Q: I got your Power-Density Mass Workout 2.0, and I really like the 3-way split of the Basic Workout. I also like doing only one or two exercises for each muscle with a power hit and a density hit at the same workout. My question is, I'm 48 years old and not sure I can handle pyramiding down to 5 reps on big exercises, so should I just do regular 8-rep sets to failure? These days my joints don't like anything below 8 on most exercises.

A: That's a good solution. For example, on chest-supported dumbbell rows for mid-back, your set sequence would be…

3 x 9, 9, 8 (do not add weight)
3 x 10 (4X style)

Jonathan Lawson doing chest-supported dumbbell rows for mid-back - The Semi-Heavy Size Jolt (joint-saving power hit)

Remember, that's after a few lighter warmup sets. If you have joints that even don't like those standard heavy sets, you can do downward-progression 4X (DP 4X) on the first sequence.

For DP 4X you do add weight to each set, but you only rest 45 seconds between sets, and only the last is to failure. So, begin with your 12-rep-max weight, but only do 10; rest 40 seconds as you add weight, then do 8; rest 40 seconds as you add weight, then go to failure, striving for 6.

If you use DP 4X, which is explained in the Super-Size Crash Course, you may want to do a different-but-similar exercise for your second 3X sequence. For mid-back that could be barbell bent-over rows, cable rows or machine rows. So now you have…

Chest-supported DB rows (DP 4X style, 40-second rests, add weight), 3 x 10, 8, 6
Machine rows (4X style), 3 x 10

Yes, with DP 4X you are going down to six reps, but due to the short rests between sets, you won't approach the weight you'd use on a standard heavy pyramid. Muscle fatigue will prevent you from joint-jolting poundages.

DP 4X is like a quicker semi-heavy blast for more muscle mass.

NOTE: The Ultimate Power-Density Mass Workout 2.0, with 6 complete workouts and an interview with Mr. America Doug Brignole on Super-TORQ, is now only $9 HERE.

Also, The Super-Size Crash Course, with complete workouts using Downward-Progression 4X, Progressive-Speed 4X, and TORQ, is available for only $10 HERE.

Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.

—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson

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