Density Phases to Sustain Muscle Growth

Q: Thank you for creating a program that encouraged me to start working out. I shifted from planning forever to executing my personal success 🙂 

So far I’ve followed the 10-8-6-15 program for over a month 3 times a week. I can see a difference in my body shape and weight.

I still have some questions and things that I do not fully understand. Sorry if my questions are amateurish. I am really not into topic of bodybuilding.

1. By 10-8-6-15 do you mean:

First set = 10 reps with 50% of what you’ll use for your set of 6 reps
Second set = 8 reps with 75% of what you’ll use for your set of 6 reps
Third set = 6 reps with as much weight as you can handle for 6 good reps
Fourth set = 15 reps with 35% of what you used for your set of 6 reps

2. In your guide you recommend long rest between sets (2-3 minutes). However later in the workout I find 1 minute to 90 second rest periods.  I am not sure if this means rest between sets or between each exercise. 
3. You say:”Although programs such as 10×10 and 5×5 work great for the other body 
types, the ectomorph responds better to a pyramid of reps instead of a constant rep scheme.” But later 5×5 is included in the plan. So if I understand this correctly, 5×5 should be done using maximum weight for each rep despite this remark you made before?

4. After weeks 7-9 should I start over from the beginning?
5. I cannot exercise 4 times a week.  Could you help me modify this plan for 3 times a week?

I know that’s a lot of questions. I hope you will find some time to answer me. Thank you in advance!


My Answer: First question: In the beginning you can follow those percentages.  However, over time you’re going to find the weight to be far too light.  You’re going to get stronger and stronger on this program, so you have to adjust your weights accordingly.

Just so we are clear, when any program says “Do 10 reps” and doesn’t give you a percentage of 1RM, then you do 10 reps with your 10RM weight.  This should be self-explanatory, but people keep asking this question over and over.

So start with your 10RM, add the smallest increment of weight that you have available, do 8 reps, add the smallest increment of weight that you have available, do 6 reps, drop the weight to your 15RM and do 15 reps.

Stick with the target reps.  For example, don’t do 9 reps when the set calls for 8 reps.  Your 10 rep set is your baseline, because it determines how your weights pyramid from set to set.  You should strive to increase your baseline weight little by little from workout to workout.  So if you can do more than 10 reps on your first set, then you should increase the weight for your 10 rep set on your next workout.

Second question: The reason for the one minute to 90 second rest periods is that certain weeks within the program are a density phases. To sustain growth you have to vary certain training factors such as  rest periods.  It’s too lengthy for me to explain here, but I explain density phases in this article.

Third question: Yes, do 5×5 max weight.  Again, the program varies certain training factors, such as sets and reps.

Fourth question: Yes, or you can follow a different program.

Fifth question: Sounds like you’ve already modified the program to fit 3 days a week, so just follow the program, since you’re seeing progress.


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