Q: You offer up the Brazilian study that shows doing a single high-rep set to failure before heavier lower-rep work produced more hypertrophy than standard training (multiple sets at 75% 1RM). But in the Ultimate Power/Density Mass Workout e-book, you mention that Arnold used a high-rep set LAST—a "burn-out" set. So which way is better, high-rep set first or high-rep set to finish?

A: A good observation, but there's something missing in your description of what Arnold used to do. Go back to the Power-Density e-book and read it again—Arnold typically used a pyramid, adding weight to each set. And on his first set, he used a light weight for 15 reps, then a SLIGHTLY heavier weight for set 2 so he got 12 reps…

Arnold Schwarzenegger at the beach (John Balik photo) - Mr. America vs. Arnold and the Ultimate Muscle Hypertrophy Method

According to John Balik, former Iron Man publisher and one of Arnold's training partners back in the day, Arnold did NOT go to failure on those first few sets. He was essentially fatiguing the slow-twitch fibers so more fast-twitch growth fibers would fire on the heavier sets—6 and 5 reps on the last sets. That is precisely what the Brazilian study replicated, only with just a single higher-rep set of more than 20 reps for slow-twitch fiber fatigue…

Is Arnold's way better--reps of 15, 12, 10, 7, 5, 20? If you have the time, inclination and recovery capacity for that type of volume on multiple exercises, it can work well; however, the Brazilian study showed significant and EFFICIENT hypertrophic results with just ONE high-rep set prior to heavy work--but would more light sets be better?...

Perhaps. Another wildly effective version of the slow-twitch fiber fatigue method is Mr. America Doug Brignole's training, which we have christened Super-TORQ(tension-overload repetition quantity). Here is how Doug describes it in the interview that appears in Chapter 4 of the Power/Density e-book

"[I do] one exercise per bodypart per workout. For each exercise I do five sets: 50 reps, 40 reps, 30 reps, 20 reps, and on the final set I start with 10 reps and follow that with two or three drop sets [of around 5 reps each]…"

Whoa! Talk about fatiguing the slow-twitch fibers up front—and no doubt getting them to grow too (remember, bodybuilders want to maximize every possible growth pathway). He's essentially doing 140 reps to accomplish that—to get more fast-twitch muscles firing on the last drop sequence. Is it too much? Keep in mind that, unlike Arnold, he uses only ONE exercise per bodypart—and it's hard to argue with his results at 56 years old…

Doug Brignole flexing in gym - Mr. America vs. Arnold and the Ultimate Muscle Hypertrophy Method

His entire routine is laid out after the interview in the P/D e-book. We have our own version there too—Power-TORQ that has you alternate heavy pyramid training for each muscle—TORQ at the other workout.

There are multiple ways to accomplish it, but the bottom line is that Power + Density = Muscle Immensity

The Power/Density Muscle-Hypertrophy Method: The Power/Density System is based on training each muscle along multiple anabolic pathways to achieve extreme growth. The Ultimate Power/Density Mass Workout e-book is packed with complete programs, including Basic P/D Mass Workout (pyramid + 4X), Positions-of-Flexion P/D Mass Workout (full-range muscle attacks with POF--midrange, stretch, contracted), and Mr. America Doug Brignole's Super-TORQ method and program. Add this best-selling e-book to your mass-building library today for ONLY $9 ($24 value). More info HERE.

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

—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

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