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Double Density to Get You Growing

I fondly remember when Vince Gironda used to come into the IRON MAN offices and go into his tirades about various muscle-building exercises and concepts. One was what he called density training, doing more work in less time for muscle-size increases.

[*Get the latest e-book collection of Vince's methods, quotes, workouts and advice Vince Gironda: Legend & Myth by Alan Palmieri, one of Vince's students. Read the Iron Man magazine review here.]

Those memories coupled with a question I got in an e-mail about pre-exhaustion training got me thinking: What about Pre-Ex 4X?

Pre-exhaustion is simply supersetting an isolation exercise with a compound move, so on the second, ancillary muscles can help push the target further into the growth threshold. For example, you do a set of cable crossovers, then you immediately attack a set of bench presses, an exercise which bring in the triceps and front delts to assist your pecs in getting more wrecked than usual.

The concept is credited to the late Bob Kennedy. My hat's off to Bob. In fact, I was screaming, "Thanks a lot, Bob!" as I massaged my throbbing, pumped pecs at a recent Pre-Ex 4X workout. Actually, it was so freaking painful that I pulled it back to Pre-Ex 3X. That's a better rhyme anyway. Here's an example:

Cable flyes, 3 x 12

Low-incline DB presses, 3 x 10

So you do a set of cable flyes, then immediately move to low-incline dumbbell presses. The first round is not to failure, as you are still using your 15RM on both moves. Rest 40 seconds, then hit it again.

The second round will be very close to failure, and your entire chest will feel as if it's being blasted with a blowtorch. Oh, and you'll be breathing fairly rapidly as well. Rest only 40 seconds again, then struggle through one more round.

[*Get the latest e-book collection of Vince's methods, quotes, workouts and advice Vince Gironda: Legend & Myth by Alan Palmieri, one of Vince's students. Read the Iron Man magazine review here.]

Your third cycle will be pretty brutal, as you go to failure on both exercises. You can even add one or two rest/pause sets to the end of the inclines if you're feeling really hardcore (or is that masochistic?). When you hit failure, put down the weight, count to 10, then rep out again.

I followed the above using the same Pre-Ex 3X cycle of low cable flyes and decline DB presses. Then I did a standard 3X sequence of flat-bench flyes. My chest was toasted, roasted and pumped to the max in 15 minutes—and the weights were very moderate, which means very little joint stress, and muscle-eating cortisol release was also kept low—which means more testosterone is left to help you grow.

If you're looking for a new muscle size, give Pre-Ex 3X a try.

Stay tuned, train smart and be Built for Life.

Note: The 4X Mass Workout is available at Jonathan’s X-traordinary Size Surge Workout e-book is available at It has complete workouts, alternate 3-way POF split Phase 2 program, the diet he used and much more.

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