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IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #439: Wicked-Awesome Muscle-Mass Tips

IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #439:
Wicked-Awesome Muscle-Mass Tips


Wicked-Awesome Muscle-Mass Tips

Q: X-Reps are giving me some wicked-awesome mass gains. The extra pump and burn I get from [those end-of-set partials] is hot! But I was thinking that since they work so well, how about using only the short X-Rep range for all of my sets, without any full-range reps? Wouldn’t that give me some giant mass gains?

A: We first addressed X-Only sets in the X-Rep Update #1 e-book and even included a chapter on Mr. Olympia Jay Cutler’s workout, which includes a lot of X-Only sets. Check out his X-O Hammer Strength machine inclines (photos courtesy of Mitsuru Okabe)…

Because the low semi-stretch point is the key spot for fiber activation, it seems logical to stress that segment of the stroke as much as possible. That’s not quite all the way to the bottom of the stroke and moving to about the halfway mark.

Then again, if you watch, say, your quads fire as you do leg extensions, it appears as if different fibers twitch all the way through to the top contracted position (you have to be lean to see it happening). That could mean different fibers fire at different spots along the stroke. That’s why we suggest doing some sets at least close to full range if you’re going to incorporate X-Only sets (even Cutler uses range-of-motion variety).

One excellent option is to use the last set of a power pyramid as your X-O set. For example, after a few progressively heavier warmup sets of incline presses, you do set 1 full range with a weight that allows 9 reps; rest, add weight, then do set 2 full range for around 7 reps. Add a bit more weight and do your third set in X-Only style–that is, doing only the bottom third of the stroke for max-fiber activation. Talk about pain to gain!

Cutler keeps his reps up around 10 or higher for most of his X-O sets–and that’s a key point. You need a double-digit rep range to keep tension on the target muscle long enough for best hypertrophic stimulation.

For an even larger leap in growth-jolting intensity, you can opt for Forced-X Overload. With that tactic you get extreme overload, ratcheting up growth fiber activation. We’ll have more on that in a future e-zine and excerpt an exciting research study discussed in X Update #1 that verifies FXO’s X-treme mass-building power.

Q: I am blown away by your Positions-of-Flexion training. My gains have been unreal since I started using some of the three-position POF bodypart programs in [the 3D Muscle Building e-book]. My question is that I’ve had knee surgery and therefore have some pain doing sissy squats [the stretch-position exercise for quads]. Is there a substitute?

A: The sissy squat is THE full stretch-position move for quads because the legs and torso remain on the same plane through the entire set. That provides full elongation in the quads in the bottom position.

Anyone who has a predisposition to knee pain or has had knee problems in the past should avoid the exercise. It’s not dangerous to individuals with normal knee strength and function, but when weakness is present, the sissy squat should be avoided–just as shoulder pain and/or injury should keep you off the bench press.

The solution for you is to do an extra set or two of a different quad midrange exercise. For example, if you begin with squats as your midrange move, instead of going to sissy squats next, go to leg presses, front squats or some other squat variation that doesn’t produce pain for one or two work sets. Then end with leg extensions, the contracted-position exercise.

If leg extensions ever hurt your knees, drop them as well. You could do a third midrange squatting move, but flex your quads for two seconds at the top of each rep. While there is no resistance in the contracted position, a static contraction can increase neuromuscular efficiency and activate more fibers.

Injury is not something to gamble with. If an exercise causes joint pain, delete it from your program immediately, even if it means missing a key position of flexion. Remember, the midrange-position exercises produce some stretch in the target muscles, so you’re still getting some stretch overload, which can make your muscle mass explode!

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.

2) Triple-Shred Discount Fat-Loss Offer: Get our rip-up-for-summer fat-to-muscle e-books, X-treme Lean, X-traordinary Abs and The Fat-to-Muscle Workout. You save up to $35. 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

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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