Q: I’ve been using 4X sequences, 10 reps per set, and your new downward-progression 4X [12-10-8-6, adding weight each set, 45-second rests]. Both have been working great with some obvious mass gains (people have been commenting at the gym and when I’m out around town—love it!). My problem is that on some exercises the heaviest set on DP 4X hurts my joints. Like on bench presses, my shoulder can’t take it. Should I just drop the 6-rep set?
A: When you say bench presses, we assume you mean with a bar and not dumbbells. DBs may not cause pain because of freedom of movement.
If both cause pain on the heaviest set, we have two solutions so you can keep using DP 4X without joint stress…
1) Last set, up the reps. Instead of adding weight for your last set and getting six reps, reduce the weight and go for 10 to 12. That means your heaviest set will be your third, at 8 reps, then you’ll lighten the weight during your 45-second rest and blast out 10 to 12 reps on your last set. Let’s call it DP 3X+
Midrange: Bench presses (DP 3X+), 3 x 12, 10, 8; 1 x 10-12
Remember, you still rest only 45 seconds between all four of those sets, reducing the poundage on the last instead of adding.
2) Modified Pre-Ex. We talked about this in a recent newsletter and outlined a modified pre-ex routine for shoulders using DP 4X. Here’s one for chest—remember, modified Pre-Ex is NOT supersets. You do ALL the sets for the isolation exercise first—THEN you do all sets for the multi-joint exercise…
Contracted: Cable or machine flyes (4X), 4 x 10
Bench presses (DP 4X), 4 x 12, 10, 8, 6
With the modified Pre-Ex method, you pre-fatigue your pecs with machine flyes first. Now your weights will be lighter on your bench presses. That means your last 6-rep set will still be a killer—but on your chest muscles, not your joints because the weight will be much lighter than when you did DP 4X benches first.
And if you want an even more severe thrashing of your pecs from the first exercise, try TORQ—Tension-Overload Repetition Quantity. You do three sets, all with the SAME weight, but you do each to failure: 30-20-15, resting 45 seconds between…
TORQ is high-end hypertrophic tension time you have to feel to believe. It’s a size-building hit most bodybuilders never get…
You can apply 4X or TORQ to any of the modified pre-ex workouts in the Pre-Ex 3X e-book. And for more on TORQ and 4X, as well as complete workouts and mass tactics you can use to get HUGE, see the 4X Mass Workout 2.0 e-book.
It’s how you get pain to gain new muscle—not crippling joint strains.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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