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How to Mix Muscle Hits to Get Big and Ripped

IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #661:
How to Mix Muscle Hits to Get Big and Ripped


How to Mix Muscle Hits to Get Big and Ripped

Q: Thanks for the X-centric Mass Workout. Mixing heavy work, negative-accentuated sets and 4X has given me the best gains of my life. My bodyweight increased over 5 pounds, but my abs are sharper with veins in the lower part. I’m stoked, and the babes seem to like it too. Lol. My question is about NA sets vs. negatives at the end of regular sets. After two heavy sets, you say to reduce the weight on the last set for NA set on the big exercise [like bench presses]. Couldn’t I just keep the weight heavy and add four to six negatives at the end of that last set? I feel like I need another heavy set. I have a partner, so he could lift and I could lower on the negatives. I think Mike Mentzer recommended this style.

A: In his prime, Mentzer actually recommended a 3-phase set…

1) Go to positive failure

2) Immediately do a few forced reps–your partner helps you only enough to keep the weight moving

3) Immediately launch into negative-only rep–partner lifts the weight, you lower as slowly as possible until you can’t control the downward motion.

That triple-threat set was designed to completely exhaust the muscle. Unfortunately, that style of training can also exhaust the nervous system quickly and lead to overtraining—unless you’re on steroids, which Mike was…

After Mike stopped competing and started training average drug-free people and athletes, he discovered that his style was overkill. He backed off and recommended the 3-phase set only on very rare occasions.

Nevertheless, your idea of doing only the negatives tacked on to your last heavy set to failure–without the forced reps–is better. It’s much less stress. That’s because the forced reps are the major culprit in short-circuiting the nervous system…

So doing your last set heavy with pure negatives added to the end is a great idea. Experiment with that instead of the NA set. If you’re using the Direct/Indirect X-centric Mass Workout, your lower-middle chest routine would be…

Midrange: Bench presses (pyramid), 3 x 9, 7, 6 + negs
Stretch: Flat-bench flyes, 1-2 x 8-10
Crossovers (4X style), 4 x 10

At every other workout you may want to reduce the weight and do the negative-accentuated set instead of the last heavy + negatives. That’s because NA, or X-centric, gives you a long tension time–almost a minute–and seven to eight slow negative reps: One second to lift, six seconds to lower for about 8 reps…

That extended tension time provides a unique sarcoplasmic mass-building stimulus as well as fat-burning via prolonged myofibrillar work; in other words, you get a double dose of muscle growth plus a huge metabolic boost after your workout during the micro tear repair, which explains your new girl-grabbing abs…

Q: I’m using the X-centric Mass Workout, and really like the various styles all in one program [heavy sets, X-centric (NA) and 4X]. You have stretch-position exercises as heavy and contracted as 4X. Can I switch them and do the contracted exercise first heavy and end with the stretch for 4X?

A: By all means. Using the stretch-position exercise as a finisher is a killer change-to-gain strategy. You could do it at every other workout or stick with it for a couple of weeks, then switch back. To clarify, here’s your new biceps program, with the contracted and stretch moves flip-flopped…

Midrange: Undergrip pulldowns, 3 x 9, 7, 7NA
Contracted: Spider curls (on the vertical side of preacher bench), 1-2 x 8-10
Stretch: Incline curls (4X style), 4 x 10

For the uninitiated, 4X is picking a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but you only do 10; rest 35 seconds, then do it again. Repeat for 4 sets, and on the fourth go all out. If you get 10, add weight to the exercise at your next workout. It works for stretch- as well as contracted-position exercises.

As we always say, change to gain–or, to put it another way, mix it up for mega mass.

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

Note: The 4X Mass Workout is only $19.99, available at the The 4X companion e-books, The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout and The X-centric Mass Workout, are also only $19.99 each.

–Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

LIMITED-TIME $19.99 BEST-SELLERS: We’re offering each of these at their lowest price ever to get you big and ripped by spring. Click on the title you’re interested in for more info…

1) The 4X Mass Workout–fast, simplified supersaturation training for X-treme size

2) The X-traordinary X-Rep Workout–the latest update to our original X e-book

3) The X-centric Mass Workout–the negative-accentuated training manual

4) The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout–total body transformation training

5) X-traordinary Muscle-Building Workouts–10 complete mass programs

6) X-traordinary Arms–includes the 3D HIT workout system with big-arms routines

7) 3D Muscle Building–the original Positions-of-Flexion mass-training manual

8) X-treme Lean—Fat-Burning and Nutrition Guide (with training too)

9) The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout

10) The X-traordinary Size Surge Workout

11) The Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout

12) Eric Broser’s FD/FS Mass-Shock Workout

Latest release: The Pre-Ex 3X Mass Workout—Plus Drop-Set 4X, Rest/Pause 4X and the Perfect Mass-Building Split. Merges the pre-exhaustion muscle-size method with 4X style mass training. 3 complete programs, including modified Pre-Ex 3X, no supersets required. Also, how Mike Mentzer used pre-ex and how you can alter it to get massive gains without anabolic steroids or overtraining–just BIG gaining.

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

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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