Q: I’m putting in more hours at work to make ends meet, so I don’t have a lot of time to train. I can get to the gym three days a week. I really want to start The Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout [that uses only the Ultimate Exercise for each muscle group]. My problem is that I’m not convinced the 10×10 method will work. As much as I want to try the routine, I’m not sure I’m convinced that using lighter weights can really build muscle.
A: For the uninitiated, 10×10 is taking a weight you can get 20 reps with, but you only do 10. You rest for 30 seconds, then you do 10 more and so on until you complete 10 sets of 10 reps. The first sets are easy—almost too easy—but the last few sets are severe, and the pump is unreal.
Why does it work? The reason is the dominant muscle-fiber type in the biggest bodybuilders, which was discovered in research. Comprehensive analysis showed that the experienced bodybuilders in the study had almost zero type 2B pure power fibers; their large muscles consisted of only type 1, or slow-twitch, and an abundance of 2As, the fast-twitch fibers with dual capacity—both a power and endurance component. [Eur J Appl Physiol. 103(5):579-83. 2008.]
The problem is that most bodybuilders train for power all the time without even realizing it. They’ve been brainwashed into believing that heavy is the only way to grow, so they miss half of the 2As growth potential. No wonder size gains are so sluggish.
But 10×10 shifts the emphasis to the endurance side of the coin. That’s why most trainees get a sudden growth spurt when they switch to a 10×10 program. In fact, we both got an eight-pound muscle gain when we first trained with 10×10 because of that very reason.
The Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout you’re thinking about trying is a pure 10×10 program consisting of three different workouts rotated over four days per week. We assume you will simply go through the three workouts each week so you train each muscle once a week. That’s fine. Each workout will take you about 40 minutes, so you get shorter workouts, and you’ll get four full days of recovery every week (as discussed in a recent newsletter).
That type of 10×10 endurance shift is a change most bodybuilders can benefit from immensely due to having over-emphasized heavy weights for so long. Power has dominated, and they need an endurance-style jolt to add another layer of type-2A mass and density.
Three to four weeks with that program should produce significant mass gains as your muscles supercompensate from your previous heavy training and you build up the endurance components with 10x. Here’s an interesting quote from Jeremey Chapman, a 10×10 user a while back who used the right strategy for accelerating mass gains…
I was really intrigued by the 10×10 workout, so I decided to give it a try. It’s by far the best pump I have felt since I started training again… and I’ve gained almost a half-inch on my arms. I would say that this by far is the most effective workout routine I have ever used. I will continue to use it for a couple more weeks before I switch it up, but I’ll be going back to it.
That’s a perfect size-building scenario because he realized he squeezed great gains out of 10×10 training after a few weeks; then learned he should move to a different program to emphasize a different anabolic pathway.
What program should you choose if you want to follow his lead? You said that you have limited time to train, so you could simply modify the three-days-per-week 10×10 program to a power-oriented approach…
Since you’re using the Ultimate Exercise for each bodypart, stick with the program as is, but instead of doing 10×10 on each exercise, shift to heavy training for four weeks. Use a power pyramid on each exercise. That means adding weight over, say, five sets. Your reps would go something like 12, 10, 8, 6, 4-5, with the first two sets acting as warmups.
Even with 2 1/2 minutes between sets, your workout should still take less than one hour each. [Note: There’s a four-day POF version, The Power Pyramid Program, in the new Freak-Physique Stretch-Overload Workout e-book for those looking for a more multi-angular power-bodybuilding approach.]
Using the pyramid method is classic power training that shifts your emphasis back to that component of the 2A muscle fibers. Use it for four or five weeks, then shift back to the original 10×10 version for another endurance-component size burst.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
Use Anabolic Swelling to Speed up Muscle Growth
Specialization training is when you devote your time and attention to building up a particular lagging muscle group or set of muscle groups.
Most guys in the gym use specialization to build bigger “visible” muscles like arms, forearms, or calves, but little do they know that they’re wasting countless sets and reps…
Plus, they initiate no growth hormone response—meaning all their specialized sets are basically worthless!
Instead of wasting effort, you can pack on slabs of muscle mass FAST while skyrocketing your testosterone levels to pave the way for even FASTER muscle growth through Alpha-3 Specialization.A
But instant results aren’t the only perk of Alpha-3 Specialization…