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Q: Can I use a lat-contracted move as my first exercise in a modified preexhaustion routine for lats?

7205-cmass2Q: In one of the new chapters in 4X Mass Workout 2.0 you say that the V-handle cable row is both a midback-stretch exercise and a lat-contracted exercise. Since it’s a lat-contracted move, can I use it as the first exercise in a modified preexhaustion routine for lats? So it would be V-handle cable rows for 4X to preexhaust the lats followed by pulldowns to continue hitting the prefatigued lats. 

A: The short answer: No, not a good choice for your first lat move. The point of the preex workouts in the e-book The X-trordinary Pre-Ex 3X Mass Workout is to train the target muscle first in isolation—with no smaller ancillary muscles involved.

The V-handle cable row has a weak link—the biceps, a smaller muscle that’s directly involved. Consequently, you’re not prefatiguing your lats effectively because your biceps are tiring before your lats on the V-handle cable rows. You may not feel it, but you will on the next exercise.

When you get to pulldowns, your biceps will blown out—they are the muscles that have been prefatigued—and your lats get short-changed. In other words, your tired biceps cause you to crap out way too early, before the lats get much work at all.

The better choice for your first lat exercise is stiff-arm pulldowns, a more isolated lat move.

Or, if your gym has one, use the pullover machine. That gives you two positions in one move—you hit your lats’ stretch and contracted positions.

So do a 3X or 4X sequence of either stiff-arm pulldowns or machine pullovers, resting 35 seconds between sets. Then go to pulldowns, chins (you have to be strong to do enough reps on chins after prefatiguing your lats) or assisted chins on a machine. Here are a few modified Pre-Ex 3X lat routines to choose from:


Contracted: Stiff-arm

pulldowns (4X) 4 x 10

Midrange: Pulldowns (4X) 4 x 10

Stretch: DB pullovers (3X) 3 x 12


• Next is the minimalist POF lat routine—you train all positions with only two exercises:

Contracted & Stretch:

Machine pullovers (4X) 4 x 10

Midrange: Pulldowns (4X) 4 x 10


• Here is a good routine for trainees with lagging lats:

Contracted & Stretch:

Machine pullovers (3X) 3 x 10

Midrange: Assisted chins (3X) 3 x 10

Stretch & Contracted:

Undergrip pulldowns (3X) 3 x 12


Keep in mind that you can do 3X or 4X sequences on each exercise. Also, undergrip pulldowns are more of a semistretch move for the lats. You can use them as a stretch move if dumbbell pullovers aggravate your shoulders or you need a change.


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


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