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Size Surge with 4X

For those unfamiliar with it, the Size Surge program is a 10-week, two-phase mass-building routine that I designed and that my training partner, Jonathan Lawson, used in the mid-’90s to gain 20 pounds of muscle—and renew his motivation for bodybuilding. Phase 1 is a five-week anabolic primer consisting of three workouts a week, as outlined in the first question below. Phase 2 is a full-range Positions-of-Flexion program—a two-way split performed every other day, although a three-way-split variation is also listed in the e-book The X-traordinary Size Surge Workout. (It’s available at at a special discount price for a limited time). The complete Size Surge program is a great fall-winter mass-building regimen that’s easily tailored to most situations and body types, as you’ll see.

Q: Wow! I love 4X training. It’s getting me bigger quickly. Last winter I gave Jonathan’s Size Surge a go and gained about 10 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks. I was thinking about going back to it but switching to 4X instead of the couple of all-out sets for each exercise. What do you think?

A: You’re probably not an extreme hardgainer if you were able to add 10 pounds of muscle in 10 weeks, so the 3X downshift in volume outlined in a previous question shouldn’t be necessary. However…

Most of the bodyparts get two exercises in Phase 1 of the Size Surge program, so with 4X on each you’ll get a lot more volume. My concern is that it may be too much in Phase 1, even for an average-to-above-average gainer. You can try it with 4X on every exercise. If it feels like too much, try a different Phase 1 split. Here’s one I’ve had great success with:

Monday: Chest, back, delts, calves

Tuesday: Quads, hamstrings, calves

Wednesday: Biceps, triceps, forearms, abs

Thursday: Off

Friday: Deadlifts*, calves, chest, back, delts

*I recommend you do one or two heavy work sets of deadlifts in regular style, three minutes between sets, rather than 4X.

While that adds a workout day to the schedule—four sessions instead of three—it reduces the number of exercises you use at each, which is less draining systemically.

Remember, you use Phase 1 for five weeks, downshift your intensity for a week—no sets to failure; you could do 3X during that week with your 4X poundages—then move to Phase 2, which is a two-way, every-other-day split with full-range Positions of Flexion.

If you want to continue using 4X, I recommend the alternate three-way Positions-of-Flexion split in the e-book The X-traordinary Size Surge Workout for the same reason I suggested an alternate Phase 1 split—to avoid doing too much work at each session.

Moving to full POF in Phase 2 will give you a big kick and uptick in mass stimulation due to a volume increase for each muscle and because you introduce a stretch-position exercise for each muscle. I always like to mention the animal study that produced a 300 percent muscle-mass increase after one month of stretch-only workouts. Very anabolic!

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 for information on X-Rep and 3D POF methods and e-books.  IM

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