Q: I’ve been working out hard. I did the Heavy/Light 4-day program [in the e-book X-traordinary Muscle-Building Workouts] for three months and gained almost 10 pounds, but then everything stopped. I feel like I’ve been treading water for about a month. Should I just take some time off? I don’t really want to do that because I might lose the gains I’ve made. I want to build as much muscle as possible as fast as possible.
A: Don’t we all. Your cumulative stress tells me you could use a week away from the gym, but being addicted to training myself, I know that’s probably not going to happen. You’ll feel as if you’re shrinking, even if you’re not. You’ve got to do something, however. I suggest a complete shift away from heavy power-style training.
I know you need the psychological fix of seeing and feeling a pump and getting a deep growth ache, so I suggest you move to 10×10 for two weeks only. Remember, 10×10 is pure-density training, a complete shift away from the nervous-system-draining power workouts you’ve been on for too long.
Pick only one big exercise for each bodypart and train it 10×10 style: Use a weight that you could get at least 20 reps with, but only do 10. Rest 30 seconds, and then do it again. Keep using the same weight and 30-second rests until you complete 10 sets of 10 reps; however, you shouldn’t be able to get 10 on your last few sets. If you do, add a little weight at your next workout. Each bodypart will take 10 minutes.
Doing that pure-denisty phase for two weeks will let your tendons and ligaments heal with the lighter weights and enhanced blood flow. The 10×10 method will also give your key 2A fibers a new reason to grow—with overload on the density side (sarcoplasm). You’ll get an immense skin-stretching pump in the target muscle.
Also, you won’t be getting huge cortisol surges. That’s immensely important because cortisol is the stress hormone that triggers overtraining, and it can force the body to cannibalize muscle tissue for energy. It skyrockets with too much heavy, all-out training—similar to your current heavy days. Try 10×10 to start growing again.
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 www.home-gym.com. Also visit www.X-Rep.com for information on X-Rep and 3D POF methods and e-books. IM