Q: I’ve been using X Reps for about a month now, and I’m noticing new muscle in places like my inner chest and lower lats. Even my lower biceps are higher and fuller. Is that normal? I love X Reps!
A: While X Reps—end-of-set partials at the semi-stretch point of an exercise—are excellent at keeping tension on the muscle and activating dormant muscle fibers, they can bring out size and detail with new muscle density at the insertion point, such as the inner pecs…
Here’s a quote from Jacob Wilson, Ph.D., that we used in our X-Rep Update #1, that explains:
Partial-range reps in the lower range of a muscle [a.k.a. X Reps], can actually add sarcomeres to a muscle fiber, which would fill out the area of a muscle where it is inserted.
We believe that’s part of the reason we made such dramatic progress so quickly that first year we integrated X-Rep partials at the end of some of our sets—adding sarcomeres to muscle fibers creates much more muscle size and detail, and it obviously did that for us in only five weeks with the X technique (no drugs, not trick photography)…
A good example of X Reps is at the end of a set of chinups. When you can no longer do full-range reps, you lower to near the arm’s-extended position, and pulse up to near the halfway point, doing as many of those low-end partials as possible.
That area of the stroke, where the target muscle is semi-stretched, is where you activate the most muscle fibers. So at the end of a set, you get at many more growth fibers by gritting your teeth and grinding out partials in that key area…
In a study reported in the 1988 issue of the Journal of Applied Physiology, three groups of men performed isometric exercise for their biceps:
Group 1: trained their biceps isometrically at 25 degrees (the X Spot—0 degrees is full extension)
Group 2: trained their biceps isometrically at 80 degrees—just below the halfway point
Group 3: trained their biceps isometrically at 120 degrees—near full contraction
While all subjects showed strength increases throughout the range of motion—not just in the position trained—the group that attained the highest increase throughout the range of motion was Group 1. That’s the group that was doing a static X-Rep at the semi-stretch position…
That shows the extreme muscle-fiber-activating power of the X Spot and why adding end-of-set X Reps can make any set three to five times more powerful at building muscle mass for more size and detail. And that’s why we love X Reps, too!
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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