Q: In one of the chapters in 4X Mass Workout 2.0, you say that V-handle cable rows is both a mid-back stretch exercise and a lat contracted exercise. Since it’s a lat-contracted move, can I use that as the first exercise in a modified Pre-Ex routine for lats? So it’s V-handle cable rows for 4X to pre-exhaust the lats followed by pulldowns to continue hitting the pre-fatigued lats.
A: The short answer: No, not a good choice for your first lat move. The point of the pre-ex workouts in the Pre-Ex 3X e-book is to train the target muscle first in ISOLATION—with no smaller ancillary muscles involved…
The V-handle cable row has a weak link—the biceps, a smaller muscle directly involved. That means you’re NOT pre-fatiguing your lats effectively because your biceps are fatiguing before your lats on V-handle cable rows. You might not feel it, but you will on the next exercise…
When you get to pulldowns, your biceps are blown out—they are the muscles that are pre-fatigued, and your lats get short-changed. In other words, your tired biceps cause you to crap out way early, before the lats get much work at all.
The better choice for your first lat exercise is stiff-arm pulldowns, a more isolated lat exercise…
Or, if your gym has one, use the pullover machine. That gives you two positions in one move—you hit your lats’ stretch and contracted positions. That was a favorite back exercise of pro bodybuilder Mike Mentzer, Mr. Heavy Duty, pictured here using the classic Nautilus pullover…
So do a 3X or 4X sequence of either stiff-arm pulldowns or machine pullovers, resting 35 seconds between sets. Then go to pulldowns, chins (you have to be strong to do enough reps on chins after pre-fatiguing your lats), or assisted chins on a machine. Here are a few modified Pre-Ex 3X lat routines to choose from:
Contracted: Stiff-arm pulldowns (4X), 4×10
Midrange: Pulldowns (4X), 4×10
Stretch: DB pullovers (3X), 3×12
(You can do 3X or 4X sequences on each exercise)
Contracted & Stretch: Machine pullovers (4X), 4×10
Midrange: Pulldowns (4X), 4×10
(This is the minimalist POF lat routine—you train all positions with only 2 exercises)
Contracted & Stretch: Machine pullovers (3X), 3×10
Midrange: Assisted chins (3X), 3×10
Stretch* & Contracted: Undergrip pulldowns (3X), 3×12
(You can do 3X or 4X sequences on each exercise—this is a good routine for trainees with lagging lats)
*Undergrip pulldowns are more of a semi-stretch/contracted move for the lats. You can use the exercise as a stretch move if DB pullovers aggravate your shoulders or you just need a change.
Take your pick to get wide and thick.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
The “New” Perfect Physique
You’ve probably believed that women go crazy over huge muscles. You’ve probably even aspired to look like Arnold at some point.
The picture of the perfect physique seems to have changed over the years…
There were several years when it seemed women preferred a leaner and smaller physique like Brad Pitt’s in Fight Club.
Luckily, that seems to have just been a fad, and a more muscular look has become more desired again. Not pro bodybuilder big, but something in between with good muscularity and chiseled detail…
Alain Gonzales refers to it as the “Athletic-Aesthetic” physique, and women go wild over it.
Check out Alain’s 12-week program here: