Stop Going Heavy If You Want to Pack On Muscle Size

by admin on September 19, 2012

by Steve Holman, Editor in Chief at IRON MAN Magazine and co-author of Old School New Body

You may know the name Vince Gironda. He was a legendary Hollywood trainer who got actors, bodybuilders and athletes into top shape fast–lean and muscular in record time–and he taught me a big-muscle building lesson I’ll never forget. The problem is that it took me years to finally get it through my thick skull (you don’t have to make the same mistake)…

After he retired, Vince used to visit us here at the IRON MAN offices, and he often discussed–okay, lectured–me about his DENSITY training method (usually with a few curse words thrown in for emphasis–he was a pretty gruff old dude).

He always tried to impress on me that it wasn’t about lifting more and more weight, but about condensing workload: “To increase muscle size, you must increase the intensity of work done within a given time. This means that it doesn’t matter how much work you do but how fast you do it. This is known as the overload principle.”

He obviously had a different view of overload than most: It’s not about poundage if you’re after muscle; you must do more work in less time:

“This principle explains why sprinters have larger muscle size all over their bodies than long distance runners. Although it is more work to run a mile than 100 yards, the sprinter is doing more work per second and as a result, his muscles will enlarge.”

I only listened to humor him. I thought I was way past these old-school methods and continued to pound my muscles and joints, always trying to lift heavier. And like most, my results were slow, few and far between, punctuated by being awakened nights by sharp shoulders pain or back aches–I thought it was just the price to pay for a muscular, fit body.

How ironic–to look muscular and healthy you have to constantly ache and feel like shit. Well, it wasn’t only ironic, it was moronic (a wrong, ignorant conclusion from being stubborn)!

When I turned 50, I thought I was done–lifting heavy wasn’t possible unless I wanted to suffer for days. I was pretty much damaged goods from so much pounding, and it just didn’t seem worth it. Vince had passed away years before, but I began remembering what he said. I started looking over some of his programs and thought, “Why not try it. Moderate-weight, high-fatigue density training would at least keep me in pretty good shape.”

I was shocked at my results. I got bigger and leaner more quickly than every before–and after more research I found the scientific reasons why. It has to do with how the muscle fibers are structured, overcoming the GROWTH THRESHOLD with cumulative fatigue and the specific hormones released with density training.

With the routine I devised, based on Vince’s successful teachings, one exercise took less than five minutes, so my four workouts a week were about 45 minutes each (Vince said short workouts were mandatory for anabolic hormone optimization). The basic method is to take a 15-rep-max weight, but only do 10 reps; rest 35 seconds, then do it again. Go all out on you last set. Done….

Amazing! After a year I was more muscular and staying leaner than ever without even dieting–at almost 50 years old and with quick moderate-weight workouts. I keep abs all year long, and my joints feel great. It’s like I’ve reversed the aging process. If you’re interested, the science behind my results was simple…

Density training stimulates both “sides” of the key 2A muscle fibers–the force-generating myofibrils as well as the sarcoplasmic energy fluid (that includes the mitochondria where FAT IS BURNED). It also increases growth hormone output, which amplifies fat burning effects, and lessens stress hormone (cortisol) output–results come much faster with less overall stress. Plus, joints don’t get hammered into dust; they heal–no more pain-filled restless nights, and my muscle gains were better than ever.

I’ve been using that style of training for a few years now, and I’m still amazed–and feel somewhat stupid for not getting “it” earlier. But at least I look and feel great now at 50-plus. My wife uses it too. We found it just in time and are grateful to Vince, whose methods I finally embraced and incorporated into the F4X system of training. I can honestly say that he is one of the all-time greatest trainers in history. Without him the Old School New Body program would not exist.

It’s taken me years–actually decades–to finally realize that you don’t have to lift extreme poundages in the gym to get incredible results from weight training–and that includes building plenty of muscle, if that’s what you’re after. It’s how to get and stay BUILT FOR LIFE!

Note: For more on density training and the F4X method, see the Old School New Body program.

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