Sergio Oliva had perhaps the most incredible bodybuilding genetics of all time—tiny waist, broad shoulders, and long muscle bellies in every body part. You can see that in his famous “victory” pose here… [Read more…]
Q: I just want to say that The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout and The X-traordinary X-Rep Workout have the best bodybuilding info I’ve ever read. I’m so stoked, and I’m already noticeably bigger and stonger after only a month. My question is that I’m using the Basic X-Rep Workout as it’s listed [3 different workouts], but I’m working out Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. In the X-Rep Workout e-book you say to train four days a week—M, T, Th, F—doing the Monday workout again on Friday. Is working each bodypart once a week with the 3-way split okay?
A: You answered your own question without even realizing it. If you’re getting bigger and stronger, you’re onto something that works well for you. Stick with it: Workout 1 on Monday, Workout 2 on Wednesday, and Workout 3 on Friday. Simple, with lots of recovery time for muscle growth—and each workout takes less than an hour. [Read more…]
Q: Alternating arm routines at every workout is working great for me! My guns are looking large and in charge! I’m using [the arm-specialization routines] in the 3D HIT program [as outlined in the X-traordinary Arms e-book], and I notice that on many non-arm exercises you have an alternate listed as well. Like on delts for the stretch-position exercise, you have one-arm cable laterals or incline one-arm laterals. Since alternating arm exercises is working so well, can I alternate all the exercises that have substitutes listed?
A: That was a perfect question to go with the first one—and based on our discussion of adaptation, absolutely. Shake things up! In fact, we do that often for many muscle groups. Doing something a little different can be a killer get-bigger trigger! One of our favorites is what you list—alternating one-arm cable laterals with incline one-arm laterals at every other delt workout. It’s a great way to get some variety into your routine and hit the muscle with a slightly different stimulus—cable vs. dumbbell—in the stretch position. [Read more…]
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: I’ve been following your newsletters and noticed you guys talking about rest/pause not too long ago. Can you explain the technique a little more and the reasoning behind it?
A: Rest/pause is basically taking a very short break after you hit exhaustion on a set, and then repping out again with the same weight. The brief rest/pause allows the lactic acid to clear somewhat from the muscle and the nervous system and ATP to regenerate to a degree as well.[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…]
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…]
Q: I got the Power-Density Mass Workout 2.0 and was motivated by [Mr. America] Doug Brignole’s interview and how he uses only one exercise for each muscle. I notice he adds weight over five sets so his reps fall—but I’m with you and think 50 reps is a bit much—and boring. My question is, if I use your TORQ method [30-20-15] on two or three exercise per bodypart, should I add weight over those three sets?
A: You can—it really depends on the exercise. When we do TORQ on an isolation move, like machine flyes for chest, we do NOT add weight…[Read more…]
Q: I’m using Jonathan’s 10-Week Size Surge Workout [in the 3D Muscle Building e-book], and for shoulders, it has dumbbell upright rows as the first exercise for midrange work; then I do incline one-arm laterals for stretch, and then standing laterals [contracted]. I added two sets of dumbbell presses after that for more shoulder size, as you’ve suggested, for some overhead shoulder work. My question is, Why do you sometimes recommend presses first? Aren’t those dangerous for your shoulder joints?
A: We only do behind-the-neck presses first if we use a technique that allows lighter weight, such as negative-accentuated (six-second lowering), 4X, 10×10, TORQ, etc. As you said, in the quest for shoulder size, heavy weights on behind-the-neck exercises can wreck your rotator cuffs.
For heavy pressing at the start of a shoulder workout, we use either Smith machine military presses (to the front) or dumbbell presses…[Read more…]
Q: In the Pre-Ex 3X Mass Workout and Size Surge 2.0 e-books I just got, you have bent-arm bent-over laterals for midback. The illustration shows palms facing back, but I feel them better with my palms down. Which way is best for midback mass? I need more thickness between my shoulder blades.
A: The bent-arm bent-over lateral raise is a CONTRACTED-position midback exercise in the Positions-of-Flexion mass-building protocol. You do them like a bent-over lateral raise for your rear delts, only you allow more of an elbow bend so you can better squeeze your middle traps to thicken your back. [Read more…]