Q: What’s your opinion of rest/pause training, the way Mike Mentzer used to do it? I’ve read that he did heavy singles with six to 10 seconds between sets, and he did only four of those rest/pause singles for each exercise.
Q: After reading some of your previous newsletters, I’ve been thinking about trying your 10×10 method. It sounds good, except I can’t get myself to accept using such a light weight. Will that really build muscle? I bench 300 pounds for a single, so that means I should use 180 pounds for 10×10. Man, how can that work?
A: You’re falling for the old the-heavier-you-go-the-more-you-grow myth. It’s been ingrained in all of us, but once you understand how muscle mass is created, you’ll know that you can build a lot of size with more moderate poundages and short rests—like with 10×10 or 4X… [Read more…]
Q: I pound away at my workouts, but I’ve only gained about three pounds of muscle in nine months. I’ve gotten stronger, but where’s the size?! I don’t know what to do. I add weight to my exercises whenever I can, but that doesn’t seem to help. I want big, full muscles that will fill out my T-shirts.
A: Are you doing your work sets in the eight-to-10 rep range? Are you resting about 2 minutes between sets? Are your sets lasting about 25 seconds? Are you doing that on all of your exercises? If so, THAT’S WHY YOU’RE NOT GROWING. [Read more…]
Q: A friend of mine used to compete in bodybuilding contests, and he swears that practicing his posing improved his muscle size and shape. I think it was all in his mind. There’s no resistance when you flex, so it couldn’t build more muscle. I think he believes it did because he just happened to be getting more and more ripped from dieting and training, which made him look better every time he practiced posing. What do you think?
A: Yes, as you get more and more ripped, you’ll definitely look bigger, even as your bodyweight drops. A fat-free physique creates the illusion of mass, as you can see from the photos below of Jonathan from our X-treme Lean e-book. Nevertheless, you’re friend is also right… [Read more…]
Q: After being involved in weight training for many years, and after working with many people as their instructor at home and at gyms, I think the main reason, and by far the most important one, that lifters get big and strong is because of their own personal genetics. How they train doesn’t make much difference. High reps, low reps, whatever. If they put even a little amount of effort in, they get big. Of course, drugs help immensely, but the actual type of training system they use is of little consequence, as long as it’s reasonably sound. I built 22-inch arms without drugs, and I performed a standing press with 400 pounds. I honestly do not believe it was because I trained scientifically. I did train hard, but it was because of my genetics that I gained so well and got so strong.
A: You are correct, but most trainees who are genetically gifted probably aren’t reading this. That’s too bad because by experimenting with science-based training, most of them could be so much better; however, because they gain easily, they think they’re doing things right and they keep plugging away with mediocre methods and never reach their full potential. [Read more…]
Q: I’ve read a lot of Mike Mentzer’s high-intensity info, and he said that the pump didn’t matter as far as muscle growth is concerned. He said a lot of the biggest powerlifters never get a pump yet carry a lot of mass. So shouldn’t heavy sets be the core of a mass-building routine?
A: Mentzer was partially right—but leaning more toward being mostly wrong. You don’t need a pump IF you’re only after primarily myofibrillar growth (strength). The myofibrils are the strands of actin and myosin inside the muscle fiber. Those grab onto each other to generate force. Training heavy increases their size and your strength—but science is finding that they are more about producing strength with less-than-stellar effects on muscle size… [Read more…]
Q: I just want to thank you for another killer variation of 4X, “downward-progression.” I’ve only been using it for a couple of weeks on the big exercises, but a guy at the gym came up to me today and said, “You’re looking seriously bigger, bro.” It’s working great and is perfect with regular 4X and TORQ (tension-overload repetition quantity). I’m using DP 4X on the heavy power exercises in The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout 2.0, with 4X and TORQ on the others. I’m very impressed, and apparently growing more impressive. Lol. Thank you.
A: Interesting you say that because both of us received similar compliments in the gym when we started rotating in downward-progression 4X. One guy told Jonathan his arms were looking huge, and Steve got, “If you’re trying to get bigger, it’s working.” They both left off the “bro.” [Read more…]
Q: I’m not gonna lie… I sometimes get bored with my training or just have random days when my motivation is a bit low. That makes it tough to get to the gym, but I really don’t want to skip a day because of that. What if I took random days here and there to do only one exercise for each muscle. Would that be good for growth, and how often could I do that?
Q: I’m starting to drag at the gym, and I don’t look forward to my workouts anymore. I’m starting to think I’m overtrained. I haven’t grown in a while, but I DON’T want to take a layoff. Even backing off to low-effort workouts sounds like a bad idea because I don’t want to lose my gains. What should I do?
A: Boy, does that sound familiar. We always tell trainees that they need a break to regenerate and keep the growth process rolling, but they never take one (and neither do we—bad). That’s an easy way to end up overtrained. [Read more…]
Q: I am almost 50 and making incredible gains with the 4X method. I was reading that top trainer Charles Glass believes new muscle growth can be created with this style, thickening new fibers as well as expanding the sarcoplasm. However, he says you should still go “heavy” every so often. Every time I do that, my joints ache for days. Should I just put up with it and pile on the poundage every couple of weeks?
A: If you like going mega heavy, do it—but you’ll suffer the consequences. Glass says to train heavy every so often in order to keep the type 2B power fibers growing… [Read more…]