What bands should I use? How many reps should I do?#
It’s counterproductive to use a heavier band to fatigue with fewer reps instead of a lighter band with more reps (up to 40). If you make the force so high that you can only do 3 reps, you’re undermining the benefits of the variable resistance.
You want to keep in mind because we are using variable resistance with X3, we are also using far more muscle fibers in each movement, and with more weight, than we would otherwise use. The peak forces during a full range of motion X3 rep might exceed your 1 rep max with free weights. Despite this, you can do more reps because your muscles are under much less force in the weaker ranges of motion.
Weight lifting protocols no longer apply. To guarantee we fatigue the maximum amount of muscle fibers and promote both myofibril and sarcoplasmic hypertrophy, we do a minimum of 15 repetitions and a maximum of 40.
When you’re able to do 40 slow and controlled reps with a band, not counting partial reps, then you are ready to move up a band. Make sure to do each rep with a relatively slow speed of 2 to 3 seconds up, and 2 to 3 seconds down.
How many sets do I need to do with the X3?#
With the X3 you only need to do one set to exhaustion! One set with X3 brings a more complete level of fatigue than compared with conventional weights. Comparisons should not be made with the number of sets. The reason multiple sets are used with regular weight is that stimulus is only delivered in the weakest range of motion, when the least amount of muscle is firing. This means very little stimulus, but with X3 all ranges of motion are taken to fatigue.
Why only one set? How long should I rest between exercises?#
The beauty of the variable resistance is that you’re able to take your muscles to full fatigue in all the ranges of motion with a single set. And doing multiple sets just gives your muscles a chance to rest, which doesn’t trigger as great of a growth response as the body doesn’t recognize a deficit. Just make sure you’re using the right X3 band (see above).
As users start a set, fatiguing the strong range will have a powerful myofibril effect, because the user is not out of ATP/Glycogen/Creatine Phosphate (ATPGCp) just showing structural fatigue of the muscle. This is the most powerful effect of X3.
Next, in the same set, users begin to diminish range and go to fatigue in the lesser ranges. Here is where the sarcoplasmic fatigue begins, so stores of ATPGCp are depleted, thereby triggering sarcoplasmic growth, and the associated blood flow to recover the muscle, and because a portion of myofibrils are switched off, and lighter weight is used with diminished range reps, we fatigue the muscle to a greater degree from both the sarcoplasmic and myofibril perspectives.
The blood flow to recover will be stronger to compensate for this deeper level of fatigue, (large pump, many would call it) and this forces a stretching of the fascia (not specifically studied with X3, but this is the academic understanding). The combination of all of these elements executed to a safer and more powerful degree explains the accelerated muscle growth of X3 use.
Rest between sets only long enough to catch your breath.
This experience is far more intense than a standard set with weights, and we find that only one is required for maximum results.
Why are X3 workouts so frequent?#
Research shows the recovery window for muscular tissue peaks around twenty-four hours after exercise and is only slightly elevated by thirty-six hours. Since the X3 protocol alternates the muscle groups being exercised without any overlap, an every-other-day schedule means each muscle is getting forty-eight hours or longer to recover, which is beyond the thirty-six-hour minimum.
More frequent workout session protocols have been shown to provide a volume training effect. That’s why we recommend an alternating six-day, push-pull split after you’ve completed four weeks of the initial X3 protocol
Muscles are targeted three times per week for maximum results.
Why do we recommend such a high frequency? Is there a different rate of recovery based on what we’re doing with X3?
There’s not a ton of research on going to fatigue with such drastic changes in resistance.
When looking at the recovery rate of the muscle, or any tissue, it’s important to turn to studies that include a biopsy, where muscle tissue is cut out and analyzed under a microscope.
In a 1995 study performed by MacDougall and other researchers, muscle tissue samples were extracted and analyzed for protein synthesis. The researchers examined tissue at 24, 36, and 48 hours.
What they found was that the ideal muscle recovery time is 36 hours. Protein synthesis was at its peak at 24, and then it dropped off back to baseline at 36 hours. That means that you are done building muscle after 36 hours.
In other words, the muscles have recovered 36 hours after activity.
You will (primarily) work the chest, triceps, quads, and deltoids on your push days. If you work out at around the same time every day, you won’t target these muscles again for 48 hours. This allows plenty of time for recovery.
On your pull days, you will (primarily) work the traps, lats, glutes, hamstrings, biceps, and calves. You won’t target these muscles again for 48 hours.
With weights, it’s difficult for the body to ever fully recover. That’s because of the tremendous amount of load absorbed by joints, tendons, and ligaments.
Given the added level of protection provided by X3, you won’t need to keep taking time off to heal sore joints and damaged connective tissue.
How do I clean my X3 system?#
There isn’t really maintenance for the X3. If you wish to wipe down the bar and ground plate with disinfectant wipes, feel free. The bands are expected to get some wear and tear, kinda similar to a car tire.
Some of the ways to make sure they don’t break down faster than normal is to not use it on extremely rough surfaces like pavement.
If you want to clean your bands we recommend not using any cleaners or chemicals. Some gentle soap may be okay.
Will the muscle gained from using X3 be symmetrical?#
If you follow the program you should build wonderful symmetry with X3! A barbell-style workout like X3 is much better for building muscle symmetry than a dumbbell workout which is actually one of the reasons we don’t offer handle attachments with the X3.
Would there be a benefit to adding exercises along with the X3 routine?#
If you are performing the exercises correctly, you’ll have taken the muscles to full fatigue, so you likely wouldn’t be able to do additional exercises. That said, if you would like to participate in additional workouts, we advise completing a complete 12-week X3 program first.
Can I use separate handles with the X3? Or use X3 for one-arm pulls?#
The strongest people in the world use barbells (two-hand grip) not dumbbells (one hand grip).
There is a neurological reason for this that the majority of fitness enthusiasts are completely unaware of: If your body were to interface with a heavy object in a natural environment, would you just use one hand to pick it up? Of course not, that would be an unnatural way to pick up a very heavy object. How about two heavy objects? Would you try to handle them both at the same time? Again, no. This would greatly increase the chances of injury.
To protect you from this, your body engages neural inhibition when you are put in either of these awkward positions so that MUSCLE GETS TURNED OFF and the body is limited to lifting a much lighter weight. So is lighter weight good for building strength? No. Forget independent handles.
Crossover movements are a slightly different story since you need to go cross body for pectoral squeezing, so it’s a compromise, but independent hand movement is nonsensical in any other regard.
Here are two studies that go into more details#
Researchers in 2011 observed that subjects could lift close to 20% more weight with the barbell bench press as opposed to the dumbbell press, with further research in 2012 demonstrated a 10% greater force production capacity in standing overhead pressing. This was echoed in 2012 with yet another group of researchers.
Stock, M. S., Beck, T. W., DeFreitas, J. M., & Dillon, M. A. (2011). Test–retest reliability of barbell velocity during the free-weight bench-press exercise. The Journal of Strength & Conditioning Research, 25(1), 171-177. Saeterbakken, A. H., & Fimland, M. S. (2012). Muscle activity of the core during bilateral, unilateral, seated, and standing resistance exercise. European journal of applied physiology, 112(5), 1671-1678.
Where can I find the X3 Quick Start Guide and X3 Workout Card?#
You can download the packaging inserts included with X3 here:
- X3 Quick Start Guide – This quick guide covers all of the fundamental concepts of X3 and variable resistance. Please review the guide before using X3.
- X3 Workout Card – After you’ve watched the X3 12-Week Program videos several times and mastered the proper form and technique, this card can serve as a reminder of which exercises to perform on Push Day and which to perform on Pull Day.