Q: I’ve been using the 4X mass method for over a month with good gains–now noticeable muscle. I just tried it with the “downward-progression” style [adding weight each set so the reps drop—12-10-8-6], and it’s fantastic. I feel a new level of stimulation. You suggested using it on the big midrange exercises, but what about on the stretch and contracted ones? Can I use it on those too, or is that not advised?
Q: You guys have opened my eyes to new ways to grow muscle. Your explanation of the myofibrils (force generation) and sarcoplasm (energy fluid) and how they both contribute to size is excellent. To build both of those fast, I want a simple, no-bells-and-whistles heavy-light program. What would you suggest?
A: Ah, the no-frills approach. It’s always good to go back to basics every so often, focusing on the force-generating myofibrils with a heavy workout and sarcoplasmic expansion with lighter DENSITY at the next… [Read more…]
Q: I like the idea of experimenting with high reps. Your report on Mr. America Doug Brignole’s results has motivated me to get high (LOL). But I’m getting ready to start the Size Surge program. Should I try high reps [30-20-15] on the isolation exercises in both five-week phases?
A: Lots of people have been grabbing copies of Size Surge 2.0 lately because it seems to be get-big season. That’s how we know many trainees have started—or are getting ready to start—this 10-week mass attack. [Read more…]
Q: I’ve been working out for a couple of years now pretty hard. I’m feeling frustrated because I’ve been tall and skinny my whole life: 6’2″ and 170 pounds. I just can’t seem to put on any muscle. Is it a possibility that a person just can’t build muscle no matter what they do? I receive your e-zine and read about other people’s gains, so I’m wondering if I’m doing something wrong or maybe I’m genetically incapable of going from twig to big.
A: You will put on muscle—convince yourself of that; however, you’re in the skinny ectomorph boat with Steve, so you must be realistic, not frustrated. He weighed 120 pounds when he started weight training, and it took time for him to twig to big and looking like a bodybuilder—but even now he doesn’t look all that big in clothes. [Read more…]
Q: I remember reading in your newsletter not too long ago when you mentioned that the rest time between sets during a [10×10 sequence] should be 20 seconds. In the 10×10 e-book you say to use 30 seconds between sets. Is that a deliberate reduction, and if so, should I reduce my starting weight a little to accommodate the reduced rest?
A: Rest between sets during a 10×10 sequence should be anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds. Vince Gironda, famous Hollywood trainer known as the Iron Guru who trained Larry Scott for his first Mr. Olympia victory, liked to continue to gradually reduce it over many workouts till the trainee was down to only about 10 seconds of rest or less between sets. That doesn’t work for many trainees because of having a training partner… [Read more…]
Q: I totally agree with your Power-Density mass-building ideas. For density work, you’ve suggested multi-rep rest/pause, but 3 heavy sets with only 15 seconds of rest between them really wipes me out, especially on legs. I’m dead for the rest of my workout. Is there something less taxing I can use for density up front?
A: First, we want to applaud you for realizing the importance of DENSITY, or endurance, work. Missing that get-bigger trigger is why most wanna-be-big bodybuilders grow so slow. They think it’s all about training heavy ONLY to gain more size… [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…]
Lee Labrada never won the Mr. Olympia, but he got close due to his incredible symmetry, proportions, and muscle size and density. An Iron Man editor (Steve) gave him the monicker “Mass With Class” back in the ‘80s for good reason–his physique was a work of art (photo by Michael Neveux)… [Read more…]
Q: I’ve been intrigued by the recent 10×10 newsletters and jumped in to give it a try. In your learned opinion, if one were to perform a reverse 10×10 using that technique with the maximum weight possible in decreasing amounts throughout the 10 sets, would it constitute overtraining and negate the activation of the type-2A muscle fibers’ endurance component? I was thinking you would get at both the “power” AND the “endurance” functions of the type 2As better this way. I would only use each big Ultimate Exercise for every bodypart [as outlined in the 10×10 e-program].
A: A reverse 10×10 pyramid means you reduce the weight on each set. And you do each of those 10 sets of 10 reps to exhaustion. First, that’s 10-all-out-sets approach is a very different animal than standard 10×10 style, which is taking a weight you can do 20 with, but you only do 10, rest 30 seconds, do 10 more, and so on till you complete 10 sets—first sets are easy, last few are brutal. [Read more…]
Q: I’m making amazing gains using the Basic Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout, [which is only one Ultimate Exercise for each muscle]. My workouts take about 40 minutes, which is fantastic, and I really feel both the Power and Density sets on each exercise. My only concern is that I’m not getting all the muscle growth possible because I’m not using full Positions of Flexion. I’ve got most of your e-books, and you base your best programs on POF [three exercises for each muscle—midrange, stretch, contracted]. Am I getting the most growth possible using only one Ultimate Exercise for each muscle?
A: Well, almost. Scientists contend that force generation is the number-one max-mass trigger. Fortunately, you’re using the best exercise for optimal force production—the key big compound move—for each muscle. In other words, most of the Ultimate Exercises are big multi-joint exercises that put the target muscle in its best ergonomic position for maximum leverage—and you begin each with a Power pyramid to amplify force. You’re obviously covering that get-big pathway exceptionally well, but we fully understand the want for even more muscle mass. [Read more…]