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160 Sets in 2 Days: Gironda 8x8

I can definitely see this working as a break from or transition into a heavier, lower volume phase (as is your plan, Bill). I would think that using this method of density for any longer than that would require me to throw the idea of getting stronger on any kind of regular basis out the window.

For those that have read more of Gironda’s official material: where does the 8x8 fall into his overall scheme? Did he mainly use it as a split? Was it for contest conditioning, or was it a regular routine?

He used on his definition course pre contest! In his own words it was designed to plump out the muscles through honest hardwork. it was used for 3 weeks and a weeks backoff training then into a heavier 6x6 and finally a 4x12 + burns. That protocol falls in with his train for 21 days rest for 7, the heavier bulking phase was a six week program using a giant set 4x12 upperbody/lowerbody split

ok, that would work, the body can cope with alot of training before it becomes “overtraining” for someone it could be after 2 weeks it would be to much if your doing it for 3 weeks that should be fine, just get as much sleep as you can and eat lots but im sure you know this lol.

as i said i read his book, in fact i did own it and did the silly thing of lending it out, then 6 months later looked for it and forgot who i lent it to…damm them to hell!
vince if a remeber correclty advocated 8x8 for everthing…size,strength,endurance,weight loss you name it.
he also said that eggs were highly anabolic if eaten in large numbers, were talking 60+eggs a day, i did 30 a day for 2 months once, never been stronger. not going to recommend it to anyone ever! i limited my carbs and got my energy from the egg yolk, did put quite a bit of fat on though.

slighty off course, 8x8 can be used anytime, if you think your trainings going stale throw it in, i also like to use heavy duty HITT training every now and then, anything that diffrent. you would do 2 exercises for main bodyparts one for everthing else. going to have to hunt my book down…

[quote]leon79 wrote:
For those that have read more of Gironda’s official material: where does the 8x8 fall into his overall scheme? Did he mainly use it as a split? Was it for contest conditioning, or was it a regular routine?[/quote]

He used it for more advanced trainees. In certain circumstances, this would included the giant compound set: 4 exercises done for 8 reps each as a superset twice - 8X8. Ideally you would split this over the course of a day. So in the morning you would do the superset once, and perform it for another round later in the day.

It’s a humbling routine IMO, because the very short RIs see you resorting to light weights in comparison with other programmes.

Yes. If “being seen” in the gym is what one is there for, or has much concern for, having about 35% 1RM on the bar and having a hard time getting 8 reps with it wouldn’t be pleasing for the ego.

i always leave my ego at the door when i go in to the gym!!, im not concerned with how heavy the weight is, just how heavy it feels. i belive that your muscles dont know how much their lifting, to them its just a load on the end of your arm. you lift it, your muscle fibres fire. The heavier the weight “feels” the more muscle fibres fire. all i can say is that i trained like this 8x8 for a good while, enjoyed it and got gains only once a day 3x aweek. i wouldnt train like it all the time, but then i change routines or weight/volume every 8-10 weeks or so. but i understand that lifting light weights does make me look like a pussy lol! people always have a tendancy of walking in when im struggling with light weights, they look at me with a what the? expression as i do my last drop set of lat rasies with a pencil…

Interested to see what this kind of training does for soft tissue injuries

Me too.

Certainly hasn’t aggravated them thus far.

I know Bill was gonna do this for three weeks, but I’m just wondering if there’s any update.

Starting the third week now.

I made the adjustment of going from training everything twice in six days (A, B, rest; A, B, rest) to twice per week (two rest days the second time.)

And of dropping the ab work to save on volume a little. I ordinarily don’t do ab work anyway and don’t find core strength to be a limiting factor.

Weights have gone up some though of course they’re still really light. I’ve kept the rest interval at 30 seconds.

I did have to “autoregulate” a bit in that on the the second workout of the second week, it was obvious I just didn’t have the energy to do hack squats after having done barbell squats. So I skipped those, and then decided I didn’t have the energy for the second workout of the day.

Which wasn’t skipped entirely, but rather moved to what would have been the second rest day ending out the week.

My left lat/rhomboid/teres/serratus area, which had been quite painful to even fairly light touch for more than the last year solid, is now not painful to the touch.

I have been able to do pulldowns, rows, and DL’s, which I had not been able to do for more than the last 2 months due to pain and each effort to work through it resulting in making the problems much worse yet. But I am doing them in this program without problem, though I do have to be quite careful at near the top of the range of motion in pulldowns.

My right forearm, which had been giving a fair amount of problems, is also now pain-free under ordinary circumstances and almost all the time in exercises, and only very slightly painful and even then only at times in a couple of exercises.

So there’s been considerable improvement in that front.

I wouldn’t recommend the two-a-day, at least at this volume, for the great majority of others. Although it’s true that I’m managing it without the juice and at age 47, still it’s clearly pushing it and would generally be too much.

I’ve actually put on a little fat: this is due principally to having bought a total by now of 5 lb of peanuts in the shell (really intended for my birds as an extra item) and for the most part, of course, eating them myself. However there is no way, in my opinion, I’d get through this volume if trying to cut. But the peanuts were overdoing it (I ordinarily avoid much buying of nuts as I can readily eat well over 1000 calories of them at a time and it seems like nothing to me, and does not reduce appetite for other food at all.)

I’m sure that Gironda is right that 8x8 can be a cutting routine, but I think not at 2 exercises for every bodypart twice per week. To cut, I would think this needs to be 1 exercise per bodypart for most bodyparts, else the volume is too extreme to allow cutting without (as personal guess) muscle loss or the nervous system going into a frazzle.

thanks Bill. I may be starting something like this soon. My joints are giving me the finger, and maybe this will help.

Thanks for keeping us up to date.

Sure thing!

I’ll add something after the 3 weeks are up as well.

Hi Bill

Interesting observation about the pain part. I found the Gironda training quite easy on the joints, etc. However, my shoulders didn’t like Gironda dips one bit so I stuck with conventional ones with a wide-ish grip. I didn’t attempt the press to neck, though.

Surprised to hear you gained some fat, although eat enough and any training system will not keep excess flab at bay! I thought from personal experience that was the main virtue of Gironda training - the conditioning aspect. Never convinced it was a serious mass builder.

I’m thinking the same. While Gironda claimed mass benefits, I suspect that at most this would have been something for the Type 1 fibers.

I wouldn’t be surprised if someone 20 years younger would have found it practically impossible to gain fat while doing this workload, rather than falling-off-a-log easy.

Pretty cool.

Very nice. Tnx Bill for the input.

Final report:

I wound up being very pleased with this.

The original pace proved to be a little higher than could be maintained for the 3 weeks: I wound up dropping the hack squat as well as the ab work and added a couple of rest days along the way.

As mentioned above, I would recommend less sets per workout and per week for most than what I did here. Five exercises once per day, or three exercises twice per day (or four and then three), would be a better plan for most. (I had deliberately wanted to over-reach and I’ve developed a fairly high tolerance for volume, and the paraworkout supplementation was excellent, thus I did somewhat more than this.)

Weights went up nicely, but still remained quite light (well under 50% 1RM for everything except leg press calf raises, which did get to about that figure.)

The improvement in the soft-tissue problems is very, very substantial but I’m not fully cured yet.

I’m going to continue the 8x8 for rows and pulldowns until the weight no longer progresses, and then gradually move up via 8x7, 8x6 etc in the hopes of completely healing the problems. Other exercises are going back to more-normal weights.

I had been intended to do a higher intensity / lower volume phase immediately after this, but it’s so nice having the soft-tissue problems so largely improved that I’d now rather get them fully healed, which perhaps continued work like this might do, whereas going balls-to-the-wall might get me right back to the previous poor status.

This may be entirely individual, but for me the best 8x8 exercise was calf raises. I have never been good at high-rep calf work: to get 20 reps I needed drastically less weight than, for example, 14 reps. Perhaps the 8x8 is giving me the benefit of high-rep-type work but in a way that I can do. Anyway, as long as the weight keeps going up, I’ll stick with 8x8 for calf work for half of calf workouts, and use heavy weight for the other half. It’s not that I have a measurable size improvement at this point, but with the weights going well up, that makes this seem worth doing.

Worst 8x8 exercise for me: Barbell squats. While ordinarily, if okay to say so myself, my squats are pretty as a picture and it doesn’t take mental effort for me to stay in the groove, in the latter reps of the latter sets with 8x8, it took enormous concentration to stay in the groove with multiple tiny corrections constantly being needed. I just don’t do well, it seems, with squats when so fatigued as to barely be able to lift very light weight (in terms of the barbell’s weight, less than 1/3 my 1RM.) I’m just not an 8x8 squatter. Someone else might be, though.

Now see, this is the kind of thread that should populate this forum.

Thanks for the enlightenment, Bill.

Interesting report! I have tried the 8x8 sporadically before, along with other schemes from Gironda’s various publishings. My favorite bodybuilding book is still ‘Unleashing the Wild Physique’, so many great bodies and ideas.

What kind of numbers were you putting up for your main exercises with this?

If I were to do it with, say deadlifts, and be at around 50% of 1rm that would leave me doing 8x8 with around 100 kg…Which, regardless of volume seems very low!

Aside from the soft tissue improvements, any visible changes?