“Man, you look incredible—amazing abs!” Who doesn’t want to hear compliments like that when peeling off your shirt at the beach, pool, or lake? Make a promise to yourself: You’re going to get ripped and look better than ever this year…[Read more…]
Do you do every set the same way? You know, same rep tempo, same hand spacing same rest between sets?
Our motto is “change to gain” because it takes something unique to add more mass to your physique. Here’s a good example of making a change on each set. On seated biceps concentration curls…[Read more…]
Q: I just started using the 30-20-15 [TORQ] method on one exercise for each muscle. I do the other exercises as regular sets or 4X. The higher reps really feel incredible. What a great pump and deep fiber hit. My question is, Which exercise is best for 30-20-15—midrange, stretch or contracted?
A: As we’ve mentioned before, the angle of pull is different on each of midrange, stretch, and contracted exercises, so fiber activation can be unique as well.[Read more…]
Q: I like the idea of training quads by doing front squats supersetted with back squats. My quads get almost a pre-ex effect from the strict fronts, then my glutes get better leverage on the backs to drive my quads for more growth. But I’m not very strong on fronts and can get a lot of reps when I immediately go to back squats after. Should I just do high reps on the back squats—say 6 on the fronts and 12-15 on the backs?
A: Definitely an option—if you don’t get too breathless. When training quads with higher reps, the lungs often fail before the target muscles. That’s a problem, to a degree…
You do want the breathlessness, as that’s hypoxia that can boost metabolic/anabolic drive for new size. Here are a few other options…[Read more…]
Q: I’m interested in building up my body. I’ve been visiting some workout forums, and lots of people are recommending your quick starter workout. Can you explain why it’s so good? Will it work for me? I want a new body, but I don’t want to look like the Incredible Hulk or anything. Maybe Captain America or Thor, though. Lol.
A: The quick starter workout you’re referring to is our Quick-Start Muscle-Building Guide, and it has you begin with a two-week break-in program, using the basic exercises, like squats, bench presses, etc., one to two sets each (all exercises are fully explained with printable start-and-finish-position illustrations).
It’s a full-body workout that takes about an hour on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and it’s geared to upregulate your nervous system and coordination quickly so you can start building muscle immediately after this two-week “learning” phase. Then you move to something more unique to accelerate gains…[Read more…]
Q: I noticed in some of your newsletters and in articles on your website that you guys do behind-the-neck presses and behind-the-neck pulldowns. Don’t you know those can trash your rotator cuffs?
A: You’re not the first to reprimand us for using those so-called dangerous old-school muscle moves. However, we think the injury potential of behind-the-neck pulldowns and behind-the-neck presses is overblown because it’s dependent on genetics, exercise form, and where you place them in your program.[Read more…]
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.
Our first exposure to rest/pause was through scientific-minded pro bodybuilder Mike Mentzer. He used the technique on a series of heavy singles. He would do around four max singles with 10 to 15 seconds of rest between each. The first two singles he would usually get on his own; then on the third he would need help (forced rep). For the fourth rep, he would either reduce the weight enough so he could get another single by himself or do another forced single.
Mentzer’s is a good variation for big midrange movements every so often. The drawbacks are that singles are very dangerous—especially if you let your ego get involved—and that type of low-rep training is more geared to strength development than muscle size—although trainees with a lot of pure fast-twitch fibers like Mentzer may get an equal amount of size and strength from max-single rest/pause.
Another rendition of rest/pause is DC training. Here you take a weight that allows you to get about nine reps. Then you rest for 20 seconds and do another set with the same weight—getting around six reps. You rest for another 20 seconds and do a third and final set with the same weight, getting around four reps.
That’s geared more toward building size than strength, and it’s an excellent variation for big midrange movements, like presses and rows. [There’s more about DC and other rest/pause styles and how to apply them in the 3D Muscle Building e-book.]
We’ve found that rest/pause is a good shock tactic that adds muscle size quickly during our ripping phase, but we’re not so rigid with the application. For example, we’ll rest/pause for 15 seconds and then rep out for five or more extra reps on any exercise, be it midrange, stretch, or contracted—and we may even add X-Rep partials to that second phase. Another favorite is to use it after a Double-X Overload (DXO) set.
Try this rest/pause technique…
On incline presses, do one straight set of about nine reps. Rest for two to three minutes and reduce the weight by about 20 percent. Now do a DXO set, putting an X-Rep partial at the bottom between each full rep.
That gives you a more explosive-style set that stresses the semi-stretch point at the turnaround for extra fast-twitch activation. When you reach exhaustion, probably around six or seven, rack the weight and count to 15. Then unrack the weight and do standard reps to exhaustion—and, if you’re looking for max-growth effects, add X-Rep partials at the back end of that set.
That’s a very concentrated anabolic stimulus. You get extra force generation, pump, burn and plenty of out-of-control profanities—it’s an all-encompassing technique that can reshape your physique.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
What Would You Do to Protect Your Family?
Mike Westerdal is a renowned personal trainer and national best-selling physical preparedness author, but he’s also a father and a husband… who would do anything to protect his family.
He used to get pushed around when younger and spent years building up his body and becoming stronger, getting mentally and physically tough the hard way. As he got bigger, he learned to handle himself, and working in security, he learned first-hand how violence really plays out.
Some of the other guys online who show off their self-defense videos and books need to get a grip. The level of skill needed to pull off their basic moves is CRAZY for most ordinary people.
If a defense system requires more than a few hours to master, it’s not a program.
The only techniques you will ever use are the simple ones.
They need to work for an ordinary person without prior training, technique, or ability.
So even if you think you don’t have time to learn how to defend yourself…
You don’t need to spend years training to be a martial artist.
It’s not easy getting lean—at least for most people—which is why fast fat loss is always a hot topic. Most of you reading this probably want to uncover your abs sooner rather than later…[Read more…]
Many bodybuilders antagonize over their slow muscle growth, but working out smart, not just hard, will gradually transform your physique…
Still, the determining factor in how your physique will look is genetics, plain and simple—case in point teenage Mike Mentzer. Check out his physique in his late teens (below left) and how he looked at the peak of his bodybuilding career at age 30.[Read more…]
For today’s Moment of Bodybuilding Zen, here’s a nice comparison of two of our favorite bodybuilders. These physiques have given us both a ton of inspiration over the years. Frank Zane has been one of Steve’s favorites since he got into bodybuilding, and Bob Paris had the exact physique that Jonathan used to visual himself having.[Read more…]