Workout Routines

Gironda's 8X8 'Honest Workout' Adds Muscle and Shreds Body Fat Fast

Give this proven lifting approach try to quickly pack on the lean muscle mass.

incline barbell bench press
Duration 45 min
Exercises 4
Equipment Yes

If you’re a lifter with a bit more experience stuck in a plateau, consider trying Vince Gironda’s 8x8 method. Vince Gironda was a legendary trainer of Mr Olympia winners and blockbuster Hollywood stars alike. He was famous for cutting edge training and dieting methodologies. One of his favorite methods was the 8x8 workout, which he deemed the “honest” workout because of how much muscle fiber you could build in such a short amount of time. Much like it’s name, this workout will keep you honest about how much work you do in the gym. It’s a high intensity, high volume workout with a unique approach for progressing by shortening rest periods. Think of it as high intensity interval strength training. This style of training is ideal for anyone looking to add muscle and lose fat in a time efficient manner.

SEE ALSO: Lift Heavy for More Muscle

The “Honest Workout” training method can help you increase muscle size and lose body fat because of the way it combines volume and intensity. Progressive overload is a key ingredient for hypertrophy. With this workout you achieve progressive overload in the form of high work density (meaning you’re getting more work done via sets and reps in a shorter amount of time than normal) allowing for more muscle damage, which ultimately results in muscle growth. Similarly, the shortened rest intervals mean that your heart rate is elevated throughout the workout simulating the cardiovascular effects of an intense MetCon session. Your goal with this workout is to progressively decrease rest intervals while increasing weight lifted, if you achieve this you’ll be able to increase muscle mass while reducing body fat.

The workout consists of 8 sets of 8 reps per exercise with decreasing rest intervals between sets as you progress. During the first week of the workout your rest interval will be 60 seconds and once you’re able to complete 8x8 per exercise you gradually reduce the rest intervals by 5 seconds until you get to 15-30 seconds of rest. At that point you can add more weight to the exercise and start the process over.

For the load you use when you initially start the program it’s recommended you do around 50-60% of your 1RM. If you’re not used to doing this many reps in a set, err on the side of caution and choose a lighter load.  Another way to monitor the load you lift is that you should be able to get through 6 sets comfortably and start struggling during the last few reps insets 7 and 8, if you’re struggling with reps before set 6 the weight is too heavy. 

A few important notes to remember:

1) You should be using the same weight for all 8 sets of each exercise, if you can’t than reduce the weight where necessary.

2) Rest intervals must be strictly adhered to, make sure you time each interval and start the set immediately once your rest interval has ended. The lifting tempo for these exercises is 2-0-2 (2 seconds each on eccentric/concentric and no pause), which equals about 32 seconds per set. The total time for this workout should take no longer than 45 minutes including rest intervals.   

SEE ALSO: Get Results with Volume Training

Because volume is high in this workout keep training sessions down to just 3x a week and limit your exercise selection to one major body part per session. It might be wise to train your weakest body parts first.  With this high volume, high intensity style of training it’s also important for your nutrition and recovery to be on point.

Gironda's 8X8 Workout

Exercise 1

Hack Squat How to
Mike O' Hearn Doing A Hack Squat thumbnail
8 sets
8 reps
-- rest

Exercise 2

Incline Barbell Bench Press You'll need: Barbell, Bench How to
Incline Barbell Bench Press thumbnail
8 sets
8 reps
-- rest

Exercise 3

Seated Cable Row You'll need: Adjustable Cable Machine, V-Handle Attachment How to
Seated Cable Row thumbnail
8 sets
8 reps
-- rest

Exercise 4

Push Press
exercise image placeholder
8 sets
8 reps
-- rest