Q: I don’t seem to see you guys talking about warm-up sets very often. Do I need to do any? I’m interested in building the most mass possible.
Q: I’ve been using the POF-Power/Super-TORQ Mass Workout [in the Power-Density Mass Workout 2.0 e-book]. My mass gains have shot up significantly over the past several weeks. Alternating heavy POF work with Super TORQ [high-rep work on only one exercise] is producing the best growth response in years. My question is about the optional deadlifts that begin the Friday workout. Doing 8-10 reps hurts my back, so I’m thinking about using only one 15-to-20-rep set instead. Is that okay, or should I just train through the pain?
A: First, never “train through the pain” of injury. More on your lower back in a moment. Let’s address the question of reps… [Read more…]
You know our mantra: You can trigger bigger gains with one small change. But let’s multiply that for even more mass. We’ve got 3 simple things to get you growing immediately… [Read more…]
Q: I tried Arnold’s method of using a high-rep set to end my major exercises, like bench presses, (Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout e-book, Chapter 1). But I’m just too fatigued to feel the target muscle on that last set. After reading about Doug Brignole’s 50-40-30-20-10 method in Chapter 4, I was thinking about using that on an isolation exercise to feel the target muscle better, like crossovers for chest after bench. Is that a good idea?
A: It could be, but you left a lot of variables out. For example, how experienced are you? That amount of work may be too much. How many days per week are you training each muscle? If it’s once, that amount of volume may work well, if it’s twice, maybe not.[Read more…]
Q: You offer up the Brazilian study that shows doing a single high-rep set to failure before heavier lower-rep work produced more hypertrophy than standard training (multiple sets at 75% 1RM). But in the Ultimate Power/Density Mass Workout e-book, you mention that Arnold used a high-rep set LAST—a “burn-out” set. So which way is better, high-rep set first or high-rep set to finish?
A: A good observation, but there’s something missing in your description of what Arnold used to do. Go back to the Power-Density e-book and read it again—Arnold typically used a pyramid, adding weight to each set. And on his first set, he used a light weight for 15 reps, then a SLIGHTLY heavier weight for set 2 so he got 12 reps…[Read more…]
Q: I notice that you guys often use a double-drop set on the last one when you do TORQ. I love that muscle maker variation, and it appears it’s gotten me bigger in the past few weeks. Do you have any other ways to vary that method?
A: To refresh memories, TORQ is tension-overload repetition quantity… [Read more…]
Q: I like to train heavy, but I fully understand that tension time, or density, can build size as well. My question is, won’t drop sets accomplish both?
A: The drop-set method is one of the best for getting size in the myofibrils as well as a hypertrophic sarcoplasmic burst. And even new veinage too… [Read more…]
Q: My girlfriend likes to critique my body when I ask. She’s got a good eye for proportion—and if I look good for her, I get the benefits, if you know what I mean—LOL. Lately, she’s been saying my shoulders are too flat. I need more roundness and broadness. What do you suggest?
A: When you think about it, most barbell and dumbbell shoulder exercises are lacking—inefficient to say the least, so you need a real delt-stretching combo to grow… [Read more…]
Q: I think I have all your e-books, but I absolutely love Super TORQ. The pumps are outrageous! I’ve been using it randomly, but now I’m thinking about making it more regimented by following the POF-Power/Super-TORQ workout [pages 42-47 in The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout 2.0]. When I do the Super TORQ workout, using only one exercise for a bodypart, is it okay to use only four sets—like 40,30,20,10—instead of five? I don’t like 50 reps on set 1, especially on decline presses. I feel like I might pass out. LOL!
A: The rules for TORQ (Tension Overload Repetition Quantity) and Super TORQ are pretty loose. In fact, we’ve mentioned before that when we use it, we often use only two sets to TORQ up our last exercise for a bodypart—30 and 20 reps… [Read more…]
Q: I’ve been TORQ-ing the target muscle at the end of my 4X workouts. Great way to end with a massive pump, but I tell people about it and they think I’m saying twerking. Lol. I have two questions: What if I can get more than 30 reps on the first set? What if I get fewer reps than that? Also, in Positions of Flexion, can I use bench dips instead of pushdowns for the finishing contracted position exercise for tri’s?
A: For the uninitiated, TORQ-ing, not twerking, is a 3X sequence of 30-20-15 reps, with 45 seconds between…
If you use it on the big midrange exercise first, like close-grip bench presses for tri’s, you may be able to add weight on each set. If you TORQ on the last exercise, contracted, you probably won’t be able to add weight.
TORQ—or tension-overload repetition quantity—is designed so you get at least a couple of sets within the high-end hypertrophic tension time—which is above 60 seconds. That would be sets 1 and 2 if you keep the rep speed at one second to lift and two to three to lower…
We tend to use the 1/2 tempo on higher-rep sets—but that’s still around 90 seconds on set 1 and 60 seconds on set 2. That high growth tension time is something most bodybuilders never get. Heck, many rarely get more than 25 seconds per set (can you say slow-to-no growth?).
Mr. America Doug Brignole goes even higher with his reps, starting at 50—and he swears it’s the best size-building method he’s ever used (see The Power-Density Mass Workout 2.0 for more on Doug’s Super-TORQ method, an interview with him, and his complete program, which uses only ONE exercise per target muscle).
Now to your first question (finally): What if you get more or fewer reps than 30 on the first set? If you get more, like 35, just continue to get higher reps on each set—35, 25, 18, say—and add weight at your next workout to bring down your reps…
If you get fewer, like 25, that’s fine too. In fact, we like to think of a TORQ sequence as ranges: 25-30, 15-20, 10-15. Even at a 1/2 tempo, you’ll still hit the high-end hypertrophic tension time on set 1—and maybe set 2 as well….
If you get fewer than 25 on the first set, lighten the weight for your second so you get close to matching your first. Your sets may go 22-20-15. Once again, you achieve high-end tension on sets 1 and 2.
Okay, your second question is a simple yes. We love bench dips for the POF contracted-position triceps exercise. While there is some movement at the shoulder, your front delts don’t come into play too much. You’ll torch your tri’s guaranteed.
We like to do the first 30- and 20-rep sets with no lockout, then the last set with a lockout squeeze on each (we usually don’t get 15 on that set—killer!).
Also, if you’re not strong enough to get 30 with your feet on a bench (as pictured above), put them on the floor so you’re using less than bodyweight on all of your TORQ sets…
It’s an excellent TORQ exercise to fry your tri’s for awesome new size.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson