IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #517:
Power Shift: Stop Overtraining and Start Gaining–BIG
TRY THIS AT YOUR NEXT WORKOUT
Power Shift: Stop Overtraining and Start Gaining–BIG
Q: I’ve been working out hard. I did the Heavy/Light 4-day program [in X-traordinary Muscle-Building Workouts] for three months and gained almost 10 pounds, but then everything stopped. I feel like I’ve been treading water for about a month. Should I just take some time off? I don’t really want to do that because I might lose the gains I’ve made. I want to build as much muscle as possible as fast as possible.
A: Don’t we all. Due to cumulative stress, you probably could use a week away from the gym, but being addicted to training, we know that’s probably not going to happen. You’ll feel like you’re shrinking, even if you aren’t. Hey, we’re right there with you; we have a hard enough time taking a three-day weekend when there’s a holiday. But you’ve got to do something. We suggest a shift away from heavy power-style training…
In fact, we contend that it was mostly the light-day workouts in the Heavy/Light Program from XMBW e-book, with their higher-rep sets and drop sets, that built the most size for you over that 3-month growth spurt. More on why that’s so in a moment. First let’s get back to fixing your problem…
We know you need the psychological fix of seeing and feeling a pump and getting a deep growth ache, so we suggest you move to 10×10 for two weeks only. Remember, 10×10 is PURE DENSITY training, a complete shift away from the nervous-system-draining POWER workouts you’ve been on for too long…
Pick only one BIG exercise for each bodypart and train it 10×10 style: Use a weight that you could get at least 20 reps with, but only do 10. Rest 30 seconds, then do it again. Keep using the same weight and 30-second rests until you complete 10 sets of 10 reps; however, you shouldn’t get 10 on your last few sets. If you do, add a little weight at your next workout. Each bodypart will take 10 minutes…
That PURE DENSITY phase for two weeks will allow your tendons and ligaments to heal due to lighter weights and enhanced blood flow. The 10×10 method will also give your key 2A fibers a new reason to GROW. And, like we said, you’ll get an immense skin-stretching pump in the target muscle…
Also, you won’t be getting huge cortisol surges. That’s immensely important because cortisol is the stress hormone that triggers overtraining, and it can force the body to cannibalize muscle tissue for energy. It skyrockets with too much heavy, all-out training–similar to your current heavy days. Moving to 10×10 will prevent that and trigger MORE GROWTH…
After 2 weeks of total-10X training, move into a full-on-4X plan–that’s four sets per exercise instead of 10, still resting only 30 seconds between sets–but you’ll do more exercises for each muscle. We suggest using the 3-exercise-per-bodypart Positions-of-Flexion approach outlined in The 4X Mass Workout e-book. For example, for biceps it’s barbell curls (midrange), incline curls (stretch) and concentration curls (contracted).
As we’ve said, 4X, with its moderate weight and short rests, is a good balance of power AND density. That will provide significant growth activation for both sides of the 2A dual-component fibers. Getting a mix of endurance and power is the real key to bigger, fuller muscles–with a lean toward density for best gains. If you have doubts, here’s a quote from Phil Wagner, M.D., at SPARTA Performance Science:
“The American College of Sports Medicine suggests that moderate intensity loads be used for muscle hypertrophy, and it suggests that training focus on high volume of exercise. High-volume training uses moderate (medium-high intensity) loads for a large number of repetitions and sets, with a small amount of rest between sets and exercises. Research has shown that the rest time between sets has a large impact on the growth of muscles. Research from Eastern Illinois University showed that not letting your muscles recover between sets, using 30 to 60 seconds of rest, acutely increased the release of growth hormone prompting greater muscle hypertrophy (growth).”
That’s pretty much 4X POF defined–and it works big time. You get plenty of growth hormone release and totally tax the 2A fast-twitch fibers, so you GROW like never before.
By the way, recent research shows that the 2A fiber type is dominant in the biggest bodybuilders, which is why each of the above phases of training should give you new growth spurts. (Eur J Appl Physiol. 103(5):579-83. 2008.) Like 10X, 4X will also downplay cortisol release because the poundage are moderate and only the last set or two in each 4X sequence is all out.
All of that is the reason 4X has given us some of our best mass gains with no joint pains or strains. You can go back to a heavy/light mix if and when you crave heavy weights and strength kicks–and be sure to cycle in bursts of 10×10. But most of the time we say stick to total-4X training for as long as it keeps you gaining.
Till next time, train hard–and smart–for BIG results.
–Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
NEW YEAR WORKOUTS–LIMITED-TIME $19.99 BEST-SELLERS: We’re offering each of these at their lowest price ever to get you big and ripped by spring. Click on the title you’re interested in for more info…
1) The 4X Mass Workout–fast, simplified supersaturation training for X-treme size
2) The X-traordinary X-Rep Workout–the latest update to our original X e-book
3) The X-centric Mass Workout–the negative-accentuated training manual
4) The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout–total body transformation training
5) X-traordinary Muscle-Building Workouts–10 complete mass programs
6) X-traordinary Arms–includes the 3D HIT workout system with big-arms routines
Latest release: The 4X Mass WorkoutFast Simplified Supersaturation Training for X-treme Muscle Size. It’s how many pro bodybuilders get big AND ripped as fast as possible for contests and photo shoots. You can use it for a blast of new mass in only a few weeks–and the workouts are quick. Guaranteed or your money back. Limited-time discount offer 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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