One of the newer training methods people have been employing to work on mass gains at the gym is the 4X Mass Workout. The concept is actually fairly similar to concepts used back in the 1950’s but slightly modified.
So do they work?
4X Mass Training
In a nutshell the concept is to perform 4 sets of the target exercise aiming for 10 reps on each set. That doesn’t sound too hard does it? You pick an initial weight you can do about 15 reps with. But the switch is the rest period between sets. Instead of using 60 to 90 seconds (or more) that many lifters use the rest period is only 30 seconds. So you blast 10 reps, rest 30 seconds, do 10 more with the same weight, rest another 30 seconds, do 10 more reps, rest 30 seconds, and then crank to exhaustion.
The last set usually ends up being less than 10 reps because complete muscle fatigue has set in. Some people even take it up one notch higher and do a few rest-pause reps on the last set. That is where you rest 10 seconds then do another rep or two, rest another 10 seconds and do as many more that you can.
The main benefit of this style training is that it will shock your system. A lot of lifters work out the same way over and over. They might warm-up with higher reps on an exercise then work towards lower reps and heavier weight. That is one form of stress to the muscle and its fibers. This type of training is more of an endurance type of training where you expect more from the muscles with minimal rest period. Often this can lead to incorporating more muscle fibers as you get into the 3rd and fourth sets. The weight is manageable but only by using more of the target muscle.
This type of workout can be great to add into any routine and works on all sorts of exercises from barbell curls to squats.
Endurance training is a concept that has been around for years. Old school lifters like Reg Park and Arnold used to use similar techniques such as 20 rep squats in addition to heavy workouts. The idea was to train both fast and slow twitch muscle fibers because making either larger will add more muscle size and strength.
Now a lot of training programs incorporate endurance training because athletes and people who lift weights to increase performance in their weekend sports and hobbies have realized the benefit of muscles that have a higher level of endurance instead of just pure brawn.
The Bottom Line
This is a great technique to have in your toolbox and one that should be implemented regularly into your routine. Ideally you want to work all aspects of a muscle. That means fast and slow twitch fibers, positive and negative strength, stretch and contraction. Using everything available technique-wise will yield greater long term results as well as a more developed body.
This technique can easily be added to one exercise per body part per week or every two weeks. It is excellent to use as a finishing exercise on a body part because it will pump up the muscle and leave you exhausted.