Q: I’ve read a lot of your stuff over the years, especially when you had your daily training blog, so I have to ask: What’s the deal with squats? You’ve said before that they always injure you due to spine compression, and you’ll never do them again. But then I see them as the first quad exercise on leg day in some of your routines. You’re contradicting yourselves.
A: Not a contradiction; just another discovery. The way we used to do squats—building up to heavy weights over a number of sets with longer rests—produced more injuries than we care to remember. It was usually our lower backs that got jacked. As we found out the hard way over the years, having 350 pounds jamming down on your spine for even a few sets can do lots of cumulative damage. We’re living proof…
With routines like those in the 4X Mass Workout, however, things are different and there’s really no question of whether you should squat or not. That’s because you use the same MEDIUM weight all the way through—a poundage light enough to allow 15-plus reps, but you only do 10. Then rest only long enough for your partner to complete his 10 reps—30 to 40 seconds—then hit it again…
The short rests coupled with the lighter poundage makes squats much safer as your form can remain perfect through all four sets—although sets 3 and 4 do get brutal…
The truth is, you’ll feel 4X squats in your quads more than you’ve ever felt heavier power squats—and you’ll see new size increases as well as vascularity. With 4X, there’s really no question of whether to squat or not… The squat is a great exercise, so the 4X method is a godsend. You’re able to use one of the best overall anabolic accelerators without fear of injury.
For those with major back problems, a 5×12 sequence may be even better than 4×10 because the weight will need to be even lighter—but you still hit the majority of the growth fibers over so many sets (see the 4X Mass Workout e-book for more info on how and why it works to build mass). The major quad gains you get will inspire and set your overall muscle growth on fire!
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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