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What’s the deal with squats?

With the 4X method you use a medium poundage on all sets. That means less spine compression and a reduced risk of injury on squats.

Q: I read your training blog often [at], so I have to ask: What’s the deal with squats? You’ve said that they always injure you due to spine compression, and you’ll never do them again. Now, though, they’re your first quad exercise on leg day. You’re contradicting yourself.

A: Not a contradiction, just a new discovery. The way Jonathan and I used to do squats—building up to heavy weights over a number of sets with longer rests—produced more injuries than we care to remember. It was usually our lower backs that got jacked. As we found out the hard way over the years, having 350 pounds jamming down on your spine for even a few sets can do lots of cumulative damage. We’re living proof.

What’s new is that we’re using the 4X method. That means we use the same medium weight all the way through—a poundage light enough to give us 15-plus reps, but we do only 10. We rest only long enough for the other person to complete 10 reps—30 to 40 seconds—then hit it again.

The short rests coupled with the lighter poundage make squats much safer, as our form remains perfect through all four sets, although sets three and four do get brutal.

The truth is, we’re feeling 4X squats in our quads more than we ever felt our heavier power squats—and we’re seeing new size increases as well as vascularity. The squat is a great exercise, so the 4X method is a godsend for us. We’re able to use one of the best overall anabolic accelerators again, but without fear of injury.

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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