Q: In the Pre-Ex 3X Mass Workout you use heavier five-rep rest/pause on stretch exercises. It’s a 3X sequence of [lower-rep stretch work with rest/pause on each set] after the pre-ex combo supersets. Can I use a heavier weight and go to failure on just one stretch set—maybe 5(3)?
A: With the five-rep rest/pause sequences on stretch-position exercises you use your eight-rep max for three quick R/P sets. You want to change it and use your five-rep max for one heavy rest/pause overload.
As Jonathan Lawson and I explain in the pre-ex e-book, Mike Mentzer produced amazing strength gains with one heavy set of one exercise per muscle in many of his trainees; however, it sounds as if you’re probably more interested in muscle size. Still, heavy sets can set the stage for more hypertrophy as well.
Heavy overload can force new muscle fibers into the action. The challenge of a heavy weight “wakes up” new fibers, and you get better neuromuscular efficiency, or nerve-to-muscle connections. That can be a good thing for future growth stimulation—more fibers getting involved on all sets.
So to answer your question, yes, doing one heavy rest/pause set on your stretch-position exercises can be a good thing for strength and eventual size increases. Improving your ability to fire more fibers can translate into more mass. So your delt routine might look like this…
Contracted: Lateral raises 3 x 10
Midrange: Presses 3 x 10
Stretch: Incline one-arm laterals
(10-second rest/pause) 1 x 5(3)
Just be very careful. Remember, you’re using your five-rep max. The heavy overload described in the e-book is 5(5) R/P in a 3X sequences—which means you use your eight-rep max. That makes your extreme-poundage variation more dangerous. Keep your form strict!
Editor’s note: Steve Holman is the author of many bodybuilding best-sellers and the creator of Positions-of-Flexion muscle training. For information on the POF DVD and Size Surge programs, see the ad sections in this issue. Also visit www.X-Rep.com and X-Workouts.com for info on X-Rep, 4X and 3D POF methods and e-books. IM