Tip 190: A simple method and very effective method to increase functional hypertrophy and maximal strength.
There is an excellent method popularized by Iron Man magazine editor Steve Holman called X reps. Basically, X Reps are simply doing roughly 6-10-inch (15-25 cm) partial movements near the stretch point of an exercise after you reach full-range failure. In other words, when you can't get anymore full range reps on incline presses, you lower the bar to just off your chest and fire out partials—to extend the set, provide more tension time and achieve more high-threshold motor unit overload.
I would classify X-reps as a functional hypertrophy type of system, it is good for athletes who want to gain mass they can actually use on the playing field. I would make sure that you reach failure around the 4 rep mark for the full range part of the exercise. For obvious reasons, a spotter would be necessary for exercises that work extensor chains such as squats and presses. For flexor exercises, they are readily applicable safely, and can foster greater hypertrophy without the help of a spotter.
Since it creates quite an overload on the contractile proteins, I would suggest to use it once every other workout for a given bodypart. Another advantage is that they help strengthen the stretched position of the range of motion. For people who struggling with pull-up variations, it is a phenomenal plateau buster.
Because of the velocities involved, X-reps would be done first in the training unit, when the CNS is fresh.
Copyright ©2010 Charles Poliquin