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How Does the 10 x 10 Workout Routine Work and Is It Good for a Figure Athlete?

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USA, New Jersey, Jersey City, Woman lifting dumbbell
Tetra Images/Brand X Pictures
Question: How Does the 10 x 10 Workout Routine Work and Is It Good for a Figure Athlete?
I have started the bodybuilding workout you advise with the 10 sets of 10 reps. My legs and glutes are screaming after the leg workout. When I first looked at the workout I thought that it was too few exercises and I would not see results. Boy was I wrong!

How can that be though? When I look at what you have planned for Back and Chest, it just does not seem like it would hit all of the areas required to gain substantial muscle as a figure competitor. Usually for shoulders and back day I complete 6-7 exercises per muscle group. Why is this and do you recommend this program for a figure competitor?
Answer: There are two reasons why the 10 sets of 10 reps workout routine works.

  1. The exercises chosen are multi-jointed exercises that target the majority of the muscles of the area being trained. For example, for the Quadriceps routine, exercises like the Squats and Lunges pretty much stimulate all of the leg muscles.

  2. The nervous system and the muscles are completely shocked by having to perform the same movement repetitively over and over again for 10 sets of 10 repetitions with limited rest in between sets. This shock in turn leads the body to super compensate by increasing the size of the targeted muscle fibers.

How to Target All Muscles

The key to a complete physique is to have a balanced development of all muscle groups. Because the 10 sets of 10 reps routine makes use of basic exercises that target the majority of the fibers from the muscle group being worked on, you will achieve balanced development. In addition, a technique I recommend to more advanced athletes, is to change the exercise used every time you workout as well. So for example, if in your last leg workout you used squats with a medium stance, the next workout you can use lunges, and the next one squats with a wide stance, etc. This not only provides further variety to the body (thus providing even more shock to the muscle) but it also helps to further ensure balanced development.

Is There Any Value to Multi-Angular Workout Routines?

For the bodybuilding, figure and fitness competitors I do advocate switching to multi-angular routines at a later training phase, just because the body thrives on change and multi-angular training will provide such change by stimulating growth from multiple angles in one workout. Especially 16 weeks out from a contest, I certainly recommend training with multiple angles in order to keep ensuring balanced development.

Final Verdict

For off-season/mass building training, few bodybuilding workout routines can beat the muscle mass building capacity of the 10 sets of 10 reps method. So if you are a figure competitor that is looking to put on some size, I absolutely recommend it to you as well.

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