Q: After my 20-rep set with a 1/3 tempo on the ideal exercise, I rest 20 seconds, then do a Speed Set (1.5-second reps) on that exercise. You say that you get 10 or fewer Speed Set reps, but I get 13, sometimes more. Should I cut my rest down to 10 seconds so I get fewer reps on my Speed Set? [Read more…]
Q: I understand the benefit of the high-rep-set-first STX method. But for me the pain is unbearable when I get past 12 reps. Will 12 work to exhaust the slow-twitch fibers so that fast ones are better initiated on the second [lower-rep] set?
A: I feel your pain. It does hurt—and some trainees have a lower tolerance than others… [Read more…]
Q: What do you think about repeating the STX sequence after a rest for for the same exercise? Would two rounds help increase fast-twitch fiber activation even more? [Read more…]
Q: I’ve always thought that lower reps were for mass. Do I need high reps at all? Don’t they just deplete recovery and inject inefficiency and fatigue into hypertrophy workouts?
A: Just the opposite for most trainees. I say “most” because there are a few fast-twitch-dominant people on one end of the Bell Curve who thrive on low reps. But consider this study (Mitchell, et al. 2012)…
Trainees did three sets of leg extensions to failure three times a week for 10 weeks. And each leg was trained differently…
One leg used 80 percent 1RM (lower reps), while the other was trained with 30 percent 1RM (higher reps)…
Quad growth was excellent but not different between legs. The interesting part was…
It appeared that the heavy-load training grew primarily the fast-twitch fibers, while the light-load training increased type-1, or slow-twitch, fiber size. Remember, there was no difference in hypertrophy response…
No doubt all fiber types grew in both legs; however, heavy leans fast-twitch and lighter leans slow-twitch—because of so many preliminary reps…
Would a mix of high and low reps yield even better results? My guess would be yes…
It’s only one study, so more research is needed; however, it appears to confirm that using a variety of rep ranges can produce hypertrophy in multiple fiber types for more overall mass.
And that’s one of the key reasons I include rep ranges from 20 down to 8 in Old Man, Young Muscle over three to four sets per muscle. It works…
As I mention in OMYM (page 44), respected researcher Jerry Brainum recently said that “It’s now known that type-1 [slow-twitch] fibers are capable of showing a significant level of hypertrophy, more than previously believed.”
So including a higher-rep set or two can provide another layer of mass. And let’s not forget that a high-rep set first can trigger more fast-twitch activation on the sets after due to slow-twitch exhaustion (STX).
Sculpt your perfect physique: Get the ideal exercise for each muscle, the best add-on moves for ultimate mass, complete 35-minute workouts, exercise start/finish photos, and details on building muscle fast and efficiently in Old Man, Young Muscle.
Former Editor in Chief, Iron Man Magazine
Specialize for Massive Size
Specialization training is when you devote your time and attention to building up a particular lagging muscle group or set of muscle groups.
Most guys in the gym use specialization to build bigger “visible” muscles like arms, forearms, or calves, but little do they know that they’re wasting countless sets and reps…
Plus, they initiate no growth hormone response—meaning all their specialized sets are basically worthless!
Instead of wasting effort, you can pack on slabs of muscle mass FAST while skyrocketing your testosterone levels to pave the way for even FASTER muscle growth through Alpha-3 Specialization.A
But instant results aren’t the only perk of Alpha-3 Specialization…
I thought I was going to move on to other bodybuilding subjects after my rant on aesthetics, but I was asked about my own training and physique early on compared to Jonathan’s, my co-worker at Iron Man magazine and training partner for almost 20 years. [Read more…]
I’ve talked about these top-five change-to-gain methods over the past few newsletters…
1) Exercise switch
2) Altered rep speed
3) Stretch overload
4) More or less rest between sets
5) Exercise shuffle
The last one on my list is… [Read more…]
Q: I read that researcher Chris Beardsley says that high reps are more damaging than lower reps. I’m more ectomorphic and can’t grow with lower reps. Why do you think he says that? [Read more…]
In yesterday’s newsletter, we looked at a new interpretation of hypertrophy research that suggests going to all-out muscular failure may do more harm than good with heavier loads.
Researcher Chris Beardsley says that heavier sets to failure do most of the damage on the last two reps; therefore you should stop two reps short to achieve most of the hypertrophy stimulation while avoiding that severe damage. [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…]
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…]