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IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #449: Condensed Mass Overload: Change to Gain Muscle

IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #449:
Condensed Mass Overload: Change to Gain Muscle


Condensed Mass Overload: Change to Gain Muscle

Q: In a recent e-zine you talked about the X-centric Mass Workout and you suggested using stretch exercises every so often instead of contracted ones to end each bodypart with 4×10 [in 10×10 style]. What do you think about doing both exercises like that? I’d use the big midrange exercise, like pulldowns for lats, first for a power pyramid. Then follow with 4×10 for the stretch move and then 4×10 on the contracted exercise? I like higher volume, and that seems like a quick way to get more sets in.

A: We like that idea–and on paper it pans out as a tremendous way to pack on more mass from a number of angles, including some extra volume. You’ll also get lots of stretch overload from the stretch-position move–a good thing considering the animal study that got a 300 percent muscle-mass increase after only one month of stretch overload–and size-inducing tension/occlusion from the contracted-position exercise. And talk about a pump!

As an example, your lat routine would look something like this:

MIdrange: Pulldowns, 3 x 9, 7, 5-6 (pyramid the weight)
Stretch: Pullovers, 4 x 10 (in 10×10 style)
Contracted: Stiff-arm pulldowns, 4 x 10 (in 10×10 style)

Remember, 4×10 in 10×10 style means you take a weight that allows 15 reps, but only do 10; rest 30 seconds, then do 10 more and so on until you do four sets. You should not be able to get 10 reps on the last set. If you do, add weight at your next workout.

So should you do 4×10 on stretch- AND contracted-position exercises for EVERY bodypart? If you have good recovery ability, give it a shot. If not, you may want to use it only on lagging muscle groups–as more of a specialization tactic. Stick to the normal X-centric Mass Workout sequences for your other bodyparts.

Note: The new X-centric Mass Workout is still available at an introductory discount price at It’s main thrust is negative-style training and power-density tactics, but it does contain information on full-range Positons-of-Flexion–training a muscle in the midrange, stretch and contracted positions. The official POF mass-building manual is 3D Muscle Building, with extensive tips, bodypart workouts, complete programs and specific mass-training tactics.

Q: I saw you refer to Stage Sets at your training blog. What are those, and can they help me get bigger?

A: We discuss Stage Sets and how to implement them in our second e-book, Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building, which also discusses the X-Fade technique, Double-X Overload and X/Pause. Once we began using Stage Sets and other X-hybrid techniques within the program outlined in that e-book, we gained another 10 pounds of muscle the year after our initial X-Rep transformation.

We believe we made such great gains because many of those tactics, including Stage Sets, gave us both a power and density component in one set. That means we were building the key 2A fast-twitch muscle fibers that are most prevalent in the biggest bodybuilders. Here’s how we explain Stage Sets for incline presses in the Beyond X e-book.

“You position yourself on the incline bench, grip slightly wider than shoulders. Unhook the safety catches and then lower the bar to about an inch above your upper chest. From there you drive it back up, but only to just slightly higher than the midpoint of the stroke. When you reach that point, lower back to the semi-stretched position, and so on, doing low-range partials till you can’t stand the burn. You’re essentially doing piston-like exaggerated X Reps right off the bat through the max-force point…

“When you can’t do another exaggerated X Rep–you should get about 10 of those lowdown partials–get the bar to lockout, with help from your partner. Now you do the top stage of the stroke. First, squeeze your pecs hard, contracting them in the lockout position, then lower through about the top one-third of the movement. Blast back to the top and squeeze your pecs again. Flex at lockout on every one of those top-end reps.”

This is a great way to do exaggerated X Reps first, then get top-end squeezes for a longer tension time. In other words, you combine both power and density for more muscle immensity.

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

—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

You can subscribe to this e-zine free at


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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