The new meta-analysis by Robinson, et al. (2023) on volume for hypertrophy is interesting. Those researchers determined that 12 ALL-OUT sets a week per muscle is a good top end for hypertrophy for most trainees… [Read more…]
My friend and colleague Doug “Mr. Universe” Brignole recently said something that had me rewinding to years ago when I reported on a study that verified his point… [Read more…]
I do a lot of pondering—usually about my training and how to make it better. That doesn’t make great conversation at parties.
But it does allow me to reflect on my past training and efficiency-of-effort factors I missed. For example… [Read more…]
Should your dominant muscle-fiber type determine how you train for mass? [Read more…]
Q: Just read The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout. Absolutely great! I read it all in one sitting. It really made me think, so I’m redesigning my workout using your programs. But don’t higher-rep warmup sets cover the endurance component of the 2A fibers? And what about X Reps? They extend a set, so I would think they also affect the endurance side of the important 2As as well.
A: You’re right on both counts—to a degree. Warm-up sets aren’t intense, so very few fibers are involved—and many that are fall into the slow-twitch category, rather than the important fast-twitch 2As. [Read more…]
Q: I’m using 4X, TORQ, and Super TORQ exclusively—no heavy training. I’ve already added about six pounds of new muscle in just a few months. Can I train each muscle more frequently than every four days? It seems like with moderate poundages, each muscle would recover quicker and I could train more often to grow even faster. Should I try it?
A: Try it. Whether it works well will depend on your recovery ability—and your age may also have a bearing…
Consider this: Research has discovered that the older we get, the more muscle inflammation derails muscle growth. [Merrit, E.K., et al. (2013). J App Physiology.] [Read more…]
Q: I just started the Size Surge program for some new size this year, and it feels great so far. I love the workouts. One problem I’m having is that on some exercises that I’m supposed to pyramid the weight up, I don’t get enough reps on the second heaviest set. For example, on dumbbell presses, my reps go 9 and then 4 or 5 after I add weight. Should I just keep doing that, use the same weight on both sets or what?
A: We’ve answered a similar question concerning barbell curls before, and we suggested using the same weight on both sets; however, that’s a single-joint move. It sounds as if you’re having problems pyramiding on the big compound, or multi-joint, exercises, which is common for thin guys looking for muscle size… [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 like the standard two-way split, working each muscle group twice a week, as in the 3D Power Pyramid Program in Freak-Physique Stretch-Overload e-book—that’s my favorite routine so far. Could I use that as an HIT program and just do one work set per exercise?
A: Yes, you can apply the HIT one-work-set-per-exercise idea to almost any of the programs in that e-book. In fact, we’ve had a few trainees say that the 3D Power Pyramid feels like too much work to them (hardgainer types), in which case we suggest simply spacing out the workouts a bit—use them in the sequence they are presented, but train on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday instead of Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday.
That way, the bodyparts that get hit on Wednesday of the first week get trained only once that week, but they get hit twice the following week (Monday and Friday). That’s known as Rotation for Recuperation, and it works well for recovery-challenged trainees. [Read more…]
Q: I’ve always gotten pretty good size and strength gains from
A: Great question! For new readers, the myofibrils are the force-generating actin and myosin strands in the muscle fibers. If you have more of those than usual, you would be considered myofibrillar dominant. A good example of that is Mike Mentzer, who was squatting over 500 pounds at age 16…[Read more…]