When a structure is irradiated by a pulsed cold X-ray with high energy density, the instantaneous deposition of energy will induce melting, vaporization, and sublimation of the outer layer of material(s). As a result, the material(s) will blow off and hence lead to a so-called blow-off impulse. This kind of impulsive load will cause high-level structural responses. In order to investigate the effects, various test simulation techniques, such as the light-initiated high explosive (LIHE) technique, the spray lead at target (SPLAT) technique and the sheet-explosive technique, were developed due to the lack of proper X-ray sources. This paper presents a rod-explosive technique developed from the sheet-explosive technique. In this technique, the main property of the explosive, i.e. the specific impulse, is determined by using a pendulum test facility. The simulation load (equivalent to the cosine-distributed specific impulse on a conical shell induced by X-ray) is designed by load discretization and impulse equivalence. Numerical simulations of structural responses to both X-ray loads and rod-explosive loads were performed for validating the test simulation technique. An application example of testing a complex structure is briefly given in the end. The rod-explosive technique has the features of low costs and rather high fidelities. It provides a new approach for testing the structural responses induced by X-ray blow-off impulses.