Q: I’m in agreement with your volume analysis. At age 60, I require fewer sets than the latest study indicates. I’ve been using your Old Man, Young Muscle workout, and it’s adding muscle to my physique quickly. Thank you. My question is, if I have a very sluggish muscle group, should I do more sets to bring it up? [Read more…]
Q: I’m 45 years old, 20 years your junior. I was blown away by the Old Man, Young Muscle ebook and workout. It all makes so much sense. But I’m wondering if my younger age means that I should add sets to the workouts you recommend?
A: First, I’m 63, so you’re only 18 years younger. It’s the gray beard, isn’t it? Seriously, your question is tough to answer because recovery ability is so specific to the individual. [Read more…]
With all the talk about stretch loading being the best for hypertrophy, and the inferiority of contracted-position exercises, some bodybuilders are throwing out the contracted-position moves… [Read more…]
In yesterday’s newsletter, I was NOT saying that if you get stronger you will get bigger. Leverage, learning the movement, and neuromuscular efficiency can account for strength increases.
I knew a skinny guy who worked up to a 350-pound bench, and his pecs and arms sucked. He still looked skinny all over—although he was a little beefier than if he’d never lifted at all… [Read more…]
I’ve been asked why I use add-on moves after the ideal exercise for each muscle, while Mr. America/Mr. Universe Doug Brignole only does the ideal exercise and nothing more… [Read more…]
Q: Researchers James Steele and James Fisher, based in the UK, claim one to two full-body workouts with compound lifts for one or two sets to failure will get you 98 percent of the results you’re after. They claim the angles of movements, or biomechanics, make little to no difference as long as the muscle reaches failure. What are your thoughts on this? What do you think about the compound lifts?
A: Using specific compound exercises to failure, or close, will of course trigger some hypertrophy.
The best compound exercise would put the target muscle as the prime mover and achieve a full range of motion (ROM) for that muscle. So some are better than others… [Read more…]
Q: Many years ago, I tried negative-only sets on most of my exercises. My partners lifted the heavy weight for me, and I lowered it slowly, six seconds on each of six reps. I got some decent strength gains but not much mass at all. That’s what gives me reservations about your negative-accentuated [or X-centric] technique. Will it build muscle for me even though pure negatives didn’t?
A: The heavy, pure-negative sets that you tried are great for building neuromuscular efficiency—the nerve connections that improve strength. You also get some muscle trauma; however, you lose muscular tension between each rep when your partners lift the weight for you… [Read more…]
Q: I’m using the Basic Workout in the X-traordinary X-Rep Workout e-book with great success. Using the single best Ultimate Exercise for each bodypart is just what I need because I’m short on time. Gains are excellent, but I have a problem is with chest. I use decline presses, but I can’t feel my pecs at all on the heavy pyramid. I don’t feel my chest working till the drop set I do last, and I really want to get more muscle size. Any suggestions?
A: It sounds like you have low neuromuscular efficiency, or nerve force, in your pectoral muscles. When you do a big compound exercise for a bodypart with low nerve response, the ancillary muscles take over, so it can be tough to build more muscle size. We would guess you’re feeling decline presses in your triceps and/or front delts on the power pyramid—but there is a solution… [Read more…]
Q: I’m having trouble with decline bench press (midrange position for chest). I get 10 reps on my first work set and eight on the second. I’ve tried to do X-Rep partials at the end of the second set, pulsing below the midpoint, but I was too weak. I didn’t have any strength left to do X Reps. Is there something I’m doing wrong? Why am I weak at that point? Also, on some exercises, I fail at 10 reps on the first set and then can barely do six reps on the second. Is that normal?
A: X Reps are difficult for different people on different exercises. It depends on individual neuromuscular efficiency in each specific target muscle. You may have that type of weakness in your pecs or one of the synergist muscles (triceps or front delts on press moves) if you struggle with decline bench press… [Read more…]