Q: In the The X-centric Mass Workout you end each bodypart routine with the contracted-position exercise for 4×10 density [done in 10×10 style] with minimal rest. Even so, you’ve quoted studies that show how stretch-position exercises can build muscle very quickly. Can I do the stretch exercise with 4×10 last, putting the contracted move before it for a standard set or two instead?
A: That’s a great idea. You could use that stretch-overload 4X finisher for a few weeks, and then switch back to a contracted-exercise chaser with 4×10. We’ll give you an example in a moment, but first…
For those not familiar with it, 4×10 has you pick an exercise with which you can get 15 reps, but only do 10 (a fairly easy set); rest 30 seconds, then do 10 more (getting harder)—and so on until you do four sets of 10—although on the last set you should not be able to get 10 reps. If you do, add weight at your next workout. Talk about a deep, final-set growth ache. It’s brutal on stretch-position exercises like incline curls. You can almost feel them packing on mass, believe me.
You’ve heard it from me before, but the reason I like your idea so much is because of the animal study that produced a 300 percent muscle-mass increase with only one month of progressive-stretch-overload “workouts” (Med Sci Sports Exerc. 25:1333-45; 1993).
Ending biceps work with incline curls or triceps with overhead extensions for 4×10 in 10×10 style has incredible mass-building potential. Stretch overload is linked to hyperplasia, or fiber splitting, as well as anabolic hormone release in muscle. Stretch exercises for each bodypart are listed in the e-book The X-centric Mass Workout.
Here’s how your two biceps routines compare. The first is the way it’s outlined in one of the programs in The X-centric Mass Workout; the second is altered with your suggestion—stretch move last with 4×10:
(last set NA) 3 x 9, 7, 7
Incline curls 2 x 8-10
Spider curls (10×10 style) 4 x 10
(last set NA) 3 x 9, 7, 7
Spider curls 2 x 8-10
Incline curls (10×10 style) 4 x 10
Notice that the second two exercises switch positions and set-and-rep schemes. That type of change should trigger some impressive new gains—and get you more mass worth showing off.
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, see the ad section. Also visit www.X-Rep.com for information on X-Rep and 3D POF methods and e-books. IM