Q: I’ve been a P/RR/S user for many years and recently tried your Fiber Damage/Fiber Saturation program. I love it. It’s brutal but so addictive. I’ve read that you recommend that most people use it for only two weeks at a time before going back to P/RR/S for two or three cycles. Why can’t I stay on FD/FS longer than two weeks?
A: Let me start by saying thank you for being a longtime P/RR/S user and for implementing FD/FS in your training. Trust me when I say that you’re not the first person to come to me with the same question.
FD/FS, especially when paired with the nutritional protocol I recommend, can often yield very dramatic results. First-time FD/FS users often report that they gain anywhere from four to eight solid pounds in just two weeks. Gains like that certainly are addictive. One of the main reasons that FD/FS works so well, however, is that it’s a shock program, which means it should be used only sporadically to, well, shock your muscle fibers, central nervous system and endocrine systems into anabolic nirvana. (See the next question for an example of an FD/FS routine.)
That said, because of the sheer brutality of FD/FS training, your body’s systems will respond positively to its demands for only short periods of time before the opposite effect kicks in, eventually causing severe catabolism. The prolonged eccentric contractions and stretch pauses that FD/FS calls for induce severe muscle fiber damage, which is awesome for stimulating growth but will also greatly tax your central nervous system. You get your body into a catabolic state—that is, you overtrain—far more when you overwork your central nervous system than when you stress individual muscles.
So the idea behind FD/FS is to shock you into new growth by forcing your body to deal with extremely intense, anabolic-inducing training techniques but to pull back just before you make too many inroads into your recovery ability and get sick, injured or overtrained. Of course, there are those who have extraordinary ability to recover and who can successfully stay with FD/FS for up to four weeks at a time, but they’re few. That’s why I feel that the best overall strategy for long-term, continuous muscle growth is to use P/RR/S and P/RR/S hybrid methods for two to three cycles—six to nine weeks—and then infuse FD/FS into your program for one to two blitz weeks, using the special nutritional protocol, before again returning to P/RR/S. I often follow an FD/FS infusion with either a very light training week or a full week off to make sure I fully recover from its severity. I suggest that you do the same.
Q: I will get right to the point: My calves stink. They refuse to grow. I think I’ve tried everything, but I thought you might have something cool for me to try. Can you help me, please?
A: I’ll be honest: My calves also stink. What a genetic nightmare. So as you can see, I feel your pain; I’ll never have calves that will threaten Mike Matarazzo’s. Still, I’ve managed to add a few inches to them in the past couple of years so that now at least they’re respectable. How did I do it? With FD/FS training. Rather than go on and on about it, how about a look at my exact program:
Standing calf raises
(5/2/X tempo) 3 x 4-6
Leg press calf raises
(2/4/X tempo) 2 x 7-9
Seated calf raises
(1/0/1 tempo) 2 x 30-40
I followed that plan twice per week for two straight weeks and then returned to P/RR/S calf training for six weeks before again attacking them with FD/FS. In a year I added a solid 1 1/2 inches to my calves. Good luck.
Editor’s note: Eric Broser’s new DVD, “Power/Rep Range/Shock Max-Mass Training System,” is available at Home-Gym.com. His e-book, Power/Rep Range/Shock Workout, which includes complete printable workout templates and a big Q&A section, is available at