Q: I have two questions. I’m using The Ultimate 10×10 Mass Workout, one [Ultimate] exercise per muscle. Killer results so far, with 40-minute workouts, but I was wondering what should I use as my rep speed on 10×10 sets? Also, is there anything I can take so I tolerate the burn a little better? I think I could make even faster gains if I could push further past the insane burn to get at more fibers.
A: Our former colleague, the late olympic coach Charles Poliquin, said that one of the most underused get-bigger triggers is rep-tempo change, or cadence manipulation. Since you’re only doing one exercise for each muscle, we suggest you vary the cadence throughout the 10×10 sequence…
Sets 1 through 3: Use a two-up, two-downs cadence. Remember, you don’t do any warmup sets, so these first few sets need to be slower to ensure blood flow and joint lubrication.
Sets 4 through 6: Use a one-up, three-down cadence; a recent study showed this tempo as most effective for mass gains (we explain why and when to use it in The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout).
Sets 7 through 10: Use a one-up, one-down cadence; these will be your hardest sets, so you’ll naturally move with more of a pistonlike cadence—but stay in control and don’t throw the weight; you don’t want to lose muscle tension.
Yes, the target muscle will be fully engorged and burning like crazy with that technique for rep speed on 10×10 sets, which is what makes them so effective at building so much mass quickly. But you’re right: If you allow the pain to stop you early, you won’t get at all the growth fibers…
According to Jerry Brainum, beta-alanine is the key. It converts to carnosine in muscle tissue, which buffers lactic acid. In other words, it postpones the burn so you can power out more reps and activate more fast-twitch growth fibers toward the end of an intense set. Beta-alanine ups your pain threshold, and that’s just what the mass doctor ordered for 10×10—serious grow power!
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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