Here’s an eye-opening quote from hypertrophy researcher Chris Beardsley on muscle repair and recovery: [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 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…]
Q: Thank you for clearing up the muscle-growth mystery for me. I always believed in going heavier and heavier to get bigger. Now I know that’s only a small part of the puzzle. Working in the 4X method, X Reps, drop sets, and even some of your high-rep TORQ sets has already gotten me bigger in just a few weeks. My question is, Do you think some people get a better size response from power training and others get more size from density [endurance] work?
A: Absolutely. As we mentioned in a previous newsletter, the BIGGEST powerlifters don’t train for sarcoplasmic (endurance fluid) expansion yet have good muscle size. That’s because they were big dudes in the first place, which may signify more myofibril-building capacity. That would explain their extraordinary strength. The myofibrils are the actin-myosin strands inside the muscle fiber that generate force, but for most trainees that’s not the key to ULTIMATE SIZE… [Read more…]
Q: I got your Quick-Start Muscle-Building Guide because I haven’t lifted in a few years. Fantastic info and it’s already working for me. On some exercises, you suggest lifting in 3 seconds and lower in 3 to help improve nerve force for strength. I’ve seen in many of your emails that you sometimes lift in 1 second and lower in 6. Should I try that? I think you said it helps burn fat, and I would love to see my abs sooner rather than later.
A: Lifting in 1 second and lowering in 6 is what we call X-centric, or Negative-Accentuated, training. It is a great FAT BURNER as well as MUSCLE BUILDER, but you shouldn’t use it just yet (more on why in a moment).[Read more…]
Carb Cycling is a simple method we first learned about from the legendary Iron Guru Vince Gironda when he used to visit the Iron Man offices…
Vince always said that to train the body to drop fat, you do 3 to 4 days of low carbs followed by higher-carb “load” days—and Vince was ripped before it was in style. Check out the shred master in his heyday… [Read more…]
We’ve discussed our “iFast” method for simultaneous hypertrophy and fat loss (yes, it is possible)…
It’s basically a 12-hour protocol done only two non-consecutive days during the week…
We were apprehensive at first, but it works. Here are Steve’s results—and he’s in his 50s… [Read more…]
Q: I’m thinking about trying the intermittent-fasting that Steve used to get more muscular and ripped [Super-Size Crash Course e-book, Chapter 8]? I’m extremely curious about the whole idea of eating less and producing more testosterone. I need something to get the ripping start, and it obviously burns fat quickly. I’m just so paranoid about losing muscle. I thought I would try it once a week, and if it works well, increase to two nonconsecutive days a week as Steve did. Any insights on muscle loss during IF?
All of us bodybuilders are paranoid about losing even an ounce of muscle, so we hear you. But you won’t lose muscle—you should gain more… [Read more…]
Q: I’ve been getting amazing muscle-size gains with Progressive-Speed 4X [included in The Super-Size Crash Course]. Should I do more speed reps or more X-centric slow-mo reps to get the best mass results? I want to grow as fast as possible.
A: Don’t we all—but it’s hard to say which is best, as both styles trigger specific hypertrophy results. For the uninitiated… [Read more…]
Q: A lot of bodybuilders go all power in the off-season. They push for more strength so size will follow. I’m thinking about using the Phase 1 program in Size Surge for that purpose—mostly big exercises with heavy weights training three days a week so I get plenty of recover-and-grow time. Would that program be okay to use for the entire 10 weeks instead of moving to Phase 2?
A: You’re right, even Arnold used to do a two-to-three-month power phase in the winter—but it wasn’t heavy low reps on every exercise, as we’ll explain. That’s the problem with the way most trainees do it: They go heavy on ALL exercises all the time for too long and neglect critical sarcoplasmic size, which can be a big muscle-building mistake… [Read more…]