Q: The 10×10 method sounds great in a number of ways for building muscle size, but one concern I have is the lack of anabolic hormone stimulation. Aren’t heavy, low-rep sets best for that? Should I combine 10×10 with heavier workouts to get that essential anabolic environment for best gains?
A: While doing a number of heavy-weight, low-rep sets can contribute to anabolic drive and hormone release, it may not be the best or most-efficient route. According to a report from Jerry Brainum, three groups were compared, and all subject performed the squat:
1) Hypertrophy: 4 sets of 10 reps on squats with 75 percent of one-rep max, 90 seconds between sets
2) Strength: 11 sets of 3 reps on squats, using 90 percent of one-rep max, 3 minutes between sets
3) Power: 8 sets of 6 reps on jumping squats, no weight, 3 minutes between sets
Results: Only the hypertrophy workout (#1) led to a release of anabolic hormones. In fact, the strength workout led to a blunted release, which the researchers speculate was due to the longer rests and less lactic acid accumulation (muscle burn).
According to the researchers, the first group’s style of training “may create an internal muscular environment which is similar to that of vascular occlusion models and may optimize motor unit recruitment to that of high-intensity resistance exercise.” [Eu J Appl Physiol. In press. 2009.]
Moderate weight, a rep range of eight to 10 and short rests between sets, is the most efficient way to build muscle. Many believe that using heavy weight and lower reps is the way to gain muscle size. That style of training is best for building strength but may not be the optimum method for producing more rapid gains in mass.
That sure makes it sound like 10×10 is perfect for the anabolic drive and the hormonal environment conducive to fast muscle-mass gains.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
ATTENTION OVER-40 BODYBUILDERS
One of the most interesting read-me pages on Testosterone and other muscle-building hormones we’ve seen is The Truth About Testosterone.
It even talks about a fruit, a specific part, that can up your T naturally. Cranking up your testosterone will not only get you jacked in the gym, but in the bedroom too—not to mention help rip up your midsection as it ignites fat burning. If that interests you, there’s more from our colleague and registered dietician, HERE.