Category Archives : Back


Do More Work

Initiate growth by jamming more reps into fewer minutes in the gym.
By Team Iron Man
PQ: This program takes advantage of the body’s overriding mandate: Adapt or die. When you put stress on a muscle, millions of years or evolutionary biology will force it to change so it can better handle that stress.
If your growth is stalled out and you’re at that frustrating point where you think something’s wrong with you, it’s time to try escalating density training. EDT is a system that’s specifically designed to put size on stubborn muscle groups by subjecting them to a novel form of stress. This program takes advantage of the body’s overriding mandate: Adapt or die. When you put stress on a muscle, millions of years or evolutionary biology will force it to change so it can better handle that stress. That’s why lifting weights makes your muscles grow.
Your muscles don’t know to get bigger. They only know whether they’re under stress or not—and if they’re repeatedly subjected to mechanical resistance, and being broken down, they’ll adapt in order to not break down so readily. Getting bigger and stronger are simply side effects of this adaptation, and building muscle size is dependent on the volume and intensity of the stress that your muscles are capable of handling.
By subjecting your muscles to as many reps and as intense a pump as they can tolerate, EDT will introduce your muscles to a new kind of stress. With adequate recovery, they’ll adapt and grow at an increased rate.
The main reason for the change will be the fact that you’re performing greater overall reps and volume. EDT subjects your muscle to increased overall stimulus through mechanical tension. The greater the stimulus, the greater the necessary adaptation. You’ll damage fibers during training, then repair them afterward, causing them

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The Mechanical Advantage

This relatively painful intensity technique can lead to rapid gains in size.
By Vince Del Monte
This month I want to talk about a technique I’m currently employing inside my eight-week training cycle that has me doing—wait for it—just one all-out set per workout, per bodypart.
The technique is called “mechanical advantage drop sets” or MADS (which is a great acronym I thought I invented until I did a quick Google search). Before diving into MADS, let’s define drop sets so we’re on the same page. A drop set is when you perform a given exercise to the point of concentric failure, and then change a variable in a way that allows you to extend the set into what I call “The Hurt Box.”
You are likely familiar with drop sets that include decreasing the weight once you hit fatigue so that you can chase some extra reps with a lighter load. This is a good technique in my opinion, but not a great technique. Drop sets are also known as “strip sets,” and it’s likely one of the first mass-gaining techniques you’ve experimented with during your early days of your muscle-building journey. However, as the years go on, the “gains train” starts to slow down and we start looking for more advanced methods to continue our quest for a bigger and stronger body.
That’s where MADS comes in, and in a moment I’ll give you my own MADS upper-body training program so you can put this bad boy to the test. The “mechanical” in MADS refers to a change in body position, which applies to increasing or decreasing leverage. For instance, you’ve likely noticed it’s easier to do a squat with your feet wider versus narrower. It’s easier to perform a bench press on a decline instead of incline. It’s easier to perform a

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Back Attack

Unleash your inner beast with a smart and technical program that mixes hypertrophy with functionality.
By Mike Carlson
Everyone loves Back Day. When it comes to venting frustration in the gym and throwing around massive stacks of iron, nothing beats a good back workout.
There’s a ton of reasons to love Back Day. Unlike chest and shoulder workouts, pulling exercises don’t load any precarious ball-and-socket joints, so chance of injury in pulling exercises is nominal. And if you’re performing a machine-driven exercise such as a Hammer Strength row or lat pulldown, you can focus on the big prime movers since much of the stabilization requirements aren’t necessary. Best of all, you can hammer the muscles in your back and you won’t be wincing for a week every time you try to pick up your keys or shampoo your hair. That’s why so many bodybuilders and Physique athletes are able to hit their back twice a week.
“I don’t know if the lats are designed with any magic fiber that allows you to beat the hell out of them. I think muscle soreness is just easier to deal with in your back than legs,” says Brian Richardson, MS, CPL2, NASM-PES, the co-owner of Dynamic Fitness in Temecula, California. “There is not a lot of motion in the lats. It’s not like the quads where you are bending and moving all the time. We do more primal patterns in our lower body.”
The back is made up of both fast-twitch and slow-twitch fibers. The lats are predominantly fast-twitch-driven, but they do have some slow-twitch aspects. Getting them to hypertrophy is fairly easy. Typically, the muscles that are closer to the spine—the paraspinals and the erectors, for instance—have a greater percentage of slow-twitch fibers and are tougher to get to coax into growing. That’s why this back workout,

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