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 reading about the 4X training and am wondering if you have any advice on how to use it with a full-body three-days-per-week routine. I just started using the 4X method for each bodypart. I do one exercise per muscle. Monday I do chest, shoulders, back, bi’s, tri’s, abs, legs. Wednesday I do the same body parts but in a different order and using different exercises. The same goes for Friday. I take the weekend off. I’m drug-free, so I think I’ve been overtraining till now. I’m hoping that 4X will help spark some new gains.
A: That sounds like a great plan for building more mass. First, skeptical readers need to realize that three-days-per-week programs can do incredible things. We discuss the Colorado Experiment in Size Surge 2.0 and 3D Muscle Building, a four-week research project in which Casey Viator gained 60 pounds of muscle… [Read more…]
Q: I liked the suggestion of moving from The Anabolic Reload Mass Workout, with a high-rep set first to fatigue slow-twitch fibers (STX), to a workout with a heavy pyramid first followed by STX on a contracted move. After five weeks on that, I’d like to add in stretch-position exercises for more trauma/muscle stress and, I hope, more growth. Is there a workout you can suggest?
That’s how you get more growth, guaranteed. The addition of stretch-position exercises will inflict new muscle stress and a significant spike in muscle mass… [Read more…]
Q: I just finished 8 weeks on your beginning program [in the Quick-Start Muscle-Building Guide]. What muscle attack should I do next?
A: After the beginning programs in the Quick-Start Muscle-Building Guide, try the workout on pages 21-23 of The X-centric Mass Workout. You will still be doing a big midrange exercise and a more isolated contracted-position exercise for each muscle, as you are now, but you’ll use more volume and specific mass-building variations (power + density)… [Read more…]
Q: I’m back to a basic Positions-of-Flexion program, and I’m pretty stoked about it. I gained almost 10 pounds with it a year ago, so I figure it’s always good to return so something that works. My question is that I’m thinking about using Forced X Reps after reading X Rep Update #1. Should I add a set with those or do my last set in the pyramid as my forced set?
A: Forced X-Reps are one of the most brutal forms of overload—but incredibly effective in the mass-building department if you do them correctly and safely—with complete control, no jerking or heaving. For the uninitiated, here’s the brutality explained from X-Rep Update #1:
With FX-Overload you pick a poundage that’s about 20 to 30 percent heavier than your normal [9-rep] work-set weight, and you do only X Reps in the semi-stretch position—with help from your partner on most of those partials, which should total 12 or more.
The semi-stretch point near the turnaround—like close to the bottom of a chin or incline press—is where the muscle can generate the most force and fiber activation. That’s why X-Rep Overload can do incredible things for your mass quickly; however, you don’t want to abuse it…
That’s why we suggest you do NOT add a set of Forced X Reps; rather, do your third set in the power pyramid using heavy partner-assisted X-Reps. That will keep you at three sets, still adding weight on each, but your reps will look something like this: 9, 6, 12(FXO).
After that midrange-exercise pyramid—with severe X-overload on the last set—you move to a stretch-position exercise and then a contracted-position exercise to complete the full-range POF chain.
So for Forced-X Overload, you use a weight with which you can get about five X REPS on your own, then have your partner help you power out six to eight more, staying in the X zone. A good place to start is with the same weight you used on your six-rep set in the pyramid. That should give you a decent size-building tension time of more than 20 seconds on your FXO set. You’ll feel these working big time, believe us!
Note: For more on Forced-X Overload and the study that verifies it’s mass-building power, see X-Rep Update #1.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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