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5 Critical Keys to More Muscle Mass

Q: I understand that heavy weight isn’t important for maximum muscle growth. Can you tell me what I should include in my workouts to build the most mass possible in the shortest time. I want to get bigger.

IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #714:
5 Critical Keys to More Muscle Mass


5 Critical Keys to More Muscle Mass

Q: I understand that heavy weight isn’t important for maximum muscle growth. Can you tell me what I should include in my workouts to build the most mass possible in the shortest time. I want to get bigger.

A: Well, "heavy" weights are important, but "heavy" is relative to YOU–and dependent on muscle fatigue. You may struggle with 20 pounds in a certain exercise at the END of a bodypart workout. So that 20 pounds is "heavy" for you on that exercise at that moment…

That’s why we like to say that the weights you use must be "challenging" rather than "heavy." And you should strive to up the weight when possible, which may not be very often. But luckily there’s a lot more to building maximum mass than just getting stronger…

As we’ve explained, low-rep heavy training primarily thickens the myofibrils, the force-generating strands in the fibers. Powerlifters target the myofibrils, as well as nerve force, with low-rep sets to increase strength. The thickening of those strands accounts for some growth, but…

The major muscular hypertrophy occurs in the sarcoplasm, the energy fluid surrounding those strands. That’s why bodybuilders who train with higher reps, supersets, etc., are generally more muscular than most powerlifters–it’s how they train…

Training at least some sets with higher reps and/or short rests between sets EXPANDS the sarcoplasm. You do need to build the myofibrils too, but it’s the sarcoplasm that contributes the most to muscle size. That’s exciting on a number of levels, as you’ll see below…

Okay, with that rolling around in your head, here are 5 things you should include in MOST of your workouts to build extreme muscle mass fast…

1) Synergy. It’s also known as muscle teamwork, and you get that on the big compound exercises. For example, on a decline bench press your chest is the primary mover, but your triceps, delts and even lats assist. These are usually more natural movements than isolated moves. The body was designed to work best synergistic exercises–"midrange" in Positions-of-Flexion mass training–which better involve the mass of the muscle fibers.

2) Stretch. If you’ve been reading this e-zine for a while, you no doubt have seen our reference to the animal study the produced a 300 PERCENT muscle mass gain in only one month of stretch-only "workouts." That shows the size-building power of putting a muscle into a full stretch against challenging resistance. Examples include flyes for chest, sissy squats for quads and overhead extensions for triceps. POF bodypart routines all contain a stretch move.

3) Continuous tension. This is best produced via contracted-position exercises in POF–like pushdowns for triceps, concentration curls for biceps, leg extensions for quads, etc. Those moves put the target muscle into its contracted position against resistance–and there is resistance throughout the stroke–no rest anywhere, or at least there shouldn’t be. That continuous tension produces occlusion, or blood-flow blockage, which triggers large gains in sarcoplasmic mass–if the tension time is long enough…

4) Hypertrophic tension time. Low-rep work gets you about 20 seconds of tension time, which builds strength (myofibrils). The optimal hypertrophic tension time is 40 to 90 seconds. Even the low end, 40 seconds, takes a while. And you’d have to do 30 reps or more to get the upper end of that hypertrophic tension time (60 to 90 seconds). You must also keep the target muscle engaged the entire time–FEEL it working.

5) Muscular fatigue. You must train the target muscle until it is spent. In other words, you should do enough volume to reach the GROWTH THRESHOLD. That can be different for different people–and even for different muscles. Short rests between sets can accelerate cumulative fatigue–and that’s a good thing for extreme-growth stimulation, especially in the sarcoplasm.

The Positions-of-Flexion mass-building method insures that you get numbers 1 through 3 above. It’s usually 3 exercises for each muscle: midrange for synergy, stretch for stretch overload and contracted for continuous tension…

But to get 4 and 5, you will need to do a variety of rep ranges and/or manipulate rest times between sets. That really adds a sixth key to the above list: CHANGE.

For example, you could do the big midrange exercise and stretch move heavy with lower reps, then finish with a contracted-position exercise using higher reps and/or short rests (4X density). (There is a complete POF workout with those parameters in The X-centric Mass Workout e-book.)

Be sure you cover the 5 mass-building keys above most of the time, and at least every few weeks you should make a CHANGE for MORE BIG GAINS.

We’ll have more on change to gain in future e-zines.

–Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

ALERT: $14 Specials…
Positions-of-Flexion Mass Manual: 3D Muscle Building
and The X-centric Mass Workout are only $14 each for a limited time. Both big e-books contain multiple mass-building workout programs with various change-to-gain tactics. The POF programs in each e-book incorporate the 5 critical keys to muscle mass. GO HERE: 3D Muscle Building <== AND GO HERE: X-centric Mass Workout <==


LIMITED-TIME $14.99 to $19.99 BEST-SELLERS: We’re offering each of these at their lowest price ever to get you big and ripped by spring. Click on the title you’re interested in for more info…

1) The 4X Mass Workout–fast, simplified supersaturation training for X-treme size

2) The X-traordinary X-Rep Workout–the latest update to our original X e-book

3) The X-centric Mass Workout–the negative-accentuated training manual

4) The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout–total body transformation training

5) X-traordinary Muscle-Building Workouts–10 complete mass programs

6) X-traordinary Arms–includes the 3D HIT workout system with big-arms routines

7) 3D Muscle Building–the original Positions-of-Flexion mass-training manual

8) X-treme Lean—Fat-Burning and Nutrition Guide (with training too)

9) The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout

10) The Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout

To follow the ITRC training program in “Train, Eat, Grow,” get a copy of the latest issue of IRON MAN.


This Special Report was submitted by Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman.
The IRON MAN Training & Research Team

The ITRC Training Newsletter is not intended as training advice for everyone. You must consult your physician before beginning any diet or training program. You may forward this email to as many friends as you want, but do not photocopy or reprint this report in any format without the written permission of the copyright holder.

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