Q: I heard someone at my gym say that Arnold used X Reps. Is that true? I thought you guys came up with the concept a few years ago, so how could Arnold have used it?
A: Arnold used X Reps and many of the concepts we discuss in our X-Rep e-books. We know that because we worked alongside John Balik, former publisher of IRON MAN and Arnoldâ€™s former training partner and nutritionist. We talked to John a lot about Arnoldâ€™s past training.
Arnold had a tremendous instinct for building mass in the gym, and partials were one of those that he relied on to shock his muscles. Hereâ€™s a quote from the book 3 More Reps that shows Arnoldâ€™s X-Rep application on curlsâ€”he called them burns:
"After [a series of full-range reps] youâ€™ll find it impossible to do a complete repetition. But that does not mean the biceps muscle is completely exhausted. Youâ€™ll find with some effort that you are still able to get a few half repetitions...and when you can no longer do the half movements, youâ€™ll find you can do a couple of quarter repetitions."
No doubt about it, Arnold is prescribing end-of-set X-Rep partialsâ€”he just didnâ€™t call them that. He also had a number of other X-Rep-style applications that we discuss in The X-traordinary X-Rep Workout e-bookâ€”Chapter 3: Arnold and X Reps. For example, he often did his flyes in X-Rep-Only styleâ€”doing just the bottom half of the stroke for the entire set to keep tension on his pecs and emphasize stretch overload...
Remember, that was way before the animal study that got a 300 percent increase in muscle mass with one month of stretch-overload workouts; Arnold just knew instinctively that emphasizing continuous tension and stretch packed on new mass fast!...
We also talk about his instinctive use of full-range Positions-of-Flexion training. For example, he was one of the only bodybuilders who used the incline one-arm lateral raise, which is the best exercise for medial- and posterior-head stretch in the delts. That in combination with presses and standard laterals is POF delt training.
And as we mention in 3D Muscle Building, the official POF e-manual, one of his favorite biceps routines was standing dumbbell curls, incline curls, and concentration curls. Again, thatâ€™s basic POF protocolâ€”midrange, stretch, and contracted. As we often say, when Arnold was in his prime he was way ahead of his timeâ€”follow his lead and youâ€™ll grow like a weed.
Till next time, train hardâ€”and smartâ€”for BIG results.
â€”Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson