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’m reading your original X-Rep e-book [The Ultimate Mass Workout], and you have the Ultimate Exercises listed for each muscle. For lats, it’s close-, parallel-grip chins. I have a hard time with chins because I weigh around 220 pounds. Can I do them on the pulldown machine instead?
A: Yes, do them on the pulldown machine for now; however, once you’re strong enough, do the chinup-bar version… [Read more…]
Q: I was reading that because most bodybuilders do a lot of pressing, they shouldn’t do much direct triceps work. I do bench presses and incline presses for chest and overhead presses for shoulders, so isn’t that enough work for my triceps? I’m drug-free, so I don’t want to overtrain them.
A: Two things to consider:
1) MRI studies show that bench presses and overhead presses do hit the triceps, but mostly the medial and lateral heads; in other words, the bulkiest section of the triceps, the big long head, is almost totally neglected. [Read more…]
Q: It seems like every month I have to miss a few workouts because of life, like business trips, family stuff, etc. If I know I’m going to miss like a chest and back workout, should I just add those bodyparts to my last workout? Or should I skip and pick up with that workout when I’m able to? The add-on idea is appealing, but I don’t feel like I do the muscle group justice unless I train it with all three Positions of Flexion. But then the workout is too long and I feel overtrained. What should I do to make up for missing workouts?
A: Even if you’re only going to miss one workout, you’re going to feel as if you’re shrinking in those areas if you don’t work them… [Read more…]
Q: I’m reading the Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building e-book, and I noticed that you have a section on X-centric training. But it’s not the same as what you describe in my X-centric Mass Workout e-book. Is one better than the other?
A: X-centric is our X-Rep vernacular for eccentric, which is the negative stroke of an exercise; that is, the lowering of a weight, like the downward portion of a bench press. [Read more…]
Q: I’ve recently had to cut back my workouts to three days a week and was looking back through many of the X-Rep e-books. I came across the Mass F/X program in 3D Muscle Building that looks fantastic. Just what I’m looking for. But I would like to use TORQ instead of the drop sets and rest/pause on tension-time days. Will that be too much work?
Q: You’ve said high-rep leg work can increase testosterone. Will the first high-rep set on each exercise in the Anabolic Reload STX workouts boost T even more?
A: It appears that reason high-rep leg work boosts testosterone is due to heavy breathing, big-muscle stimulation, growth-fiber activation, and muscle burn… [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…]
Seeing the 3 key hypertrophy triggers for muscle growth laid out by Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D. in Anabolic Reload got me motivated. Interesting that they align with your Positions of Flexion method. So hitting all 3 at every workout is the best way to grow?
For the uninitiated, the 3 key hypertrophy triggers you must attack for mega mass, according to Schoenfeld, are: [Read more…]
A: Heavier weights and lower reps will produce more growth—in a couple of fast-twitch fiber types. Scientists believe there are at least five (some even say nine) different fast-twitch fiber types, some being slightly more endurance oriented than others. So a set with four to six reps plus X Reps may do great things for one or two of those; but to get at the others you’d want to include slightly higher-rep sets (or include drop sets and supersets in combination with X Reps, as outlined in The Ultimate Mass Workout e-book). That will help you hit as many fast-twitch types as possible.
Technically speaking, fiber makeup dictates which rep range should dominate for an individual. For example, if you have more pure fast-twitch fibers, lower reps should dominate in your routine, but you shouldn’t neglect other rep ranges because you want to hit as many fiber types as possible to max out growth. In other words, the more fibers you get to grow, the bigger your muscles will be.
In our cases, Jonathan, being more mesomorphic (muscular/athletic), responds to lower reps, but he also includes drop sets and supersets to hit a variety of fiber types as well (those techniques bring in an endurance component). Steve, on the other hand, responds better to higher reps, as he’s an ectomorph (hardgainer/skinny) with more endurance-oriented fast-twitch fibers as well as lots of slow-twitch fibers. Heavy straight sets don’t do much for him, so he relies more on drop sets and supersets, while still keeping the reps in the six-to-12 range. That means if he does a drop set of 8(6) reps—eight reps, reduce the weight and immediately do six reps—he’s doing 14 reps. That’s two lower-rep sets back to back, giving him the best of both worlds. Add X Reps to one of those sets and he gets even more time under tension, overloading a number of fiber types. It’s a very efficient way to train for more muscle mass.
Remember, it’s not about just hitting fast-twitch fibers with low reps. There are a number of different fast-twitch fibers that vary in work capacity. We attack that problem by doing heavy work but also getting more endurance-oriented anaerobic work by using supersets and drop sets along with X Reps.