IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #510:
5 Quick Variations for Muscle Mass Creation
TRY THIS AT YOUR NEXT WORKOUT
5 Quick Variations for Muscle Mass Creation
Q: I’ve made some of the best gains ever with 4X training, but I may be going stale. I can’t seem to go up in weight any longer. Don’t I need to get stronger to get bigger?
A: If you get stronger, you MAY get bigger–but you can get bigger WITHOUT getting stronger. In other words, s ize and strength are NOT directly intertwined. Check out this quote from Peary Rader, founder of IRON MAN magazine, who was doing size and strength research more than 40 years ago…
“Experiments we have carried out show that we can put an inch on the arms in a short period of time by pumping [or lighter-density] methods [like 4X]… On the other hand, we can, by training on an entirely different system [heavy weights/power] develop 10 or 20 percent more strength without one bit of increase in the size of the arms. Now this sort of ruins the popular theory that [a muscle’s] strength is in direct relation to its size."
Think about it this way: If size equaled strength, wouldn’t Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler be squatting over 1,000 pounds? He rarely squats more than 405, yet is quads are enormously muscular…
And why don’t the strongest powerlifters, who squat 600, 700, 800 pounds, have quads that are even bigger than Cutler’s? Because there is more to building size than increasing strength. In fact, as the quote above says, you can get quite a bit stronger without getting any bigger–that increased strength is due to improved nerve force, which is key in powerlifting programs.
Here’s something else to think about: Power-bodybuilder Johnnie Jackson recently stated that when he has trained with mostly heavy max weights, like a powerlifter, he got smaller. Interesting…
So to address your problem, if you want to get stronger, you can move away from 4X for a while and train with lower reps and heavier weight–but don’t take the reps too low. Try a routine like the Power Pyramid, which is the first of 10 programs in the X-traordinary Muscle-Building Workouts e-book. That uses full-range Positions of Flexion for each muscle, standard sets with longer rests, and a 6-to-8 rep range so you build strength with a size side effect…
Now, if you’re a bodybuilder concerned with packing on major muscle size first and foremost, we suggest you infuse your current program with some 4X variation for more mass creation. In a past e-zine we discussed some good ones:
Shock-centric 3X: That’s taking your normal 4X weight, but you do one second on the positive and six seconds on the negative for 7 reps–that is slow on the down stroke of a squat and fast on the up stroke; still use 30 seconds of rest between sets. You’re getting about 50 seconds of tension time on each set and a lot of eccentric muscle trauma, so be prepared for soreness.
4X or 3X Pyramid: That’s doing a standard 4X or 3X sequence, but you add a little weight on each set so your reps drop–10, 9, 7; use 30 seconds of rest between sets. This can help boost strength.
You can also manipulate the last set of a 3X or 4X sequence…
4X Drop: Do a normal 4X sequence, but on the last set, do a drop set–at exhaustion you reduce the weight and immediately crank out another set to failure. So your reps look like this (number in parenthesis is the drop set): 10, 10, 10, 9(6)
4X Super: Do a normal 4X sequence, but after the last set to exhaustion, you immediately rep out on another exercise for that target muscle. For example, if you do a 4X sequence on pulldowns, after you complete set 4, immediately move to undergrip pulldowns to exhaustion to attack your lats from a slightly different angle.
4X + X Reps: You can also add X Reps to your last set–if you can stand the intense burn. When you hit exhaustion on, say, incline presses, lower the weight to just off your chest and blast out a series of eight-inch partials at that prime fiber-activation spot, the semi-stretch point. Some partner assistance may be necessary on some exercises, and they do hurt–but they work. More growth-fiber activation and size-building tension time.
As we often say, when it comes to muscle growth, it’s all about CHANGE to create BIGGER GAINS.
For best-of-both-worlds programs, see The X-centric Mass Workout e-book. Those include power-pyramid training, negative-accentuated sets AND 4X. You use heavy weights and longer rests on the big exercises, like bench presses, and moderate poundages and short rests (30 seconds) on the isolation moves with 4X. It’s a great combination routine for size and strength gains.
Till next time, train hard–and smart–for BIG results.
Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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Latest release: The 4X Mass WorkoutFast Simplified Supersaturation Training for X-treme Muscle Size. It’s how many pro bodybuilders get big AND ripped as fast as possible for contests and photo shoots. You can use it for a blast of new mass in only a few weeks–and the workouts are quick. Guaranteed or your money back. Limited-time discount offer HERE.
X-SHOP: Find our original X-Rep e-book, as well as X Updates and Positions-of-Flexion mass-training guides…
X-WORKOUTS: Find specialized e-workout programs, including Power-Density, 10×10 and Eric Broser’s Power/Rep Range/Shock….
NEW: The X-traordinary SIZE SURGE Workout, Jonathan Lawson’s legendary two-phase mass program that packed 20 pounds of muscle on his frame in only 10 weeks. See all the changes he made to the original workouts, transcribed from his training journal. In printable templates so you can duplicate his incredible gains. You also get his eat-to-grow diet and streamlined no-frills supplement schedule, anabolic acceleration methods and loads of tips and tricks. Plus, an interview with a top-level bodybuilder who trains Size Surge style for incredible growth.
Newbies: If you’re a beginning bodybuilder, coming back from a layoff or a trainer who trains beginners, our new e-book, Quick-Start Muscle-Building Guide, is for you.
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
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