To Top

Pre-Ex 3X: Is there an advantage to doing lower reps on both exercises?

www.ironmanmagazine.comQ: Pre-Ex 3X works! Condensing the workload with prefatigue supersets is an incredible mass stimulator. I’m seeing it happen after only a few workouts, and the pump is unreal. One question: Do you think it might be advantageous to do lower reps on both exercises, like sevens with heavier weight instead of 10s? Doing 10 reps on both exercises back to back seems to wear me out before the third superset.

A: Studies indicate that a person’s optimal rep number can be dependent on body type. Thicker mesomorphs, like Mike Mentzer or Branch Warren, can do better with lower reps, while skinnier ectomorphic types build muscle best with slightly higher reps.

In many of Mentzer’s training booklets that included preex, he wrote, “Select weights in your exercises that allow for at least six good positive reps; then continue with several more negative reps.”

So after six reps his partner would lift the weight, and he would lower slowly under control for another three or four negatives.

His first six reps were controlled: “Both the raising and lowering of the weight should take at least four seconds to ensure that the work was done by the muscles alone.”

That means his first six reps took about 24 seconds, and then he would add negatives to the end—another 15 to 20 seconds. So even though he used heavier weights for lower reps, he still extended his muscle tension time beyond 40 seconds most of the time.

And that’s precisely why I recommend 10 reps when you’re not including intensity tactics like end-of-set negatives. With 10 reps at four seconds per rep you’re getting 40 seconds of tension time.

If you have a partner, try Mentzer’s lower-rep preex supersets plus negatives. It’s a great change-to-gain strategy.

If you train alone, you can use lower-rep sets with rest/pause, as described in the Pre-Ex e-book. That is, do six, rest 10 seconds, and then do five. Immediately move to the compound exercise, and use the same R/P style. Do that for three rounds with 40 seconds between rounds.


Pre-Ex 3X Superset

Lateral raises (R/P) 3 x 6(4)

Presses (R/P) 3 x 6(4)


That’s one more Pre-Ex variation for major mass creation.

Note: You can get The Pre-Ex 3X Mass Workout at

Editor’s note: Steve Holman is the author of many bodybuilding best-sellers and the creator of Positions-of-Flexion muscle training. For information on the POF DVD and Size Surge programs, see the ad sections in this issue. Also visit  and for info on X-Rep, 4X and 3D POF methods and e-books.  IM

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Latest

  • Whey Makes Everything Grow

      If you have knee pain when you train, you might want to double up on your whey protein shakes. A...

    swarnavaSeptember 30, 2016
  • Cardio For Bigger Muscles

    Many physique athletes stay away from cardio in fear that it will burn up their precious muscle. A new study, published...

    swarnavaSeptember 29, 2016
  • Research: Know Your Roll

      The foam-rolling craze has been a blessing for some, bestowing greater range of motion and less pain on desk-bound athletes...

    swarnavaSeptember 29, 2016
  • Don’t Go Hard When It’s Easy

    Here are two truths about running hills, a tactic long- used by athletes and bodybuilders to lose fat and rapidly improve...

    swarnavaSeptember 29, 2016
  • The Raspberry Is Having A Moment

    Is raspberry the new kale? A tornado of positive research has recently been published about red raspberries. So much, in fact,...

    swarnavaSeptember 28, 2016
  • Shake It Off: Goldenberry Goodness

    Jolt your taste buds and your cells with this novel protein-rich superfood smoothie. By Amanda Burrill, MS   Tangerines, cantaloupe, Greek...

    swarnavaSeptember 26, 2016
  • How To Recover From Anything

    Trip your anabolic ignition switch with the right nutritional choices after a workout By George L. Redmon PhD   All of...

    swarnavaSeptember 23, 2016
  • Fast Food

    These new ready-to-drink options make it easier, cheaper, and tastier than ever to find the protein you need. By Team Iron...

    swarnavaSeptember 22, 2016
  • The Fix Is In

    Self-maintenance is part of the fitness lifestyle. These tools can help you keep your body in tune.   By Amanda Burrill,...

    swarnavaSeptember 12, 2016