Q: I am reading the e-book Beyond X-Rep Muscle Building, and I noticed that you have a section on X-centric training. The thing is, it’s not the same as what you’ve described recently. Is one better than the other?
A: “X-centric” is our X-Rep vernacular for eccentric, which is the negative stroke of an exercise; that is, the lowering of a weight, like the downward portion of a bench press.
Our most recent description of X-centric training is lifting in one second and lowering in six. So doing eight X-centric reps would give you almost a solid minute of tension time on the target muscle. Plus, taking six seconds to lower the weight guarantees microtrauma in the myofibrillar strands in the muscle fibers.
Essentially, you achieve expansion of both the myofibrils and the sarcoplasm, the energy fluid in muscles that expands in response to long tension times. It’s a double dose of muscle growth.
We include routines built around this amazing mass-building—and fat-burning—method in The X-centric Mass Workout (available at X-Workouts
.com). So, what is the other version of X-centric?
In Beyond-X, Chapter 7 is titled, “X/Pause and X-centric Training”—but the X-centric details are different. We analyze a few studies that looked at negative-style training and fast-rep methods as well. The conclusion is that overloading the “max-force point” is key to getting extreme muscle size.
The max-force point is the turnaround of a rep—where you move from negative to positive—like the bottom of an incline press, dip or chin. That spot, the semi-stretch point, is very important. We call it the “X Spot,” and the X-centric method described in Beyond X is one of the ways designed to overload it.
You do a pure-negative set with a few X-Rep partials at the max-force point between reps. Remember, it’s not at the end of the set; you do the X-Rep partials after each negative rep. Here’s an example from the e-book:
“Tie 20 percent more weight around your waist for chins, climb to the top, lower slowly [in six seconds], and then do three [eight-inch] X Reps near the bottom. Do four or five of those pure negatives plus Xs, but be careful—you’re guaranteed to get mighty sore.”
There is another X-centric version described in Beyond X, but we don’t have the space to go into it here. All of the X-centric methods are great for packing on mass, but they also activate extra fat burning. In other words, X-centric sets can help you get leaner faster.
Studies show that the added microtrauma, or myofibrillar “damage,” you get from negatives requires bodyfat as energy to heal and regenerate. So you burn more fat as your muscles recover outside the gym, 24/7. Nice.
Give X-centric training a try to pack on new size and get your leanness on the rise.
—Steve Holman and Jonathan Lawson
Editor’s note: For more on X-centric training, see the The X-centric Mass Workout, available at www.X-Workouts.com.