Monday, January 23, 2006

Positions of Flexion by Steve Holman

This is really more than a post. This is the system which I have integrated into every part of all of my exercise regimens. This system, in part, has truly transformed me from a 160lb weakling into the 250lb man I am today. I can't say enough about the Positions of Flexion. Read it for yourself and incorporate it everywhere you can. -PJ

Positions of Flexion can be a giant step in helping you reach your muscular potential as quickly as possible. It’s a powerful muscle-building protocol that’s packed as much as 20 pounds of muscle onto bodybuilders’ frames in as little as 10 weeks. POF is a very logical and straightforward way to train, one that’s based on muscle function rather than convention, and it’s done near miraculous things for bodybuilders throughout the world. True, as the creator of POF, I’m biased, but I’ve seen it work and I believe it can make your dreams of a more muscular, shredded physique a reality without wasted time and effort, which is why I continue to sing its praises and explain its basic concepts.
POF’s mass-building power is a direct result of its basic premise: You should choose exercises that train each muscle through its entire range of motion to trigger maximum fiber recruitment, as well as other anabolic mechanisms, at every workout. That means faster, more complete development from fewer sets. Once you grasp its concepts, POF will change the way you train and gain forever.

Complete Stimulation, Full-Blown Pump
When the POF concepts and routines were first introduced in IRONMAN magazine, many bodybuilders were taken by surprise when they put them to the test, commenting that they thought their skin might tear because the influx of blood was so extreme. That’s a direct result of the inordinate muscle fiber recruitment that occurs when you train a target muscle through a full range of motion with specific exercises. POF protocol dictates that you use specific exercises to train the entire length of the muscle from full stretch to complete contraction. Before you can give it a test drive and send your own gains skyward, however, you need to grasp POF’s underlying concepts and principles—and that understanding starts with uncovering the roots of POF.

Jousting With Genetics: The Origins of POF
POF was a direct result of a number of trainees’ frustrations in the gym coupled with independent research at the University of Texas at Austin. That research was fueled by the ultimate goal of remedying some of the rampant in-the-gym frustration so many trainees were experiencing. I, for one, was obsessed with research because I wasn’t prepared to give up my bodybuilding dreams—lowly genetics or not, even though mine were at the bottom of the hardgainer barrel.

When I first started training, I weighed less than 120 pounds. Bad genetics? You bet. In fact, when my parents married in their early 20s, my mother weighed 95 pounds and my father weighed 115. Even with my genetically challenged predisposition, however, I never lost sight of the dream of stepping on a posing platform. I was obsessed and determined to find a muscle-building solution.

At the huge state university research materials available were plentiful, to say the least, and I was able to find some applicable physiological truths that helped my progress— but only slightly. I was determined to find a better way, so I continued to plow through books, abstracts and studies on anything even remotely related to muscle hypertrophy. My obsession fueled a relentless pursuit—and it did eventually pay off. After pouring over hundreds of physiology and biomechanics texts and abstracts, I came across a physiological phenomenon that occurs when a muscle is stretched and then forced to contract soon thereafter. That discovery had me incorporating exercises with a high-stretch component for every bodypart, and I made some decent gains as a direct result. Nevertheless, there was still something missing, and I didn’t start packing on real size until after I put the other parts of the puzzle into practice—properly combining stretch exercises with those that involve synergy, or muscle team work, and peak contraction. That combination constituted full-range-of-motion training that could be applied to every muscle group.

As I browsed through a muscle magazine, I noticed that Arnold used a similar approach for his biceps routine: dumbbell curls for synergy, incline curls for stretch and concentration curls for peak contraction. After I tried his program—with less sets, of course, because of my -free status—I realized that there was something almost magical about it. After I used his routine for a month, my gym buddies suddenly started asking me to hit arm shots every time I trained because my bi’s got more peaked each week. Then once they started using the routine, they got similar results, so I knew it wasn’t a fluke. There was something very powerful about that particular exercise combination.

With the help of some physiologists at the university, I eventually put together a complete training regimen for each bodypart, and with a prototype version of a POF-based routine my bodyweight shot up to 200 pounds—an 80-pound gain from my starting weight; damn good for a -free hardgainer—and I soon entered and won my first bodybuilding contest.
You may be wondering if you can make similar, or perhaps even better, gains. Absolutely, and the first thing you can do is make sure you’re using a stretch-position movement for each muscle group, such as stiff-legged lifts for your hamstrings, donkey calf raises for your calves, pullovers for your lats and overhead extensions for your triceps. [Note: A complete list of stretch-position exercises appears in the “Stretch” section of this feature.]
Ah, but if you’re a serious, impatient, muscle-hungry bodybuilder, you probably want the full-blown power of the POF method, not just one little piece, right? Let’s analyze each position so you can put all of the pieces into place and start building new muscle size with POF immediately.
Dissecting POF With the Austrian Oak
POF is a multi-angular bodybuilding protocol that trains a muscle in the three positions that constitute full range of motion (ROM). Understand that it’s not simply doing an exercise through its complete stroke, although that’s important too. It takes two to three exercises to work a muscle through its complete arc of flexion, or range of motion, which consists of three positions: midrange, stretch and contracted.

Arnold’s favorite biceps routine is a specific example of standard POF. He often did dumbbell curls, incline dumbbell curls and concentration curls, in that order, a routine that hits his biceps from the three key positions, or angles, for complete ROM:
•Biceps midrange: upper arms in front of the torso. Dumbbell curls hit the midrange position and train the biceps with synergy, or muscle teamwork, from the front delts. When muscles work together, the overload and fiber activation is much greater in most cases.
•Stretch: arms behind the torso. Incline dumbbell curls hit the stretch position and activate the myotatic reflex due to inordinate biceps elongation, and the muscle’s fiber stimulation is heightened.
•Contracted: arms up and away from the torso. Concentration curls hit the contracted position with resistance at the point of maximum contraction. Continuous tension in the fully contracted position provides a potent fiber jolt after the heightened fiber activation created by the previous stretch-position movement.

You can see why POF works, and why it creates a skin-stretching pump in only a few sets. You totally stimulate the muscle fibers by triggering the stretch reflex as part of a routine that trains each bodypart through its complete range of motion, or arc of flexion. Muscle physiology dictates that full ROM and the myotatic reflex will combine to ignite an extreme hypertrophic adaptation, especially after a compound, or midrange, exercise that overloads the target muscle due to synergy, or help from other muscle groups. Let’s start from the top, with the midrange position.

Midrange Position: Training the Mass of the Muscle Structures
The first exercise in a standard POF approach is a midrange movement. These exercises are known as the mass-builders because they train the majority of the target-muscle fibers with heavy weight, so it makes sense to give them priority most of the time. Midrange movements involve synergy, or muscle team work, which means that a number of muscle structures work together, with the target muscle as the prime mover. For example, the squat is a midrange exercise for the quads, and the glutes, hamstrings, lower back and even calves get in on the action to help the quads elevate heavy iron.
You can see why these exercises are at the core of every POF bodypart routine—they build mass, plain and simple.
Here’s a list of some of the best midrange movements for each bodypart:

Quads: squats
Hamstrings: stiff-legged lifts (also a stretch movement)
Lats: wide-grip chins to the front
Midback: behind-the-neck pulldowns
Delts: dumbbell presses
Chest: bench presses
Biceps: barbell curls or close-grip undergrip pulldowns
Triceps: lying extensions or close-grip bench presses
Abdominals: kneeups

Synergy allows you to cultivate tremendous power because muscles work most efficiently as part of a team. POF midrange movements all have synergy, and using those exercises alone for each bodypart can build phenomenal muscle size and strength. You can get even better results, though, when you follow your midrange exercises with movements for the other two target-muscle positions, stretch and contracted.

Stretch: Emergency Response to Revive Comatose Fibers
Stretch-position movements, the second exercise in standard POF protocol, activate the myotatic reflex. Training the target bodypart at its maximal point of elongation, for example incline curls for the biceps or overhead extensions for the triceps, can force an emergency response from the muscle and bring new muscle fibers into play. Here is how the phenomenon is defined in the book e Power by Health For Life:

The stretch reflex originates deep inside each muscle fiber with a structure called the muscle spindle. The muscle spindle is a complex construction of muscle protein, fluid and nervous system receptors. Within this structure is a special type of muscle fiber that does not have the contractile qualities normally associated with muscle. These special fibers, called intrafusal fibers, are wrapped with nerve cells that relay information from muscle to the central nervous system. When a muscle is stretched quickly, the tension in the intrafusal fibers stimulates these nerve cells, sending messages out to the central nervous system at great speed. In response, the central nervous system triggers a muscle reflex that generates a fast and powerful contraction. This myotatic, or stretch, reflex is a protective mechanism that provides an extra burst of strength to resist force encountered suddenly. When the reflex is triggered, a very large proportion of the muscle’s fibers suddenly contract.

When you use a stretch-position exercise, such as flyes for the chest or pullovers for the lats, the target muscle reacts with an emergency response, which can trigger more muscle fibers to fire. The reason an emergency reaction occurs is that you’re training the muscle in a somewhat vulnerable position—at a point of full elongation.

By activating more fast-twitch fibers in the target muscle, you stimulate faster development. Stretch-position exercises may also enlarge the fascia, or fiber encasements, so that fiber growth isn’t constricted and they also may trigger more anabolic hormone release. Stretch-position exercises are very important for optimal hypertrophic stimulation.
Here’s a list of stretch-position exercises for each muscle group:

Quads: sissy squats
Hamstrings: stiff-legged lifts
Calves: donkey calf raises
Abs: cable crunches with low-back support
Chest: dumbbell flyes
Lats: pullovers
Midback: close-grip cable rows
Delts: incline one-arm laterals
Biceps: incline curls
Triceps: overhead extensions

You’ll really feel these exercises in the target muscle, especially when you do them after a big midrange movement. The pump and burn will be unreal—and in some cases almost unbearable—but you’re not done yet. To finish off the target muscle and complete the full-ROM chain, you follow the stretch-position exercise with a contracted-position movement for that final growth jolt.

Contracted: Peak Contraction for a Searing Growth Reaction
The last exercise in any standard POF bodypart routine is the contracted-position movement, which trains the target bodypart at the point of complete contraction with resistance—for example, leg extensions for the front thighs. An exercise with resistance in the completely contracted position is the best way to finish off a target muscle after as many fibers as possible have been activated with the midrange- and stretch-position movements.
Here’s a list of contracted-position exercises for each muscle group:

Quads: leg extensions
Hamstrings: leg curls
Calves: standing calf raises
Abs: full-range crunches
Chest: cable flyes or pec deck flyes
Lats: stiff-arm pulldowns or pullover machine
Midback: bent-arm bent-over rows
Delts: lateral raises
Biceps: concentration curls or double-biceps cable curls
Triceps: one-arm pushdowns or kickbacks
Okay, let’s put it all together so you can start using POF programs at your very next workout.
POF: Total Target-Muscle Stimulation for Extraordinary Mass Gains

The underlying concept of POF is simple: If you hit a muscle from a number of angles, you stimulate more fibers, and if you use a stretch-position exercise correctly as part of the full-ROM approach, you bring even more of the muscle into play; however, if you understand POF, you know the angles shouldn’t be random—they should complement one another so together they complete the full-ROM chain.

For example, you saw that Arnold’s biceps routine trains the target muscle as follows:

•upper arms slightly in front of the torso, with dumbbell curls (midrange)

•upper arms back behind the torso, with incline curls (stretch)

•upper arm up and away from the torso with concentration curls (contracted)

Each position can involve different fibers and different recruitment patterns, which produce fuller development. It’s why advanced bodybuilders do more than one exercise per bodypart—to develop as many fibers as possible to extreme degrees. Keep in mind, however, that a lot of advanced bodybuilders use the shotgun approach when it comes to multiangular training, with no rhyme or reason to exercise selection, which can lead to overlap, wasted effort and overtraining. POF’s logical structure can help you avoid that pitfal. Top Full-range-of-motion POF training works because it produces almost complete target-muscle stimulation with the minimal amount of work necessary for the exercises that complete the full-ROM chain. If you’re still not convinced multiangular training is necessary, consider the following quote from Jaci VanHeest, renowned exercise physiologist at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado:

Muscles contract when tiny levers on myosin, a muscle protein, fit into grooves on actin, another protein, and push it forward exactly like a ratchet wrench. But myosin can latch onto actin in any of several positions, not all of them ideal. Only when the myosin heads are in the right register can the muscle have the optimal tension. But optimizing every actin-myosin pairing is less an achievable goal than a Platonic ideal. (Newsweek, July 22, 1996: “How High? How Fast?”)

You need more than one exercise to optimize as many actin-myosin pairings in the target muscle as possible, and full ROM training like POF is the logical answer to that optimization. Here is another example, with triceps as the target:

Midrange
Close-grip bench presses or lying extensions 2 x 7-10
Stretch
Overhead extensions 2 x 7-10
Contracted
One-arm pushdowns or kickbacks 2 x 7-10

You first work the midrange position with close-grip bench presses. Remember, midrange equals synergy, in this case teamwork from your front delts, pecs and lats. Next is the stretch position, which you train with overhead extensions. That exercise forces maximum elongation and triggers the myotatic reflex. You use kickbacks, a contracted-position exercise, last in order to work the triceps at the point of complete contraction with resistance. Note that it only takes one to two sets of each exercise—four to six total sets per bodypart—to train the target muscle completely and thoroughly. The low per-bodypart set total means that more of your recovery ability is available for ramping up recuperation and anabolic acceleration after your workout, while overtraining is kept at bay.
If you want to give your delts the full-ROM treatment with POF, try the following:

Midrange
Behind-the-neck presses 2 x 7-10
Stretch
Incline one-arm laterals 2 x 7-10
Contracted
Seated laterals 2 x 7-10

Notice that you train the lateral heads with synergy during behind-the-neck presses—your delts work in conjunction with triceps and traps to push the bar overhead—you work the medial head in the stretch position with incline one-arm laterals—your arm moves down and across your body—and you train the side head in its peak-contracted position against resistance with lateral raises. Your delts have no choice but to grow rounder and fuller with this type of multi-angular full-ROM approach. With the above suggestions, you should be able to grow faster and with fewer sets than with any training protocol you’ve ever tried.

The chest is somewhat more complicated. Due to its fan shape you divide it into two sections, upper and lower/middle; however, you can train two positions with one exercise.
For lower/middle chest flat bench presses train the target muscle with other muscle groups (synergy in the midrange position). Cable crossovers (or Nautilus flyes) train the pecs from full stretch to complete contraction, with resistance in the contracted position. Notice that the lower/middle chest takes only two precise exercises to hit the full arc of flexion. You can get the same two-for-one effect when you train the upper portion: Use incline presses for the midrange position and incline cable flyes for the stretch and contracted positions. Now you have a tremendously effective POF pec-building routine.

Middle/lower-pec section
Midrange
Bench presses 2 x 7-10
Stretch and contracted
Cable crossovers 2 x 7-10

Upper-pec section
Midrange
Incline bench presses 2 x 7-10
Stretch and contracted
Incline cable flyes 2 x 7-10

You have to realize that you need more than one exercise to optimize as many actin-myosin pairings in the target muscle as possible, and you want to choose the movements that together take the target muscle through its full range of motion. That means working from full stretch to complete contraction, plus training the muscle with synergy. To accomplish that it may take two or three movements, depending on the exercises you choose. Let’s look at one last example. Here are POF quad and hamstring routines with a bit more explanation than the other programs, just in case you haven’t quite got the full-POF picture yet:

Midrange position
Squats (synergy from glutes and lower back)
Do 2 light warmup sets first), then 2-3 x 8-12

Stretch position
Sissy squats or Feet-forward Smith machine squats
Quick twitch out of the bottom, when hamstrings touch your calves 2 x 10

Contracted position
Leg extensions
Hold for a count at the top to emphasize peak contraction 1-2 x 8-12

Hamstrings, on the other hand, only require two exercises for full-range training to fully optimize the actin-myosin pairings and stimulate inordinate growth. As you saw with chest, sometimes one exercise will cover two of the Positions of Flexion. In the following program, it’s the stiff-legged lift:

Midrange and stretch positions
Stiff-legged lifts (synergy from glutes and lower back, plus full stretch at the bottom of each rep)
Do 2 light warmup sets, then 2-3 x 8-10

Contracted position
Leg curls
Hold for a count at the top to emphasize peak contraction 2 x 8-12

You can develop your own POF routines for other bodyparts by taking an exercise from each of the lists in the sections above and doing one to three sets of each.

Positions of Flexion is undoubtedly one of the most logical, efficient muscle-building methods out there. It’s helped a multitude of bodybuilders push beyond their so-called genetic limitations, and it can do the same for you. Try it in its standard forms or one of its many hybrid protocols, such as Hypercontraction training or Compound Aftershock. If you’ve never tried POF, be prepared for some unusual soreness—and some exciting new muscle growth. You’ll soon see why it’s becoming an integral part of so many successful bodybuilders’ training arsenals the world over.

Editor’s note: Positions of Flexion was recently introduced to European bodybuilders via Steve Homan’s features and columns in Italy’s Olympians News magazine. Because of the overwhelming response many of Holman’s books have been translated and printed in other languages so bodybuilders all over the world can reap the mass-building benefits of POF. If you’re interested in the definitive Positions-of-Flexion training manual, get a copy of Critical Mass. It contains an analysis of each bodypart with routines, as well as a number of complete POF programs, from the Hardgainer POF Program to the POF Power Pyramid. It’s $19.95 plus $4.90 shipping and handling. To order with a credit card, call 1-800-447-0008, or go to our online store. For more books containing information on POF, see the end of the next section,

POF Overview.
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POF OVERVIEW

Positions of Flexion (POF) is a mass-training protocol based on maximum fiber activation through synergy, the myotatic reflex, peak contraction and full range of motion. It's designed to train each muscle thoroughly and completely for total development in the shortest time possible. Once you understand the POF protocol, your training—and the gains you get from it—will change forever.
Key POF Terms

Midrange position = Synergy.
Training the target muscle as part of a team of muscle structures. For example, you train your chest with synergy from your shoulders and triceps when you do bench presses; you train your quads with help from your glutes and lower back when you squat. Synergy allows you to cultivate tremendous power because muscles work most efficiently as part of a team. POF midrange movements all have synergy.
Examples of midrange-position exercises include: squats (quads), stiff-legged lifts (hamstrings: also a stretch movement), front pulldowns (lats), behind-the-neck pulldowns (midback), dumbbell presses (delts), bench presses (chest), barbell curls or close-grip undergrip pulldowns (biceps), lying extensions or close-grip bench presses (triceps), kneeups (abdominals).

Stretch position = Myotatic Reflex.
Training the target bodypart at its maximal point of elongation, for example overhead extensions for the triceps, can force what's known as the myotatic reflex. Here is how this phenomenon is defined in the book e Power by Health For Life:
"The stretch reflex originates deep inside each muscle fiber with a structure called the muscle spindle. The muscle spindle is a complex construction of muscle protein, fluid and nervous system receptors. Within this structure is a special type of muscle fiber that does not have the contractile qualities normally associated with muscle. These special fibers, called intrafusal fibers, are wrapped with nerve cells that relay information from muscle to the central nervous system. When a muscle is stretched quickly, the tension in the intrafusal fibers stimulates these nerve cells, sending messages out to the central nervous system at great speed. In response, the central nervous system triggers a muscle reflex that generates a fast and powerful contraction. This myotatic, or stretch, reflex is a protective mechanism that provides an extra burst of strength to resist force encountered suddenly. When the reflex is triggered, a very large proportion of the muscle's fibers suddenly contract."
If stretch-position exercises are performed correctly, they have the potential to activate more fibers in the target muscle, which can translate into faster development. They can also stretch the fascia, or fiber encasements, so that fiber growth isn't constricted, which can speed hypertrophy and trigger anabolic-hormone production and receptor activity.
Examples of stretch-position exercises include sissy squats (quads), stiff-legged lifts (hamstrings; also a midrange movement), donkey calf raises (calves), pullovers (lats), close-grip cable rows (midback), incline one-arm lateral raises (delts), dumbbell flyes (chest), incline dumbbell curls (biceps), overhead extensions (triceps), full-range crunches (abdominals; also contracted exercise).

Contracted position = Peak Contraction.
Training the target bodypart at the point of complete contraction with resistance. Example: leg extensions for the frontal thighs. This is the best way to finish off a target muscle after as many fibers as possible have been activated with the midrange- and stretch-position movements.
Examples of contracted-position exercises include: leg extensions (quads), leg curls (hamstrings), standing calf raises (calves), stiff-arm pulldowns or pullover machine (lats), Bent-arm bent-over rows (midback), lateral raises (delts), cable flyes or pec deck (chest), concentration curls or double-biceps cable curls (biceps), one-arm pushdowns or kickbacks (triceps), full-range crunches (abdominals).
Example POF Programs

For example, overhead extensions train triceps in the full-stretch position. Kickbacks work the triceps at complete contraction. All that's left is the midrange position, which you train with close-grip bench presses and synergy from your front delts. Standard POF order would be close-grip bench presses, two to three sets, overhead extensions, two to three sets, and kickbacks, two to three sets. That's a very effective POF triceps routine that hits the target through its full range of motion.

Take the chest as another example. Cable crossovers (or Nautilus flyes) train the pecs' from full stretch to complete contraction, with resistance in the contracted position. Begin your chest workout with flat bench presses to train the pecs with other muscle groups (synergy in the midrange position), follow bench presses with sets of cable crossovers and you have a great POF pec-building routine.

To understand why this multi-exercise, full-range-of-motion focus produces almost complete target-muscle stimulation, you must first understand how muscles contract.Here's a quote from Jaci VanHeest, renowned exercise physiologist at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado that helps explain this phenomenon:
"Muscles contract when tiny levers on myosin, a muscle protein, fit into grooves on actin, another protein, and push it forward exactly like a ratchet wrench. But myosin can latch onto actin in any of several positions, not all of them ideal. Only when the myosin heads are in the right register can the muscle have the optimal tension. But optimizing every actin-myosin pairing is less an achievable goal than a Platonic ideal." (Newsweek, July 22, 1996: "How High? How Fast?")

Obviously, you need more than one exercise to optimize as many actin-myosin pairings in the target muscle as possible, and full ROM training like POF is the logical answer to this optimization.

Standard POF and Its Variations
There is a logical exercise order that you should use when training with POF. During a standard POF routine you first train the target muscle with the help of other muscle groups in the midrange position. This muscle teamwork allows you to get the majority of the muscle fibers. Next you train the target at its full-stretch position to activate the myotatic reflex and reserve muscle fibers. Last, you train the target in the contracted position to finish it off with peak contraction to squeeze the last bit of effort from the fibers. This complete range-of-motion-training approach allows you to get the fullest development possible.

Variations include Compound Aftershock, which is using the stretch position movement as the first exercise in a superset with a midrange movement. For example, pullovers prior to pulldowns. This has the potential to pre-exhaust the muscle and may activate reserve fibers prior to the big midrange, or teamwork, movement. Isolation Aftershock is using the stretch-position movement as part of a superset with the contracted-position exercise to get a similar fiber-activation effect. For example, doing overhead triceps extensions supersetted with kickbacks. Supersetting is an important step up the ladder of intensity. In fact, new research states the muscle burn lowers the pH of the , which in turn stimulates more growth hormone release, and supersets are key for achieving muscle burn. Hypercontraction Training is an advanced POF method that places the stretch-position movement first in a bodypart routine, to not only warm up the target muscle, but also to put it in a state of emergency from the very first rep, and that means heightened fiber activation.

POF Fundamentals and More Routines
The fundamental concept of POF is correct exercise choice. You want to choose the movements that together take the target muscle through its full range of motion-from full stretch to complete contraction, plus you want to work the muscle with synergy. That may take two or three movements, depending on the exercises you choose. Here's a sample quad routine:

Midrange position: squats (synergy from glutes and lower back; do 2 light warmup sets first), 2-3 x 7-9
Stretch position: sissy squats (quick twitch out of the bottom, but no bouncing), 2 x 10
Contracted position: leg extensions (hold for a count at the top to emphasize peak contraction), 1-2 x 7-9

Hamstrings, on the other hand, only require two exercises for full-range training to take place:

Midrange and stretch position: stiff-legged lifts
(synergy from glutes and lower back; do 2 light warmup sets first), 2-3 x 7-9
Contracted position: leg curls (hold for a count at the top to emphasize peak contraction), 1-2 x 7-9

You can develop your own POF routines for other bodyparts by taking an exercise from each of the example sections above and doing the same set-rep scheme as the quad routine. For complete POF routines and variations, as well as more complete descriptions on how and why this mass-building protocol is so effective, see the following books and videos (Click on the title for a review):

Train, Eat, Grow: POF Manual: Complete POF bodybuilding manual with four four-week training phases centered around the amazing Positions-of-Flexion muscle-training approach. ($19.95)

Home Gym Handbook: Has a chapter on POF training in a home gym setting with a complete routine ($9.95)

Mass-Training Tactics: 2 Standard POF routines; 2 POF Pre-exhaustion routines plus 16 other complete programs (Free as a download to subscribers.)

Compound Aftershock (new revised and updated edition): More advanced variations of POF, including Compound Aftershock, Isolation Aftershock and Double-Impact training, plus nutrition and supplementation info and schedules (Free as a download to subscribers.)

10-Week Size Surge: step-by-step two-phase training approach, POF in the second phase, with complete diet, training tips and explanations. A weight-gain manual. ($9.95)

Fat to Muscle 2: routine is a five-day POF routine, training each bodypart directly once per week and indirectly once per week. Diets included along with fat-burning tips. ($9.95)

Hypercontraction Training video: advanced stretch-position-first POF protocol; includes Double-Impact training. One hour. ($24.95)

Critical Mass video series: "Critical Arms," "Critical Chest & Delts" and "Critical Legs & Back." Basic POF bodypart routines with live-action demos and explanations.

Granite Abs video: The POF approach to a ripped, etched midsection. Five POF programs designed around the science of abdominal-muscle function, plus diet tips and schedules. ($19.95)

Underground Mass-Boosting Methods: Unique and controversial ways to trigger new gains, including Negative Overload, Double Impact, Power Partials and R-P-M Training. These are advanced techniques applied to the POF protocol, so trainees need a bit more experience under their belts before they dive in. There are a lot of great plateau-busting tactics here. (Free as a download to subscribers.)
POF Training Tips

Use standard POF-exercise order most of the time. The standard order for the three positions is midrange, stretch and contracted. The midrange-position movement works the bulk of the target muscle with the help of synergist, or helping, muscles and warms up the target area for the more concentrated work to come in the next two positions. After the midrange exercise comes the stretch position, where you take advantage of the prestretch phenomenon. With a slight twitch at the bottom of any stretch-position exercise you can involve more muscle fibers and cause a more powerful contraction in the target muscle. Last is the contracted position, where the target muscle is flexed with opposing resistance—in other words, resistance doesn’t fall off at the top of the movement. These exercises give the target muscle an intense peak contraction after you’ve sufficiently warmed it up and worked it in the other two positions.

Do at least one light warmup set with 50 percent of your work weight for every midrange movement. Doing a second set with 75 percent may be even more beneficial for some exercises. Fight the urge to add sets. If you’re training to at least positive failure, two sets is plenty of work for any position, or angle, in most cases. A good rule of thumb is to never do more than 25 sets at any one workout—and less is preferable. Keep your form strict—two seconds up and two seconds down, the goal being to keep tension on the target muscle for 30 to 60 seconds—and rest one to 1 1/2 minutes between sets. You can rest slightly longer between sets of exercises that put a higher demand on your cardiovascular system, such as squats and rows. Always use a phase-training approach: four to six weeks of taking all sets other than warmups to at least positive failure, followed by two weeks of lower-intensity work, in which you stop all sets two reps short of failure. (See IRONMAN’s Home Gym Handbook for a complete discussion of phase training.) You can order any of the above books or videos online at www.home-gym.com.

6 Comments:

At 12:54 PM, Blogger beast2k said...

I have worn out 2 copies of Critical Mass in the years I have been following Mr. Holmans PoF . It is not BS it works as advertised. Thanks to Steve Holman for puting this out and for all the effort you put in. -Chris Wyman

 
At 9:44 PM, Anonymous geongia said...

thanks for the information, I’ll be making the necessary changes thanks to your tips


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Great Post. Its really the kind of reading i was searching on the web glad i came across your blog.

 
At 1:07 AM, Blogger Aleena said...

Fitness Exercises

 
At 1:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was searching for the exercises for each muscle group based on POF. I am glad that i came across your blog and got those exercises at once. Thanks for the post

 

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