Rachel McLish was the very first Ms. Olympia winner way back in 1980. Her symmetrical physique, not to mention her head-turning beauty, catapulted her into the public eye and established women’s bodybuilding as a brand-new sport. [Read more…]
Q: After reading some of your previous newsletters, I’ve been thinking about trying your 10×10 method. It sounds good, except I can’t get myself to accept using such a light weight. Will that really build muscle? I bench 300 pounds for a single, so that means I should use 180 pounds for 10×10. Man, how can that work?
A: You’re falling for the old the-heavier-you-go-the-more-you-grow myth. It’s been ingrained in all of us, but once you understand how muscle mass is created, you’ll know that you can build a lot of size with more moderate poundages and short rests—like with 10×10 or 4X… [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’ve read a lot of Mike Mentzer’s high-intensity info, and he said that the pump didn’t matter as far as muscle growth is concerned. He said a lot of the biggest powerlifters never get a pump yet carry a lot of mass. So shouldn’t heavy sets be the core of a mass-building routine?
A: Mentzer was partially right—but leaning more toward being mostly wrong. You don’t need a pump IF you’re only after primarily myofibrillar growth (strength). The myofibrils are the strands of actin and myosin inside the muscle fiber. Those grab onto each other to generate force. Training heavy increases their size and your strength—but science is finding that they are more about producing strength with less-than-stellar effects on muscle size… [Read more…]
Q: I was browsing through old training articles on your site and noticed that you guys sometimes include dumbbell pullovers in your triceps routine. What’s up with that?!
A: While the dumbbell pullover is an excellent stretch-position move for the lats in Positions-of-Flexion mass training, it’s also one of the best exercises for the long head of the triceps. That’s the section that really fills out the back of the upper arm and gives it that eye-popping sweep when it’s down by your side or up flexing your peak. [Read more…]
Q: First, I gotta say that I’m loving the X-centric Mass Workout. I was struggling to get my weight past 195, but now I’m at 203 and still climbing fast. However, my arms aren’t growing as fast as I’d like. I’ve plateaued at 17 1/4 inches, which isn’t symmetrical with the rest of my body. My chest has expanded, my lats are wider, and my legs are thicker, but all those muscle groups are leaving my arms behind. I’ve noticed that the muscle groups that get sore the next day seem to grow the most. My arms never seem to get sore. Is there a relation between muscle soreness and growth? How do I get my arms to 18 inches or beyond?
A: That’s great progress from an overall muscle-gain standpoint. Unfortunately, we all have stubborn bodyparts, and yours happens to be the one that’s most important to almost every trainee—arms, which we all want BIG to stretch the sleeves of our Ts…. [Read more…]
Q: I’m using the Power-Density Mass Workout, the first program with only the Ultimate Exercise for each bodypart. I like the simplicity of it and quick workouts, but I’m having trouble feeling the first power sets when I pyramid the weight. I really don’t feel the muscle working till the ending density sets [the faster 4×10 series]. Any suggestions?
A: Too often, trainees jump right into their heavy work sets with only a haphazard warmup—usually talking to their partner during that lighter preliminary work. In other words, maybe you aren’t doing FOCUSED warmup sets… [Read more…]
This shot of three-time Mr. Olympia Frank Zane shows him hitting a classic stomach-vacuum pose. Amazing… [Read more…]
Q: I’ve heard it brought up a few times by others recently, and I remember from your old daily training blog that you guys sometimes use interval cardio to burn more fat. What is that and how should I use it?
A: There are surprising facts about using interval cardio to burn more fat, but before we get to those, let’s explain interval cardio on a running track. To do interval training, you sprint the straightaways all out and walk the curves. Another good example is running stairs—you run up for intensity and coast down. In other words, you alternate high-intensity bursts with lower-intensity activity.
It’s the time of year when body-conscious folks are working to look their best for summer. A flat belly is great, and etched abs can really grab attention—but there’s nothing like phenomenal abdominals WITH overall muscularity and rugged rippedness.
The problem is, most people fail to even get to the first level—a flat, no-fat midsection. Why? It usually has something to do with the following 3 fat-burning facts you should be aware of. Knowing these will help you succeed in exiting the Chub Club and joining the Buff Brigade… [Read more…]