How to Make Room for More Muscle Growth

/ Posted 12.01.2010

Remember when you started to grow and your shirts were getting too tight? Imagine that shirt being made of some super-strong material and it actually kept you from growing any more. It would hold back your real potential for muscle growth, wouldn’t it?

That describes the fascia. Fascia are strong sheaths of connective tissue that surround your muscles. It’s like luggage filled with muscle that keeps it from flopping around everywhere. Once it’s full you can’t fit any more of your “stuff” because there’s not room.

Where does your stuff/muscle go when the luggage doesn’t get any bigger? Nowhere. Muscle growth comes to a screeching halt because the muscle has nowhere to expand and grow.

Expanding or stretching the fascia is much like undoing the zipper on expandable luggage… it allows the luggage to fit more of your valuables. Stretching and expanding the fascia allows the muscle to expand.

Fascial stretching is accomplished by first filling it up with blood, maximizing the PUMP then stretching it vigorously. It’s like jiggling to zippers and loosening it before opening it. Expanding the fascia a little at a time to give your muscle room to grow.

There are several ways to accomplish this. Personally I like a variation of Steve Holman’s
Position of Flexion. Use high reps sets of a contracted position exercise in superset with a stretch position exercise also for high reps and hold the stretch on the last rep.

An example would be the straight side of a Scott Curl Bench (spider curl side) contracting tightly at the top followed immediately by the angled side of the bench, which works the biceps in the stretch position bench. 3 or 4 sets of 15 to 25 reps will accomplish the goal. Of course you’ll want to follow his concept on every muscle group. Fill up those muscles then force the fascia to expand.

Basic Concepts for Lean Mass Gains – What I learned from Danny Padilla

/ Posted 11.14.2010

Right around the time Danny Padilla was about to turn Pro in bodybuilding, I had the opportunity to train with him for about 6 weeks. That was about 1977. I still see him about once a year and he still hasn’t changed his training much at all. Why would he, he’s found what works for him.

People on the forums consider Danny one of the greatest short bodybuilders ever because of his awesome symmetry and massive development despite his short stature.

During most of the year Danny trained 4 to 6 days a week. He always followed the same split. Day 1 Chest and Back we’d often superset each chest movement with a back movement. Day 2 Shoulders and Arms we’d often superset 2 shoulder exercises and we’d frequently superset biceps with triceps. Day 3 legs. Repeat. If we missed a workout, he didn’t worry about it. He just does that workout when he returns to the gym. During the off season he did 2 to 3 exercises per body-part for 5 sets of 12 reps where the same weight is used on all sets. That means the first set or 2 is really a warm-up and by set three he’s close to the edge of course set four and five are all out. When he can get 12 reps on all 5 sets, he’ll add weight during the next workout. His rest between sets is short, no longer than a minute. One he began preparing for a competition he’d do 4 exercises for each body part in the same manner… 5 sets of 12 reps.

Even though the volume is high Danny would complete these workouts in just over an hour… This is another way of keeping the intensity high, which was taught by Vince Gironda, Bill Pearl and other great trainers of “the golden era” of bodybuilding.

Training in this fashion, was the first time in my bodybuilding career that I really started to make significant progress.

[*Get the latest e-book collection of Vince’s methods, quotes, workouts and advice Vince Gironda: Legend & Myth by Alan Palmieri, one of Vince’s students. Read the Iron Man magazine review here.]

A Drug Free Blueprint for Building Muscle: The X-Rep Workout

/ Posted 09.18.2010

Don’t even think about looking around the gym for an efficient workout strategy, it’s futile. You’ll see people heaving and throwing weights, choosing exercises at random, training for hours and making little or no progress year after year after year––ending up frustrated and disillusioned. They find out the muscle building mountain – is not so easy to climb.

Everyone, even advanced trainees ask: How often should I work out? How long should my workouts last? How many sets should I do? All good questions for sure but, the answers won’t get you much closer to your goal… building muscle fast. Sherlock Holmes––the famous detective––always solved his cases by posing new questions.

Wait a second! That same insight can be used to unlock the mystery of developing a workout for building muscle fast. That’s exactly what everyone wants to know. Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson posed new questions and found the answers. Their 40-years of combined experience in the gym and a burning desire fueled the search. The two authors have been helping others lose weight and build muscle without steroids ever since.

Every new and innovative scientific workout theory to cross their paths at IRON MAN Magazine was tested. So were old-school methods that came from 90-years of magazine archives. The strategies were combined, bridging the gap between workout science and real-world application. Fast muscle growth without steroids had been conquered with the X-Rep workout system. The system is designed for those who find it difficult to build muscle and lose fat, without bodybuilding steroids.

It takes some work and sweat, but you may find yourself making two to three times your current progress––and in half the time. When you learn more about each muscle’s function, fiber activation and how the body recovers, you can simply make much better progress and begin to experience maximum results in minimum time.

Here are three techniques you can use from the X-Rep system to build muscle faster…

1. The Direct-Indirect technique–answers the question: How many sets and how often should I train each muscle? The most common mistake and confusion most trainees make revolves around the frequency and length of any given workout. It’s an ongoing confusion for many. With the Direct-Indirect approach, trainees train muscle groups directly on some days for maximum stimulation and indirectly on other days to coax stimulation with optimal recovery.

2. X-Reps–answers the question: How long should the ideal set on an exercise last? The use of X-Reps answers this question. This rep system bolsters the intensity of the workload on the muscle fibers high enough to trigger maximum progress–just what you need to activate as many fibers as possible quickly.

One of the big mistakes trainees make is using weights that don’t allow a set to last long enough to trigger an optimal muscle growth. For example; they may use a poundage that lets them get, let’s say, seven reps with a one second up, one second down rep speed–for a grand total of 14 seconds time under tension (known as TUT). That’s a deal killer.

Most people need at least 30 seconds or more of tension to build muscle. Simply using a lighter weight won’t do the trick. You need to use a heavy enough weight to produce and overload. A two/two second cadence gets you closer, but that’s still only 28 seconds (four seconds times seven reps); however, if you do 8-10 reps and then immediately decrease the weight so you can do five more reps at a two/two cadence, you now have 48 seconds. Or you can add X-Reps. Partials reps performed through the portion of the movement where you’re the strongest. That path leads to fast muscle building success.

3. Positions-of-Flexion–answers the question: Which exercises lead to fast muscle building results? Train each muscle groups from three angles: a midrange exercise hits the bulk of the fibers-such as a barbell curl; the contracted position-such as a concentration curl; and the stretch position-such as an incline dumbbell curl. This approach results in full-range fiber activation resulting in a more balanced, efficient workload. It’s not a matter of simply choosing a number of exercises for a muscle group but rather one exercise from each of the 3 required positions.

Average as well as elite gym-enthusiasts have been rescued from zero-results programs and have been able to build muscle faster as well as lose body fat.  They’ve discovered the X-Rep muscle building protocol works.

Get more ideas for making your workouts productive at or subscribe to the free E-zine at: