Q: I’m a fan of your older 4X mass method. It’s given me impressive mass gains ever since you came out with the 4X ebook a few years ago. You’ve been talking about garbage negatives recently, but each of the four sets in 4X is a 1/3 tempo. Should I make adjustments? [Read more…]
French bodybuilder Serge Nubret competed against Arnold for the Olympia multiple times. But his aesthetic physique never quite overshadowed The Oak’s mass.
Nubret’s physique was more about animalistic beauty, artistic rather than gargoyle-like—tiny waist, broad shoulders, every muscle fully developed… [Read more…]
Q: The 4X Mass Workout is filling out my muscles faster than anything I’ve ever tried. Thank you! I’m wondering what you think about doing something weird on the last set. Like I’ve been doing a drop set on the last set every so often or a superset with another exercise just on that last set. Is that okay, or should I only stick to straight sets with 4X?
A: If you’ve been reading this newsletter for any length of time, you should know that we encourage any and all types of training experimentation. Always remember that what packs on new mass for one person may not work well for another, so be innovative and open-minded… [Read more…]
Here’s a great shot of Lee Labrada back to back with his son Hunter, age 28 and a current IFBB pro. Notice the similar genetics, a big player in bodybuilding success… [Read more…]
Q: I always hurt my back when I squat heavy. And now I even hurt it doing moderate-weight 4X, probably because of the damage I’ve incurred over the years. You may call it brainwashing, but I really feel that I need to squat to build more mass. Any suggestions? I don’t want to give up squatting.
A: We’re right there with you on that. After years of heavy squatting—and numerous back injuries–we’re now very cautious when doing that exercise. But the good news is that we’ve figured out how to do it while significantly minimizing the injury potential and still gaining more mass… [Read more…]
Q: I get really winded on some exercises, like squats and rows, with only 35 seconds between 4X sets. I’m still sucking air when it’s time to start my next set. Is it okay to take more time?
A: Yes, but we believe that to get the DENSITY size effect you’re after with the 4X mass method, you should have a countdown so you don’t rest more than one minute between sets. Former pro bodybuilder Lee Labrada said… [Read more…]
Q: You’ve talked about doing different things on the last set of a 4X sequence, like rest/pause. Are there ways to change the other sets in the sequence for variety? I’m a big fan of “change to gain,” so I like as much variation as I can get. By the way, 4X training is incredible—I’ve gained almost 10 pounds in six weeks using it with POF. Thank you!
A: Yes, change to gain—if your workouts are the same, your results will be lame. (Maybe we should’ve been rappers—Nah.)
We’ve experimented in the past with a unique approach to 4X—but it’s not for the meek. Remember, for 4X you use a weight with which you can get about 15 reps, but you only do 10; rest 40 seconds between sets then do it again. Here’s the hybrid drill:
Set 1: Raise the weight in one second and lower in six, getting around eight reps. That’s what we call an X-centric, or negative-accentuated, set. (Note: That’s almost a minute of time under tension.)
Sets 2 and 3: Use a normal cadence—one-second positives and three-second negatives, going for 10 reps. (40 seconds TUT)
Set 4: Use a speed cadence—about one second for the positive and one second for the negative.Get as many as you can—probably around eight to 10, depending on the exercise. We call this a speed set.
The late Olympic coach and muscle-building expert Charles Poliquin said that the most underused mass stimulus is rep cadence—and the above gives your muscle three different ones to deal with as well as unique tension times—and you use the same weight on all sets…
The X-centric reps on the first set act as an excellent warmup, pushing a lot of blood into the target muscle with a tension time of almost a minute and providing a good stimulus to the nervous system with slow negatives.
They also provide muscle-building benefits right off the bat—you get myofibrillar stimulation with the slow negatives and sarcoplasmic expansion with the long tension time. That’s the double-dose of muscle growth we’re always harping on.
Next you do sets 2 and 3 with a standard cadence—one up and three down. Tension time is around 40 seconds.
Then, on the last set, you do more explosive-style reps, but you still control the weight. The 2-second-reps tempo is speed style and has been shown in studies to activate dormant 2B power fibers, so be prepared for some major fiber churn and burn. Good luck getting 10 reps on this set.
We recommend trying it on just the big midrange movement of a Positions-of-Flexion workout because it can be so traumatic. If you try it on all 3 POF exercises for a muscle, do a 3X sequence for the stretch- and contracted-position moves—only one standard set instead of two. It’s another mass tactic to get you huge.
If you don’t have the 4X Mass Workout yet, you can pick it up for just $9 HERE.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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Danny Padilla was “the Giant Killer” of pro bodybuilding back in the ‘80s. At only 5’2”, his symmetrical sculpted mass allowed him to beat bodybuilders who were much taller and larger than he was.
From the pic here, you can see why—no flaws anywhere. [Read more…]
Q: I’ve had phenomenal muscle-size gains and strength increases since switching over to X Reps. I gained five pounds my first month with them! My question is, Do those build more of the myofibril strands or sarcoplasm fluid [in the muscle fibers] that you guys have been talking about? And can I use X Reps on 4X sequences?
A: For the uninitiated, X Reps are eight-inch partials you do in the semi-stretch position at the end of a set to failure. For example, when no more full-range reps are possible on incline presses, you lower the bar to about two inches off your chest and fire up to just below the halfway point for about three to four controled X-Rep explosions… [Read more…]
Q: I got The 4X Mass Workout e-book, and it’s fantastic! I tried it on arms for a few weeks, and they blew up at every workout. I measured, and I gained a quarter-inch in only three weeks. Thank you! They’d been stuck for over a year at just under 17″. I’m convinced and ready to use 4X on all bodyparts. I want to do your full-range Positions of Flexion method for each muscle, 4X on all exercises, but the POF routine in the 4X e-book is a 2-way split. I don’t think I can work legs and chest on the same day. Is there an alternative?
A: Don’t be a wuss! That’s the Phase 2 Size Surge program Jonathan used to pack on 20 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks, so suck it up and just do it…
Kidding! That 2-way split is too taxing for some trainees (not just wusses), which is one reason Jonathan provides a 3-way POF split in his Size Surge e-book (pages 55-57). Here’s how that less-taxing mass plan pans out… [Read more…]