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Arnold Used X Reps

Arnold had a tremendous instinct for building mass, and partials were one of the workout strategies that he relied on to shock his muscles

Q: I heard someone at my gym say that Arnold used X Reps. Is that true? I thought you 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 Jonathan Lawson and I discuss in our X-Rep e-books. We know that because we work alongside John Balik, publisher of IRON MAN and Arnold’s former training partner and nutritionist. We talk with John a lot about Arnold’s past training.

Arnold had a tremendous instinct for building mass, and partials were one of the workout strategies that he relied on to shock his muscles. Here’s an excerpt from the book 3 More Reps, by George Snyder and Rick Wayne, in which Arnold talks about his X-Rep application on curls—he called them burns:

“After [a series of full-range reps] you’ll find it impossible to do a complete repetition. But that does not mean the biceps muscle is completely exhausted. You’ll find that with some effort you are still able to get a few half repetitions…and when you can no longer do the half movements, you’ll find you can do a couple of quarter repetitions.”

No doubt about it, Arnold is prescribing end-of-set X-Rep partials—he just didn’t call them that. He also had a number of other X-Rep-style applications that we discuss in the e-book The X-traordinary X-Rep Workout—Chapter 3: Arnold and X Reps. For example, he often did his flyes in X-Rep-only style—performing 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 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.

Here’s another example: One of Arnold’s favorite biceps routines was standing dumbbell curls, incline curls and concentration curls. Again, that’s basic POF protocol—midrange, stretch and contracted. As I’ve said, when Arnold was in his prime, he was way ahead of his time: Follow his lead, and you’ll grow like a weed.

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 videos and Size Surge programs, see the ad section that begins on page 232. Also visit for information on X-Rep and 3D POF methods and e-books.  IM

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