I received a message on the X-Rep Facebook page from a guy who was surprised when he timed his sets. He thought he was easily hitting the 40-second hypertrophy mark—but he was missing the boat on many exercises.
His solution: Go for 12 reps on exercises that don’t make it. Those are usually shorter-range moves like calf raises, concentration curls, pushdowns and a few others.
Me? I make a concerted effort to slow down my negatives, so I know all of my TUTs are fine—or so I thought. Just for grins I timed my calf raises. Oops! Only 30 seconds. Apparently pain can make time slow to a crawl—you think you’ve been struggling longer than you really have. Calf raises hurt—a lot—and most of us want them to be overwith as quickly as possible. I decided to suck it up and push my reps to 12—and I think it’s a good idea to use 15 reps with a one-up-three-down cadence on my 4X sequences every so often.
Another place you may be time tricked is between sets. With the 4X mass method you should be resting 30 to 40 seconds between sets. If you’re not timing it with a sweeping second hand on a clock or a timer on your iPhone, I can guarantee you’re resting longer than you should. Oh, and I’ve tried staring at the clock to slow down the seconds–it doesn’t work.
Once again, it’s the pain factor that can have you cheat up your rest times. Your rests between sets need to be short because of a few things…
1) Growth hormone release. Shorter rests mean more muscle burn, and that searing effect is directly related to a GH surge, a potent muscle builder and fat burner.
2) Muscle fiber activation. The first set or two is relatively easy in a 4X sequence because you’re fatiguing a lot of slow-twitch as well as fast-twitch 2A fibers. As the sequence progresses and fatigue builds, the muscle is forced to bring in more and more fast-twitch fibers to get the job done. By the last set to failure, you’re cranking on all cylinders.
3) Cardio/fat burning. Increasing your heart rate throughout the duration of your workout will mean better fat burning as well as cardiovascular benefits. Your breathing should be elevated throughout your workout—not sucking air, but elevated. Circulatory improvements will make the muscle eaiser to nourish with growth factors. Plus, if you’re lean enough, you’ll get jacked vascularity.
Bottom line: Work out wearing a watch or with your iPhone on timer and make sure you’re not cheating yourself out of results. In other words, time to grow!
Stay tuned, train smart and be Built for Life.
Note: The 4X Mass Workout e-book is available at X-Workouts.com. The two companion 4X e-books, The X-centric Mass Workout and The Power-Density Mass Workout are there also–at a limited-time discount price.