Jay Cutler training in the off-season is a sight to behold. He’s one of the few pros who actually look like bodybuilders while carrying 300 pounds. Hell, the man has abs at that weight. Most bodybuilders look more like linebackers or sumo wrestlers than bodybuilders in the off-season. Jay’s ability to stay lean while adding slabs of mass is amazing. How does he do it? One of his primary mass methods is what I call power X-Rep partials, or X-only sets.
For example, Jay starts his chest workout with Hammer Strength incline presses. He warms up with two sets, starting with two big plates on each side—and he even does his warmups in PXP style. That means he doesn’t do full reps. He does X-Rep-only work, focusing on the semistretch position of a movement, never going all the way up or down. That enables him to use massive weights with a higher rep count. It’s grueling and provides continuous tension through the entire set right in the key area of the stroke, stimulating the ultimate fiber activation. With the low-end partials Jay generates maximum muscular force and perhaps even hyperplasia, or fiber splitting.
He gets 19 total reps. At rep 12 he adds an extra low-end shorter X-Rep after every normal PXP rep. That shorter hitch rep is known as Double-X Overload, or DXO. By lowering and doing a short X-Rep-partial twitch near the bottom of the range, he appears to summon more power—and he uses the DXO technique randomly but usually toward the end of a set. After his first warmup set he does a set with three plates per side, again in PXP style, adding DXO starting on rep 12 for 16 total reps.
Next he ups the load to four plates and again does 12 PXP reps, followed by DXO on reps 12 through 16. After that set he stretches his pecs and lats for a few seconds on a nearby machine. Jay is a huge believer in the importance of stretch overload and stretch training. He stretches before, during and after every workout.
Jay adds another plate per side for his last two sets—five plates total on each end of the Hammer Strength incline press. He fires out 13 PXP reps again, adding the short DXO reps from rep nine onward to add to his time under tension.
On his last set it’s five plates again for 12 PXP reps—never locking out or going all the way into the stretch. Not only is stopping short at the bottom, the best way to generate force and maximum fiber activation, but Jay is also very aware of the potential for injury at the very bottom of some movements. While his reps are rapid fire, they aren’t explosive, and, once again, they are all in the middle range of the stroke. His form is solid, tight and very controlled. That comes from years of hard, grueling workouts. His form is not traditional, but for him it’s effective.
He uses a similar style on all of his exercises. Here’s his entire workout, as shown on his DVD “Jay to Z” (available at Home-Gym.com):
Hammer Strength incline presses
(PXP; DXO) (warmup) 2 x 15-19
3-4 x 12-16
Flat-bench dumbbell presses (PXP) 4 x 14
Incline dumbbell flyes (constant tension) 3 x 12
Bodyweight dips (PXP; DXO) 3 x 16-22
Decline barbell presses (PXP; DXO) 2 x 10-14
Editor’s note: For a detailed look at Jay Cutler’s training from an X-Rep perspective, see the e-book X-Rep Update #1, Chapter 5: Mr. O’s Wild X-O Workouts. It’s available at the X-Shop at www.X-Rep.com.