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"I watched as Jonathan and Steve began their X-Rep training experiment in late May, and I visually monitored their progress till their photo shoot July 1. I can honestly say that their bodies changed almost from one workout to the next. Every time I saw them in the gym, they had more muscularity and vascularity. It was a drastic transformation. I'm still amazed by the progress they made in only a month."
Do you want an attention-grabbing, muscle-packed physique? (Of course you do; who doesn't?) But logic tells you that to get big and ripped you have to train like the top bodybuilders, and if you've seen their programs, you probably thought, "There's no way in heck I have time for that!" Their workouts usually contain countless sets and take two to three hours a day. Forget it!
Not so fast. There's a much quicker way to pack on pounds of muscle. Science has had the answer for decades, but hardly anyone has applied that science correctlyuntil now. Even we were guilty of not applying that science for almost 10 years of serious traininguntil some amazing things happened that helped us slash our time in the gym and achieve our biggest, leanest physiques ever in record time.
Discovering a Better Way to Build Muscle
We both work for IRON MAN magazine, and that means we can pick the brains of the best minds in bodybuilding. We like to test much of what we hear (if it makes sense) on ourselves, which we then report on in IM in our Train, Eat, Grow series (Steve has also written more than 10 books on weight training). But it's not just about getting bigger. To get that chiseled, granite-hard look, it's also about losing fatgetting as lean as possible while staying as big as possible. We're talking ripped at 5% bodyfat. So every summer we make it a point to get into shape for a photo shoot (and, of course, to look good at the beach). Unfortunately, the past three years our progress seemed to be stalledwe looked about the same each time we peakedbut then it happened. A group of articles on static, or isometric, training hit our offices from three respected authors, one of whom built 21-inch arms doing only about four sets of biceps and triceps work twice a weekno steroids. He said the key to making it happen was compound exercises with a significant twistholds at the right place along the range of motion.
While we were skeptical, isometric holds made some sense. The other two training researchers had similar things to say about the anabolic potential of static training, and then a scientific study was released that showed that isometric contractions have potentially the same, if not better, muscle-building effects as dynamic full-range sets in some instances. Interesting!
We had collected a few more pieces of the mass-building puzzle: Our own research showed that trainees stop a regular dynamic set due to nervous system failureleaving too many muscle fibers understimulated for growth to occur. That's why most bodybuilders do so many sets. Think about it. With normal training it takes many successive sets to get at enough fibers for growthand sometimes that stimulation is insignificant because the nervous system flakes out early on every effort. That's why it takes so long to build noticeable muscle for the majority. In other words, for most people it takes a lot of sets, or volume, to get past the nervous system roadblock that prevents optimal muscle stimulation. Or does it?
Could an isometric contraction at the right spot in the range of motion at the end of a regular set force more nervous system activation, tax more fibers and exponentially increase the muscle-building power of any set? Science and anecdotal evidence say yesthat's how the author with the 21-inch arms did ithowever, we've taken it a step farther and discovered an even better way, with muscle-building repercussions that are staggering, from what we've seen.
The new technique is better because it includes small dynamic pulsing actions. That works so well because the nervous system needs some movement for optimal response, even if that movement is small. We call it X-Rep training, and it has the potential to make you bigger than you thought possibleand with much briefer workouts because...
X-Rep Training Can Make Each Set Up to Five Times as Effective as One Conventional Set
It was discovered long ago that increasing force and tension on a progressive basis is the key to making a muscle grow. That's how the author/bodybuilder built his 21-inch arms with only a few sets each weekhe extended the tension of a regular set at the right point in his arm exercises' range with increasing force to trigger an awesome growth response. His reward was giant arms in six months!
If you do set after set after set, there's a lot of wasted effort, your workouts take way too long, and you burn up precious recovery energy that could be channeled into muscle-size increases. With X Reps you get the nervous system to fire a maximum number of muscle fibers at the precise position of flexion of any exercise for a quantum leap in muscle fiber activation in any one set. That can result in enormous increases in growth stimulation, not to mention strength, with very few sets. For example, the week before our photo shoot, when we should've been depleted and weak, we went up 70 pounds on our calf raises in one workout, no problem! We got similar increases on other exercises, and we attribute that unusual strength surge to the X Reps we added the last month.
Full-Range Training, Partial Pulses and
We've been training together for almost 10 years, and for most of that time we've used a muscle-building protocol known as Positions of Flexion. IRON MAN readers will recognize that as a mass method that calls for training a muscle at three different positions in order to work it through its full range of motion.
We got some incredible gains over the years by training each muscle through its full arc of flexion (POF helped Steve overcome his hardgainer genetics to a great degree); however, not till recently did we realize that we were stopping every set short, before full hypertrophic stimulation was taking placeeven when we went to absolute failure. (Remember, it's the nervous system that craps out first.) By adding X Reps to each exercise, we leap-frogged nervous system failure, forced the muscle to keep firing and got three to five times the gains with fewer than half the sets. Our workout time dropped dramatically, and we achieved a level of growth that was nothing short of astounding. To anyone who finds building muscle a difficult, almost impossible task, that's extremely exciting stuff!
Results: Bigger, Harder, Stronger Faster!
Jonathan was floored when, after only one month with X-Rep training, he weighed more than he ever had in lean condition and was significantly more ripped and bigger than ever. Steve, at 44 years old and with much less muscle-building potential (hardgainer), also made a quantum leap in size, strength and condition in only one month (take another look at the photos above that were taken about a month apart after beginning X-Rep trainingeven we were shocked!).
Don't get us wrong. We're not saying that you can do one set per bodypart every three weeks and end up with a body like Mr. Olympiaor even reach the limits of your genetic muscle-building potentialwith a ludicrous program like that. (People who tell you that are either lying or delusional; look at Mr. O's quads and common sense should scream that there's no way you can get a giant, vascular, gnarly thigh like that with one set of leg extensions every few weeks, no matter how good your genetics are and no matter how intense the set. Not gonna happen. By the way, notice that there are never any photos of the so-called bodybuilders who get "spectacular results" with those extremely brief, infrequent routines.) To build an attention-grabbing, muscular physique, you have to put in some consistent effort and timebut not as much as you think.
X Reps can get your body to a new level of size and muscularity faster and with less waste in the gym than ever before. Of course, you have to use the right exercises, and we'll give them to you. MRI analysis, EMG studies and training experimentation at the IRON MAN Training & Research Center have filtered out the single best exercise for each bodypart, and they're all included in the Basic Ultimate Mass Workouts. Take your pick from three program variations: You can train two days a week, three days a week or on a four-day split, with most of these high-efficiency workouts lasting around 35 minutes.
And we'll tell you exactly how, where and when to apply X Reps on every exercise to jack up the grow power of each set. These workouts are incredibly effective and can get you to a new level of size and strength in record time. (There are also more advanced workouts so you can pack on even more mass as you progress.)
We lay it all out in the the new e-book The Ultimate Mass Workout. It's your muscle-building roadmap, but it's much more than just precision training programs and X-Rep explanation and application. It's jam-packed with loads of motivating, mass-building information that'll have your physique busting the seams of your wardrobe with chiseled muscle in no time. It includes...
The single best mass-boosting exercise for every bodypart (based in MRI, EMG and independent research studies), including start/finish photos for each, tips on precise performance and prime X-Rep position. There's also a complete beginner's step-by-step program to get you started right if you've never lifted before or are coming back to the gym after an extended layoff.
Direct/Indirect Training: How to organize your workouts so it appears as if you train each bodypart once a week, but you really train each twice due to residual, or indirect, work. (This is an amazing time-saving, mass-building concept you have to try!)
Ultimate Anabolic Acceleration: How to maximize growth hormone activation in the gym, which not only builds muscle but burns off layers of muscle-blurring fat. (It's one of the fastest ways to get wicked, eye-popping muscularity, and proper use of X Reps is a great way to get a GH surge.)
The Evolution of X-Rep Training: Why it's better than isometric holds and the reason X Reps are most effective at the end of a regular set as opposed to by themselves as partials-only sets. (It has to do with the size principle of muscle fiber recruitmentit's like a domino effect in which the low-threshold motor units fire first followed by the intermediates followed by the high-threshold motor unitsso you develop as many fiber types as possible for maximum muscle size. Despite what some so-called experts say, fastest gains in mass depend on developing all fiber types!)
X-Rep training fused with full-ROM Positions-of-Flexion programs: Max out total fiber growth and blow up every bodypart with the next generation of full-range, efficient POF training programs stacked with X Reps.
50 Ultimate Mass Tactics: Everything from muscle shaping to testosterone production to warming up to exercise tweaks so you can turn your body into a lean mass machine.
Ultimate Mass Nutrition: How to feed your muscles for maximum growth, including 15 critical tips on eating for more muscle, along with the meal-by-meal Ultimate Mass Diet.
Our Complete X-Rep Transformation Routine: The exact program we used to make our amazing one-month metamorphosis. (We made better gains with this program than any other in our 10 years training together.)
Full-Color Bodypart-Specific Before and After Pictures: Taken one month apart during our X-Rep experiment (including bigger arms, fuller more striated chest, larger more detailed legs).
Plus, you can e-mail us questions about training and nutrition via the special X-Rep e-mail address, and we'll give you answersit's like having us and our 40 years of combined experience as your personal trainers (Steve's been the editor in chief at IRON MAN magazine for more than 15 years and written more than 10 books on weight training). We'll also frequently post many questions and answers, along with updates on X-Rep training and other muscle-building protocols at this Web site. You'll get all of that when you order The Ultimate Mass Workout e-book (PDF format). We're offering it at a special price. Click below to order. It's time to turbocharge your very next workout with the fast mass-building power of X-Rep training.
Or you can get all three BIG X-Rep e-books--The Ultimate Mass Workout, Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building and X-Rep Update #1 for a special limited price for ALL 3 e-books. Each is jam-packed with workouts and mass-building info to get you beyond BIG! Click below to order. It's time to turbocharge...
The e-books on this site were written to help you get closer to your physical potential with sensible bodybuilding strategies. Weight training is a demanding activity, however, so it is highly recommended that you consult your physician and have a physical examination prior to beginning a weight-training program. Any comments provided are for general information purposes only and do not represent medical advice. Proceed with the suggested diets, exercises and routines at your own risk.
Results using the programs and diets in these e-books vary from individual to individual. Testimonial endorsers results using it may be considered atypical.
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