With the pandemic’s mobility restrictions and gyms ordered closed, exercising from home has become thenew normal. And chances are that this trend is here to stay. The question is what are the best ways to do resistance training with little to no equipment or space?
While researching efficient at-home workout programs, we came across the X3 system, a portable and more effective alternative to free weights and resistance bands.
Meet Dr. John Jaquish
The X3 system was developed by Dr. John Jaquish, a researcher in biomedical engineering that has been called “The Tony Stark of the Fitness Industry” for his innovative flair. Dr. Jaquish became interested in the science behind variable resistance training in an effort to help his mother, who had been diagnosed with osteoporosis, build muscle mass and bone strength.
Applying his knowhow of biomechanics, and after years of trial and error, the results of his efforts yielded two ground-breaking solutions: the Osteostrong system for increasing bone density, and the X3 System for building muscle.
The Science Behind the X3 System
The X3 System is based on the concept of variable resistance training. This approach to building muscle addresses the shortcomings of using weights or gym equipment that provides constant resistance. Given the biomechanics of the human body,our power output varies greatly at different points in any range of motion. The difference can be as much as 7 times from weakest to strongest point.
The implication of this when using fixed resistance training is that we overload our joints at some points of movement and underload our muscles at the points of highest power. That’s one of the key reasons why we often hit a plateau in the results we get from fixed-resistance strength training.
A number of studies have shown that variable resistance training can yield results that are significantly greater than when using conventional weight training. For example, this study conducted by the Department of Exercise & Sport Sciences at Ithaca College, compared the strength gains of a group using variable resistance with a control group that trained with free weight resistance and found that:
“The improvement for the group using elastic resistance was nearly three times greater for back squat, two times greater for bench press, and nearly three times greater for average power.”
Better Than Elastic Bands
Variable resistance training has been widely embraced with the use of resistance bands as an alternative to traditional strength training. The X3 System takes this concept to the next level by combining three elements:
Multi-layered latex bands engineered to provide up to 600lbs of resistance. Most regular resistance bands are made of petroleum-based materials that cannot withstand high levels of force and lose their strength over time.
Olympic style bar with internal bearings. The X3 uses a 23.5 inch long stabilizing bar that attaches to the resistance bands for performing the exercises. The bar reduces the pressure of the bands on your joints so that you can perform the movement with the proper stability and range of motion and at maximum load.
Steel grounding plate. The plate functions as an anchor point for the resistance bands when performing exercises such as deadlifts, shoulder shrugs, or arm curls. This ensures that you have the proper support.
The X3 comes with a 12-week training program that includes most movements you can perform with weights or gym equipment including, among others:
- Standing chest press
- Triceps pushdown
- Overhead press
- Front squat
- Bent over row
- Biceps curl
- Calf raise
Because the X3 helps you recruit more muscle fibers through variable resistance, you get a full workout with one set of each movement at 15-40 repetitions per movement. Once you can comfortably do around 40 repetitions, you can jump up to the next band. Their recommended workouts take about 10 minutes, 4 times a week.
What You Can Do
The X3 is a practical system that allows you to perform all the strength training exercises you would typically do at a gym. Since it uses variable resistance bands, you will get better results than using weights or similar gym equipment without the risk of injury. It is also highly portable so you can use it anywhere you go.
At $549 at the time of writing, it is not exactly cheap, but it will probably set you back less than a gym membership and it is certainly much cheaper than getting your ownequipment. The company offers a 30-day risk-free return policy, so you can try it for yourself and decide if you’d like to keep it. You can get it here.
If you want to learn more, check out this review by Ben Greenfield, and this one by Shawn Baker, MD. Also worth checking out is this one by Luke Voigt who walks us through his experience with an issue he had with his X3.