How the X3 Works

What kind of results can I expect with the X3 bar?

People are seeing much greater strength gains as compared to traditional strength training. Your results will be dependent on consistently doing your workouts and focusing on your diet. A large part of your results will be based on your diet, which is why we provide nutritional information to help you make better dietary choices to increase your strength.

How is X3 different from free weights (dumbbells and barbells) or typical resistance bands?

People don’t realize they are seven times stronger than they think they are, based on biomechanics. This is because for many movements, when you are in the strongest position (imagine the top of a pushup) you can exert 7X more force than when you are in the weakest position (imagine the bottom of a pushup with your nose touching the floor).

When lifting free weights (barbells & dumbbells) we can never take advantage of this because the only way to engage this capability is to have the weight drastically change in the movement. This happens when the force delivery is higher (heavier) where we are more capable, and lower (lighter), where we are less capable. This obviously doesn’t happen with free weights, which produce the same amount of force no matter what position you are in.

X3 provides a varying force that is greater where you are strongest and weaker where you have less force production potential. This causes a deeper fatigue and greater level of growth. People who try to achieve these high loads without the protection of X3, such as using heavy resistance bands by themselves, ultimately fail because the high forces required to get a good workout dangerously twists joints leading to injury. This is why the two most important parts of X3 are the bar and the ground plate.

→ Read more about X3 vs. Weights

Here are 7 different studies that show how variable resistance is superior to weight training with regular weight. The factor that makes the difference is VARIANCE. X3 provides the strongest level of variance ever seen in a fitness product hence more growth over other programs:

  • (Ghigiarelli, et al, 2009). 7-week heavy elastic band upper-body power in a sample of division 1-AA football players.
  • (Joy, et al, 2016). Performance is increased when variable resistance is added to a standard strength program.
  • (Rivière, et al, 2017). Variable Resistance Training Promotes Greater Strength and Power Adaptations Than Traditional Resistance Training
  • (Anderson, et al, 2008). Nearly three times greater for average power in some movements was observed comparing control group to test group for variable resistance versus standard weight training.
  • (McCurdy, et al, 2009). variable resistance banded bench press produce similar short-term strength improvement conventional free weight bench press while minimizing shoulder stress.
  • (Godwin, et al, 2018). Pushing power increased over standard weight protocols using variable resistance exercise.
  • (Cronin, et al, 2003). 10 weeks analysis showed banded resistance training resulted in a 21.5% performance increase compared with the control group.

Do X3 resistance bands build muscle or tone?

The X3 is for building strength! X3 resistance bands help stimulate muscle growth by allowing better stimulation during the entire range of motion. The variable resistance of the X3 bands allows you to load more force on your muscles in your strong range than compared to free weights, thus triggering better growth.

Your dietary choices will largely dictate if you bulk up your muscles or tone your body with the X3 system. If you are wanting to put on a lot of muscle, you will need to make sure you are getting 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight per day. If you want to get “toned” or “cut”, you want to focus on fat loss.

Getting toned is just losing fat so you can see the definition in your muscles. You will want to look into intermittent fasting and try to reduce as much sugar from your diet as possible. See the X3 12-week program’s nutrition recommendations.

What types of exercises can I do with X3?

The X3 can be used for a large variety of exercises. The X3 12-week training program will show you how to perform all of the listed exercises.

The X3 program is works all of your major muscle groups. Specifically the primary muscles groups targeted for each of the eight standard X3 exercises are:

  • Shoulder Press: Deltoids
  • Chest Press: Pectorals
  • Tricep Press: Triceps
  • Bicep Curls: Biceps
  • Bent Row: Latissimus Dorsi
  • Squats: Abdominals, Glutes, and Quadriceps
  • Calf Raises: Calves and Hamstrings
  • Deadlift: Trapezius, and Hamstrings

Does the X3 program work on my core and abs?

While there are no ab specific exercises, research indicates that the deadlift and the front squat exercises activate the abdominal muscles more effectively than ab-specific exercises. Abs are stabilizing muscles, which grow when used as such.

The X3 bar 12 week program stimulates these even more because the weight goes up, as you move into stronger ranges. With X3 there is more activation, more natural growth hormone triggering (this is a growth hormone axis) and more ab growth.

Does the X3 target fast or slow twitch muscles?

The training applied to stimulate fast vs slow twitch is turning out to be conflicting. The most conclusive evidence shows that momentary fatigue using resistance stimulates growth of both types the same. See this meta-analysis study:

Schoenfeld BJ. The mechanisms of muscle hypertrophy and their application to resistance training. J Strength Cond Res. 2010.

Does X3 help with osteoporosis or increase bone strength?

X3 will have little if any effect on bone density, the reason being that forces of 4.2 multiples of body weight are required to trigger bone growth, and most individuals aren’t capable of lifting that heavy of a resistance - even with the X3. If you’re looking to improve your bone density you’ll want to look into visiting an OsteoStrong location!

Why do you recommend against cardio with the X3?

The vast majority of people engaging in “cardio” exercise do so to reduce their body fat. This may be one of the worst approaches to achieving that goal because cardiovascular exercise up-regulates cortisol.

This has an impact that runs counter to what these fitness enthusiasts want. Cortisol reduces muscle mass and protects body fat so that you keep that fat in your body as a backup energy supply for as long as possible. Basically, your body adapts to its environment and endurance exercise sends a signal that the body needs a substantial energy supply available at all times.

The use of X3, on the other hand, does not increase cortisol like cardio does. Instead, X3 upregulates growth hormone, which can increase tendon and ligament repair, accelerate the loss of body fat, and increase general fitness levels.

Some people also engage in cardio because they want to promote cardiovascular health. It’s not well publicized, but research has repeatedly shown that strength training promotes the same or greater changes on cardio related health metrics. This is discussed at length in our book, Weight Lifting is a Waste of Time.

Cortisol is upregulated in endurance exercise. This sacrifices muscle in favor of protecting body fat. Schwarz, L., & Kindermann, W. (1989). β-Endorphin, catecholamines, and cortisol during exhaustive endurance exercise. International journal of sports medicine, 10(05), 324-328.

Higher cortisol levels are associated with muscle loss.

Peeters, G. M. E. E., Van Schoor, N. M., Van Rossum, E. F. C., Visser, M., & Lips, P. T. A. M. (2008). The relationship between cortisol, muscle mass and muscle strength in older persons and the role of genetic variations in the glucocorticoid receptor. Clinical endocrinology, 69(4), 673-682.

Higher cortisol levels contribute to faster and longer lasting body fat storage.

Moyer, A. E., Rodin, J., Grilo, C. M., Cummings, N., Larson, L. M., & Rebuffé‐Scrive, M. (1994). Stress‐induced cortisol response and fat distribution in women. Obesity research, 2(3), 255-262.


Over 100 studies analyzed (known as a meta-analysis) show brief, high-intensity interval training to increase endurance as much as, or more than, traditional endurance training. Importantly, duration appears to be less important than intensity. These data suggest that the shorter duration and higher intensity of resistance training may give it an advantage over intervals in building cardiovascular fitness.

Steele, J., Fisher, J., & Bruce-Low, S. (2012). Resistance training to momentary muscular failure improves cardiovascular fitness in humans: a review of acute physiological responses and chronic physiological adaptations. Journal of Exercise Physiology Online, 15(3), 53-80.