We discuss a lot of mass-building studies, and we often get questions about altering the procedure of those studies to make the mass effect even more effective. What the heck are we talking about? For example… [Read more…]
Q: I’ve been using the 4X mass method on just about every exercise for just over a month and have gained five pounds of muscle. I’m still lean with abs, so I know it’s not fat. I often do 3X sequences, the way you sometimes recommend, but if I don’t do all 4 sets, I feel guilty. It’s just that I don’t want to overtrain, which is how I feel when I do 4X on all exercises. Should I just bite the bullet and do 4X on everything?
A: If you’ve gained five pounds of muscle in a little more than a month, you’re doing damn good! Most bodybuilders don’t gain five pounds in a year… [Read more…]
Q: I’ve been TORQ-ing the target muscle at the end of my 4X workouts. Great way to end with a massive pump, but I tell people about it and they think I’m saying twerking. Lol. I have two questions: What if I can get more than 30 reps on the first set? What if I get fewer reps than that? Also, in Positions of Flexion, can I use bench dips instead of pushdowns for the finishing contracted position exercise for tri’s?
A: For the uninitiated, TORQ-ing, not twerking, is a 3X sequence of 30-20-15 reps, with 45 seconds between…
If you use it on the big midrange exercise first, like close-grip bench presses for tri’s, you may be able to add weight on each set. If you TORQ on the last exercise, contracted, you probably won’t be able to add weight.
TORQ—or tension-overload repetition quantity—is designed so you get at least a couple of sets within the high-end hypertrophic tension time—which is above 60 seconds. That would be sets 1 and 2 if you keep the rep speed at one second to lift and two to three to lower…
We tend to use the 1/2 tempo on higher-rep sets—but that’s still around 90 seconds on set 1 and 60 seconds on set 2. That high growth tension time is something most bodybuilders never get. Heck, many rarely get more than 25 seconds per set (can you say slow-to-no growth?).
Mr. America Doug Brignole goes even higher with his reps, starting at 50—and he swears it’s the best size-building method he’s ever used (see The Power-Density Mass Workout 2.0 for more on Doug’s Super-TORQ method, an interview with him, and his complete program, which uses only ONE exercise per target muscle).
Now to your first question (finally): What if you get more or fewer reps than 30 on the first set? If you get more, like 35, just continue to get higher reps on each set—35, 25, 18, say—and add weight at your next workout to bring down your reps…
If you get fewer, like 25, that’s fine too. In fact, we like to think of a TORQ sequence as ranges: 25-30, 15-20, 10-15. Even at a 1/2 tempo, you’ll still hit the high-end hypertrophic tension time on set 1—and maybe set 2 as well….
If you get fewer than 25 on the first set, lighten the weight for your second so you get close to matching your first. Your sets may go 22-20-15. Once again, you achieve high-end tension on sets 1 and 2.
Okay, your second question is a simple yes. We love bench dips for the POF contracted-position triceps exercise. While there is some movement at the shoulder, your front delts don’t come into play too much. You’ll torch your tri’s guaranteed.
We like to do the first 30- and 20-rep sets with no lockout, then the last set with a lockout squeeze on each (we usually don’t get 15 on that set—killer!).
Also, if you’re not strong enough to get 30 with your feet on a bench (as pictured above), put them on the floor so you’re using less than bodyweight on all of your TORQ sets…
It’s an excellent TORQ exercise to fry your tri’s for awesome new size.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
Q: Your 4X Mass Workout e-book is one of my favorites, but I’m not sure using 4X at every workout will produce maximum mass for me. As you say in The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout, a muscle needs both density and power to grow to its biggest at the fastest rate possible. To me, 4X feels like more density because I fatigue very quickly. Then the muscle feels worthless on the next exercise. I’m thinking about using the Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout that includes both 4X [short rests] and power sets [with longer rests]. Are there any adjustments you would suggest?
A: The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout is great for building size and strength (4X is primarily for muscle size). As you said, the Power-Density Mass Workout is a mix of straight power sets, 4X sequences and drop sets. For example, here’s the biceps routine from the full-range Positions-of-Flexion workout in that e-book: [Read more…]
Q: I’ve been using your 4X method and throwing in some NA (negative-accentuated) sets every so often, mainly because I like some soreness. It makes me feel like I’ve done good work in the gym and am growing. Lately, I can’t seem to get much soreness from my workouts. Should I add sets or more NA or what?
A: There is no scientific research that shows that muscle soreness equals muscle growth—but we know what you mean. It makes you feel like you’ve hit the muscle hard enough to trigger growth, and it just makes sense that the microtrauma should translate into hypertrophy. We know for a fact that emphasizing the negative stroke of every rep can cause more soreness and that it can cause inflammation—which is temporary size. But that should lead to permanent mass… [Read more…]