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Modified Preexhaustion With a TORQ Edge

Q: I do four-week phases of different workouts from your various e-books. That strategy works great. I’ve gained 10 pounds of muscle in three months, and that’s after training consistently for 10 years. I’m getting ready to start the Modified Pre-Ex 3X Mass Workout. After all the positive talk about TORQ, I was thinking about using it on the first exercise, the isolation move. Is that a good idea?

A: Absolutely. I often use TORQ-ed up modified Pre-Ex as a shock tactic.

Remember, modified Pre-Ex does not involve supersets. Instead, you do all of the isolation-exercise sets first, up front, in a 3X sequence.

In your case you’ll use TORQ—that is, tension-overload repetition quantity—on that first exercise. You still do three sets, all with the same weight, but you do each to failure, 30-20-15, resting 45 seconds between them.

After 3X TORQ on the iso move, you go to the compound, or midrange, exercise. In the Pre-Ex 3X Workout the modified pre-ex routine has you do a standard 4X sequence on that exercise, which is a multijoint move; however, recently, I’ve found downward-progression 4X to be best.

For DP 4X, you take your 15-rep max weight but do only 12. Rest 45 seconds, add weight, and then do 10. Rest 45 seconds, add weight and do eight. Rest 45 seconds one last time, add weight, then try to get six. So your modified Pre-Ex routine for delts would start like this:


Contracted: Seated laterals (TORQ) 3 x 30, 20, 15

Midrange: Dumbbell presses (DP 4X) 4 x 12, 10, 8, 6


You will feel your delts working much more on the dumbbell presses after TORQ laterals—and the weight you use will not be mega heavy, even when you get down to six reps. So you will not stress your shoulder joints.

If you already have shoulder problems, you may want to do dumbbell upright rows instead of presses, but doing the presses after high-end hypertrophic fatigue via TORQ laterals will have you firing fast-twitch growth fibers to the max in your delts, especially with the progressively heavier poundages. You’re guaranteed a blast of new mass.

To finish delts and complete the Positions-of-Flexion full-range chain, you hit a stretch-position exercise, like incline one-arm laterals. You can do standard heavy sets or a 4X or 3X sequence.


Stretch: Incline one-arm laterals or one-arm cable

laterals (3X) 3 x 10


Don’t neglect stretch-position work. Stretch overload can have unique growth effects on muscle—increasing anabolic receptors and satellite cells. Those were the big reasons an animal study produced a whopping 300 percent mass gain after only one month of stretch-overload “workouts.”

So by all means, TORQ up modified pre-ex to get some sizable new mass effects—without joint stress.

—Steve Holman


Editor’s note: For more on moderate-weight growth-threshold 4X mass training, see The 4X Mass Workout 2.0, an e-book available at For e-books on X Reps, fat-loss nutrition and -bodypart specialization, visit the X-Shop at

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