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IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #230: Pro Muscle Size — Explode to Grow?

IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #230: Pro Muscle Size: Explode to Grow?


* Try This at Your Next Workout


Pro Muscle Size: Explode to Grow?

Q: I’ve been reading how using fast, explosive reps is the best way to get muscle growth. It makes sense because fast-twitch fibers are, well, fast. Plus, I notice that most of the pros train that way. Should I do some sets in an explosive style?

A: Explosive sets can trigger muscle growth (we’ll explain why in a moment); however, that style of training is very dangerous. We’ve found that 1.5 seconds up and 1.5 seconds down (3-second reps) is about as fast as trainees should move to trigger size increases safely. That’s still fairly fast, but many pros use even faster reps. That makes it appear that a dangerous speed is necessary for maximum muscle growth—but it’s not…

The reason explosive training can be good for gains is the extreme overload it creates at the semistretch point—where the target muscle is somewhat stretched and you quickly reverse the movement of the weight. For example, near the bottom of an incline press or chinup. The sudden jolt to stop and reverse the weight at the turnaround overloads the muscle right where it can fire optimally—where the fibers are elongated and perfectly aligned.

Studies have been performed with a trainee standing on a force plate while executing overhead presses. When explosive reps were used, the weight became three times heavier at the low-end turnaround. Imagine a pro bodybuilder exploding with 400 pounds out of the bottom of a bench press. The overload his pecs get at the explosion point is extreme—and extremely dangerous! (That’s why pec tears are common.)

The safer way to go is three-second reps; then at exhaustion you move to that important semistretch point and do eight-inch X-Rep partials. You save it till the end of the set, which may be even better: According to the size principle of fiber recruitment, the end of the set is when the key growth fibers come into play, so X-Rep partials extend that key mass-fiber activation—safely. Of course, X Reps require pain tolerance, but it’s worth it.

If you insist on training more explosively, you can get a similar effect with our Double-X Overload technique. To do a set in DXO style, use a weight that’s slightly lighter than your normal nine-rep poundage. Say you’re doing incline presses. Lower the weight to just off your chest, drive it up to just below the halfway point, lower again, then drive out almost to lockout. You’re doing an X Rep between each full rep, so you use a slightly more explosive cadence—however, the weight is lighter so it’s safer than the jerk-and-heave style many of the pros use.

On Ronnie Coleman’s “Redemption” DVD, he performs his behind-the-back shrugs with a partial “hitch” at the bottom of each rep for stretch overload. That’s helped him develop a pair of enormous traps [DVD stills used with permission from Mitsuru Okabe]…

Double-X Overload is an excellent technique that works extremely well on almost any exercise—plus you get that pro-style feel to your workouts. And it may just help you grow like the pros too.

Till next week, train hard!

—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

Note: All of our X-hybrid techniques, including DXO, are explained and discussed in the Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building e-book. It also includes the chapter “Analyzing Mr. Olympia’s Workout—From an X-Rep Perspective” for those interested in pro-bodybuilder training.

Latest e-book release:
The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout includes the latest eye-opening data on the key muscle fibers that have the most potential for growth (it’s rewriting physiology textbooks) and the best mass-building rep tempo. See how one legendary Austrian bodybuilder used Power-Density to build dominant, dramatic muscle mass, his combo-to-grow methods included. You also get four complete, printable workouts–one that takes only about 30 minutes per session–plus X Reps, POF and more. More details.
•Eric Broser’s Power/Rep Range/Shock Workout gives you everything you need to apply his max-mass system for incredible new gains–including all 12 printable workouts and a big Q&A section. More details.
The Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout contains a four-days-per-week, one-ultimate-exercise-per-bodypart program and also a heavy/light version, with heavy POF alternated with a one-exercise 10×10 routine. More details.
The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout
is based on the latest metabolic research so you can get bigger and leaner fast without long, mind-numbing cardio–you’ll burn fat and build muscle 24/7 with customized mass-building weight workouts. More details.

Click on the e-books for more information:

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.

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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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