A: FST-7 works well for most bodybuilders who try it (as do similar methods like 4X, FD/FS and Vince Gironda’s 8×8); here’s why:
With FST-7 you use an exercise at the end of a bodypart routine for seven quick sets—just 30 seconds of rest between them. That’s almost pure sarcoplasmic expansion, something most bodybuilders neglect.
As I’ve said on numerous occasions, the way most bodybuilders train primarily stresses the myofibrils, the actin and myosin strands in muscle fibers. Heavier weights and longer rests emphasize growth in those strands because that trains the muscle for short bursts of force.
That style neglects the sarcoplasm, the energy fluid that can be expanded via longer tension times. So most bodybuilders are only getting about half of their potential size stimulation—maybe even less. They focus almost exclusively on heavy weights for eight reps or so—and growth is usually painfully slow.
Once they provide an endurance-training component—as you get with FST-7, 4X, etc.—they more thoroughly expand the sarcoplasm. The short rests make that happen.
Once again, the 4X mass method is this: Take a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but do only 10; rest 30 to 40 seconds, then do 10 more—and so on until you complete four sets. Go all out on your fourth set, and if you get 10 reps or more, add weight to that exercise at your next workout.
Obviously, you could end a bodypart routine with 4X—would that be FST-4?—or even try Eric Broser’s FD/FS, which stands for fiber damage/fiber saturation.
Eric separates myofibrillar activation and sarcoplasmic expansion by prescribing heavy low-rep sets, stretch moves and other traumatic myofibrillar training up front in a bodypart routine; then he ends with very high-rep sets for a full-blown pump and blood saturation, the sarcoplasmic expansion. Here’s a sample chest routine from his e-book FD/FS Mass-Shock Workout (www.X-Workouts.com):
Bench presses 2 x 3-4
Incline presses 2 x 5-6
Incline flyes 2 x 7-8
Nonlock machine bench
presses 1 x 30-40
presses 1 x 30-40
Cable crossovers 1 x 30-40
Broser is a drug-free pro in one of the natural organizations and has trained many top competitors. He prescribes FD/FS as a three-week mass-packing phase. He says it’s done amazing things for those he trains. It obviously helps him grow, as the above photo shows.
FD/FS definitely looks to be a great system, but at 52 I’m just not into moving bone-crushing poundages these days. I have enough joint damage from past forays into power training. Interesting that I’m growing better than ever with an all-4X mass workout. Others are finding that to be the case too, including Mr. America Doug Brignole and more recently Ron Harris, who is one of the more hardcore competitive bodybuilders and scribe for this magazine as well as others.
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 www.X-Rep.com and X-Workouts.com for info on X-Rep, 4X and 3D POF methods and e-books. IM