Q: I’m 42 years old, on the thin side, and have been training for several years. I want to know if I’ll overtrain by taking my work sets to failure and then adding X-Rep partials to the end. Some experts seem say it will cause burnout and that you have to be juiced to stand that style of training. I’m natural, so I wonder how it would affect me. I want to buy your new X-Rep Update #1 ebook, but I don’t want the program and methods to be too much for me to handle.
A: Steve is over 60 years old and still making great gains with X Reps and X-hybrid tactics. He’s been thin all his life—his starting bodyweight was less than 120 pounds; however, with 3D Positions of Flexion training he restructured his physique—and by adding X Reps and X-hybrid techniques in his 40s, his muscles have gotten bigger and better (no steroids)…
You’re correct in that the older you get, the more you must be cautious of overtraining. It’s a never-ending challenge, which is why we emphasize a couple important mass-building techniques to transform your physique…
- Phase training. It’s four to six weeks of all-out training followed by one or two weeks of subfailure training without X Reps or intensity tactics. We call the easier week the supercompensation phase, as you actually grow during that downshift from the previous all-out workouts (phase training is also known as tapering).
- Heavy/light. For hardgainer types, we often recommend using a heavy/light training protocol for much of the year. You hit each bodypart with a shorter all-out workout (to exhaustion with X Reps); then at the next workout for that bodypart, you do a few more sets, but all subfailure with higher reps for pump and recovery (no X Reps).
If you’re a regular reader of our newsletter or our ebooks, you know that we firmly believe no matter what your age, some intense training is a must to trigger the best and fastest gains possible—challenging your muscles gives them a reason to adapt and grow. If a muscle gets the same level of stimulus, there is no reason for it to progress. “Intense training” obviously doesn’t need to mean the heaviest weight you can handle.
An all-out set also activates the size principle of muscle fiber recruitment best—that’s a domino effect, with the last few difficult reps activating key fast-twitch growth fibers which are difficult to recruit in abundance with subfailure sets (X Reps get at even more of them). Just don’t forget to back off regularly (phase training), as suggested above.
Also, while end-of-set X-Rep partials are very productive at stimulating muscle growth, we recommend you include them on only one set of each exercise. That’s how we used them during our X-Rep transformation year when we made such good progress in only one month [using the Mass-Detail Workout—no steroids]. It was the perfect recipe for growth, as Jonathan’s before and after photos show…
We include X Reps and X-hybrid techniques in all of our programs. Just remember not to abuse any intensity tactic when trying to transform your physique, especially at your age. In our estimation X Reps make any set about three times more powerful at stimulating muscle growth, so use them sparingly—one work set per exercise is a good rule of thumb.
Get more techniques to transform your physique HERE.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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