T Nation

8-12-8: How Many Sets? Frequency Per Week?

As above in reference to your latest T-Nation article.

I’m not Paul but you can easily design a simple upper-lower split including your fave exercises m, ramping up to 1 or 2 all-out sets. That’s how I do it.


I would do an upper lower and IT COULD look something like this:

Monday (Lower)
Back Squat - 4x8-12
RDL - 4x8-12
Lunges, Abs

Tuesday (Upper)
Bench Press - 4x8-12
BB Row - 4x8-12
Chin-Ups, Curls

Thursday (Lower)
Deadlift - 5x3-5
Back Squat - 4x8-12 (a bit lighter than Monday’s load)
Lunges, Abs

Friday (Upper)
OH Press - 4x8-12
T-Bar Row - 4x8-12
Pull-Ups, Curls

You get the picture.


Thanks for the input. Looks good.

I wrote about this on my IG.

I trained each muscle directly once a week, and did one top set per movement. That’s it. That’s what I did for the majority of those 10-15 years.

I didn’t train the muscle twice a week, I didn’t do whole body routines, I didn’t believe that “volume was the driver for growth” (it’s not). I focused on those single working sets and tried to get stronger on them.

I gave the list of movements.

Thanks, Coach!

1 Like

Hey Paul, love the low volume single set approach. What would be your thoughts on a set of 8-12 total reps rest paused? Hypothetically something like going from 4-2-2 to 6-3-3 over time, before adding weight. I believe Christian Thibaudeau has talked about this before to reach a set of 8-12, but didn’t really delve into progression. Would this be feasible for those of us who like low reps? Thanks in advance, love your work.

I don’t like that method because reps below 6 will be pushing for a higher degree of loading, which has a higher correlation of injury associated with it as well. A minimum of 6 reps for upperbody work, when training for growth is my standard. Anything less than that I think is sub-optimal. If you’re going to use a rest/pause approach then I find it best to hit at the very least 8 reps on the opening set.

Hello Paul,

I would like to ask you about implemention your method into my training. I have been doing full body routine Greyschool LP, where are main lifts 3x5+ (last set amrap). I am still progressing on this program and I love the structure but I would like to change set x reps for while/long term.
I know you dont use fullbody but do you think it is possible do this routine with method 8-12-8?

Let say Monday:

  1. Squat - instead of 3x5+ work/rapm up to 1 TOP set with weight I can lift 8-9 reps
  2. Bench - same
  3. Barbel row/Supported chest row - same
  • assistence exercise light (3x10/3x12 etc)

Continue with weight, even a few weeks, until I reach 12 reps, then add weight (like you wrote).


If you’re making progress on it don’t change it.

1 Like

What does yours look like these days, Brick? And are you able to retain the mass from your 4-way era?

1 Like

I will get back to this tonight. No, I don’t have the same mass I once did. I’ll elaborate on that.

1 Like

As I’ve said before in some spots on here, my working out from some time in 2017 to 2018 was scattered and half-assed because of my situation during that time.

I was getting back into the swing of things with a full body program, then moved onto an upper-lower split, as I said here.

It was a typical upper-lower split with four main exercises per upper and lower body workout with one or two isolation and/or ab exercises. I did that up until just recently. I did gain some of my muscle mass back but I am not what I used to be.

I do not suffer from training ADD, but I gotta say, upper-lower workouts became damn boring, and after participating in the “Driver of Muscle Growth” thread I got a lot more motivated and have gone to a low-volume HIT/HD-style workout for a push-pull-legs split and it’s been very fun for the past two weeks. I think this split is suitable for me considering I got very board with the upper-lower split but feel a full-blown four way split is not for me and my lifestyle right now. I work out very early in the morning, have a 2 year old, and am expecting another kid in August.

I am sorry for the late post. I’m usually on limited time when I post.


Congratulations, you will wonder how 1 child was ever a headache haha


X2, haha, when one kid is sleeping and we only have to deal with one, it’s like a vacation.

1 Like

HAHAHA I will third this comment. Dealing with one kid aint shit. It really isn’t. I have three girls and once we had our second one I was like “wow, what little bitches we were thinking one kid was difficult.”


Thank you. The goal is three. We’ll see if it works out.

Thanks for taking the time to clarify, brother. No need to apologize - and grats! My kiddo just turned 2, and I’m debating whether I should do upper/lower and simply rotate, getting in 3-4 sessions a week - OR do p/p/l also 3-4 weekly sessions (and accept the possibly lowered frequency the weeks I can only make it 3 times due to other obligations).

The advantage with p/p/l sessions is that the workouts are often shorter (for me at least).
I prefer that over the slightly greater frequency with upper/lower.

Btw, the goal is also 3 kids for me and my wife… But I may change my mind after the 2nd one, lol…

1 Like

Me and my wife both had kids before we met. I had 2 she had one and we have 1 together. For a grand total of 4 kids. Age ranges from 3-14. Since were blended sometimes it’s just me her and our little boy, so we got a dose of 1-4 at different times. When they all hit that age where they are all playing sports and cheerleading and this and that it gets hard. I’ve went weeks and weeks spending every afternoon at some type of ball field. Good luck man

1 Like

Thank you!