I keep running across great quotes from Dr. James Di Nicolantonio (@drjamesdinic). Here’s one with practical application to your workouts: [Read more…]
In yesterday’s newsletter, I was NOT saying that if you get stronger you will get bigger. Leverage, learning the movement, and neuromuscular efficiency can account for strength increases.
I knew a skinny guy who worked up to a 350-pound bench, and his pecs and arms sucked. He still looked skinny all over—although he was a little beefier than if he’d never lifted at all… [Read more…]
A few newsletters back I discussed energy cost and how multi-joint exercises that don’t optimally load the target muscle can take from your hypertrophy gains in exchange for some strength…
However, I also mentioned that you can focus on barbell squats at one leg workout and the ideal quad exercise at the next. Just keep in mind that it’s not the most efficient muscle-building strategy… [Read more…]
In a previous newsletter I mentioned the importance of focusing on one thing in your workouts.
That’s called specificity of training. [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: 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 got your X-traordinary Arms e-book. Killer information, and I’m ready to use it to build mine into 19-inchers like Jonathan’s. My question is about the 3D HIT program in which you incorporate the arm-specialization routines. One work set for each exercise? You list a few more sets for arms, but I just can’t comprehend how one set could be enough for the other bodyparts. Can I add sets?
A: You can do anything you want, but be careful and monitor your progress. Building muscular size is all about experimentation. In fact, the 3D HIT program is our experiment into one-set-per-exercise intensity training. We’ve seen lots of research validating one-set training for building strength; however, as we explain in our e-books, packing on extreme muscle size is a different animal than merely building strength and a few fast-twitch fibers. There are different layers to attack when size is the goal. [Read more…]
Q: I know you suggest one second to lift and three seconds to lower. Do you ever use a slower lifting cadence, like lifting in three or four seconds instead of only one? Wouldn’t that produce more tension time for unique muscle-growth stimulation?
A: Yes, it can be a great variation for more mass creation as well as a fat-burning catalyst. But the big reason to slow down on the lifting stroke is for more strength. [Read more…]
Q: Your 4X training is fantastic. It has me growing again, and it’s perfect with 3-way POF. My question is about muscle feel. How important is it to feel your muscles working for size increases? I ask because I have trouble feeling some body parts, like shoulders and chest.
A: We believe it’s EXTREMELY important to feel your muscles working; if you don’t, you may be using other muscle groups to move the weight or simply not innervating enough muscle fibers for a big anabolic response. [Read more…]
Q: I just got The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout and The X-traordinary X-Rep Workout. Tremendous. I’ve already read them both twice. Undoubtedly the best bodybuilding info I’ve ever seen. I noticed that in the programs in both e-books, you rely a lot on pyramiding the weight on the compound exercises. Is that better than just using the same poundage on all work sets and going to exhaustion?
A: With the type of training we list in those e-books, we believe adding weight to each work set so that the rep count decreases—9, 7, 5, for instance—is ideal to build BOTH mega mass and strength for three reasons… [Read more…]