Q: I love the 4X mass method and am already seeing new size from it after only two weeks. I notice you’ve been recommending different methods on each set sometimes. Does that work better for mass? Should I be doing that?
A: One method we often recommend is the progressive speed tactic. We know one thing about it for certain: The feel is unreal—deep ache with a muscle-expanding pump after only three sets…
For the uninitiated, a progressive speed 3X sequence is the following…
Set 1: Take your 15RM and do an X-centric set to failure—lift in one second and lower in six on every rep.
Rest 45 seconds
Set 2: Take the same weight and do a standard straight set to failure—lift in one second and lower in three; you should get 9 or 10.
Rest 45 seconds
Set 3: Take the same weight again and do a speed, or X-celeration, set—each rep should take about 1.5 seconds. You should hit more than 10 at failure.
We’ve seen great results with trainees using it on the big midrange exercise, like machine bench presses, pulldowns, etc. And it’s a great change-to-gain tactic—because every set is a change.
The X-centric, or negative-accentuated, set emphasizes the negative stroke, so you get good myofibrillar microtrauma. Muscle fibers will thicken.
Plus, the X-centric set lasts almost a minute, so you also get sarcoplasmic fluid expansion. And because the X-centric set is so strict, it acts almost like a pre-exhaustion set for the next one…
The standard-tempo set uses the “best” cadence for mass stimulation, according to studies—semi-explosive one-second lift and three seconds to lower. It’s 30 to 40 seconds of tension time.
The last speed, or X-celeration, set has you doing 1.5-second reps—fast, semi-explosive but controlled. Studies show that the quick shift at the turnaround helps activate extra growth fibers and even dormant ones, so this is a real growth getter. (Just remember not to throw or heave the weight.)
Olympic coach and muscle-training expert Charles Poliquin used to say one of the least used hypertrophic stimulators is tempo change. He said most bodybuilders miss out on this key growth tactic. Well, here you get three in one sequence.
There’s info on X-centric and X-celeration in The Size Surge Workout 2.0. There’s also a way to combine the two into one insane set. (Size Surge is the program Jonathan used to pack on 20 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks.)
As for the above progressive speed 3X sequence, you can use it on any or all midrange (M) exercises in just about any of our e-books.
It’s one more way to “speed” growth (but be prepared to get sore).
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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