Q: I’m reading your new e-book, Super-Size Crash Course. Your guinea pig Jordon Williamson’s 18-pound muscle gain is inspiring and a great story, but I’m 45 years old, while he’s in his teens. I don’t think I can train heavy even at every other workout the way he did. Should I try it, even at my age?
A: Glad you’re inspired by The Super Size Crash Course, but you should keep reading. Chapter 6 lays out a great alternate Phase 1 program—without heavy pyramids. Actually, there are two excellent alternative Phase 1 programs for older trainees.
1) Use the program outlined in Chapter 6. It’s a proven split-positions workout. That means you train the big, midrange exercise with Downward-Progression 4X+ and perform standard sets on the stretch move at one workout. At the next you do Progressive-Speed 4X on the midrange exercise and standard sets on the contracted move. For example:
Quad Workout 1
Midrange: Squats (DP 4X+*) 4 x 12, 10, 8, 6 (10 X-cel)
Stretch: Sissy squats 3 x 8-10
*To perform DP 4X+, take your 15-rep max, but only do 12. Add weight as you rest for 45 seconds, and then do 10. Add weight again, rest for 45 seconds, and do 8. Add weight one last time, rest 45 and do 6—then immediately reduce the poundage by half and rep out with a speed, or X-celeration set—1.5 seconds per rep.
Quad Workout 2
Midrange: Squats (PS 4X*) 8 (X-cen), 9, 12 (X-cel)
Contracted: Leg extensions 3 x 8-10
*To perform PS 4X, start with your 15-rep max, but do an X-centric set first—lift in one second and lower in six on every rep. Rest 45 seconds, then do a standard set to failure. Rest 45 seconds, then do a speed, or X-celeration, set, 1.5 seconds per rep.
Both of the methods that you use on the midrange exercise include an X-celeration, or speed, set. It’s a proven way to activate deep growth fibers similar to what heavy training does; however, no ultraheavy weights are necessary. Both DP and PS are 4X moderate-weight, growth-threshold methods.
2) The other alternate Phase 1 plan is to use Jordon’s routine but not do the Power POF pyramids on the midrange exercises. Instead substitute DP 4X, which is adding weight to each set of a 4X sequence. Keep the rest of the program as is. So for chest your Phase 1 “heavy” workout would be the following:
Midrange: Bench presses (DP 4X) 4 x 12, 10, 8, 6
Stretch: Low-incline flyes 3 x 8-6
Contracted: Machine flyes 3 x 9-7
Because you start with your 15RM and only do 12, it’s like a warmup. Then with 45-second rests between sets, the fatigue builds so you’re not able to up your weight to dangerous, joint-jarring levels. It’s like a density form of Power pyramids, perfect for older trainees.
Editor’s note: For more on moderate-weight, growth-threshold 4X mass training, including the e-book The Ultimate Super-Size Crash Course, visit X-Workouts.com. For e-books on X Reps, fat-loss nutrition and bodypart specialization, visit the X-Shop at X-Rep