Q: I’m making some incredible progress using your Double-X Overload technique, but I wanted to let you know that I don’t just use it on my work sets. DXO works for warmup sets, too. I usually use it on at least one of my two warmup sets for the big [midrange] exercises, and I feel much stronger on my work sets. Great technique!
A: That’s a good tip. We love feedback from fellow weight trainers who think instead of just following the pack. One reason Double-X Overload (DXO) works so well on warmup sets is because of the enhanced occlusion and nervous system activation.
For those unfamiliar with DXO, it’s an X-Rep partial in the semi-stretch position between each full rep. That provides a slightly more explosive action, which has been shown to heighten nerve force (many top-level powerlifters do light, explosive sets for that very reason—it helps them lift more weight).
You also get more occlusion, or blood-flow blockage, during your warmup sets with DXO, especially if you don’t lock out on the full-rep portion. In our Beyond X-Rep Muscle-Building e-book, we discuss a study that was reported on in the Journal of Strength Conditioning Research (15:362-366), that demonstrated the immediate strength-boosting effects of occlusion.
A blood pressure cuff was used on subjects’ upper arms to occlude blood flow to the forearms for two minutes. The cuff was then removed, and the subjects did wrist curls. Results: Those who had their blood flow impaired prior to the exercise showed a 20 percent strength increase over the subjects who didn’t use the blood pressure cuff.
You get a similar occlusion effect with DXO on your warmup sets, which will make your work sets much more productive at activating the high-growth fast-twitch muscle fibers. It’s the reason we included X Reps in the specific warmup sequence we outline in the 3D Muscle-Building e-book (Chapter 12—3D Warmup: Prelude to Mass, page 59). A series of X Reps at the end of a light warmup set increases occlusion.
X Reps and DXO make an entire sequence of sets much more efficient and effective—and your work sets will stimulate more mass.
NOTE: Get more info on DXO as well as other X-hybrid tactics such as X Fade, Iso X, Stage Sets, X/Pause, and more in Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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