Q: I gained 8 pounds of muscle in 6 weeks using the Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout [in Chapter 3]. It transformed my physique. I noticed that Brad Schoenfeld, Ph.D.’s 3 hypertrophy triggers include mechanical tension from heavy weights, but I used light weights. Would I have gained even more muscle by incorporating heavy sets?
A: Before we answer, let’s lay some groundwork — like the 3 key hypertrophy triggers for optimal mass stimulation, according to Schoenfeld:
1) Mechanical tension (with heavier training)
2) Metabolic stress (by blocking blood flow [during sufficient tension time] for cell swelling)
3) Muscle damage (via microtears in the fibers)
Now, the 10×10 method has you use the same moderate weight over 10 quick sets, 30 seconds of rest between each.
You train each target muscle with only ONE key exercise, and it takes about 10 minutes.
And that is what produces the mechanical tension as well as damage and stress — the sheer volume combined with short rests.
That’s Density Training. Just because the poundage is lighter doesn’t matter — it will feel heavy by about set 7 and you will be activating fast-twitch growth fibers en masse…
That will be apparent with the right poundage choice — usually your 20-rep max — as you won’t get 10 reps on those last few sets. Plus, you’ll have a pump that will shock you, an indication of hypertrophic metabolic stress (#2 above).
As muscle-building researcher and Olympic coach Charles Poliquin says…
10×10 works because it targets a group of motor units, exposing them to an extensive volume of repeated efforts, specifically, 10 sets of a single exercise. The body adapts to the extraordinary stress by hypertrophying the targeted fibers. To say this program adds muscle fast is an understatement. Gains of 10 pounds or more in six weeks are not uncommon, even in experienced lifters.
The motor units Poliquin speaks of are BOTH slow-twitch fibers on the first sets and fast-twitch on the last ones. Most bodybuilders don’t get much slow-twitch growth because they neglect lighter training, BUT 10×10 forces that growth layer to happen big time…
Remember what researcher Jerry Brainum said recently:
It’s now known that type-1 [slow-twitch] fibers are also capable of showing a significant level of muscular hypertrophy.
That’s no doubt another reason you gained so much muscle in 6 weeks — you finally stimulated slow-twitch growth.
Would you have gained more muscle in 6 weeks if you had incorporated some heavy work? That depends. If you were training heavy before, probably not. The all-10×10 routine was totally unique and no doubt allowed you to recover and grow while still stimulating all of the mass triggers…
But now you may want to go to a heavy/light routine, like the one in Chapter 4 of the 10×10 e-book. The light work is 10×10, so we recommend going to STX instead, which is a high-rep set, rest 30 seconds, then hit a moderately heavy set followed by a rest/pause set [from the Anabolic Reload e-book].
That will still have you jacking up slow-twitch growth but with high-rep sets instead of loads of moderate sets, a unique change for even bigger gains.
For more on the 10×10 method, see The Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout, ONLY $9 HERE.
Latest release: For science-based POF programs with more frequent body part hits, check out the new Anabolic Reload Mass Workout e-book HERE.
Till next time, train hard — and smart — for BIG results.
— Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson