Q: I recently went from training heavy on everything to [moderate-weight] 4X. I’m convinced that it’s genius. I gained four pounds in two weeks. My question is, What do you think of doing the first set heavy with low reps, then do a 3X after? That should get both size factors, right?
A: That’s a great variation. Of course, it’ll take a bit longer because you have to do some warmup sets. Then you do your heavy set, followed by a 3X sequence. We have a similar power-pump style of strategy in The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout…
In the Basic Workout, you do one exercise per bodypart. For example, for midback you do this:
Chest-supported dumbbell rows, 2 x 8, 6; 4 x 10
The first two sets are a heavy pyramid after a warmup, then you do a 4X sequence. For those unfamiliar with the 4X mass method, you take a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but you only do 10; rest for 40 seconds, then do it again. Continue for four sets, and go all out on the fourth. If you get 10, add some weight to the exercise at your next workout or go for 4×11.
So the first two sets give you strength and size in the myofibrils, the actin and myosin force-generating strands in the muscle fiber. The 4X sequence expands the sarcoplasm, the “energy” fluid in the fiber. Research is showing that the sarcoplasm is the largest contributor to muscle size…
Okay, back to your workout. If you’re looking for more than one move per muscle, the full-range Positions-of-Flexion Power-Density Workout in that e-book has you do a few exercises for each bodypart to “cover all the angles.” And sometimes you split up the power and density work. For example, for quads you do this:
Midrange: Leg presses, 2 x 9, 7
Midrange: Squats, 4 x 10
Stretch: Sissy squats, 2 x 7-9
Contracted: Leg extensions (double drop), 1 x 10(7)(5)
Leg presses for Power (myofibrils), squats for Density (sarcoplasm), sissy squats for Power/stretch overload (myofibrils), and leg extensions for Density/occlusion (sarcoplasm) with a double drop—reach failure around rep 10, reduce the weight and immediately rep out (7), reduce weight again and immediately rep out (5).
You could flip it and do squats first for 2×9,7 and leg presses second as a 4X sequence. The program is flexible—and it’s a pretty quick full-range quad blast that builds size in both sides of the growth fibers. All of the bodypart routines are similar in that workout (pages 25-28 in the Power-Density e-book). It may give you some ideas for your own workout—or use it as is.
Whether you split power and density over two exercises or use it on one, it’s a solid combo-to-grow mass bomb.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
Tight Hips Can Slow Muscle Growth, Damage Your Back and Even Make You Look Fat
That basically means damaged hips that trigger back pain and poor circulation (reduced lower-body pumps). Plus, tight hip flexors can even make you look fatter than you are…
One of the most significant things about the psoas (pronounced so-az), or hip flexor muscle, is that it connects the legs to the spine (see the illustration).
When the psoas is tight from sitting for long periods, your hips become fixed in a forward-thrust position, causing your pelvis and leg(s) to rotate…
That forward pelvic tilt can cause your hip socket to become compressed, leading to shifting of joints, tendons, and muscles with an often painful pull on your lower back.
That lower-back pressure will also decrease blood flow and circulation as well as delay nerve response to the hips. Poor circulation is never a good thing—you will be weaker in many exercises and poor blood flow below the waist can even negatively affects your sex life.
And as mentioned, the forward pelvic tilt also pushes out your stomach, giving you a protruding belly. Luckily, loosening your hips and hip flexors is simple with something called the “Sequential Flow Method.” Leading Kinesiologist and Injury Specialist Rick Kaselj, M.S., explains it and shows the flow design HERE.
You’ll also see how it can add 35 pounds to your deadlift almost instantly—unlock your hip flexors and unleash new strength.
By the way, Rick has given over 352 live presentations to more than 8,152 health professionals in the US and Canada. His “Unlock Your Hip Flexors” program is highly recommended. For more info, go HERE.