Q: I’m a competitive powerlifter, so I haven’t tried your 4X method. It requires moderate weights, and that’s not me. I need to train heavy. But I have been using your X-centric sets, usually only one or two at the end of each heavy compound exercise, like bench presses and squats. My problem is that I’ve been using X-centric sets for a month, but I’m five pounds heavier. I’m worried because I don’t want to jump a weight class at my next lifting meet. I’m pretty sure it’s all muscle because I’m seeing more striations in my chest, legs, and even shoulders, and many of my bodyparts look rounder. Should I stop using X-centrics? Is this happening because of the extra fiber trauma I’m getting from those sets?
A: The extra fiber trauma from emphasizing the negative stroke on your negative-accentuated (NA) sets is no doubt part of the reason you’ve added new muscle quickly—that causes fiber remodeling, or growth; X-centric sets also cause more fiber inflammation, which can make you look bigger and rounder. But there’s more to it than that (exciting stuff for those of us who want to pack on maximum muscle size)… [Read more…]