviated basic program?
A: Absolutely! And the gains can be outstanding, especially after an extreme peaking cycle. When you’ve been training toward a peak day, like a competition, photoshoot, or any other specific goal, you bring yourself to the brink of overtraining—but that’s a good thing, and incredible things happen when you simplify for size… [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…]