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X-Blasting North of the Border

X-Rep partials have been around long enough now that the approach is reaching all elements of the bodybuilding and fitness community. Take Ryan Malo, a 275-pound Canadian mass monster who’s striving for his pro card. He’s been hooked on X-Rep training for about a year and has gotten bigger. He plans to compete in the Canadian Nationals as a heavyweight at around 220 pounds. He said he’d added a solid 15 pounds since he joined TeamGots (, which is run by supertrainer Darren Mehling. Let’s see what Darren had Ryan doing to get bigger and more ripped.

WL: What are your goals right now in and out of the gym?
RM: I would like to win my pro card by the age of 29. I’d also like to start a family.

WL: How long have you been working with Darren Mehling and TeamGots?
RM: Darren Mehling has been awesome. I’ve been working with him since about March ’07. There have been some big changes in my confidence as well as my overall look and muscle density. He has the ability to bring about massive changes in his clients, even those who have been at it for some time, like me. He has many unique ideas and keeps updated with what is out there—taking seminars and classes. He has his finger on the pulse of what’s what and what works. I can’t say enough about the changes I’ve made with him.

WL: What is your current training split?
RM: Right now I stick to a five-day rotation, working one bodypart per day. I work out Monday to Wednesday, with Thursday off. Then Friday and Saturday I’m back in the gym. Each day has its own bodypart, with the exception of legs, which get trained as a unit. For example, I train quads, hams and calves on Monday; chest Tuesday; shoulders Wednesday; Thursday is off; bi’s and tri’s Friday; and back day is on Saturday. Darren has me rotate different theories and exercises often. Sometimes we superset; sometimes it’s straight sets and heavier weights. I do X Reps regardless, but sometimes I save them for the last set of a movement to avoid overtraining.

WL: Your arms look incredible. How did you build them to their current size?
RM: The bodyparts that seem to grab attention are my delts and my arms. When I first started training my arms, I’d go as heavy and as hard as I could. I never counted reps or sets; I’d blast them till I couldn’t move them anymore. The same went for delts. I’d do every exercise that I could think of and pump those things full of blood. That gave me a really good base to work with. As I became more in tune with the mind/muscle connection, I was able to lower the weight and make only the target muscle do the work. That enabled me to maximize the blood to the area I was working. The slower movement allowed for less cheating and created new stress on unused muscle fibers. X Reps have helped too, keeping blood in the target muscle longer and increasing the tension time. That’s greatly added to the detail and overall muscle maturity of my arms. I also include a lot of stretching. That’s something I picked up from Darren, who is one flexible SOB. [Note: Darren, as a superheavyweight, does the splits during his posing routine.] Stretching helps keep me injury free. I’m not sure if hyperplasia exists, but from what Darren tells me and what I’ve seen in IRON MAN, the idea seems to have merit. Hell, I look better, so it must do something. X Reps in the stretch position have really seemed to help this past year. Lots of sets and reps, lots of tension time and squeezing and, of course, stretching, stretching and more stretching. I’m looking forward to seeing how this next year will go with X-Rep training and working with Darren.

WL: Describe a basic arm workout. How about the last one you did, just to get an idea of what Darren has you doing.
RM: Sure. Last week Darren had me do the following. I performed each pair of exercises as supersets:

Seated concentration curls 4 x 10
One-arm kickbacks 4 x 12

EZ-curl-bar preacher curls 4 x 12
EZ-curl-bar lying extensions 4 x 12

Alternate dumbbell curls 4 x 15
Standing rope extensions 4 x 15

We supersetted a biceps exercise with a triceps movement with no rest, waited 30 to 45 seconds, then did a second superset. On the last superset we did six X Reps in the semistretch position, and after the workout we did fascia stretching and posing, as you recommend.

WL: I got the idea from John Parrillo. He does them slightly differently, but the isometric posing and stretching are direct from him.
RM: I like the fascia stretching. It’s hard work, which is probably why I don’t see many people doing it. Where did all the hardcore bodybuilders go?

WL: I’m with ya, bro. Keep up the X Reps, and let us know if you discover something new with them.
RM: Absolutely.IM

Editor’s note: Will Litz’s BodySpace page is For more on X Reps, visit

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