To Top

Getting Big With One Exercise Per Muscle Group

ironmanmagazine.comQ: I see workouts with only one exercise per muscle group. Can you really get big using those?

A: Sure you can get big—up to a point. For example, in The Ultimate Mass Workout Jonathan and I single out the best exercise for each muscle group, such as decline presses for chest—and even provide “one-hit” workouts. By “best exercise,” however, we don’t mean it’s all you need to reach your genetic size potential.

If you don’t have a lot of time, the decline press is the pec exercise I recommend because it’s been shown to activate the most muscle fibers from top to bottom—yes, even in the upper chest. (Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. 11:163-167. 1997) (Note: Reverse-grip bench presses have been shown in recent EMG studies to get at the upper fibers even better.)

The bottom line is that if you want maximum size development, you need to attack the target muscle from multiple angles. That’s because muscle fibers run in various directions and have better leverage to fire at specific angles of pull.

The basic three “angles,” or positions, are midrange, stretch and contracted. That’s Positions-of-Flexion mass training.

For example, we mentioned decline presses for chest; those fall into the midrange category. If you add flyes for stretch and cable crossovers for the contracted position, you complete the full-range chain for exceptional fiber activation—and more blood pooling in the target for sarcoplasmic size.

Some trainees have significant fiber-recruitment abilities in certain muscle groups. For example, you may have seen guys with huge pecs who only do bench presses.

That’s rare, however, and the development is usually not complete, lacking in certain areas, like upper- or inner-pec thickness. Still, they were able to build a lot of mass with one exercise because of superior neuromuscular efficiency, or nerve-to-muscle connections.

You may have a bodypart or two like that—easy gainers; however, most muscles will need multiangle training, like POF, for full, complete development.

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  and for info on X-Rep, 4X and 3D POF methods and e-books.  IM


Instantized Creatine- Gains In Bulk

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Latest


    IRON MAN MAGAZINE CHALLENGE: SEASON 1 ​​ Be part of Iron Man Magazine’s First Challenge Season designed to jump-start your body...

    IronManJune 18, 2021
  • Only Constant in Life is Change

    In all areas of life, it is important to have a backup plan which I like to refer to as Plan...

    IronManApril 7, 2020
  • Thinking About Competing? 

      Have you cruised through the pages of Iron Man Magazine, saw the photographs of the fitness competitors, and imagined yourself...

    IronManFebruary 25, 2020
  • Power Rack Training

    The big steel cage placed in front of the mirror at your gym is good for a lot more than just...

    ironashleyJanuary 14, 2020
  • Get Grounded For Good Vibes

      “Every human brain is both a broadcasting and receiving station for the vibration of thought” – Napoleon Hill   Your...

    irongraphicsDecember 20, 2019
  • Is Bread DEAD?

    Bread is often vilified when it comes to reducing fat, building muscle and overall health, but is bread really all that...

    irongraphicsMay 22, 2019
  • Train Your Mind for Peak Performance

    What is Flow?   Flow is the state of achieving optimal performance by being completely absorbed in the present moment. Individuals...

    ironashleyMay 3, 2019
  • Banana Vanilla Protein Pancakes

    Say goodbye to frozen waffles. We’ve got your new favorite high-protein breakfast option.   In a Blender combine: 1/2 cup old...

    ironashleyApril 26, 2019
  • The WorkOut Session

    We can separate people into two categories in the gym. No, not the dedicated versus the lazy. I am talking about those with genetically blessed calves...

    Cindy MamOctober 8, 2018