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IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #451: Mass Rules: Change to Gain Muscle

IRON MAN E-Zine: Issue #451:
Mass Rules: Change to Gain Muscle


Mass Rules: Change to Gain Muscle

Q: [In a previous e-zine] you mentioned ways to intensify negative-accentuated sets when someone adapts, but what about the 4×10 [density technique]? I’ve been using it since you wrote about it in The Ultimate Power Density Mass Workout. I saw gains immediately, so I stuck with it and quickly built 6 pounds of muscle. Now gains have slowed, so what should I do?

A: At least you’re in touch enough to realize that you’ve adapted. Many trainees continue using the same techniques and/or the same program for months and even years, hoping that gains suddenly materialize. It doesn’t work that way…

When you adapt, you have to change to fuel new gains–give the muscles something new to adapt to. That’s the reason we have so many e-books to choose from [at the X-Shop and]. You’ll find different tactics and workouts to either follow as they’re written or create your own training program in order to switch things up and trigger new size and strength gains. [X-traordinary Muscle Building Workouts has 10 unique programs.]

Take The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout you’re using as an example. The 4×10 technique is used primarily on the big midrange exercises. In the triceps workout, for instance, you do close-grip bench presses, a two-set pyramid for power; then you follow with 4×10–in 10×10 style–on that same exercise for density…

After that you follow the Positions-of-Flexion mass-training protocol with overhead extensions (stretch), using straight sets for power. Then you attack pushdowns (contracted) with a double-drop set for a finishing density blast. That’s a very efficient full-range Power-Density mass-building sequence, as you found out with your impressive gains.

In our latest e-book, The X-centric Mass Workout, 4×10 is moved to the end–to the contracted-position exercise–for a different type of density blast. Also, you use a negative-accentuated set earlier in the routine–usually on the big midrange exercise–for muscle trauma, growth hormone activation and other unique mass-building effects.

You say you’ve been using 4×10 as described in The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout, but have you tried moving it to other exercises in the Positions-of-Flexion matrix? You could even try it on the stretch-position move, like pullovers for lats (remember the animal study that got a 300 percent muscle-mass increase with only one month of stretch overload workouts–that should give you a wild size surge!).

You can also manipulate the rep range or set number or both. For example, 4×15 or 6×10 or 5×12. Those will require reducing the poundage somewhat from your 4×10 weight, but you’re making up for it with more tension time–boosting the density quotient and providing the target muscles with a slightly different stress to adapt to.

If you’re simply bored with the 4x approach, you can abandon it for a while and go to lighter higher-rep straight sets to failure for your density quota. Arnold often backed off on his last set or two of his big exercises and did high-rep burnout sets of 12 to 20 reps to add that endurance layer of mass after his power sets.

Or try supersets, drop sets and/or double-drop sets. Those are all density bombs with a power edge that work on stretch- and contracted-position exercises as well as big midrange moves to get you in the size-building groove.

Q: You guys were all high about the Size Surge Workout, but now you never mention it. What’s the deal? I was thinking about getting on it, but it’s off your radar.

A: We often use the Size Surge Workout during our winter mass-building phase. The 10-week program is built around big, basic exercises with plenty of power sets, muscle trauma and lots of recovery time. That style of training works optimally when you’re not restricting calories–bad-ass bulk building at its best. [See Jonathan’s before and after photos from the first Size Surge experiment at]

In the spring and summer, however, we’re on a fat-to-muscle mission. While we still want to build mass, we understand that getting ripped is of primary importance, so we go to workouts that include fat-to-muscle tactics, like negative-accentuated sets. That helps refine our physiques and continue to add muscle as we chisel in the cuts–as Jonathan displays here (right now, mid May, were on the X-centric Mass Workout that includes NA sets and the 4×10 method):

Does that mean you can’t use the 10-week Size Surge program in the spring and summer? Of course you can. You can use it anytime you want to go for maximum muscle mass (for example, it’s great for football players trying to bulk up over the summer). If you use it as you try to get ripped, however, you’ll have to go on a cutting-style diet [such as those listed in X-treme Lean], and that may reduce the overall mass you’re able to build.

The bottom line is that you can adapt almost any workout to your present goals, but some are better than others for speeding up specific results–and diet is always a major player.

Till next time, train hard–and smart–for BIG results.

—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

You can subscribe to this e-zine free at


1) X-Rep Mass Workout Offer: Our 2 BIG best-selling X-Rep e-books–The new X-traordinary X-Rep Workout and Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building. You save $20. For more info, click here.

2) Triple-Shred Discount Fat-Loss Offer: Get our rip-up-for-summer fat-to-muscle e-books, X-treme Lean, X-traordinary Abs and The Fat-to-Muscle Workout. You save up to $35. For more info, click here.


X-SHOP: Find our original X-Rep e-book, as well as X Updates and Positions-of-Flexion mass-training guides…

X-WORKOUTS: Find specialized e-workout programs, including Power-Density, 10×10 and Eric Broser’s Power/Rep Range/Shock….

NEW: The X-traordinary SIZE SURGE Workout, Jonathan Lawson’s legendary two-phase mass program that packed 20 pounds of muscle on his frame in only 10 weeks. See all the changes he made to the original workouts, transcribed from his training journal. In printable templates so you can duplicate his incredible gains. You also get his eat-to-grow diet and streamlined no-frills supplement schedule, anabolic acceleration methods and loads of tips and tricks. Plus, an interview with a top-level bodybuilder who trains Size Surge style for incredible growth.

Newbies: If you’re a beginning bodybuilder, coming back from a layoff or a trainer who trains beginners, our new e-book, Quick-Start Muscle-Building Guide, is for you.

To follow the ITRC training program in “Train, Eat, Grow,” get a copy of the latest issue of IRON MAN.


This Special Report was submitted by Jonathan Lawson and Steve Holman.
The IRON MAN Training & Research Team

The ITRC Training Newsletter is not intended as training advice for everyone. You must consult your physician before beginning any diet or training program. You may forward this email to as many friends as you want, but do not photocopy or reprint this report in any format without the written permission of the copyright holder.


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