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160 Sets in 2 Days: Gironda 8x8

There have been a couple of posts asking about Gironda’s 8x8 system, with no one reporting having tried it, and concerns generally being raised about the volume.

I decided to do it, partly because of interest in whether acclimating to it might result in better gains in a following higher intensity (percent 1RM) and more moderate volume approach; and secondly because of some chronic soft tissue problems and a hope that a few weeks at very low percent 1RM might do some good.

I’m doing it as 2 days on covering everything with two workouts per day of 5 exercises each, and one day off.

Which will work out to an average of 373 (!!!) sets per week.

However, since only about half the weight is used – I’m starting with 35% 1RM – that one would typically use for 8 reps, in terms of tonnage this is perhaps better compared to “only” about 180-190 sets per week.

Which still is higher than I’ve ever done.

So far, so good though. It feels great actually. Well, not while doing the latter reps of the latter sets.

I ordinarily would not mention what I was doing, as there is no reason for that to be of much interest, but the Gironda 8x8 is a classical yet little-known routine, certainly Gironda was a great man in bb’ing and he apparently believed very much in it, and there has been interest in it here but yet no personal testimonies. Plus it certainly will be interesting if it heals the soft tissue problems.

Are you doing the 15 seconds rest between sets as well?

I usually use 8 deep breaths between sets, about 15-20 seconds between sets.

I have not, however, used it twice per day . I usually do it M/T/TH/F upper/lower plus forearm split.

Are you doing the six count hold and squeeze at the top of each rep?

For twice per day, Gironda suggested (demanded?) the 4x12 where you did one giant set of twelve reps of four different exercises for the bodypart with minimal rest coming only after the last exercise. Then move to the next bodypart.

Good luck with your experiment.

I am starting at 30 with the intent of working down gradually if possible for me. I think the 15-20 second figure is for those acclimated to the system.

The 30 seconds is already very challenging once well into the group of 8 sets.

[quote]Bill Roberts wrote:
I am starting at 30 with the intent of working down gradually if possible for me. I think the 15-20 second figure is for those acclimated to the system.

The 30 seconds is already very challenging once well into the group of 8 sets.[/quote]

You will find that you get to 15-20 rather quickly. As I recall, I started with 45 secs and was down to 8 breaths in a couple weeks.

[quote]Arms Afire wrote:
I usually use 8 deep breaths between sets, about 15-20 seconds between sets.

I have not, however, used it twice per day . I usually do it M/T/TH/F upper/lower plus forearm split.

Are you doing the six count hold and squeeze at the top of each rep?

For twice per day, Gironda suggested (demanded?) the 4x12 where you did one giant set of twelve reps of four different exercises for the bodypart with minimal rest coming only after the last exercise. Then move to the next bodypart.

Good luck with your experiment. [/quote]\

Thanks!

I did not even know about that squeeze and hold. It is hard for me to see though how it would fit into the time frame of the workout. An added 6 seconds at the top would add 48 seconds to each set, or about 6.4 minutes added per exercise, or about 25-32 added minutes if doing 4 or 5 exercises.

Since the entire workout, including of course the time of the positives and negatives themselves, was pretty short, I don’t see how that could have fit in. But I don’t know, of course.

I am assuming that the Gironda-preferred tempo was about 2 second positives and equal-speed negatives (which is slower than I’ve been doing for quite some time) and so the sets are taking me about 30 seconds each.

[quote]Arms Afire wrote:
Bill Roberts wrote:
I am starting at 30 with the intent of working down gradually if possible for me. I think the 15-20 second figure is for those acclimated to the system.

The 30 seconds is already very challenging once well into the group of 8 sets.

You will find that you get to 15-20 rather quickly. As I recall, I started with 45 secs and was down to 8 breaths in a couple weeks.

[/quote]

That’s good news. :slight_smile:

It is a six count, not six second, squeeze and hold, which with my counting takes about 2 seconds. It makes a HUGE difference on how you feel during sets 7 and 8.

In the videos I’ve seen, the positive and negative is just at a slow, relaxed pace. I would say my pos/neg tempo is 1 to 1.5 seconds each.

Gironda felt the optimum time for the total workout is no more than 45 minutes. I’ve read somewhere that GH is produced for no more than 37 minutes, so that probably figured into Girondas methods.

The best advice I can give you on surviving the eight sets is to only worry about the 8 reps of this set. The next set will take care of itself. When you can get 8 reps on the eighth set, it’s time to add weight to the exercise.

Ah, in that case I wound up doing something similar on some exercises, for example seated rows, but not all.

I agree, I definitely wouldn’t have been able to worry about other sets, and didn’t.

Thank you for the information from the videos. I may stick with the 2:2 as it’s quite different for me, but given what you’re said, where I may need to I could let it be a little bit quicker.

I did Gironda’s 8x8 for about 10 weeks this year to get away from higher loads due to some soft-tissue / joint issues and to lose some fat (hypocaloric diet).

My experience so far:

  1. very enjoyable: it had been pretty refreshing to get out of the usual ‘lift heavy ass weights’ rut
  2. my strength increased a lot faster with pulling movements than with pushing ones
  3. my joints felt better
  4. my love handle area lost a lot of fat
  5. pretty taxing, though. I needed more sleep than usual.

Have fun, Bill.

I employed Gironda training late summer after a successful fat loss phase. My rationale was that I was keen to maintain my fat loss gains and level of conditioning, so thought Gironda’s system might lend itself to that - as well as perhaps moderate mass gain.

I would sum up the experiment by saying the main issue for me was ‘progress’, or lack of. The short RIs in particular made it difficult to recover between sets. This was despite the fact I was as fit as I’d ever been in my life following lactate circuits, etc, during the fat loss phase. This was especially true with leg training.

Gironda appeared to advocate using the same load for the entire 8x8. And unless the load was extremely light I found myself breathing fire after 2-3 sets. As a result I dropped it to 6X6 and managed to get to 40sec RIs on lower body work but never progressed past that.

So excellent training but more suited to conditioning than mass-gaining, in my opinion.

What exercises are you using for your split?

I’m interested to see how this works for you. I recently began reading all of the articles over on the main website devoted to Mr. Gironda. He seemed to contradict himself at times, but then I suppose he just espoused many methods. One thing I did learn from trying some of his methods was that, even when ramping to a top weight, I did better with short rest periods.

Some of the articles on the aforementioned site stated that he would usually divide the 8 sets between two exercises for the same body part, moving immediately back and forth. Will you be doing this, or using one exercise for all 8 sets?

One exercise for all 8 sets.

[quote]garyjamison wrote:
What exercises are you using for your split?[/quote]

Day 1, workout 1
Smith CGBP
Incline Press
Lateral Raise
Hammer Strength Biceps
Triceps Pushdown

That took up the hour. After having a PWO drink, using the sauna, and showering, I came back and did EZ-bar curls as well since the biceps didn’t feel done. Next time I’ll do those in the 2nd workout, which would bring both workouts to 5 exercises each.

Day 1, workout 2
Smith Overhead Press
Plate Raise
JM Press
Seated Dip

Day 2, workout 1
ATG Squat
Hack Squat
Leg Press Calf
Supinated shoulder-grip pulldown
Standing ab pulldown

Day 2, workout 2
Deadlift
Seated Row
Good Mornings
Machine rear delt fly
Seated calf

On the squat, I figure percent 1RM including half of bodyweight, as the legs do have to lift at least that. This is not so important a detail for those who squat for example 500 while weighing 180, and who are training at a high percent 1RM, but it makes a big difference in figuring the weight when, sadly, being a more modest squatter (in my case, 370 ATG at presently 200 lb) and working at a low percent 1RM.

So I figured 35% as (370+100) x .35 - 100 = 64.5

and thus did it with a sad-looking single 10 lb plate on each side. As Popeye would say, How embarrassking. :wink:

It did prove lighter than necessary. But I am sure I could not have done 35% of the 370 with no factoring of lifted bodyweight. I don’t know what will prove to be about right but will move up.

On the getting-enough-air factor that JamesBrawn mentioned: This protocol can indeed really get you breathing. One thing I have never understood is the video of Tom Platz doing some huge number of reps – over 30 – with some really major weight, over 500 lb. He doesn’t appear to be breathing hard during the set or even after! How can that be!

Unless his body somehow massively activates the anaerobic metabollsm while not at all maximizing aerobic metabolism.

Anyway, for sure this training gets my heartrate and breathing rate well up. I’m sure that when I find the right weight on squats, I’ll be laying on the floor for a bit after the last set, clawing for air.

Here was my routine using Gironda methods:

Day 1 - Legs 8x8
A1) BB Lunge
A2) DB Step-up
x4 supersets with 40s RIs
B) Calf work
C) Ab work

Day 2 - Chest, shoulders, triceps 6x6
A1) DB Flat Press
A2) Dips
B1) DB partial press
B2) Side Laterals
C1) Decline DB Extensions
C2) Rope pressdown
x3 supersets with 30s RIs

Day 3 - Off

Day 4 - Back, biceps 6x6
A1) Reverse pull
A2) Chins
B1) Hammer curl
B2) Reverse Curl
x3 supersets with 45s RI
C) Forearm work
D) Rotator cuff work

Workout records show that after 4 weeks I was only able to add 2.5kg to my lunge and 1kg to my step-up, and unable to reduce my RIs from 40secs! Brutal

I didnt do 8x8, but I remember doing a 10x10 about 2 years ago.
I was doing pairs, would pick two antag movements and do that ALL session till I got my 100 reps a side. Generally I used a 70%1RM.

Mon: 10x10 Bench variant + 10x5 Rows in between sets

Wed: 10x10 Back Squats nothing in between

Fri: 10x10 Tris and Bis

the friday arms day didnt do too much for me at all, though the bench and squats day were almost perfect.

by the end of the program I had switched to something a bit different

Mon: 5x10 Flat Bench, then 5x10 weighted dips/1arm DB row

Wed: 10x3 Cleans, 10x3 chin ups, or muscle ups when I eventually got them.

Fri: 10x10 Back Squats, then 3x5 curls

This worked for me a lot better. Though, it ended up a completely different program. The point is the 100 reps for squats and bench still existed, simply, this format worked better for me.

Took 60 minutes, which was the lunch break I had, so that worked out perfectly, and didnt let me dawdle on rest between sets, and I put on 6lb of muscle over the 6 weeks, my bench capacity rocketed, so that when I switched back to lower reps my bench went up really fast. The I don’t remember how my squats went, though I am sure my work capacity rocketed and I gained decent glute lbm. if I could change anything I would have added in 3x5 glute-ham raise to the end of my squat day, if I had any energy/time left.

It is semi-related, and I AM giving it positive feedback, so I hope this helps, Bill.

Forevernade

Thanks!

It is definitely related.

While not doing it this time, I’d considered making 10x10, though not supersetted, as a bridge between the very low percent 1RM 8x8 and following heavier work. I have done it the supersetted way you describe: it works well.

I did his course last summer 8x8 for 3 weeks, then 6x6 for 3 weeks followed by 4x12 + burns for the final 3! I found that by starting at 45 secs for rest then instead of trying to increase weight I reduced time, by 5 sec intervals. The original course was an upper/lower split six days a week

V-bar dips
Short pulley rows
seated lateral raises
rope pushouts
preacher curls
barbell wrist curls

legs were

Hack squats
Lying leg curls done vince style
donkey calf raises 8x20

Admittedly I couldnt get 8 sets of donkey raises as the calfs gave up on me!

i did gironda 8x8 for about 2months in all, really enjoyed it, my first leg work out i did squats 8x8 15 sec rest (went straight in at 15 sec rest) never tried squats again after, brutal. did press and lex ex. made good gains. ive read his book unleashing the wild Physique, i thik he only advocated training 2 times a day for genetically gifted individuals. Mohamed Makkawy was a pupil of vince, and for a short time Arnorld was as well, vince first words to arnorld were “you look fat to me” from what ive read about vince he seems quite an intresting guy!

I wasn’t initially planning on twice per day.

What happened was, I wanted to do 2 exercises per bodypart, and although I had found that Gironda preferred only 72 hours between workouts for a bodypart and I wanted at least twice per week, keeping the workouts within an hour with 2 exercises per bodypart would require, it seemed, a 4-way split with one day off.

So I went into the gym planning to do that.

However, after doing the Smith CGBP and the incline press, I found I could not do the next planned exercise (Smith overhead press.) It just wasn’t there.

So I changed the plan on the fly.

Since I am doing it for only 3 weeks, in fact want to be pushed to the edge in terms of volume by the end of that while switching into a lower volume phase, and do pretty well with volume I think it will be fine for me. I do think it would be too much for an extended period, or even for the 3 weeks the 2x/day would likely be overkill for many.