Q: I’ve been using the 4X mass method for over a month with good gains–now noticeable muscle. I just tried it with the “downward-progression” style [adding weight each set so the reps drop—12-10-8-6], and it’s fantastic. I feel a new level of stimulation. You suggested using it on the big midrange exercises, but what about on the stretch and contracted ones? Can I use it on those too, or is that not advised?
Q: I just want to thank you for another killer variation of 4X, “downward-progression.” I’ve only been using it for a couple of weeks on the big exercises, but a guy at the gym came up to me today and said, “You’re looking seriously bigger, bro.” It’s working great and is perfect with regular 4X and TORQ (tension-overload repetition quantity). I’m using DP 4X on the heavy power exercises in The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout 2.0, with 4X and TORQ on the others. I’m very impressed, and apparently growing more impressive. Lol. Thank you.
A: Interesting you say that because both of us received similar compliments in the gym when we started rotating in downward-progression 4X. One guy told Jonathan his arms were looking huge, and Steve got, “If you’re trying to get bigger, it’s working.” They both left off the “bro.” [Read more…]
Q: In Chapter 6 of The Super-Size Crash Course, you outline an alternate Phase 1 with Progressive-Speed 4X at one workout followed by Downward-Progression 4X+ at the next. Can I do both methods at the same workout?
A: Before we answer, let’s describe both mass tactics for those who aren’t familiar with them: [Read more…]
Q: I’ve been super motivated the past few months and really hitting it hard in the gym using a version of a Heavy/Light program you guys have talked about before. I couldn’t stand to do a back-off week, though, so I think I’m overtrained. Do you think reducing to two exercises per muscle is a good idea? Should I still do heavy/light?
A: Your nervous system is probably hammered. We know, we know—you don’t want to lose any muscle or strength. So here’s what we suggest…[Read more…]
Q: I want to do a weekly rotation of light, medium, and heavy POF. For
A: Your “weekly rotation” sounds like a great idea for adding mass along all pathways. And the variation should keep you stoked…
However, at 49 you are right on the cusp of heavy-training tolerance…[Read more…]
Q: I just got your Super-Size Crash Course. Great programs in it! I’m older (48) and have been training for almost 20 years. Thinking about using Phase 2 with Downward-Progression 4X, but I’ll alternate with TORQ for “lighter” training days. Do you think that’s a good plan?
A: We think it’s a great plan, and one we’ve used for excellent change—and good pain—to gain. For the uninitiated, here are the two methods to alternate:
Pick a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but only do 12. Rest 45 seconds as you add weight, then do 10. Rest 45 seconds as you add weight, then do 8. Rest 45 seconds as you add weight, then try to get 6.
So your reps look like this: 4 x 12, 10, 8, 6, adding weight on each set.
You could call that semi-heavy training, and it’s perfect for older trainees–or anyone who doesn’t want to hammer their joints with ultra-heavy poundages. The short rests between sets prevent that…
At your next workout, you’ll do lighter DENSITY training with TORQ—tension-overload repetition quantity.
Take your 30-rep max weight and go to failure. Yes, 30 REPS. Rest 45 seconds, then go to failure again, shooting for 20. Rest 45 seconds, then go to failure one last time for 10 to 15 reps. You get high-end hypertrophic tension times…
Alternating those two methods from workout to workout is great for SAFER power work alternated with lighter, sarcoplasmic-expansion hits.
It’s really a less-joint-stress version of Power-Density for new muscle immensity.
Note: DP 4X and TORQ, as well as Progressive-Speed 4X and pyramid training, are explained—and included in the programs—in The Super-Size Crash Course e-book.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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Q: I’m loving the 4X Mass program, so when I’m done with it, should I, at my young age of 50, just keep doing that and increase weight when possible, or try your newer STX or XRX methods? I’m actually super intrigued by your Super-Size Crash Course, but I’m thinking there’s some serious weight involved with that, and my old-man joints probably won’t stand for that. Lol
A: The Super-Size Crash Course is NOT about lifting
Q: You’ve said a lot of pro bodybuilders have used versions of the 4X mass method and made great gains. But weren’t they on drugs? Don’t steroids make a huge difference? Will this type of training really work for me if I don’t use drugs?
A: Several years ago, Steve interviewed a colleague who trained with many of the legendary pros, including the Mentzer brothers, Danny Padilla, and Rory Leidelmeyer to name a few…[Read more…]
Q: I got your X-centric Mass Workout. Motivating info, and I messed around with some X-centric variations in my last workouts. Enjoying the new muscle soreness. I want to start using the Direct/Indirect X-centric Mass Workout [outlined in that e-book]. It has a standard heavy pyramid on the big exercises, last set X-centric. What do you think of using downward progression 4X instead with the last set X-centric?
A: For those who don’t have the X-centric Mass Workout e-book, the workout being referred to is Positions of Flexion, with a pyramid + X-centric set on the midrange exercise, a straight set or two on the stretch move, and a 4X sequence on the contracted-position exercise.
For example, for middle-lower chest it’s…[Read more…]
Q: I’ve been using the Positions of Flexion 4X program [in The 4X Mass Workout 2.0]. I’m blown away at how much muscle I gained in a month. 4 pounds! That’s after a couple of years with zero muscle gains. That workout is all moderate-weight 4X and 3X sequences, and I’m wondering if I should use your downward-progression 4X method every so often, adding weight on each set. How should I work it into that program?
A: There are a couple of excellent options, but we have a simple one that’s our favorite. Before we lay it out, let’s explain the 4X vs. DP 4X since we have a lot of new readers…[Read more…]