Ronnie Coleman won the Mr. Olympia eight times, and his incredible monstrous physique set a new standard in the pro ranks. Check out the back shot on the right—striations on top of striations. Incredible… [Read more…]
Q: I get really winded on some exercises, like squats and rows, with only 35 seconds between 4X sets. I’m still sucking air when it’s time to start my next set. Is it okay to take more time?
A: Yes, but we believe that to get the DENSITY size effect you’re after with the 4X mass method, you should have a countdown so you don’t rest more than one minute between sets. Former pro bodybuilder Lee Labrada said… [Read more…]
Q: You’ve mentioned the Growth Threshold a few times. What is that? What does it mean and how do I use it to get bigger?
A: Growth Threshold is a term we borrowed from champion pro bodybuilder Lee Labrada, pictured below. Here’s Lee’s explanation, from our 4X Mass Workout e-book:
The growth threshold is the point at which the level of fatigue in the muscle is high enough that a growth response is elicited. Your goal during a workout should be to fatigue the target muscles you are training more and more with each succeeding set. In other words, you want the muscles to progressively get more and more tired out, until you reach a point where the muscles are functionally ‘worn out.’ Signals are sent to the brain that set up the compensation, or growth, process during the postworkout period, so that in future workouts you can handle it.
Because you use the same weight on every set of a 4X sequence, and the first two sets are fairly easy, you gradually approach the growth threshold. The short 30-to-40-second rests between sets ensure that fatigue accumulates to a size-triggering climax at set 4.
For those not familiar with 4X, you take a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but you only do 10 deliberate reps; rest 30 to 40 seconds, then do 10 more. Rest 30 to 40 seconds again, then do 10 more. Rest 30 to 40 seconds one last time, then go to failure. If you get 10 on that fourth set, add weight to that exercise at your next workout…
As Labrada says,
I do not let my muscles regain all of their strength before starting the next set. After all, my goal is to fatigue my muscles more and more with each succeeding set until they hit the growth threshold.
And that’s what 4X sequences are all about—reaching the critical growth threshold without overtaxing the body’s recovery systems so you continue to ignite new, dramatic muscle growth at every workout. 4X training will give you size increases in both the myofibrils, the actin-myosin strands that produce force, and the sarcoplasmic endurance fluid in the muscle fibers.
And if you use a 4X sequence on the full-range 3-way Positions-of-Flexion programs for each muscle—midrange, stretch, and contracted, you reach the growth threshold for each and get a triple dose of muscle growth.
NOTE: If you’ve been training with standard myofibrillar-dominant heavy sets—tension times of 20 seconds and rests of 2 minutes or more—you may want to increase your sarcoplasmic mass with a few weeks of PURE density training. For that, give 10×10 training a spin. You take a weight with which you can get 20 reps, but you only do 10. Rest 30 seconds, then do 10 more—and so on until you complete 10 sets. The last few rounds will be brutal, but the pump and sarcoplasmic size you ignite will be unreal. Use it on only one exercise per bodypart—10 minutes for each—for two weeks and watch the amazing changes in your physique.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
Build MASS with bodyweight training
One way you’re guaranteed to pack on stacks of muscle is through a process called muscle protein synthesis (MPS), which more than doubles 24 hours after an intense workout…
Until recently, MPS was only elevated when trainees would lift 70-90% of their one-rep max…
That’s not only dangerous for your joints, but it also sets you up for high injury risk every time you exercise…
It used to be believed that training with your own bodyweight couldn’t get you the same results as training with your 70-90% one rep max… Until NOW.
A: The really big guys, especially referring to pro bodybuilders, tend to use an abundance of almost anything and everything in their training—because they have, um, “special” supplements to help them recover. That and superior genetics allow them to train rather haphazardly and still grow like crazy (we know, it’s not fair). [Read more…]
It was summer 1975, and Arnold was Mr. Olympia, bodybuilding’s top dog. The muscle world was captivated by the awesome Austrian, and for good reason…[Read more…]
Q: I read your last e-zine on fat-to-muscle tips with great interest. I added your recommendations to my training immediately. My question is, What about X Reps? Do they help? Should I add those in as well?
A: Yes, X Reps are excellent for a faster fat-to-muscle hustle. For the uninitiated, X Reps are eight-inch partials that you add onto a set after you hit exhaustion. You do those end-of-set partials at the point on the stroke at which the target muscle is somewhat stretched—for example, near the bottom of an incline press, bench press, or chinup…[Read more…]
Q: What’s your opinion of loosening exercise form at the end of a set to get a few more reps? Like on curls I keep the reps strict for the first six or seven, then I use some upper-body motion to complete two to three more reps. I’m using the 4X method, so the weight [throughout the 4 sets] is only moderate, not heavy. I’m only using momentum to fight the fatigue buildup at the end of the fourth set. Is that okay, or should I keep my reps strict through the entire 4X sequence?
A: Because the poundage is moderate on a 4X sequence, that’s all the more reason to keep it strict all the way through. Momentum will only take the tension off the target muscle. A very SLIGHT form alteration is acceptable, but keep it as strict as possible to the end of the fourth set… [Read more…]
Most of us struggle to add even a few pounds of muscle mass in a year. That’s after the beginner stage, of course…
But legendary pro bodybuilder Lee Labrada says it should NOT be that tough. Hear him… [Read more…]
Q: I get it. Using a high-rep set to failure in order to fatigue the slow-twitch fibers first gets more fast-twitch fibers to fire on the heavy sets after. I also like the fact the the slow-twitchers get growth stimulation too. I get bigger faster, but I hate that high-rep set. It hurts and it’s boring. I tend to speed it up to get it over with. Is there another way to get freaky growth?
A: Yes, there are two ways. Before we get to those, we want to explain why it works via the Size Principle of Muscle Fiber Recruitment. [Read more…]
We get the stronger = bigger question a lot—and there’s no question that getting stronger will build some size—note that we said “some.” To clarify, here’s an excerpt from our best-selling e-book The Super-Size Crash Course…
“One of the biggest reasons muscle growth is so slow in most cases is the simplistic myth that strength equals superior size. There’s more to it than that. Trying to move big weights for a few reps does very little for ultimate muscle size. Are you shaking your head? Check this out…[Read more…]