Q: I really like X-centric sets [lifting in one second and lowering in six]. Great muscle feel and pump. I’m getting ready to use a version of the Heavy/Light program in X-traordinary Muscle-Building Workouts I just got. My question is, If I want to use an X-centric set or two for each bodypart, should they go on heavy day or light day?
A: The reason for heavy/light training, as explained in XMBW, is nervous system regeneration. The light day still hits the target muscle for growth without much CNS stress.
In other words, the light day is more for recovery than slamming the muscle again.
Now with X-centric training you do use lighter weights; however, you lift in one second and lower in six until you can no longer lower slowly. That should occur at around rep 7.
That may not sound too traumatic, but keep in mind that your muscles don’t know weight, only effort. Yes, you are getting good blood flow and the weight is light, but the slow lowering usually produces microtears in the muscle fibers…
Most trainees get sore from just one set of X-centric reps, so it may be too traumatic for light day. And if the soreness persists, it could effect your performance and results from the coming heavy workout.
Our advice: Use the X-centric set on the isolation exercise on heavy day. For that move you do a drop set or two. Simply reduce the weight enough so that on the second set you can get six to seven X-centric reps.
So heavy chest day would be…
Bench presses (reverse pyramid), 3 x 5, 8, 9
Crossovers (drop), 1 x 8(7 X-centric)
Incline presses, 2 x 7-9
Pec deck flyes (drop), 1 x 8(7 X-centric)
Then your second chest workout that week is light day: higher reps and sub-failure sets for blood flow, pump and CNS recovery–as well as more muscle hypertrophy.
Till next time, train hard–and smart–for BIG results.
–Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson