IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #565:
Pack On Ultimate Mass: Best Rest Between Sets
TRY THIS AT YOUR NEXT WORKOUT
Pack On Ultimate Mass: Best Rest Between Sets
Q: I’m using the simplified X-centric Mass Workout [pages 21-23], so I use two exercises for each muscle. I can already see new mass gains after only two weeks. Impressive. Thank you. My question is about rests on the pyramid on the first exercise. I like to train fast, so is 2 minutes between sets enough, like on bench presses for chest? I’m using 30 seconds on the second [isolation] exercise with 4X.
A: On those first sets for each big exercise you add weight in typical pyramid style. Your reps will go something like 9, 7, 5. Keep in mind that you’re trying to generate maximum force to affect the myofibrils, the force-generating actin and myosin strands in the muscle fibers. Let’s look at the exact chest routine from that X-centric Mass Workout…
Bench presses (pyramid), 4 x 9, 7, 5, 7NA
Cable crossovers (4X), 4 x 10
You do a similar routine for every muscle. So you add weight over three sets on the first BIG exercise, then on the last set you reduce the weight so you can do one-second positives and six-second negatives for 7 reps. That negative-accentuated, or X-centric, set will give you a long tension time of 49 seconds, which adds further trauma to the myofibrils with slow negatives and transitions the muscle into growth-threshold mode for 4X on the second exercise…
On crossovers you primarily stress the sarcoplasm, the energy fluid in the muscle fibers, with 4X. You pick a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but you only do 10; rest 30 seconds, then do 10 more–and so on for four sets, going all out on the last one. If you get 10 on that last set, either add weight to that exercise at your next workout or shoot for 4×11.
Now you’ve covered both power and density, the mix for maximum muscle immensity. Okay, let’s finally get to your question. To optimally stress the FORCE-generating myofibrils on the FIRST exercise, your rests should be AT LEAST 2 minutes; however, it can take longer for the muscle and nervous system to regenerate to maximum capacity. That’s why powerlifters often rest 4 to 5 minutes between sets…
You’re using 2 minutes, which may be fine, but if you have the time, we suggest you try 3 minutes–at least on your most demanding compound exercises like squats, bench presses and chins. Science verifies that…
Here’s what researchers found regarding max force and rest (from page 91 of the Q&A section of 3D Muscle Building, the Positions-of-Flexion mass-building manual)…
"The three-minute rest time is based on new research conducted at the University of Kansas. The study shows the correlation between optimal rest and force production on the bench press. Trainees who rested for three minutes between sets did the best at producing force on their second set–more than 30 percent better than trainees who rested for about [half as long]. They also found that resting longer, even up to five minutes between sets, did NOT improve force production."
So science says you should use 3-minute rests for best force-production capacity–that is, myofibrillar stress/growth. Then you can use short rests when you’re striving for a sarcoplasmic blast for extreme mass–the type of size that will have gals raising eyebrows…
Note: The X-centric Mass Workout and 3D Muscle Building, the Positions-of-Flexion mass-building manual, are only $19.99 each. Both are packed with mass-building programs and get-big info you can use to get huge.
Till next time, train hard–and smart–for BIG results.
–Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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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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