IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #460:
Ease Up to Pack On Muscle
TRY THIS AT YOUR NEXT WORKOUT
Ease Up to Pack On Muscle
Q: I was making spectacular muscle gains on The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout. Even my abs were coming in from the workouts and my lower-carb eating (I’m using your X-treme Lean diet). My problem is that after six weeks, my gains stopped cold. Everything seems to be stuck. I like this program because I want to keep adding more muscle while burning fat at the same time. What should I do?
A: As we mention in most of our e-books, six weeks of all-out high-intensity training is about all the body can stand before it starts rebelling and regressing–unless you’re on anabolic steroids, of course. You’re obviously not, so your body is telling you that it’s time to ease up…
The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout has you training each muscle with full-range Positions of Flexion, which is 3 exercises per bodypart–midrange, stretch and contracted. For example, for biceps you do standing curls for midrange, incline curls for stretch and concentration curls for contracted, 2 to 3 sets of each. So on the Fat-to-Muscle Workout you’re doing around eight sets to failure for every bodypart.
The problem: All of those high-intensity sets coupled with a gradual decrease in calories/carbs is spiking your cortisol to red-line levels, which is NOT conducive to adding muscle…
Cortisol is a stress hormone that causes your body to cannibalize muscle tissue. It preserves fat and throws your hard-earned muscle in the energy furnace. It’s a fight-or-flight panic response triggered by emergencies–and your lower-carb diet is setting off an alarm reaction that is compounded by so many all-out sets to exhaustion.
So, to repeat: It’s time to back off. What does that mean? We know you’re motivated, so you won’t stop training all out. That’s fine, but we do suggest that you cut back on sets to exhaustion for at least a few weeks to a month. One of the best ways to do that is with the 4×10 method…
We first discussed 4×10 in The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout. It’s an off-shoot of the legendary 10×10 method. For those not familiar with 4×10, you take a weight you can do 15 reps with, but you only do 10; rest 30 seconds, then do 10 more, and so on until you complete 4 sets of 10 reps. Usually, the last set is the only one to true failure–and you should not get 10 reps on set 4. If you do, the weight was too light, and it’s time to up it at your next workout.
As you can see, with the 4×10 method you get a lot of blood in the muscle with higher volume–BUT you’re only doing one all-out set per exercise. We suggest you do 4×10 for each exercise in The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout so you complete the full-range POF chain for each muscle…
Keep in mind that you don’t do any warmup sets; the first one or two subfailure sets act as a warmup. That means if you do 3 exercises to cover the three Positions of Flexion–as pictured above for lats–a bodypart will take you less than 15 minutes–and only the last set of each exercise is all out.
With 4×10 your training poundages will be fairly heavy, so you still get some power emphasis. And the reduced rest time provides excellent density, or endurance. In other words, you’ll still be hitting the key 2A fast-twitch muscle fibers with a Power-Density attack–but you WON’T be saturating your system with muscle-eating cortisol. It’s an approach customized to pack on size for bodybuilders in the throes of a ripping-phase diet like those in X-treme Lean (it has you gradually reduce calories/carbs over a 12-week period).
No matter which program you’re on, backing off with 4×10 can be a godsend for slapping new mass on your frame when you’re dieting and/or feeling overtrained. We’re all about hard training, but sometimes you have to back off to keep gaining.
Till next time, train hard–and smart–for BIG results.
Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
You can subscribe to this e-zine free at http:www.X-Rep.com.
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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