Q: If 4×10 [as in the 4X technique] is so effective at achieving both power and density for developing maximum muscle mass, why would one bother with 10×10? You wrote that a trainee should stay on 10×10 for only three to four weeks since doing it longer may compromise the power component. If you believe 4×10 is clearly superior, why waste time on 10×10?
A: Well, 10×10 is a pure-density shock tactic that can produce big gains in muscle size quickly—and you do it only on one key exercise for each bodypart. That means it takes only 10 minutes to thoroughly and completely blast a muscle into the endurance-component growth zone—but we recommend the pure-density approach only for a four-week shock phase.
Because 10×10 is all density, it’s ideal to use it for a time after six weeks of multi-angular power-style training—which is what most trainees do all the time.
That’s precisely why so many people respond so well to 10×10 density training—because they’ve been on methodical power-oriented workouts for so long. That’s due to the common misconception that only heavy weights build muscle mass. Not true. A change to pure-density training can instantly create new muscle gains, specifically in the sarcoplasm of the 2A mass fibers. Nevertheless, 10×10 can be monotonous after three to four weeks, so I recommend moving to something else—like 4X.
4X is more balanced, giving you power and density. You use a heavier weight than for 10X10 because you do only four sets with 30 seconds’ rest between them. If you get 10 reps on your fourth set, you add weight to that exercise at your next workout.
Jonathan and I have been sticking with 4X for months on end as an experiment, and our progress in muscle size is exceptional. We usually add X-Rep partials to the end of the fourth set on many exercises.
Even so, standard 4X sequences, just like 10×10, can become monotonous. That’s one reason we’ve been experimenting with 3X pyramids—adding weight on each set with a 30-second rest between sets. Those provide more power with two weight increases and lower reps on each successive set—10, nine, seven. It’s more power-oriented than standard 4X.
If that’s still not heavy enough to satisfy your need for power-style training, you can always alternate a power-style workout with one that has more density-oriented sets. That, as well as many more power-density training methods are explained in our new free e-book, Secrets to Ultimate Muscle Growth, available at X-Rep
.com and IronManMagazine.com. I’m mentioning it a second time because it contains so much critical information about how muscles grow and the type of training that builds extreme size. As I said, it’s free, so you’ve got nothing to lose—and loads of muscle to gain.
Editor’s note: Steve Holman is the author of many bodybuilding best-sellers and the creator of Positions-of-Flexion muscle training. For information on the POF videos and Size Surge programs, visit www.X-Rep.com for information on X-Rep and 3D POF methods and e-books. IM