Q: I see at your X-Training Blog [at X-Rep.com] that you will go off your program for one day, not doing [three-exercise] POF but instead doing something like eight sets of only one exercise for each muscle. I’m down for that if it’s good for growth, as I’m almost 60 and it won’t wreck my joints. How often do you do that?
A: Any deviation from the norm should shock new muscle size, especially if it’s something that challenges your growth threshold like doing 10×10 of only one exercise.
In fact, if I have a time crunch—or I’m just not “feeling it” when I hit the gym, I’ll often do 10×10 or a version of it. It thoroughly blasts a target muscle in 10 minutes, so if I’m training three muscle groups, I’m done in half an hour. It’s also exciting to do something completely new—a one-hit wonder.
The beauty of 10×10 is that you get extreme stimulation to expand the sarcoplasm, the energy fluid in the muscle, to new size, as well as 100 reps of myofibrillar work to stimulate the force-generating actin and myosin strands. But the sets are not heavy, joint-jarring sets (although they feel heavy for the last three).
In fact, 10×10 triggers new muscle growth while allowing your nervous system and joints to recover, setting the stage for more and better hypertrophy when you go back to heavier poundages—and you get the size resurgence with only one 10×10 attack before going back. You may see new vascularity too, as it’s intense density work for the target muscle.
To use 10×10, take your 20-rep-max weight, but do only 10 reps. Rest 40 seconds, and then do 10 more—and so on for 10 sets. I also like 8×10, which is a little less volume but is still only one key exercise per muscle.
Another alternative for a one-day off-the-hook mass blast is to use 4X but do all four sets in X-centric style—lifting in one second and lowering in six on every single rep. Shoot for nine, rest 40 seconds, and then hit it again. Lift in one, lower in six.
X-centric training is so incredibly effective because it gives the myofibrils a new stress—loads of slow negative reps. Six seconds through every eccentric stroke forces significant size fibers to fire—driving your growth threshold higher.
Plus, each set lasts about 50 seconds, so you get lots of sarcoplasmic expansion as well, not to mention fat-burning growth hormone release. It’s a killer double dose of muscle growth.
Again, I like to do only one key exercise per muscle in 4X X-centric style. Then I end with a stretch-position exercise for one to two all-out sets. For biceps try the following. It takes less than 10 minutes but hits the muscle hard and deep. Be prepared for soreness.
Midrange: Barbell curls (X-centric), 4 x 9-7
Stretch: Incline curls, 1-2 x 8
So try a total 10×10 or X-centric day. Either will give you a quick-hit size-shocking bomb without joint-damaging poundages. Light the fuse and get huge.
Note: See The 10×10 Mass Workout, an e-book available at X-Workouts.com, for the best moves to use with this mass method and complete programs, including a heave/light version.
Editor’s note: For more on moderate-weight growth-threshold 4X mass training, see The 4X Mass Workout 2.0, an e-book available at X-Workouts.com. For e-books on X Reps, fat-loss nutriton and bodypart specialization, visit the X-Shop at X-Rep.com.
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