Size, Size, Size

Q: I need help in widening my lats. I have tried many kinds of techniques, but all those exercises and techniques never work for me to widen my lats. My other body part I can manage to build muscle on my other body parts except for my lats. Can you guide me to which exercise is the best, and please give me a proper workout plan? Thanks.


My Answer: Can I guide you to which exercise is the best for lat development? Will I give you a proper workout plan for the back? I already did, Simon: Wingspan Workouts.

Q: I have a question about drop sets: How many drop sets are suitable for biceps and triceps if I do NO other biceps and triceps exercises during that particular workout?

Today I did 2 triceps drop sets with a rest of 4 minutes between them. That wasn't very heavy. Maybe I could take 3-4 sets? Are 4 minutes rest enough? A typical biceps drop set looks like this for me: 16 kg - 15 kg - 12 kg - 10 kg - 9 kg. I choose weights that I can lift 5-6 times.


My Answer: Typically 2-3 drop sets are good. It just depends on high your reps are. If you were looking at 10-12 reps per set for the calves, then 2 drop sets would be sufficient. So it look something like this:

-Drop set series #1: 12 reps, 11 reps, 10 reps, 9 reps
-Rest 2 minutes
-Drop set series #2: 12 reps, 11 reps, 10 reps, 9 reps

If you're performing low reps (4-6), however, then perform 3 drop sets:

-Drop set series #1: 6 reps, 5 reps, 5 reps, 4 reps
-Rest 3 minutes
-Drop set series #2: 6 reps, 5 reps, 5 reps, 4 reps
-Rest 3 minutes
-Drop set series #3: 6 reps, 5 reps, 5 reps, 4 reps

How long you rest between drop sets will depend on the body part. Slow twitch muscles require less (2 minutes) while mixed fiber muscles require 3 minutes and pure fast-twitch muscles require 4 minutes.

Q: I do not understand why some exercises are better for size than others. You said in an earlier blog that leg presses are better for size alone than squats. Why is that? My goal is size more than anything else. I do not participate in any sport, so strength is just a bonus. What are some great overall great size building exercises? 

 Thanks for your time and help.

My Answer: You want size, size, size? Then eat, eat, eat, sleep, sleep, sleep, train, train, train. I know: way too simple huh?

I can give you all sorts of complicated training programs and techniques and dietary strategies, but when it comes to muscular size, it comes down to 2 things: diet and muscular tension. You should know what constitutes a good muscle building diet, JS. There is no secret: high calorie, high protein.

But muscular tension is THE stimulus for size. The more tension you can create, the more size you will get. The tension has to be high (heavy) and it has to be of the right duration (at least 20 seconds). The tension should be pretty strong throughout the entire range of motion too.

Let's take the triceps kickback for example. The tension is low through most of the range of motion, with the exception of the very top, where you flex. And yet this top range of tension is so brief (1-2 seconds), it doesn't do much for hypertrophy. Not only that, but you can't use much weight in the triceps kickback, which cuts down the tension even further. So there's a lack of muscular tension by weight, duration and range of motion.

Now if we choose exercises that create high muscular tension, for a long duration and throughout the entire range of motion, then you can easily incur size on just a few sets per body part and a lot of food.

Exercises that meet all 3 requirements, tend to be exercises where you must shift your body around while you are lifting the weight. This is done to maintain a high level of muscular tension throughout the entire range of motion. Here are some exercises that will produce high tension:

Subscapularis pull-ups for the back

Side to side pushups for the chest and triceps

Pistols for the quadriceps

Perfect curls for the biceps
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