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 noticed in one of your recent newsletters about the Super-Size Crash Course that you mentioned doing an X-centric set followed immediately by speed reps. I’ve read that e-book twice, but I don’t remember seeing that anywhere. Am I missing something?
A: To clarify what we said, you take your 15-rep-max weight and do an X-centric set—lift in one second and lower in six on EVERY rep. [Read more…]
Q: I remember back from your old daily training blog that Steve often did Downward-Progression 4X with only three sets. If I remember correctly, he would add weight so his reps were 12, 10, 8. I like the idea of three sets because I do more than one compound exercise for each muscle. Do you think adding more weight to each set so my reps are 12, 8, 5 will work? I like to go heavier.
A: The reason Steve kept his last set at around eight reps is because he’s old. LOL! However, if you’re a bit younger and like to take your reps down lower, we’d give you the thumbs-up on your idea… [Read more…]
Q: Steve’s “roller-coaster size-shreds” diet [in the Super Size Crash Course] has me rethinking my plan. The results he got with it are spectacular, but I have a few questions. He lists his two ultra-strict diet days a week, but how did he eat on the other five days? Also, how was he training, and what was his cardio schedule?
A: Yes, his results were fairly “spectacular,” as the pics below show (there are more in the e-book; apologies for the crummy old iPhone images—old man needs a new phone. Lol). These results were after about 8 weeks on the new diet. [Read more…]
There was a period in competitive bodybuilding when art and aesthetics ruled. The gargoyles were not winning, and Frank Zane, pictured below was more than okay with that… [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 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: Okay, I’m moving into my late 40s, and I’m tired of all the joint pain from training heavy—shoulders, knees, hips. You name it! I’m from the lift-heavier-to-build-mass philosophy. But from all the research I’ve been seeing, it appears I don’t have to train very heavy at all to add plenty of muscle. I’m excited to try it, and I know you guys have been preaching about how these methods pack on mass for a while, but how should I start my transition?
A: No transition necessary. If you’re hurting that much, you should go right to the easy-to-follow 4X-style workouts. The relief—and new muscle gains—will amaze you (even younger guys should try a four-week all-4X phase for new growth)…[Read more…]
Q: You guys have so many different programs and mass tactics. Should I just pick a routine I like, do it for five weeks, then pick another? For example, I’m thinking about using 4X Mass Workout. Then I could go to Power-Density. Thoughts?
A: That can work very well. As we always say, change to gain. But when we say that, we are primarily talking about tactics, not exercises…[Read more…]
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