Q: You’ve said a lot of pro bodybuilders have used versions of the 4X mass method and made great gains. But weren’t they on drugs? Don’t steroids make a huge difference? Will this type of training really work for me if I don’t use drugs?
A: Several years ago, Steve interviewed a colleague who trained with many of the legendary pros, including the Mentzer brothers, Danny Padilla, and Rory Leidelmeyer to name a few…
His perspective is invaluable, as he’s tried it all. We quote him a lot in The 4X Mass Workout 2.0, as our 4X method is a direct offshoot of how he trained with Padilla while dialing in for a contest (that’s Danny in the pic above—no weak points).
He describes Danny’s way, with 5 sets instead of 4 in the Q&A section of the 4X 2.0 e-book. But to directly answer your question about the drugs, let’s allow our esteemed colleague to answer…
I’ve followed the same routines off drugs, and with a few
adjustmentsI still made good gains. Not like when I was on drugs of course, but still measurable. And I am NOT genetically gifted. Let’s face it, you can make good progress drug-free and build a very good physique, but someone using drugs is going to progress faster, further and better…
Drugs work, and they are part of the game, BUT I also believe that the routines followed by the pros are the same routines that drug-free bodybuilders need to follow WITH SOME ADJUSTMENTS.
That’s why we choose 4 sets instead of 5 and use fewer exercises per muscle group than Padilla did. It’s all in the programs in the 4X 2.0 e-book…
For those not familiar with 4X, you take your 15-rep max and only do 10 reps. Rest 35 seconds, then do 10 more—and so on for four sets. On the fourth set you go to muscular failure, and if you get 10, you add weight to that exercise at your next workout.
Another version is downward-progression 4X (DP 4X). Again, take your 15-rep max, but this time
You can use either of those methods in the programs in The 4X Mass Workout 2.0—even the home-gym version on page 60.
Our colleague said that the main difference between drug users and drug-free trainees is volume. The drug-using pros have more recovery capacity, so you can train like them, with 4X, DP 4X or whatever, just don’t do as many sets and exercises.
Another thing to consider: Growth hormone, which many pros these days use. GH helps fortify joints and connective tissue, so they can tolerate crazy heavy weight much more often. The 4X method is moderate weight, growth-threshold training—easier on the joints. That may be why bodybuilders of yesteryear, like Padilla, preferred a 4X style—THEY WEREN’T USING GH.
That’s why we like 3-exercise full-range Positions of Flexion for the target muscle most of the time, a 3X or 4X sequence on each. And in the 4X 2.0 e-book, we lay out a 9-week Density-for-Immensity Phase-Training Itinerary in which you add a set or two and/or integrate TORQ (30-20-15) every two weeks before backing off for muscular supercompensation the ninth week and even more muscle size…
If you’re drug-free, change to gain is the name of the game, not random volume training.
You can get The 4X Mass Workout 2.0, with complete programs and variation, HERE <==
Also, 3D Muscle Building, the official Positions-of-Flexion Mass-Building Manual, with multiple programs and routines, is HERE <==
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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