Connect
To Top


Slow Down to Speed Gains


Q: I just got your e-book The X-centric Mass Workout. I read it in one sitting—one of your best by far. My question is, you list a number of workouts, but you always have only one X-centric set in them [lift in one second, lower in six], and it’s always the last one in a sequence. Can I do more X-centric sets? What about doing them first instead of last?

A: An X-centric set is a great way to finish off a 4X sequence or to do as your last set of standard sets. That’s because it augments the pump with a longer tension time—about a minute if you get eight reps. It’s also one of the best ways to get muscle innervation.

According to muscle-building authority and IRON MAN scribe Greg Zulak, innervation is “the ability to feel, sense and control the working muscle.” He says getting more innervation is “a shortcut to larger muscle mass and muscular development.”

I agree. Muscle innervation ensures a big pump and heightened fiber recruitment. The slow negative on each rep makes that happen.

So X-centric sets can work well as your first set—or even your first two sets. They will prime fibers to fire on the sets that follow, and that’s especially beneficial for us older trainees looking to prime the pump with a bit of prefatigue so we won’t need mega-heavy weights on the sets that follow.

Here’s how I’ve been doing that on a Progressive-Speed 4X sequence—and it’s working very well on my 55-year-old muscles:

Set 1: X-centric—lift in 1 second and lower in 6—for about 9 reps

Set 2: X-centric—1/6 tempo again—for about 7 reps

Set 3: Standard—lift in 1 second, lower in 3—for 10 to 12 reps

Set 4: X-celeration—final set with speed, each rep lasting 1.5 seconds—for about 12 reps

Can you do the first three sets in X-centric style? Absolutely. There are no rules set in stone. Just be careful, as X-cen sets can get you mighty sore, but they can build mass galore. —Steve Holman

Editor’s note: For more on X-centric sets and moderate-weight growth-threshold 4X mass training, see The 4X Mass Workout 2.0 and The Ultimate Super-Size Crash Course, e-books available at X-Workouts.com. For e-books on X Reps, fat-loss nutrition and ­bodypart specialization, visit the X-Shop at X-Rep.com.

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Athlete Interviews

  • Get A Good Workout with Mike Rashid

    Muscle sensation Mike Rashid, whose motto is “Train Your Mind as Hard as You Train Your Body,” explains his shoulder massifier step...

    Cindy MamJuly 16, 2018
  • Interview Q&A with Amber Dawn Fokken

    It’s hard not to be captivated when looking at Amber Dawn Fokken. Her striking blue eyes and perfect physique are a...

    Cindy MamJuly 9, 2018
  • Q&A With IFBB Men’s Physique Pro Jason Poston

    The path of IFBB Pro Jason Poston has not been an easy one, but that has not stopped his success. It’s...

    Cindy MamJune 18, 2018
  • Not Your Typical Workout

    ByJay Ashman Photography by Michael Neveux Athlete: TJ Hoban Shot on location at: Dave Fisher’s Powerhouse Gym (Torrance, California) There are rituals we...

    Cindy MamMarch 29, 2018
  • Kyle Clark Workout

    By Alexander Cortes Photography by Michael Neveux Athlete: Kyle Clark Shot on location at: DAVE FISHER’S POWERHOUSE GYM (TORRANCE, CALIFORNIA)  ...

    Cindy MamMarch 26, 2018
  • Danny Hester: King of Consistency

    If you want results, you do the work. If you want to be one of the fittest men on the planet...

    Sharon OrtigasOctober 12, 2017
  • Dr. Cat: Closing Incisions & Deals In Heels

    Dr. Cat is a surgeon, publisher, business woman, fitness inspiration, wife, and mother who has shattered stereotypes of what it means...

    Sharon OrtigasAugust 25, 2017
  • Cori Baker

    This IFBB Bikini Pro champion proves that you can be an elite competitor and a mom all at the same time....

    Sharon OrtigasJuly 4, 2017
  • Sheena Jayne Martin

    This former lawyer is New Zealand’s most prolific Bikini Pro. By Mike Carlson   PQ: “My shoulders are on the dominant...

    Sharon OrtigasJune 21, 2017