Is it possible to gain 34lbs of muscle in 4 weeks?

Timothy Ferriss certainly seems to think so, in fact he claims to have done it:

Timothy Ferriss BeforeTimothy Ferriss After

If you’re not aware, Tim Ferris is author of the best selling book: the “Four Hour Work Week” (click here for the US version) which I have just finished reading and can say is a very inspirational book. I may just flip back to the start and re-read it immediately again, which would be a first for me.

Anyway, back to the point. As I said, Tim claims to have put on the muscle shown in the pictures (along with lose all his body hair and gain a tan! lol) in just 4 weeks. He says that his own study of muscular hypertrophy led him to:

“Follow Arthur Jones’ general recommendations for one-set-to-failure from the little-known Colorado Experiment, but with lower frequency (maximum of twice per week) and with at least 3 minutes between exercises.”

However I suspect the key factoid about how he did it is tied up in this step:

“Perform every repetition with a 5/5 cadence (5 seconds up, 5 seconds down) to eliminate momentum and ensure constant load.”

Which (I think) sounds very similar to the cadence prescriptions defined on the Optimum Performance Training blog which I know some Crossfitters are following, with great strength results.

Which brings me nicely to the germain issue, at least from my perspective: is this sarcoplasmic muscular hypertrophy or myofibrillar muscular hypertrophy? To be clear, sarcoplasmic muscled growth increases the size of your muscles, but does not increase their strength. Weird I know but true. Whereas myofibrillar muscle growth increases muscle size, but has a corresponding increase in strength.

Personally I don’t have a lot of interest in increasing muscle size. I’m not a body builder and have no intention of wasting my life working out for aesthetic reasons only. I’d rather be thin and strong, than big and (relatively) weak. So it’s a shame that Tim hasn’t supplied any strength figures.

But all that aside, is it even possible to put on such a huge amount of muscle in such a short period of time? Tim models himself as an exceptional person, which is his selling point, and maybe he did it. Certainly I’m not going to discount his story out of hand, but I doubt I’ll be following in his footsteps to see for myself. Would you?

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