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 1. 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.