TRAIN TO GAIN

Less Drag, More Cuts

Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

Cable and machine exercises are great, and often there is no substitute-as with leg extensions-but some techniques are best suited to free weights.

In the e-book The Ultimate Fat-to-Muscle Workout we explain how using negative-accentuated sets can set the stage for more fat burning. By raising the weight in 1.5 seconds and lowering in six, you emphasize the negative stroke and cause more muscle damage. During the postworkout repair process, your metabolism is higher, and bodyfat is the preferred fuel for muscle-tear repair. Using cables and machines, however, can make those negative-accentuated sets less effective.

Any machine with a weight stack has drag due to friction-no matter how much it's greased. On cable curls, for example, as you curl up, the stack is dragging on the guide rods, which makes the positive stroke harder. Then on the negative, or lowering, the drag actually makes the weight lighter-not what you want if you're looking for more fat-to-muscle microtrauma.

When you do negative-accentuated sets on cable curls, positive failure occurs early due to weight-stack drag. That means you get fewer negative reps. Also, each slow negative is lighter than it should be because of the drag. Your biceps lose out on two fronts.

We love machines, but if you want to produce more fat-burning microtrauma, do your negative-accentuated sets with free weights.

www.X-Rep.com


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Think, Breathe, Repeat

Becky Holman

Think, Breathe, Repeat

Feeling stressed? You know that can have a negative impact on your muscle gains. How do you fight it? Simple: Mantrafy your life. A study of more that 60 adults who learned to silently and consciously repeat a word or phrase of their choice, a.k.a. a mantra, were more relaxed when they practiced that technique throughout the day. A few times during the day, pause, close your eyes and repeat the word calm a number of times as you breathe deeply—and let the negative stress slip away.

  www.X-tremeLean.com 


People Power

Becky Holman

People Power

Research from the UCLA School of Medicine suggests that one of the keys to happiness is the big O. No, not that O—others, as in people. Scientists found that isolation and loneliness can produce excessive inflammatory responses as well as a suppressed immune system. Those two negatives combined lead to a downward spiral of health and a significant increase in risk of disease, including cancer.

Unintended Consequences

John Balik

Unintended
Consequences

Usually, the phrase “unintended consequences” has a negative spin, and in bodybuilding it’s no different. Bodybuilding has taken on an undeserved negative spin because of drugs and the consequences of taking them. Bodybuilding, as an activity, sport and passion, is pure; it’s what we do with it that makes the spin positive or negative.

Deadlift: Pause or No Pause

Pavel Beyond Bodybuilding

Deadlift: Pause or No Pause

As a rule of thumb, pause at the bottom of each deadlift rep. You need to develop starting strength for a big pull, and you’ll never do that unless you pull a dead weight.

To do a touch-and-go rep, you must lower the barbell in perfect form to set yourself up for the next clean rep and to protect your back. Doing a negative in the deadlift takes experience. Otherwise it’s just plain dangerous; the bar tends to pull you forward on your toes and round your back.

The Wisdom of Mike Mentzer

John Little

The Wisdom of Mike Mentzer

More on Intensity

Q: I like Mike’s scientific approach to bodybuilding very much. He renders very technical issues intelligible to lay people like me in a way that makes perfect sense. I’m really intrigued by his writings on intensity in training. What else might he have said about the subject of intensity?