Q: I saw before and after photos of Steve’s wife, Becky, on your site. Amazing transformation! My girlfriend would like to know what type of program she used. Did she use X Reps, or should women not use that type of intense training?
A: Becky’s transformation took a few months (she kept having to restart due to motivation issues—so much fat to lose was overwhelming to her—and she didn’t use X Reps because we hadn’t developed that technique yet; however, she did use static holds, which we call a Static X. At the end of a set to exhaustion, she would drive the weight up as far as she could and hold for a five count or so to extend the tension time. That had a similar muscle fiber-activation boost as well as occlusion effects. She added muscle and lost fat quickly, as you can see from her before and after photos…
She trained hard, and if we would’ve had end-of-set X-Rep partials in our arsenal, she would’ve used them. We believe women should train just as hard as men. In fact, many can train harder because they have a higher pain tolerance (notice we said harder, not longer). And they will not get huge muscles due to their hormonal profiles.
What type of program did she use? She started with a break-in program, 12 exercises, training only two days a week. She did that for four weeks, as she was very out of shape. After that four-week break-in, she moved to phase 2 and trained three days a week, like this…
Monday: Quads, Chest, Back, Abs
Wednesday: Hamstrings, Delts, Triceps, Biceps, Abs
Friday: Full Body
Monday and Wednesday her bodypart workouts were based on 3D Positions of Flexion. For example, for triceps, she did close-grip bench presses (with dumbbells), a midrange exercise; overhead extensions (stretch); and kickbacks (contracted). She did one to two sets of each, and usually did a drop set on the last exercise, the contracted-position exercise, for extended tension. Friday’s workout was full body. Here’s how she explains that workout in our X-treme Lean e-book…
On Friday I did one or two sets of higher reps, around 12, for key exercises, and I did only one exercise per bodypart—although there was direct and indirect work for almost every bodypart within that day’s routine. For example, I did feet-forward Smith-machine squats for my hamstrings, but they also work quads, which I trained directly with the next exercise, leg presses, which also hit hamstrings. It may sound a bit confusing, but trust me, it works, and you’ll know you’ve given every muscle the once over (and usually twice-over if you count the indirect hits). With direct and indirect work on Monday and Wednesday and a full-body workout on Friday, I was essentially training every bodypart three days a week.
If you’re an experienced weight trainer, you should be able to construct an effective program for your girlfriend based on Becky’s split. Just start each bodypart with a big, basic exercise—like squats for quads—then follow with a more isolated exercise for that bodypart (like leg extensions). Have her do two work sets for each exercise, and use a drop set on the second exercise every so often. On Friday, just have her do the big exercise only for one or two 12-rep sets.
[Note: Becky’s printable workout programs, diet, and transformation story appear in Chapter 6 of the X-treme Lean e-book. Steve and Jonathan’s diets and weight-loss research also appear in that e-book.]
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson