Q: I’m an avid reader of your e-books as well as your website. I’ve been experimenting recently with a heavy set to failure (approximately 10 reps), adding X-Rep partials to the end. Then I do a second X-Only set, often with added weight. This is an excellent trigger for growth, especially if you warm up using the DXO [Double-X Overload] technique. On the warmup set, I do anywhere from four to five X Reps between [full-range] reps, and the burn is incredible! That [combination] has had such a strong effect on my body, that I now have some stretch marks appearing. I’m definitely getting much more muscular while dropping fat. Another thing I’ve been experimenting with is shortening the stroke of X Reps, to the point where I’m almost doing a static hold. I just pulse out very small partial reps. Which brings me to static holds. Research shows subjects adding a few pounds of muscle after only one workout, but that workout was followed by two weeks of rest. Surely two weeks off between workouts is ridiculous. I was wondering how you stand on recovery time and static holds?
A: Thanks for the feedback and your confidence in our methods. We discuss a lot of what you’re discovering and experimenting
X-Only sets can build mass quickly, but the technique is not for beginners, that’s for sure. It’s severe and traumatic to muscle tissue because you are training the muscle at its strongest point with overload. Use X-Only sets sparingly.
As for the research on static holds, the study you reference is also discussed in our e-book; however, we didn’t mention the recovery aspect.
You’re right, the researchers had subjects do one full-body workout, some using
One subject gained nine pounds of muscle at his peak-gain point; the average for all subjects was about three pounds of muscle at the peak-gain point. But—and this is a big but—the peak-gain point average occurred at about day six…
In other words, the average optimal recovery time for the subjects to show the biggest muscle-mass gain was six days. The researchers continued to measure for two weeks, but at the end of that time the subjects’ muscle gains had regressed—so much, in fact, that the average gain was less than one pound at the end of two weeks, which indicates that two weeks is too much recovery for the majority of people.
How much recovery time do you need? It depends on your intensity and individual ability to overcompensate between workouts.
In the study, the peak-gain day, when the subject showed the largest increase in muscle mass, was all over the map. Some showed the most muscle after only one day of recovery, while others had the most muscle after nine days.
Everyone is different, but a good place to start, especially if you’re not doing recovery-draining full-body workouts as in the study, is four to five days between bodypart hits. That’s what you’ll see in most of our programs…
For example, in the split program outlined in the X Update e-book, we have you train four days a week—Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday. A bodypart that gets worked on Monday doesn’t get hit again until Friday—four days later.
Till next time, train hard—and smart—for BIG results.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
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