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IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #377: 7 Ways to Get Bigger Right Now

IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #377:
7 Ways to Get Bigger Right Now


Q: I just want to get bigger as quickly as possible? I’d settle for looking like your before pictures at the X-Rep site. I’m working out four days a week on a basic routine with mostly compound exercises. Do you have any tips that I can use to get more mass right now?

A: It takes time to pack on mass; however, most trainees can do better than they’re doing and double or perhaps triple their progress. We’ve got 7 tips you can use to get huge “right now.”

Remember, early in Jonathan’s career he gained 20 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks, so it can be done–if you pay attention to details every day. (Jonathan’s before and after pics are at

1) Grow while you sleep. When most people snooze, they lose–as in muscle because sleep can be catabolic if you don’t have the building blocks in your bloodstream for muscle repair. This mass-building trick is simple: One or two scoops of a casein-whey combo protein right before bed makes sleep anabolic. And many of the aminos will increase serotonin for a deeper, rejuvenating rest. (We like Muscle-Link’s Pro-Fusion, as it also contains egg protein—a 3-way protein array).

2) Use your last compound set for Density. We’ve explained how new research shows that the dual-capacity 2A muscle fibers, with both power and endurance, dominate the muscles of the biggest freakiest bodybuilders. [Eur J Appl Physiol. 103(5):579-83. 2008.] You’re no doubt training all of your sets heavy and for lower reps–like most bodybuilders. That means, like most bodybuilders, you’re getting at only half the growth capacity of the 2As. Solution: On your last set of each compound exercise, reduce the weight so you can crank out 12 to 15 reps to exhaustion. Arnold called these “burnout” sets, and they worked for him, building the endurance side of his 2As for extra mass…

Note: For more on Arnold’s mass methods, see The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout.

3) Add X Reps. On at least one of your heavy compound sets, tack on X-Rep partials, eight-inch controlled explosions down in the semi-stretch position, such as near the bottom of an incline press or chinup. On chins, for example, when you can’t get another full rep, lower until your arms are just short of lockout and do short reps from that semi-stretch point up to near halfway. Do as many of those low-end X-Rep partials as possible to get extreme growth-fiber activation. Oh, you can do X Reps at the end of your higher-rep set too for even more Density-induced growth.

[Note: The Ultimate Mass Workout is the official X-Rep manual with complete programs; Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building expands on X Reps with X-hybrid techniques and more workouts.]

4) Use a mass-building rep tempo. Most bodybuilders drop the weight through the negative stroke and then attempt to throw it through the positive. That results in wasted effort and inferior growth stimulation. Instead, use a one-second-up/three-seconds-down cadence. A recent study showed that keeping that tempo for the majority of your reps builds more muscle mass. That’s due to the semi-explosive action that occurs at the turnaraound–where you move from negative to positive–as that’s the key spot for optimal fiber activation (which is why you begin X Reps at the max-force point). A semi-explosive turnaround combined with the microtrauma of slower negatives triggers the extreme growth. [Int J Sports Med. 30(3):200-204; 2009.]

5) Don’t lock out. On bench presses, overhead presses, chins, pulldowns and rows, do NOT allow your elbows to lock out. That takes tension off the target muscle. Go ALMOST all the way up and ALMOST all the way down so you keep the target muscle engaged throughout the entire set. Most of the big pros, like Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler, never lock out on any exercise. Check out Cutler’s range on close-grip bench presses…

Photos are from the X-Rep Update #1 e-book, “Mr. O’s Wild X-Only Workouts,” Chapter 5 that analyzes Cutler’s mass workouts and techniques.

6) Add stretch moves for mass. You say you’re using mostly the big compound exercises, like squats and bench presses. That means you aren’t getting much stretch overload. An animal study produced a 300 percent increase in muscle mass in only one month using progressive stretch overload as the only stimulus. Yep, the muscle tripled in size. Now that power-packed mass stimulation! Add a stretch-position exercise for your biggest bodyparts–for example, flyes for chest, sissy squats for quads, stiff-legged deadlifts for hams and pullovers for lats. One or two heavy sets for 8-10 reps is all it takes–and be sure you feel the target muscle working (use the mass-building rep speed from #4).

7) Accelerate your anabolic drive during the day. Science has shown that the key amino acid in the anabolic cascade is L-leucine–and it works best in tandem with the other two essential aminos, valine and isoleucine. Take around 4 branched-chain amino acid caps with every one of your solid-food meals. Those key anabolic aminos will move into your bloodstream immediately, keeping your muscle growth in overdrive. If you only eat solid food without the BCAAs, no aminos get to your muscles until digestion takes place. It could be hours–not good! Swallowing 4 BCAA caps will get you growing at a faster clip. [We like SAN’s BCAA-Pro caps.]

Follow that 7-step recipe to get your mass rising, and you’ll be bigger before you can say “freak physique.”

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

—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

NEW: The new X-traordinary X-Rep Workout e-guide merges all the top X-Rep techniques and info with the latest muscle-building research into two new power-packed X-Rep workouts–the basic X program only takes about 35 minutes. It also includes a look at Arnold’s X-training tactics as well a how current Mr. Olympia contenders use them to pack on extreme muscle mass. For more info and chapter listings visit

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.

For any questions or comments regarding the IRON MAN Magazine Online Newsletter, please email [email protected]. To unsubscribe, please see the instructions at the bottom of this email.

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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