Q: I’ve read about your 4X mass-building method in a few of your newsletters. I find it hard to believe that I can build bigger muscles doing only one exercise per bodypart for four quick sets with only the last set to failure. Will that really work?
A: You misunderstood the concept—we probably should’ve been more clear. Unless you’re a beginner, you should do more than one exercise in 4X style per bodypart. We mistakenly assumed that readers know we use Positions-of-Flexion mass training, which works a muscle through its midrange, stretch, and contracted positions. That usually requires THREE exercises per bodypart…
In The 4X Mass Workout e-book, the more advanced programs use POF with the 4X method on all exercises—usually 3 for each muscle. It’s full-range mass building for every bodypart that takes only about 15 minutes.
Now, there is a program that does have only ONE key exercise per bodypart in that e-book, but that’s for BEGINNERS looking to build bigger muscles. In fact, the 4X method is excellent for starting out because you don’t have to change weight and there’s no figuring out warmup poundages—you use the same weight all the way through four sets on one exercise per muscle.
Remember, for 4X you pick a weight you can get 15 reps with, but you only do 10. Rest 30 seconds, then do 10 more, and so on until you complete four sets of 10 reps—although set four should have you fail before your 10th rep. The last set is the all-out money set. (We have more tips on getting the most mass from 4X training coming up.)
Speaking of beginners, we have a progression for them that we outline in the 4X e-book. We suggest they start out with 3×10, moving to the more intense 4×10 after a few weeks. It’s great for men or women just starting out…
For intermediate and advanced trainees, we provide several other programs in The 4X Mass Workout e-book using two, three, or more exercises for each muscle. Those include The Big, Basic 4X Mass Workout; The 4X POF Mass Workout; The Direct/Indirect 4X Mass Workout; The Tension-Overload 4X Mass Workout, The Stretch-Overload 4X Mass Workout, and the Home Gym 4X Mass Workout.
While we’re on the subject, here are a few tips to get the most out of each 4X sequence:
- Pick a weight that would allow you to barely crank out 15 reps, but only do 10; rest 30 seconds, then do 10 more, and so on until you complete 4 sets with 30 seconds of rest between each set (or rest only as long as it takes your partner to do his or her set).
- The first set or two will feel light, but don’t do fast reps or throw the weight. Stay in control with a one-second-up/three-seconds-down cadence. As explained in the 4X e-book, even the first light set will fatigue a number of growth fibers completely, so you don’t want to reduce that key size-building effect with momentum.
- The last set should be to all-out failure. If you get 10 reps, continue with as many more reps as possible. OR you can stop at 10, rest 30 seconds and do a fifth set to failure.
- When you reach failure on your last set, you can continue with X-Rep partials at the semi-stretch position. That provides a whole new mass-building dimension to 4X. We recommend adding the X-Rep intensity uptick after a few weeks of 4X training to positive failure only. The addition of X Reps will give you a new jolt of muscle mass once you’ve adapted to standard 4X training. [For more on X Reps, see The X-traordinary X-Rep Workout e-book.]
- If you’re able to get 10 reps on your fourth set, add weight to your 4X-sequence poundage at your next workout. In other words, start with a slightly higher poundage and use that new weight throughout the 4X sequence.
If you use it correctly and progressively, 4X training will trigger some unreal mass gaining in record time! Prepare to feel and look pumped all day long!
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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