Subject: IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #342 Use Muscle Pump to Increase Mass
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Use Muscle Pump to Increase Mass
Q: I come back to your Heavy/Light Program [Chapter 6 of the X-traordinary Muscle-Building Workouts e-book] because it always gives me a burst of new mass. Another favorite is the version in The Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout, [with 10 sets of 10 reps on one big exercise as the light workout]. I believe that Heavy/Light is a bullet-proof strategy for adding muscle because a lot of the bodybuilders of yesteryear used it to get big before steroids. And it works for me every time I go back to it. Now I’m seeing a lot of programs that end a bodypart with lots of sets and short rests for a final muscle saturating pump. Doesn’t it make more sense to get that excess blood flow a few days later, while the muscle is repairing, instead of at the same workout?
A: We know where you’re coming from. Eric Broser’s Fiber Damage/Fiber Saturation method has you hammer the muscle on the first sets to cause microtrauma, then you end with lighter pumping sets to fill the target muscle with blood. Eric says it kick-starts the recovery process–and we see an advantage to doing that; but you also have a point.
In fact a lot of recent research suggests that doing a lighter workout a few days after a heavy fiber-damaging session improves recovery and size-and-strength gains. Two respected bodybuilding researchers, Gabriel and Jacob Wilson, cited a recent study that showed superior results with a heavy/light system:
“Eight subjects rested after a taxing biceps workout, while nine others performed a lighter training session to aid recovery. Researchers found that strength recovery was greater after light exercise than after rest alone.”
More strength indicates superior muscle and nervous system recovery as well as a heightened anabolic environment. Training researcher Charles Staley, MSS, agrees, saying that low-intensity exercise improves your ability to rebound: “The light workout quickens healing and lessens soreness by speeding up the flow of nutrients to your muscles, and that increased flow helps repair the tissue.” The old-time bodybuilders knew what they were doing–the light workouts forced more glycogen into the muscle to make them bigger and fuller…
That’s the reason the heavy/light method works. In the H/L 10×10 Workout, you use standard 3-way Positions-of-Flexion on heavy day, with a pyramid on the big midrange exercise, like bench presses for chest–adding weight so the reps go 9, 7, 5. You follow with one heavy set in the stretch position (flyes) and one in the contracted position (cable crossovers). On light day you do only the midrange move, bench presses, but in 10×10 style–same weight, one you could do for 20 reps, but you only do 10 on every one of 10 sets with about 30 seconds of rest after each…
So light-day bodypart workouts are done in about 10 minutes. Keep in mind that you’re using a lighter weight, but it will feel extremely heavy by sets eight, nine and 10. That can cause a problem for some trainees. If true 10×10 makes you too sore, back off and do 8×10, with the last set being only somewhat difficult. That will keep the muscle damage to a minimum while still producing extreme engorgement…
Or you could use the original Heavy/Light Program from X-traordinary Muscle-Building Workouts. On Heavy days you use a reverse pyramid on the first big multijoint exercise, like close-grip bench presses for triceps. That means after a few warmup sets, you do a heavy set of five reps. Then you rest for about 3 minutes and reduce the weight enough so you can get eight reps. Rest again and reduce the weight so you get 9 reps on your last set.
The longer rests combined with heavy poundages allow for maximum muscular force production, which produces microtrauma in muscle tissue. And by doing your heaviest weight first for 5 reps, you cause even more muscle microtrauma–and each successive set adds to it. Then you do a heavy drop set on a more isolated exercise like pushdowns for triceps. Go to exhaustion for eight reps, reduce the weight and immediately do another set, getting about five reps. That adds more fiber damage…
At your light workout you do the big compound exercise for 10 to 15 reps on each set, and you don’t go to exhaustion. Rest times should be shorter as well–one to two minutes. You follow with a drop set on an isolation exercise, but not to failure. Remember, this is a light flushing, or supersaturation, workout that bathes the muscle in nutrients and heightens recovery and growth. Higher reps and drop sets will make that happen quickly–as long as you don’t traumatize the muscles.
You can experiment with doing more sets and different exercises–but stick to the heavy/light workout rotation. And you could even end heavy day with a saturation technique like 8×8 or 10×10 to kick-start recovery, as Broser suggests in FD/FS. Then at your next workout for that bodypart, continue that light pump-it-up theme. You’ll soon see that a big pump can lead to better recovery, more strength and extreme mass fast.
Till next time, train hard for BIG results.
[Note: The X-traordinary Muscle-Building Workouts e-book contains a number of different programs based on the heavy/light method, incuding Volume/Intensity Fusion and Traumatic/Nontraumatic.]
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
Latest e-book release:
• Eric Broser’s Power/Rep Range/Shock Workout gives you all the everything you need to apply his max-mass system for incredible new gains–including all 12 printable workouts and a big Q&A section.
• The Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout contains a four-days-per-week, one-ultimate-exercise-per-bodypart program and also a heavy/light version, with heavy POF alternated with a one-exercise 10×10 routine.
• The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout is based on the latest metabolic research so you can get bigger and leaner fast without long, mind-numbing cardio–you’ll burn fat and build muscle 24/7 with customized mass-building weight workouts.
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.
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This Special Report was submitted by Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman.
The IRON MAN Training & Research Team
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