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IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #422: Customize for Size: Quick Mass Tips

IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #422:
Customize for Size: Quick Mass Tips


Customize for Size: Quick Mass Tips

Q: I’m a hardgainer. I weigh about 160 at 5’9”, and I’m ready to give the Size Surge program a go. I recently read in one of your e-zines that hardgainers need more endurance-type work for best mass gains because most of their muscles are built for higher reps. My question is, should I do higher reps in both phases of the Size Surge program to get the best mass gains? It doesn’t look like Jonathan did that.

A: Recent research has shown that hardgainer types achieve best muscle-size gains with longer tension times–sets that last upward of 30 seconds or more (the study used 12-15-rep sets). That research also found that hardgainers don’t get much size from lower-rep sets. (Eur J App Physiol. 95[1]:20-26. 2005.)…

However, we’ve found that including a lower-rep set or two for each bodypart eventually adds mass by building the power side of the key 2A growth fibers. PLUS, lower-rep sets help you increase the nerve-to-muscle connections so you can get more fibers to fire on any one set. Steve is a hardgainer and knows the importance of some lower-rep sets to build neuromuscular efficiency for faster mass gains…

So you, a hardgainer, need both power and endurance–but you definitely need a more distinct endurance, or density, emphasis…

Jonathan is NOT a true hardgainer, although he’s not an easy gainer either. He’s got some hardgainer tendencies. Nevertheless, he requires less density, or endurance work than a true hardgainer like Steve.

In case you have trouble believing that he’s not an easy gainer, keep in mind that these days he gets ripped at a bodyweight of around 205. That’s what he weighed in the far right photo below, years after the original 10-week Size Surge program—the first two photos. In that middle photo, taken right after the Size Surge experiment, he weighed a bulked 209, so he’s made a lot of progress since with POF and X Reps, ripping up these days at close to his past bulked weight…

You being a true hardgainer need slightly more endurance work for optimal mass gains than Jonathan used. We suggest you alter both phases of Jonathan’s Size Surge program slightly…

Step 1 is to use a reverse pyramid on most of the big exercises. That means instead of getting 9, adding weight, then doing 6 or 7, you REDUCE the weight for set 2. So on your first work set take a weight that allows 6-8. That’s for power. Rest 2 1/2 minutes, then use a lighter weight that allows you 10-12 reps on your last set.

Doing the lower-rep set first heightens nerve force without producing much fatigue-product pooling in the target muscle. That will prime your muscles for an exceptional mass-building response on set 2, the higher rep range that’s best for packing mass on a hardgainer’s frame…

The second change is to do higher reps on the isolation, or single-joint, exercises. For example, instead of 7-9 reps on concentration curls, use 12-15–which is the rep range shown to be best for hardgainers in the study sited above…

So that’s 2 simple changes to jolt more muscle gains:

1) Reverse pyramid on the big exercises

2) Higher reps on the single-joint moves

That’s two key hardgainer Size Surge tweaks to pack more mass on your physique. Prepare to grow!

Note: An excellent phase 1 Size Surge program for hardgainers is the Mass F/X workout on pages 81-83 in 3D Muscle Building. It’s Jonathan’s 3-days-a-week Size Surge routine with a built-in power/density twist: You train a muscle with straight power sets at one workout, then the next time you train it, you use a quick 3-set multi-rep rest/pause (DC) sequence for endurance emphasis. Fast dual-component workouts to pack on mass fast.

Till next time, train hard–and smart–for BIG results.

—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

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.

Triple-Shred Discount Fat-Loss Offer: Get our diet-and fat-loss e-book, X-treme Lean, together with The Fat-to-Muscle Workout and X-traordinary Abs e-books at a special limited-time low price. Click the Triple-Shredded Combo Offer and get on the rocketship to ripped today.

X-traordinary Mass-Workout Offer: You can get all 3 of our latest best-selling e-books–The X-traordinary X-Rep Workout, The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout and The Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout–at a limited-time discount price. Those contain all the workouts in our 3-Way Mass Plan, which is 1) Basic X-traordinary X-Rep Workout for two weeks, 2) the Basic Power-Density Mass Workout for two weeks, 3) a downshift week (stopping all work sets before failure), 4) the Heavy/Light 10×10 Mass Workout for 4 weeks. Click the covers below for more info.

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

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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