Q: I love the 4X Workout method. It’s opened my eyes to a new way to build mass. I notice that you guys often superset opposing muscles with 4X, like forearm extensors (top) and flexors (underside), going back and forth. Can I do that with other opposing muscle groups, like biceps and triceps to save time and get a bigger pump?
A: We addressed that question in the Q&A section of the 4X Mass Workout e-book. The answer is, opposing-muscle-group supersets work great with the 4X method—as long as the exercises don’t force you to stop your sets from cardiovascular failure as opposed to muscular exhaustion…
For example, supersetting squats for quads and stiff-legged deadlifts for hamstrings would exhaust most people, as you don’t rest at all. You go back and forth with no rest for all four sets. Sure, with 4X the first few sets are not to failure, but they will still cause fatigue to build—and training a big bodypart like quads will produce an oxygen debt quickly, making you feel completely winded. That’s especially true on the last few sets when the going gets tough…
Remember, 4X is taking a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but you only do 10. So you would do squats for 10 reps, then immediately do your stiff-legged deadlifts for 10, back and forth, with no rest for four cycles. By the third round, you’ll be breathing like a locomotive, which will probably stop your sets prematurely—and make you scream, “This sucks!” when you finally catch your breath. And it does suck for building muscle mass…
On the other hand, opposing-muscle supersets would work well on most biceps and triceps exercises. Those are two smaller muscles that don’t require a lot of oxygen. For example, barbell curls alternated with lying extensions, both midrange moves, would be a good pairing for 4X supersets. And the incredible upper-arm -pump will get you motivated big time.
Pairing chest and back may work too, but not with big exercises like presses and rows. You’d probably want to do 4X supersets on the contracted-position moves, such as cable flyes for chest and bent-arm bent-over laterals for midback.
What about the single-joint isolation exercises for quads and hams—leg extensions and leg curls? That might work; however, the quads are still large muscles that will cause too much oxygen debt when paired with hamstring work for most people.
Remember, during a 4X supersets sequence, you can’t get gassed if you want to build mass.
Bonus Quick Tip: Here’s one from our very first e-book, The Ultimate Mass Workout. It’s on page 90 in the chapter “50 Ultimate Mass Tactics.” Incline dumbbell presses supposedly work the upper chest; however, according to Vince Gironda, the Iron Guru, most bodybuilders target the front delts when they do the exercise with their palms facing forward. Try your inclines with the dumbbells parallel, palms facing each other, and check your upper pecs for soreness the next day. (See more from the Iron Guru below.)
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
Learn From Vince Gironda, the Iron Guru
For more on the Iron Guru’s famous (and infamous) methods, grab a copy of Vince Gironda: Legend & Myth. It’s a big 330-page anthology of all of his training methods, unique exercises, carb cycling, and other diet principles. There are also a few freebie e-books that include his complete 8×8 system. See it HERE.