To Top

IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #552: Ultimate Size: The Real Muscle-Growth Secret

IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #552:
Ultimate Size: The Real Muscle-Growth Secret


Ultimate Size: The Real Muscle-Growth Secret

Q: I have the IRON MAN cellphone app., and I was reading the blogs. Doug Brignole had one called "To Burn or Not to Burn? That Is the Question." It contradicted what you say about longer tension times increasing muscle size: "By introducing high levels of burn you are actually programming your muscles to become ‘less big’ and more enduring."What’s your opinion on his article? I just want the truth about how to get big.

A: So many people believe that getting stronger with lower-rep, PURE anaerobic work is the key to getting bigger. It does get you somewhat bigger, but primarily in the myofibrils. Those are the actin-myosin pairings inside the muscle fibers that produce force. BUT that’s only half of the fibers’ growth potential…

The other BIG hypertrophy producer–and the one many scientists believe is the dominant one as you’ll see in a moment–is the sarcoplasm, the energy (endurance) fluid in the muscle fiber that contains, glycogen, mitochondria, ATP, etc. That’s why the biggest bodybuilders are 2A fiber dominant–the fibers with BOTH power and endurance components…

Longer tension times cause sarcoplasmic expansion; heavy weights and low reps cause more myobifrillar growth. You need both for ULTIMATE muscle size, but your goals will determine which one you focus on. Here is what researchers Vladimir Zatsiorsky, Ph.D., and William Kraemer, Ph.D., recently discovered:

"Mostly MYOFIBRILLAR [actin-myosin pairings] hypertrophy is found in elite WEIGHTLIFTERS…

whereas SARCOPLASMIC [endurance fluid] hypertrophy is typically seen in BODYBUILDERS."

That’s why many scientists are now saying that sarcoplasmic expansion is the biggest key to muscle size–and why short rests between sets, as with the 4X method, and/or longer tension times are so important for building ULTIMATE muscle size…

To test that, we trained with 4X and 3X sequences using only medium poundages on almost every exercise for over a year, and we were both at our biggest–much bigger, fuller and even leaner after this past winter than previous winters when we used power-bodybuilding programs in an attempt to get big…

That makes sense considering the latest research–that the biggest bodybuilders have mostly dual-component 2A fast-twitch fibers and that their size is sarcoplasmic dominant–and also what top bodybuilders have discovered…

For example, IFBB pro Johnnie Jackson, who also competes in powerlifting, has said that when he trains ultra-heavy with low reps exclusively, he gets smaller, not bigger. That’s due to lack of tension time–he’s emphasizing only myofibrilar growth and getting almost zero sarcoplasmic stimulation. He must switch to using more reps and/or short rests between sets to look like this for bodybuilding competition…

Best size gains happen fastest with optimal stimulation of both the myofibrils AND the sarcoplasm. There are a number of ways to do that…

•Use full-range Positions of Flexion–midrange, stretch and contracted exercises for each bodypart, with power on the big midrange move and higher reps and/or drop sets on the last continuous-tension contracted-position exercise (like leg extensions, concentration curls, lateral raises, pushdowns, etc.).

•Add X-centric sets–using a one-second positive and a six-second negative on every rep till failure around rep 7. That provides almost 50 seconds of tension time for sarcoplasmic expansion plus the negative emphasis stresses the myofibrils (which will get you sore–we suggest adding only one or two of these negative-accentuated sets per bodypart).

•Use pure 4X-method training, a balance of myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic stress. For 4X you take 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. You go all out on the fourth set, and if you get 10 reps, you add weight to that exercise at your next workout.

There are more combo-to-grow methods and tactics in our e-books.

The bottom line is that for the fastest gains possible in ULTIMATE muscle size, you need both fast-twitch power and endurance work to build both "sides" of the key 2A fibers for a double dose of growth. Otherwise you’ll grow slow rather than faster than ever before.

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

7) 3D Muscle Building–the original Positions-of-Flexion mass-training manual

8) X-treme Lean—Fat-Burning and Nutrition Guide (with training too)

9) The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout

10) The X-traordinary Size Surge Workout

11) The Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout

Latest release: The 4X Mass Workout—Fast 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

The ITRC Training Newsletter is not intended as training advice for everyone. You must consult your physician before beginning any diet or training program. You may forward this email to as many friends as you want, but do not photocopy or reprint this report in any format without the written permission of the copyright holder.


Help us build the IRON MAN Research Team — Tell a friend! If you know someone who would benefit from Supplement Updates, Diet Tips and Freebies, forward them this e-zine or tell them to visit us at and click on FREE Training Newsletter.

*We DO NOT sell any subscriber e-mail addresses.


All Content (c) Copyright 2011 IRON MAN Magazine
All Rights Reserved

Instantized Creatine- Gains In Bulk

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in E-zine

  • Ezine 918: Pain-to-gain

    Subject: IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #918: Pain-to-gain exercise change (build more muscle size) Q: I’m a big fan of┬áPosition-of-Flexion mass training....

    Steve Holman and Jonathan LawsonDecember 19, 2014
  • Ezine #905: Rhythm Method for More Muscle Hypertrophy

    I've been doing mostly compound exercises with X-centric on the first set, two standard sets, and speed on the last one....

    Steve Holman and Jonathan LawsonNovember 13, 2014
  • Ezine #902: Heavy/Light, X-centric Sets and Muscle Hypertrophy

    I really like X-centric sets . Great muscle feel and pump. I'm getting ready...

    Steve Holman and Jonathan LawsonOctober 20, 2014
  • Ezine #897: Speed Muscle Growth

    Q: I tried DP 4X on my big midrange exercise with a speed drop set after the last one. Wow, what...

    Iron Man MagazineOctober 3, 2014
  • Ezine #879: No-Cardio Fat Loss

    Q: I read that you guys got super ripped without doing any cardio. I also saw that Arnold did no cardio...

    Steve Holman and Jonathan LawsonSeptember 3, 2014
  • Slight Volume Uptick to Get Big Quick

    I have found that your change-to-gain method works. I have put on five pounds in the past month, but I know...

    Steve Holman and Jonathan LawsonAugust 29, 2014
  • Best Muscle-Growth Method for You

    Q: I just started using the 4X methods. Great stuff. Loving the pumps, but I'm wondering if 4X is better for...

    Iron Man MagazineAugust 15, 2014
  • Light the Iso-TORQ Fuse to Get Huge

    When I use regular TORQ (30-20-15) on isolation exercises like leg extensions, can I add weight each set?

    Steve Holman and Jonathan LawsonAugust 11, 2014
  • One Intra-Set Change to Jack Up Muscle Gains

    Q: I love 4X because it's 10 reps per set. I get the "hypertrophic tension time" of more than 40 seconds...

    Steve Holman and Jonathan LawsonJuly 31, 2014