Q: I’m getting close to 60 years old and have been training with weights for almost 40 years. After trying to use heavier and heavier weights, I have a lot of joint aches and pains and can no longer do many exercises. I just wanted to say thanks for your 4X Mass Workout. I’ve been using it for a month and am seeing new muscle size. I’m amazed. Even many of my joints are feeling better because of the medium weights that must be used for 4X. Thank you—but I wish you’d come out with 4X about 20 years ago. Maybe I’d still be able to do bench presses and military presses.
A: We’re glad the 4X method is working so well for you. We’ve had a lot of feedback from older trainees over the years saying that 4X is a revelation and that they are finally gaining muscle again without much joint stress. Heal-alujah! (For more age-friendly muscle-building madness, check out the Anabolic After-40 info at the bottom of this page.)
We’ve also had lots of positive results from younger bodybuilders who are mesmerized by the lasting pump it creates—size they can often see for days, despite the easier training.
We can’t take all the credit for 4X, however. While we first used it as a density finisher for each muscle group, an offshoot of 10×10 training, it wasn’t until Steve interviewed “Bodybuilder X,” who trained with legendary muscle sensation Danny Padilla, that we got the BIG idea to do a total-4X program. Padilla’s results convinced us that it would work, even though the training poundages are NOT super heavy…
According to Bodybuilder X, who didn’t want to be identified because of some inside info he revealed in the interview in IRON MAN Magazine, Danny preferred 5×12 instead of our 4×10 or 4×12. He also did anywhere from three to five exercises per muscle group. Being totally drug-free, we prefer the Positions-of-Flexion 3 exercises—or maybe one more as a finisher.
He used the same weight all the way through his five sets and rested anywhere from 30 seconds to one minute between sets depending on the exercise. We also use the same weight on all four sets and rest about that long as well—only the length of time it would take for a partner to finish their set. On any exercise when training with a partner, you just go back and forth until all four sets are complete…
Steve made some spectacular progress with 4X in his early-50s. Jonathan also made excellent gains with it in his mid-30s, so it’s not just for older guys (although we both cycle back to 4X fairly often now). The question is, will integrating some heavier sets every so often make it even better? Possibly, but it ‘s obviously not necessary for significant muscle-size increases, as you’ve discovered…
There are ideas and suggestions on integrating heavier sets into 4X in the Q&A section of the 4X e-book. Also in that chapter are key excerpts from Steve’s interview with Bodybuilder X that focus on building mass drug-free.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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