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How to Increase Intensity for Direct/Indirect 4X Mass Workouts

Q: I’m making spectacular gains with 4X, much better than I ever did with heavy training. It may just be because it’s a different stimulus, but I’m going to ride with it till the gains stop. To up the intensity, I’m thinking about adding rest/pause on the last set of a 4X sequence. I would rest for 10 seconds after set four, then rep out again. Is it okay to do that on every exercise in POF? I’m using the Direct/Indirect 4X Mass Workout.

www.ironmanmagazine.comA: Yes, you can do it on the midrange-, stretch- and contracted-position exercises for each muscle in that program. Adding rest/pause to the last set of each exercise will add only a few extra reps, so you shouldn’t have to worry about overtraining.

Here’s how a 4X set of barbell curls would look. Start with a weight with which you can get 15 reps, but only do 10. Use that same weight all the way through, and be sure to lift in one second and lower in three on every rep:


Set 1: 1 x 10

Rest 35 seconds

Set 2: 1 x 10

Rest 35 seconds

Set 3: 1 x 10

Rest 35 seconds

Set 4: 1 x MAX (8-9 reps)

Rest 10 seconds

R/P set: 1 x MAX (3-5 reps)


An interesting twist is to do the rest/pause set in X-celeration style—that is a speed set. I call it RPS—rest/pause speed. You don’t throw the weight, but you lift and lower as fast as you can in control. It’s a unique mass stimulus, and you’ll feel it, believe me.

Each RPS rep should take about 1.5 to two seconds—that’s for the entire rep. So the positive is about one second and the negative is about one second. That means you’ll get an extra couple of reps compared to standard-tempo rest/pause reps.

Why fast reps? Studies show that the speed style can activate dormant growth fibers, tapping into the power 2Bs. So it’s definitely worth a try to pack on new size—just be careful and don’t use that style on any exercise that is remotely dangerous, like most stretch-position moves.

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 DVD and Size Surge programs, see the ad sections in this issue. Also visit  and for info on X-Rep, 4X and 3D POF methods and e-books.  IM

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