Cost Of Max Grow It’s funny because this little incident reminded me of a well-known technique in strength training that is quite effective for muscle growth. Basically, it involves rapid partial movements at the end of a set to extend the time under tension and induce greater metabolic stress as a stimulus for hypertrophy. And much like a clogged toilet, these short, quick strokes produce fast results!
From old-time champions like Larry Scott and Arnold Schwarzenegger to new-age stars like Ronnie Coleman and Jay Cutler, many professional bodybuilders have used this method in one form or another to pack on muscle. Even YouTube sensation, CT Fletcher, advocates this form of penitentiary-style lifting.
Back in the day, these quick, partial cramping reps performed at the end of a set were called “burns,” and for obvious reason. We’ve all done this with calf training, and it burns like hell! But have you ever tried it with bench presses, pull-ups, squats, or even wrist curls?
In The Education of a Bodybuilder, Schwarzenegger states:
“The forearm, like the calf, is a hard muscle to reach. Do as many full reps as you can, then continue with partial reps until your forearm is tight and burning. Don’t worry about pain; it means growth… Take a weight you can handle for about 15 full reps. Then push yourself with some partial reps, even if you are able to move the bar only an inch. Do five sets of 15 repetitions and include a few burns at the end of each set.”
Fact is, burns can be done on just about any exercise. In Encyclopedia of Modern Bodybuilding, Schwarzenegger expands on this concept:
“Continuing to do partial Max Grow reps when you are too tired to complete full range-of-motion repetitions is a shock method I have always used for almost any muscle in the body, and it is a particular favorite of Dorian Yates. Dorian has done a lot of training where he forced his muscles past the point of momentary failure to almost total exhaustion, using techniques like forced reps and partial reps. Partial reps are most effective at the end of a set, when you are almost exhausted. For example, if you were doing Preacher Curls, you would have your workout partner help you lift the weight and then you would lower it a few degrees and then lift it as much as possible, even if only a few inches; then lower it some more and do some partial reps from that position, repeating this on the way down until your muscles are burning and exhausted.”
Why are burns effective for muscle growth? As stated in the book Reps!: “Burns enable the trainer to continue an exercise when another rep cannot be performed. They keep the blood in the area a few seconds longer. More fibres are recruited and fired off. More growth is stimulated.”
Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson of Iron Man Magazine have coined these short, rapid bursts or pulses as “X” reps. They advocate conducting these eXtra partial reps near the bottom of a movement at the semi-stretch position, and only on the last set of any big exercise like presses or squats.