Monthly Archives: April 2012

IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #651: Slow, Then Explode for Faster Muscle Growth

IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #651:
Slow, Then Explode for Faster Muscle Growth


Slow, Then Explode for Faster Muscle Growth

Q: The best rep speed for muscle growth is really confusing. I’ve read that slow-mo training can produce good results, like eight seconds up and eight seconds down. But then I see CrossFit trainers moving very fast on the positive and negative of every rep, almost a blur. I’ve also seen some pro bodybuilders, like Jay Cutler, use fairly fast partial-range movements. What’s best for building mass?

A: We discuss a study on ideal rep speed for muscle mass in The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout e-book (which also includes 4X). It compared doing sets with a two-to-three-second positive and a two-to-three-second negative—about three up, three down—with sets using a power cadence, which is one second up and three seconds down. The power cadence produced the most mass in this study. [Int J Sports Med. 30(3):200-204; 2009.]

Why would doing power-type sets build muscle more efficiently? Muscle biopsies suggest that it causes more damage to more muscle fibers than traditional reps, leading to a greater degree of protein remodeling in the trained muscle. In other words, the slow lowering caused more muscle damage. But wait—the three-up, three-down group lowered just as slowly, so what gives?

Answer: The slow lowering produced equal muscle damage in both groups, BUT the power-training group used an explosive turnaround for the one-second positive compared to the slower tempo of the other group. That explosive jolt right at the target muscle’s semi-stretch point–the turnaround from negative to positive. like near the bottom of a bench press–activates significantly more fast-twitch muscle fibers, as we first explained in The Ultimate Mass Workout, the original X-Rep manual (it’s why end-of-set X-Rep partials build mass quickly).

Keep in mind that the turnaround, where the muscle is stretched, is where injury is most likely to occur, so don’t throw the weight. Use a CONTROLLED explosion—no heaving or jerking. The CrossFitters who jerk are asking for trouble. We’ve seen them torquing their shoulders at the bottom of every chinup rep. VERY BAD idea.

As for slow-mo training, it can be good every so often–to trigger new sarcoplasmic growth with longer tension times–but if you do it exclusively, you can miss a lot of key growth fibers. We prefer X-centric, or negative-accentuated–you still use a one-second lift for turnaround fiber activation, but you slow down the lowering to six seconds. That produces unique hypertrophic stimulation (eight X-centric reps would be almost a full minute of tension time).

As for the pros, they use a variety of rep tempos—and even when they move fairly fast, as Jay Cutler often does, he stays in control and does higher reps so the tension time is up around 40 seconds per set. He tends to use partial-range reps to keep tension on the target. Both high reps and partials can produce excellent sarcoplasmic-size increases.

So most of the time we suggest a one-second lift and a three-second lower on most exercises. Some stretch-position moves in the Positions-of-Flexion mass training protocol may require a slightly slower cadence and more controlled turnaround, as the danger in elevated. For example, flyes for chest, overhead extensions for triceps and stiff-legged deadlifts for hamstrings. When in doubt move slower, never faster…

Q: I’m always totally blown away when I see Jonathan’s 10-week Size Surge before and after pics. I want to yell "bullshit," but I’ve been reading your stuff for so long, I trust you guys. So he really didn’t use any steroids?

A: Okay, one more time: No, absolutely no steroids, GH or drugs of any kind. Jonathan is natural for life. But keep in mind that he was REGAINING a lot of mass he’d already had–and it’s much easier to put it on the second time around. That’s one reason he added muscle so quickly–20 pounds in 10 weeks…

However, we estimate about 10 pounds of it was new muscle, while the other he regained. Still, not a bad haul for 10 weeks. And he also added a lot of strength (see his size and strength before and after stats at

Keep in mind that Jonathan has good genetics for bodybuilding, which include small waist, long muscle bellies and small joints. He can look very big at a fairly low bodyweight. This back shot was taken when he weighed just slightly over 200 pounds at 5’10”…

Now that we know what we know about myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic size stimulation, we’re convinced that he could’ve made even better gains using the 4X mass method in conjunction with the heavy training during the Size Surge experiment.

For example, the four-week Phase 1 routine is three days a week with heavy basics. That was a good anabolic primer. When he transitioned into the Positions-of-Flexion Phase 2 routine, however, he could’ve used a pyramid on the big midrange move and 3X and 4X sequences on the stretch- and contracted-position exercises. That no doubt would have packed on even more muscle to his frame. A retooled Size Surge Phase 2 chest program would be…

Middle/Lower Chest
Midrange: Bench presses (pyramid), 3 x 8, 6, 4-5
Stretch & Contracted: Cable crossovers (4X style), 4 x 10

Upper Chest
Midrange: Incline DB presses (pyramid), 3 x 8, 6, 4-5
Stretch & Contracted: High cable flyes (4x style), 4 x 10

Also, instead of the 2-way split he used, we would’ve had him on the alternate 3-way version listed on pages 55-57 in the SS e-book.

We are still learning and experimenting, as you should. Change to gain and live and LEARN, and your mass gains will continue to churn.

Till next time, train hard–and smart–for BIG results.

Note: The 4X Mass Workout is only $19.99, available at the The 4X companion e-books, The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout and The X-centric Mass Workout, are also only $19.99 each.

The 3D Muscle Building e-book is only 19.99 at the X-Shop. It’s the official Positions-of-Flexion mass-building manual, with full-range routines for every muscle and many complete workouts, including Size Surge variations and Power/Rep Range/Shock.

–Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

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

12) Eric Broser’s FD/FS Mass-Shock 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.


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All Content (c) Copyright 2012 IRON MAN Magazine
All Rights Reserved


Bovine Growth Hormones and Milk

milkRecombinant Bovine Growth Hormone (rBGH or rBST for Bovine somatotropin) is sometimes used to increase milk production in cows. I know that some of you are concerned that hose synthetic ...

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Tip 337: Drink Yerba Mate Green Tea for Better Body Composition and Great Health

Drink yerba mate green tea for better body composition and great health. The wonders of green tea on health and body comp are well known and a wealth of new research into the benefits of yerba mate show it is an excellent addition to your diet as well.

The major difference between yerba mate and green tea is the plant the tea comes from and how it is dried. Green tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant that is native to China. It is dried primarily though fast, high-temperature air drying. Mate comes from the ilex paraguariensis plant that is native to South America. It is dried slowly and often using wood smoke. This gives it very different flavors and changes the chemical makeup. Both green tea and mate contain numerous antioxidants that are the source of their anti-obesity effects. Yerba mate contains caffeine, polyphenols, flavonoids, amino acids, minerals (phosphorous, iron, calcium, and the vitamins B1 and B2 and C.

Recent studies show yerba mate provides the following benefits:
•    Antibacterial and can kill E. coli bacteria
•    Anti-inflammatory and will decrease chronic inflammation in the body
•    Antimicrobial and could be added to foods to naturally increase shelf life
•    Increases Insulin-like growth factor binding protein-1 and improves metabolism
•    Improves insulin health and signaling, preventing diabetes
•    Improves bone mineral density in post-menopausal women by 6 to 10 percent
•    Decreases LDL cholesterol and triglycerides

A recent study in the journal Laboratory Animal Research shows how it improves body composition. Researchers tested the effect of giving three different yerba mate doses to rats that had been fed a high-fat diet for six weeks. They were then broken into groups and given one of three yerba mate doses (0.5g, 1g, or 2g per kg of body weight) daily for the next four weeks.

Results showed that the yerba mate treatment allowed the rats to lose body fat in a dose response manner such that the rats that received the 2 gram dose lost the largest amount of weight and almost returned to their baseline weight from before eating the high-fat diet. The 0.5g and 1g dose groups also lost a substantial amount of weight in a dose response manner. Conversely, a control group gained weight.

Researchers suggest yerba mate is so effective for weight loss because it blunts hunger, lowers food intake, and improves blood sugar health. The yerba mate doses in the study also improved glucose tolerance in a dose response manner, and the yerba mate treated rats ate significantly less food than the control group. Analysis of the hormone leptin, which suppresses hunger and increases metabolism, was much improved in the rats that received the yerba mate. This is likely a primary contributing factor to the rats eating less and losing weight.
For best body composition and health results, drink some form of green tea daily. Yerba mate is an excellent addition to your diet if you enjoy caffeine. Technically, there is no decaf yerba mate although there is a related tea beverage called ilex dumosa that doesn’t contain caffeine, but it is not readily available outside Argentina. 

Kang, Y., Lee, H., et al. Anti-Obesity and Anti-Diabetic Effects of Yerba Mate in Mice Fed a High-Fat Diet. Laboratory Animal Research. 2012. 28(1), 23-29.

Conforti, A., Gallo, M., et al. Yerba Mate Consumption is Associated with Higher Bone Mineral Density in Postmenopausal Women. Bone. 2012. 50(1), 9-12.

Thavanesan, N. The Putative Effects of Green Tea on Body Fat: An Evaluation of the Evidence and A Review of the Potential Mechanisms. British Journal of Nutrition. 2011. 106(9), 1297-1302.

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C for Less Irritability

According to the September ’11 Better Nutrition, vitamin C is necessary for your body to manufacture important mood-enhancing neurotransmitters—dopamine, norepinephrine and epinephrine.

A study done in Montreal found that taking 1,000 milligrams of C a day led to reductions in anger, anxiety and depression in many subjects. If you’re feeling down, try upping your C.



Ian Lauer

Height: 6’1”  Weight: 197

Bodypart split: Monday: a.m., chest; p.m., back; Tuesday: a.m., arms; p.m., calves; Wednesday: a.m., shoulders; p.m., abs; Thursday: legs; Friday: begin again or rest day

Sample bodypart routine (delts): Dumbbell presses, 5 x 15, 15, 12, 12, 10; bent-over laterals, 5 x 20, 15, 15, 10, 20; dumbbell front raises, 5 x 20, 15, 15, 10, 20; lateral raises, 5 x 20, 15, 15, 10, 20; machine presses, 3 x 10; upright rows, 3 x 10; machine laterals, 3 x 15

Factoids: He has a degree in chemistry and a black belt in karate, and he’s theatrical actor and improvisor.



The Iron Man – John Balik: Sport – The IM Interview Part 14

The Iron Man – John Balik: Sport – The IM Interview Part 14
Watch on YouTube

Download the April issue to get the complete interview.

Video clips were supplied by GMV Productions. For more DVDs, go to

Sergio Oliva – GMV-690DVD ‘The Myth’


Episode #42: Interview with Cyndi O’Meara – Part 1

The Wellness Guys interview Cyndi O’Meara (Part 1). In a first for The Wellness Guys this interview was just so good that it had to be stretched out over two episodes. Cyndi gets on a roll discussing everything from food labels … Continue reading

The Stationary Bike Workout Is A Waste of Time & Should Be Outlawed!

The Stationary Bike Workout, Should It Be Banned?! In my opinion there are few things more useless and redundant in a gym than a typical stationary bike "workout".  I realise that more than a few of you may warm up, cool down, or even attend spinning classes, but I am sorry as I just think the whole Read more . . .

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Nutritionist or Dietitian?

A reader wants to know if there's a difference between nutritionists and dietitians? Here's my answer: Nutritionist or Dietitian

Have you been to a dietitian or a nutritionist? Or ...

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Best Ab Workout—Once a Week

Q: I’m getting ready to start on the Size Surge program, but I see that abs only get hit once a week, on Wednesdays. Can I add some ab work to one of the other two workouts?

A: You can, but I don’t recommend it. Your abs will get lots of solid indirect stimulation from all of the big exercises you’re doing on Monday and Friday—like squats, which you perform on both of those days. Squats are one of the best core moves you can do.

Dave Goodin, drug-free IFBB pro and IM columnist, just released his new e-book, The Texas Shredder Mass Workout, which is featured at, and here’s what he says about working abs:

“I train my abs once a week…. If your abs respond well and you train them too much, you’ll end up adding inches to your waist. I had that happen and backed off my ab training to reduce my waist size.”

After reading that and trying it, I discovered the same thing—my waist seemed to get smaller when I trained abs just once a week, even when my winter diet got less strict. Still better news is that a smaller waist will make your upper body look much bigger. Dave weighs 170 pounds at 5’7”, but he looks much bigger due to his small, detailed waist.

My favorite ab workout these days is the following:

Incline kneeups 4 x 10

Ab Bench crunches or full-range bench crunches 3 x 12

That gives me a full-range Positions-of-Flexion hit with only two exercises—midrange work with the incline kneeups and stretch- and contracted-position work with a full-range-crunch exercise. I do both in the 4X style, 30 seconds between sets, same weight on all sets.

Keep in mind that crunches on the floor don’t allow your lower back to arch and your upper back to move down past the plane of your lower back—so you never achieve the rectus abdominis’ stretch position. That’s the reason I do Ab Bench crunches or full-range bench crunches.

The Ab Bench has a rounded low-back pad, so your abs get a mild stretch at the beginning of each rep. With full-range bench crunches, you recline on a bench press bench, head at the opposite end with your feet on the bar. Scoot back until your upper back extends off the end of the bench so you can get a mild stretch in your abs. Now do full-range crunches, letting your shoulders go below the plane of the bench on each rep.

The Size Surge program calls for a couple of sets of incline kneeups and crunches at the end of Wednesday’s direct arms workout. Make those crunches the full-range variety, and that’s all you need once a week to score a tight, cut core.

Editor’s note: Steve Holman is the author of many bodybuilding best-sellers and the creator of Positions-of-Flexion muscle training. For information on the POF DVD and Size Surge programs, see the ad sections it this issue. Also visit and
for info on X-Rep, 4X and 3D POF methods and e-books.  IM