Q: I just got your X-traordinary X-Rep Workout ebook, printed out the basic routine and took it to the gym. Deep pump and a fast workout. I notice that for some bodyparts you have one big exercise for both the power work and density finish. For others, you have a different exercise for the drop-set finisher. Why didn’t you use two exercises, [one for power and one for density], for every bodypart? It makes sense that you’d train the muscle more completely with two exercises instead of only one.
A: For the most part, it depends on the complexity of the muscle. For example, your deltoid has three heads. While an overhead press trains all of them, it primarily targets the front head with only minor emphasis on the other two.
An upright row, on the other hand, targets the lateral, or side, head, with minor front- and rear-head emphasis.
That’s why we suggest you use those two exercises for more complete deltoid development when training with an efficient streamlined program like The Basic X-traordinary X-Rep Workout. You can use presses for the Power pyramid and upright rows for the Density drop set or vice versa. (Switching the order every so often is a good idea so that you prioritize different heads.)
A less complex muscle like biceps gets a thorough thrashing with only barbell curls. MRI studies show that if you use a grip that’s just a tad narrower than shoulder width, you target both heads equally. So you can use only barbell curls for both Power work and the Density drop-set chaser…
Nevertheless, you can use barbell curls for Power and then go to cable curls for Density. Why? Cable exercises allow for better continuous tension. That means more effective occlusion, or blood-flow blockage, for extreme size-building Density adaptations.
With barbell curls, you tend to lose tension at both the top and bottom of the stroke. It can still work well for your density drop set, however. Just make a conscious effort to keep tension on the biceps—no resting at the top or bottom; keep the bar moving. Also, use a shorter range by stopping short of full extension at the bottom and don’t curl the bar all the way up to your shoulders—stop at about the 2 o’clock position.
In other words, work only the middle area of the stroke on your barbell-curl Density drop set. That will keep your biceps engaged throughout both sets. You’ll have to use a lighter weight, but remember that you’ve already gone heavy on the pyramid; the density drop is to train the endurance components of the key 2A muscle fibers—poundage is secondary to continuous tension.
So to answer your question, yes, you can use two different exercises for every bodypart if you like; however, time is the limiting factor. If you use the same exercise for both Power and Density, your workout will take less time due to not having to set up for two different moves.
If you’re pressed for time, use the same exercise for both Power and Density—that way your workouts will only take 35 to 45 minutes—and you’ll still build plenty of mass with only one Ultimate Exercise for each bodypart.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
In The X-traordinary X-Rep Workout you’ll learn how to merge X Reps with the latest size-building methods and discoveries.
We also give you the best of the best X-hybrid tactics you can use to get huge (and complete workouts with all of the above included)!
First, you’ll get a complete X-Rep overview that explains how top pro bodybuilders have used X-Rep methods, like one Austrian Oak who dominated bodybuilding. We explain his X techniques that built his dominating physique. Plus, we give you an inside look at a famous Mr. Olympias’ X tactics. We roll all of that into two fast power-packed mass workouts. Get more info HERE.