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Size Surge Rebirth

It was back in the late 1990s when I was working on a blockbuster (I hoped) mass-building program that would help trainees pack on mass quickly. It was a two-phase approach, five weeks with each different routine.

The first was three days a week with big, basic exercises, two work sets each. It was a unique split, with arms trained directly only once a week–but they got plenty of indirect work at the other two workouts with bench presses, chins, etc. Also, the first exercise at each of the three sessions was either squats or deadlifts. That’s why it was dubbed the Anabolic Primer phase–it was designed to get strength and anabolic hormones soaring.

Phase 2 was a two-way split, training four days a week, preferably every other day to allow for better recovery. The program was full-range Positions of Flexion; that is, a midrange, stretch and contracted position for each target muscle. For example, triceps was close-grip bench presses (midrange), overhead extensions (stretch) and pushdowns (contracted).

As fate would have it, we hired a young guy named Jonathan Lawson at IRON MAN, and a few days after he started work, I noticed him going through the training motions in our warehouse gym. He told me he had competed in bodybuilding, but never did very well, and he was pretty much just training to maintain. He actually had let himself go and didn’t even look like he lifted. Such is the frustration of bodybuilding when gains are extremely slow.

I figured he was the perfect beta-test subject for the 10-Week Size Surge. Boy, was he ever. After I explained it to him, how and why it would work, he was extremely excited. He threw himself into the workouts with passion and effort and got on a regimented eating schedule.

Those of you who have been reading IRON MAN for a few years know the rest of the story–he gained a whopping 20 pounds of muscle along with loads of strength (see his results chart at

After his amazing transformation, he was accused of using steroids of course; however, he is natural for life. Even me, the creator of the program, was skeptical. I had to ask him a few times. He said no way–not worth the risks. He’s an honest guy, and I believed him. I’ve known him now for almost 20 years, and I can assure anyone and everyone that he is a natural-for-life bodybuilder–with pretty darned good genetics.

Keep in mind that he was regaining some of that muscle. Muscle mass is much easier to add the second time around; however, he also gained at least 10 pounds of new muscle. He had never experienced the full-range training that POF provides, and that’s where his real gains emerged–in Phase 2. That’s because in additions to full-range stimulation and stretch overload, he was getting both myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic stimulation. Heavy weights on the big midrange and stretch moves produced plenty of myofibrillar size and strength, while the continuous-tension contracted-position exercises forced sarcoplasmic expansion–at least enough to blow up his muscles to impressive size.

Could his results have been even better? I believe yes–with more sarcoplasmic stimulation. If we were doing it all over again, I would keep Phase 1, the Anabolic Primer, as is; however, Phase 2 would’ve been different: Perhaps heavy work on the big midrange move and the 4X mass method on the stretch- and contracted-position exercises.

I also would’ve had him use a three-way split. While that alternate split is provided in Jonathan’s updated Size Surge e-book, the above 4X recommendations are not. We discovered 4X after it was written–but we now know it works incredibly well to build muscle size, especially at the sarcoplasmic level.

Jonathan is now getting close to 40, and he’s experimenting with the above Size Surge Rebirth protocol for Phase 2. While he’s healing from three broken toes at the moment, he can train his upper body with plenty of intensity–and he’s motivated to give the combo-to-grow protocol a go. It will be interesting to see how he progresses. I’ll have an update in a future blog. Till then…

Stay tuned, train smart and be Built for Life.

Note: The 4X Mass Workout is available at Jonathan’s X-traordinary Size Surge Workout e-book is available at It has complete workouts, alternate 3-way POF split Phase 2 program, the diet he used and much more.

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