IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #435:
Get More Muscle Size From One Set
TRY THIS AT YOUR NEXT WORKOUT
Get More Muscle Size From One Set
Q: I’m using the Basic Workout in the X-traordinary X-Rep Workout e-book with great success. Using the single best Ultimate Exercise for each bodypart is just what I need because I’m short on time. Gains are excellent, but I have a problem is with chest. I use decline presses, but I can’t feel my pecs at all on the heavy pyramid. I don’t feel my chest working till the drop set I do last. Any suggestions?
A: It sounds like you have low neuromuscular efficiency, or nerve force, in your pectoral muscles. When you do a big compound exercise for a bodypart with low nerve response, the ancillary muscles take over. We would guess you’re feeling decline presses in your triceps and/or front delts on the power pyramid–but there is a solution…
Don’t chuck the exercise just yet. Instead use a version of the postactivation technique. After your two progressively heavier warmup sets on the declines, move to a pec deck or cable crossover machine. Do one slow-controlled set of pec deck flyes, crossovers or cable flyes…
Don’t take the set to failure with a heavy weight. Pick a poundage that allows around 15 slow, controlled reps, with just bit of a burn at the end. You don’t want to fatigue the pecs, only flush them with some blood and heighten nerve force. Isolating the muscle as much as possible with continuous tension does that big time.
After that, rest for at least two minutes, then hit your pecs with decline presses. You should feel a world of difference because now your chest is fully “awake.”
You can use that postactivation warmup-wakeup for any bodypart. For example, prior to stiff-legged deadlifts we do one set of light, controlled leg curls for 10 to 15 reps. For triceps it’s pushdowns, focusing on the mind-muscle connection. Pro bodybuilder Ronnie Coleman uses higher-rep leg extensions before he moves to squats.
Remember, more muscle innervation equals a serious size detonation.
[Note: The postactivation technique is used on work sets instead of warmups in the High-Def Workout listed in X-treme Lean. It’s ideal for growth hormone release and optimal muscle-fiber activation.]
Q: After seeing 10×10 in your e-zines, I’ve been trying it on arms [10 sets of 10 reps with minimal rest]. They blew up bigger than ever. They looked about two inches bigger when I was done. My problem is that I feel I need to train with heavy poundages to get the most growth. Do you think it would work to alternate a 10×10 workout with a conventional heavy session each week?
A: That’s precisely how we designed the Heavy/Light Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout in the 10×10 e-book. On so-called light day you do only 10×10 on one big exercise for a muscle. For the uninitiated, 10×10 is taking a weight you can get about 20 reps with, but you only do 10. Rest 20 to 30 seconds, then do 10 more, and so on till you get 10 sets of 10–although on the last few sets you should only get eight or nine because they will be BRUTAL–with a giant pump!
So light day is a quick 10×10 blast. Then on heavy day you do full-range Positions of Flexion, pyramiding the weight up on the big compound, or midrange, exercise. You finish with a stretch-position exercise and a contracted-position exercise. For example, for lats it’s pulldowns, pullovers and stiff-arm pulldowns…
So for every bodypart you get power on POF day and more density, or endurance, emphasis on 10×10 day–and those 10×10 bodypart workouts only take about 10 minutes each. Talk about efficiency! You get your heavy-weight fix, plus a 10×10 blast into your size-shocking mix.
Q: In a recent e-zine you mentioned that the rest time between sets during a [10×10 sequence] should be 20 seconds. In the 10×10 e-book you say to use 30 seconds between sets. Is that a deliberate reduction, and if so, should I reduce my starting weight a little to accommodate the reduced rest?
A: Rest between sets during a 10×10 sequence should be anywhere from 20 to 30 seconds. Vince Gironda, Hollywood trainer known as the Iron Guru who trained Larry Scott for his first Mr. Olympia victory, liked to continue to gradually reduce it over many workouts till the trainee was down to only about 10 seconds of rest or less between sets. That doesn’t work for us because we train together…
So when one of us does his set, the other rests–the rest time depends on how much time the other’s set lasts, which is usually around 30 seconds. We simply go back and forth till we complete 10×10, 8×10 or whatever our goal is for that exercise–and that 10-minute mass blast creates a skin-stretching pump.
If you train alone, you can experiment with reduced rest times; however, exercises for larger muscle groups are going to require at least 30 seconds or you’ll run out of breath–your cardiovascular limits will be exceeded before you completely tax the muscle. That’s not what you want. So the rule of thumb is 20 to 30 seconds between sets in a 10×10 sequence.
Incidentally, in the 10×10 e-book we outline a strength-building 10×10 version–10×5–from Olympic strength coach Charles Poliquin. He lays out a unique progressive-weight “undulation” sequence you use from workout to workout along with longer rests between the 10 sets. His lower-rep, longer-rest version takes a little longer but gives you a significant strength spike compared to our density/fatigue minimal-rest 10×10 application that’s geared for extreme muscle size.
Till next time, train hard–and smart–for BIG results.
Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
1) X-Rep Mass Workout Offer: Our 2 BIG best-selling X-Rep e-books–The new X-traordinary X-Rep Workout and Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building. You save $20. For more info, click here.
X-SHOP: Find our original X-Rep e-book, as well as X Updates and Positions-of-Flexion mass-training guides…
X-WORKOUTS: Find specialized e-workout programs, including Power-Density, 10×10 and Eric Broser’s Power/Rep Range/Shock….
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
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