This month we start with an inside look at Arnold's psychology of success. You'll learn a lot from this think piece. Then Steve Holman throws a barrage of questions at Eric Broser about his Power/Rep Range/Shock mass-building system. Everything from hardgaining to home training is covered. We'll also have a blockbuster interview with Kevin Levrone on what he's doing now and how bodybuilding changed his life. Plus, training tweaks to put some freak on your physique.
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The following is an excerpt from the September 2007 issue of Iron Man magazine:
Shoulder Shocker Mountainous Muscle Growth With Overload Drop Sets
I love drop sets. I've used them more than any other intensity technique, except maybe rest/pause. Lately, though, I've been doing a different form of drops.
For the uninitiated, here's how you do a drop set: Take a weight with which you can get six to eight reps; then once you reach failure, grab a lighter weight and get four to six more reps. You can do double or triple drops with that method. I don't suggest doing more than three, as it seems to be counterproductive. It's better to do two rounds of triple drops than one huge six-set drop.
That's the basic technique. For a number of clients, however, I've found it very effective to have them do the first set with extremely heavy weights and very low reps. I've discovered that the best growth response occurs when trainees go superheavy on exercises on which they don't normally use heavy weights. That gives the muscle a fantastic shock, as it has to work against a force it's never encountered before - truly a grow-or-die situation.
After a comprehensive warm-up, pick a weight that will let you get only two to three reps. Reduce the weight and immediately rep out to failure, which should occur in the eight-to-10 range. The first phase is the heavy-weight shock-value set, while the second phase provides the much needed time under tension that muscles require for growth.
You need both - it's not an either/or scenario. You can see the difference between a bodybuilder who has trained with heavy singles and one who has only pumped with light weights. Arnold understood that and often flirted with maximum reps to build raw power, but he also used lighter weights to get a pump.
One client of mine was a former powerlifter. He had more than enough mass, but he lacked polish. In particular, his delts had no caps on the side heads. He lacked that cannonball, or coconut, shape that is essential to complete the classic V-taper, a.k.a. X-frame. Overload drop sets got the job done. Here's how he used them.
He warmed up on flat-bench presses with the empty bar for 20 reps. Then he did front presses with the bar for another 20. Following that he did two sets of band face pulls and band upright rows to warm up his shoulder girdle and in particular his rotator cuffs. Band upright rows performed with a jump-stretch band, pulling your hands apart at the top of the motion, really target the rotators and are a great rehab movement as well.
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For the complete program and other effective workout tips, get the September 2007 issue of Iron Man or visit www.ironmanmagazine.com.