Q: I just can’t get myself to use 10×10 on my strength exercises like bench presses, squats, and rows. Using only 60 percent of my max ain’t gonna happen. I bench 300, so I would only use 180 for 10×10. I don’t want to feel like a weakling. Do you think I would benefit by using 10×10 only on my isolation exercises? I don’t really care about the amount of weight on those shaping moves.
A: As we’ve mentioned, we had trouble coping with the idea of using light weights on the big exercises. Nobody wants to feel like a weakling. That’s why we started out using 10×10 only for arms. We figured we were getting heavy biceps and triceps work early in the week during our chest and back workouts at that time; then on Friday, we did a light weight for 10 sets of 10 for biceps and triceps. Once we saw the great gains in our arm size and vascularity, we were sold on 10×10 for all exercises.
Nevertheless, if you’re most concerned with strength, you can get extra gains in muscle size by only 10×10 on only the ending isolation exercise for each bodypart—for example, leg extensions at the end of quads or laterals at the end of delts…
Another option is to use the Heavy/Light program outlined in The Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout. On the Heavy day you do standard heavy sets, then on the so-called Light day, you do 10×10 on the big Ultimate Exercise. That makes a lot of muscle-building sense, as the heavy/light method has been used for decades to build muscle fast. It was a favorite method of the biggest bodybuilders of yesteryear.
Also in that program (page 23) is strength coach Charles Poliquin’s technique for using 10×10 for strength—you take more time between sets and use a double-weight-progression technique from workout to workout. We haven’t tried it, but he says it produces extremely fast gains in strength—like 30 pounds to your bench press in about six workouts. Nice!
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson