10 Sets of 10 Reps Bodybuilding Training Method

Increase Lean Muscle Mass Through High Volume Bodybuilding Training

Man deadlifting in the gym
Hero Images / Getty Images

The 10 sets of 10 reps bodybuilding training method has been used in bodybuilding circles for years in order to break through plateaus and gain new lean muscle mass. Many people have claimed to its invention, but regardless of who came up with it, it has been used with great success by awesome bodybuilders from the past such as Vince Gironda, as well as Dave Draper and Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Today, many athletes on the know still use this method and even elite strength coaches, such as Charles Poliquin, are great advocates of it and use it on their Olympic athletes when they are in need of increasing their lean mass quickly.

Benefits and Goals of the 10 Sets of 10 Reps Method

This method has proven time and time again to be fantastic at increasing muscle mass through the systematic fatigue of the muscle fibers being worked on. In order to implement a 10x10 routine, a mass building exercise is chosen and a weight that you can perform for 15 reps or so is selected. However, you will stop once you achieve 10 reps. Your rest in between sets should be limited to a minute and you need to refrain yourself from resting more as you start fatiguing since increasing the rest time would defeat the purpose of the routine, which is to cause systematic fatigue on a specific muscle.

The goal of the routine is to use the same weight for all ten sets and to be able to perform all sets for 10 reps in good form. You will notice that as fatigue sets in, the sets become more and more challenging. You may not be able to perform all sets for 10 reps.

If that is the case, then start lowering the weight once you do a set where less than 10 are performed. Once you can do all 10 sets for 10 reps, then it is time for you to go up in weight.

Is There a Need for More Exercises Once You Do the One for 10 Sets of 10?

We always like to include a second exercise for the larger muscle groups in order to hit a different angle but the second exercise is more of an isolation type and you can just perform it for 3 sets of 10-12 reps.

10 Sets of 10 Reps Bodybuilding Workout Routine 

Workout (A): Thighs/Hamstrings/Calves

Superset:

  • Squats 10 sets of 10 reps (no rest)
  • Leg Curls 10 sets of 10 reps (1 minute of rest)

Superset:

  • Leg Extensions 3 sets of 10-12 reps (no rest)
  • Stiff Legged Dead-lifts 3 sets of 10-12 reps (1 minute of rest)
  • Calf Raises 10 sets of 10 reps (1 minute of rest)

Workout (B): Chest/Back/Abs

Superset:

  • Incline Bench Press 10 sets of 10 reps (no rest)
  • Wide Grip Pull-up to Front 10 sets of 10 reps (1 minute of rest)

Superset:

  • Flat Bench Flyes 3 sets of 10-12 reps (no rest)
  • Low Pulley Rows 3 sets of 10-12 reps (1 minute of rest)
  • Leg Raise & Crunch Combination 10 sets of 10 reps (1 minute of rest)

Workout (C): Shoulders/Biceps/Triceps

  • Upright Rows 10 sets of 10 reps (1 minute of rest)
  • Bent Over Lateral Raises 3 sets of 10-12 reps (1 minute rest)

Superset:

  • Incline Curls 10 sets of 10 reps (no rest)
  • Triceps Dips 10 sets of 10 reps (1 minute of rest)

Workout Frequency 

You can benefit from doing each body part twice a week so you would perform Workout (A) on Monday/Thursday, Workout (B) on Tuesday/Friday and Workout (C) on Wednesday/Saturday. You will notice however that this type of frequency works best for endomorphs, which are people with a slow metabolism who as a result have faster recuperation capabilities.

Mesomorphs, or naturally muscular and lean people, fare well by performing the routine in the following manner: Day 1-Workout (A), Day 2-Rest, Day 3-Workout (B), Day 4-Rest, Day 5-Workout (C), Day 6-Start cycle again with Workout (A). With this sequence, each body part is trained once every five days. This routine also provides good recuperation for those of you that work over 40 hours a week and cannot afford to be at the gym for 6 days. Ectomorphs, or hardgainers, are those of you who are naturally skinny and have a super fast metabolism. If this is your case, then you are best served by training every other day, and if you cannot train over the weekends, then just Monday, Wednesday, and Friday performing Workout (A) on Monday, Workout (B) on Wednesday and Workout (C) on Friday.

When To Change

After going through Workouts (A), (B), and (C) six times, change your routine to one that is heavier in weights (with around 5-6 reps mostly) and contains fewer sets.

A good routine would be one that uses 5 sets of 5 reps with different basic exercises than the one above.

Bodybuilding Diet Advice

In order to benefit most from this routine, remember that you have to nourish yourself. Weight training provides the spark for muscle growth while food provides the raw materials required for making bodybuilding gains. A good supplementation program is imperative in order to recover and make the best possible gains from such a demanding bodybuilding program. 

Word on Rest and Recovery

Don’t forget that muscles grow when you rest, not while you are at the gym. Therefore, make sure that you get your 8 hours of sleep or at the very least 7 hours each night and make up any lost sleep over the weekends. Not meeting your sleep requirements on a consistent basis leads to sleep deprivation, a condition which besides creating constantly low energy levels, promotes a hormonal environment that increases the muscle destroying (and fat depositing) hormone cortisol and lowers your muscle producing hormone testosterone. 

Conclusion

If you are ready to change your workout routine, give this program a try and provided that your nutrition, supplementation, and rest are in order, then it will not fail to give you the bodybuilding gains that you are looking for.