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High-End Hypertrophy Progression

7308-prime5Q: I got The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout 2.0 and was motivated by [Mr. America] Doug Brignole’s interview and how he uses only one exercise for each muscle. I notice that he adds weight over five sets so his reps fall—but I’m with you and think 50 reps is a bit much—and boring. My question is, if I use your TORQ method [30-20-15] on two or three exercise per bodypart, should I add weight over those three sets?

A: You can—it really depends on the exercise. When I do TORQ on an isolation move, like machine flyes for chest, I do not add weight. The reason is that the continuous tension and isolation cause massive fatigue—and resting only 40 seconds or so between those high-rep sets does not allow that to dissipate.

In other words, the target muscle is not even close to recovered. So if I added weight, my reps would go something like 30-12-six. That might be a good change to gain, but TORQ is designed for high-end tension time.

On each TORQ set you want 40 to 60 seconds of time under tension—for new sarcoplasmic dimension. Remember, the sarcoplasm is the energy fluid in the muscle, so you need to tax it for long periods to get it to expand—and produce new size and fullness in your muscles. It can get you growing fast.

On some exercises, like squats, you can add weight on each TORQ set and maintain the 30-20-15 rep sequence. And, yes, that high-rep barrage is brutal on squats—not for the squeamish.

So, if you were doing a TORQ quad workout with full-range POF, you’d do squats—adding weight on each set (and you may need to rest up to a minute between sets)—sissy squats for the stretch position, no added weight; and leg extensions for the contracted-continuous-tension work—not adding weight.

At your next workout you can do standard heavy sets, as explained in the e-book. Or, if you’re older and don’t want to train too heavy, go with Downward Progression 4X. Use your 15-rep max and add weight to each set, resting 40 seconds between sets. Your reps should go 12, 10, eight, six. The last set or two should be to failure.

Super-TORQ and TORQ hurt, but they work. Your muscles will blow up big time.

—Steve Holman


Editor’s note: For more on moderate-weight growth-threshold 4X mass training, see the e-books The 4X Mass Workout 2.0 and The Ultimate Super-Size Crash Course, available at For e-books on X Reps, fat-loss nutrition and bodypart specialization, visit the X-Shop at

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