Q: What’s your opinion of loosening exercise form at the end of a set to get a few more reps? Like on curls I keep the reps strict for the first six or seven, then I use some upper-body motion to complete two to three more reps. I’m using the 4X method, so the weight [throughout the 4 sets] is only moderate, not heavy. I’m only using momentum to fight the fatigue buildup at the end of the fourth set. Is that okay, or should I keep my reps strict through the entire 4X sequence?
A: Because the poundage is moderate on a 4X sequence, that’s all the more reason to keep it strict all the way through. Momentum will only take the tension off the target muscle. A very SLIGHT form alteration is acceptable, but keep it as strict as possible to the end of the fourth set…
We like a recommendation by Casey Viator, a former pro bodybuilder from the ’80s who used to train with Mike Mentzer. He suggested that instead of loosening your form on the last few reps, concentrate on speed reps, or speeding up the movement of the final few reps:
The movement hardly speeds up at all, but it seems easier to complete reps by concentrating on this effect. Your brain has fired a volley of impulses to the muscle being worked to recruit more fibers to do the work.
It certainly did the mass-building trick for Casey…
So if you tell your mind to speed up the rep, that can force the target muscle to fire dormant fibers to get the job done without sacrificing form. Speed reps are a mind-muscle link to get you growing.
Note: 4X is taking a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but you only do 10; rest 30 seconds, then do 10 more, and so on until you do 4×10. If you get 10 reps on the fourth set, you slightly increase the weight on that exercise at your next workout. For more on that style of training, see The 4X Mass Workout.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
If you want to build muscle (of course you do!) and ramp up your testosterone levels while burning a ton of fat at the same time, you need to try this workout if you haven’t already…
–> Use this cutting-edge cardio trick to boost testosterone and muscle growth
Note: This is NOT traditional HIIT or boring steady-state cardio