Q: I’m using an X-Rep-based routine in the X-Rep Update #1 ebook I picked up a couple weeks ago, but do I have to use Static Contraction (StatC) sets to get the best results from it? I feel like an idiot holding a weight in the flexed position [on contracted-position exercises]. People at my gym look at me weird. LOL!
A: You don’t have to use any of the tactics if you aren’t comfortable with them or if they cause any embarrassing gym moments. BUT… Are you going to let what other people think slow down your gains?
As we explain in the X Update ebook, that hold technique on contracted-position exercises, like triceps pushdowns (below), added pounds of muscle to research subjects physiques after only one workout in one independent study. Let people stare and think you’re weird for holding and flexing. They’re going to stare even harder when you’re 10 pounds of muscle heavier in a few months—and they’ll probably start copying your X-Rep tactics.
Are you getting the same weird looks when you use static holds on stretch-position exercises, like overhead extensions? Probably not because it looks like you’re just stretching the target muscle—but that can build mass quickly, too. Remember that the animal study we often on that triggered a 300 percent muscle-mass increase in a few workouts used progressive stretch overload—with very little movement in the stretch position. The weight was simply held or pulsed in the stretch position for extended periods. That’s almost identical to the StatS tactic we outline in X Update #1.
The startling mass gains in those two studies should have you chomping at the bit to experiment with static holds. If you really can’t stand the ogling, in place of a total static-hold set, you can do a standard set and then tack on a static hold in the contracted position at the end for as long as you can maintain it—usually around 10 seconds.
We’ve alternated using that technique on contracted-position exercises like triceps pushdowns and leg curls to get excellent size-boosting occlusion. We’ve also used it on stretch-position exercises, like incline curls and overhead extensions, holding at or near the stretch point when no more full reps are possible. In fact, we highly recommend using those end-of-set holds in place of StatC and StatS every so often for new muscular adaptation (size stimulation)…
One of the big keys to getting fast, continuous results is frequent manipulation. And as we’ve found out, on some moves a certain X tactic will help you feel the muscle more than you ever have, stimulating it to new levels of growth (maybe after only one workout)—but heed this warning: Don’t get stuck on one technique. Adaptation occurs quickly, so you should rotate tactics frequently.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson