Anyone Done Waterbury High Frequency?

Hi folks…first time posting. Long time reader. 50 year old been living serious for 4+ years.

Has anyone done this Waterbury High Frequency program and if so, can you speak to it’s effectiveness? Thank you.


I didn’t do that specific program but I did my own high frequency training. Squat went from 335 pounds (my default, untrained state all the time) to 415 pounds by squatting heavy daily, sometimes missing a day or two on some weeks. It took me 12 weeks to attain that. As the weeks progressed, I used heavier weights for less and less reps while maintaining the crazy frequency, so it wasn’t like the whole thing was static from day one.

This wasn’t the first time I did this either. High frequency training works.

I haven’t done Waterbury’s, but for what it’s worth, I just wanted to share my own experience.

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Thank you for that insight. Did you gain muscle/hypertrophy as well as strength?

Disproportionately more strength than muscle size. I don’t think high frequency works for muscle SIZE. But I was also lifting no lighter than my 5RM at Week 4 and beyond. So it may be possible that if you apply the same approach but with higher reps, you’ll get BIGGER. I’m not sure.

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Just to add, I had the best leg hypertrophy ever when I ran “Smolov Jr” 4 consecutive times. I was significantly weaker than on my 415 squat, but the thigh muscularity was absolutely insane. At least relatively speaking.

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It’s one of the methods I’ve found myself returning to through the years. For me, it is simple and effective. I would say it will suit you if your focus is on full body, 3-4 times a week training.

Given I train at home, I typically set it up as a circuit of 3 exercises. I then periodise the rep schemes, usually 8x3, 5x5 and a higher rep session, e.g. 3x15. Rest intervals are short, so the actual sessions are short, and you get the type of conditioning effect Arthur Jones used to advocate.

I also like his loading method. For example, the 8x3 is set up to enable you to get 8 sets of 3 (max). So the load goes up, down or stays put depending on fatigue levels. While with 5x5, you select a load that permits 5 good reps to failure. You then continue to use that load until you get all 25 reps for each exercise, taking as many rounds in the circuit as required.


I have circled back around to this type of training as I have gotten a bit older and have less time to train and can say it’s a great way to train.

Having said that, I think it’s a good way to end up big and strong, but maybe not the biggest or strongest. It’s a great happy medium for people looking to be in good shape (muscular, lean, strong, mobile) but likely won’t yield a high level body building physique or a HUGE squat number.

But if your goal is just to be big and strong it’s a good way to go.


Not sure which specific program you’re referring to, as pretty much all of Waterbury’s programs are high frequency. There’s pretty much no bad choice among them and they all work off of shared principles. This article talks about his cornerstones.

Like Lonnie said, they’re super-practical and effective for guys who don’t have the time/energy/interest in hitting the gym five days a week. And like JB was saying, the set/rep schemes Waterbury regularly uses (10x3, 8x4, total reps per movement instead of specific sets and reps, etc.) can be game-changers.

Gironda called 8x8 “the honest workout”, but I’m pretty convinced that 10x3 with a strict 60-seconds rest is the legit honest workout.


To add a touch to this, I honestly cant say that training in this manner resulted in any reduction in the amount of mass I carried when I was doing much MUCH more body split training.

Now, maybe thats because I already had a base established, but its not like everyone is asking me if I stopped going to the gym or anything. Now maybe my arms could be 4% bigger and I could carry around another 5-8 lbs of lbm If I trained 5 days a week on a body part split, but I just dont see it.


Thank you for all of the feedback. Seems worth trying for my situation. I just get a little hesitant any time reps go below six or 8% due to my age and fears that the heavier weight will cause issues that will derail my training.

Regardless, it seems I could adapt the general principles of high frequency training without needing to specifically utilize what I perceive as to be too low of reps for my situation.

I hear you, although provided you have no issues with heavier compounds then you should be fine. Don’t go to complete failure. On 5x5, for example, while using a 5RM throughout, your reps should still be explosive in nature; no grinders. As Waterbury says, when you can no longer move the weight quickly quit the exercise.

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That’s not an issue with Waterbury’s routines because he very rarely programs with heavier than a 5-6 rep max weight. So, just because you’re doing sets of 3-4 doesn’t mean you’re lifting super-heavy. It’s about bar speed, cumulative volume, and shorter rest periods.


Coincidental timing for this question - I just listened to him on Joe Defranco’s podcast yesterday (actually a past episode; I’m just catching up).

The way he described it, it sounded more like a specialization routine. You’ll pick which muscle group you want to work on and do high frequency for that part for 3 weeks. Everything else will be at maintenance/normal. With what you’ve chosen, you do either 2 extra exercises/day, 3 days/week (1 exercise, 2 sessions), or 1 exercise/day, 6 days/week.

The exercises will be something easy and joint friendly, so not squats or deadlifts. You do one set to failure, looking to get a large pump. Pretty much everything should be able to be done at home, if needed.

That’s the basic outline. I’d have to go back and listen again to see if I missed any details. It was just a podcast and he mentioned his book has some nuances for different muscle groups, so there may be a bit more to it.

It’s actually something I’m considering trying. It’s not meant to be very CNS taxing and my volume isn’t crazy right now, due to short time slots at the gym, so this might be a good time.


You are missing the piece that he assumes you are training on a 3 day full body routine as a baseline.

So to specialize your biceps for example you would add on an exercise for you biceps at the end of your full body workout (generally speaking this is a workout consisting of a compound push, pull, and leg exercise)

He has programs in the last that look different and they all work, but his latest material evolved towards the three compound exercise, total rep amount workout.

For example workout A would be Squat, DB Bench and T Bar Row. 4-6 rep “Max” (defined as the rep where the bar speed starts to slow, indicating fiber fatigue), for a total of 25 reps.

B would be a DB stiff leg deadlift, DB shoulder press, pull-ups for 12-15 rep Max, for 40 reps.

C would be lunge, incline press, and cable row for 20-25 rep Max for 50 reps.

Then if you want you add biceps at the end of all of those workouts for a few weeks.

Tons of examples on his website, and his books are like $5-10 used on Amazon (huge in a hurry is a good start) if you want full routines mapped out for you for each goal.


Yeah, you’re right, I missed that part. He does prefer full body work outs, 3 times/week. So, if someone’s looking to do a “Waterbury-esques” HFT, then maybe base it around that.

In general terms, though, I don’t think the HFT piece absolutely must be paired with full body. Waterbury says he prefer full body simply out of efficiency, as it allows the most time away from the gym. Specialization routines have been around a long time, in various different training styles, though. Westside is known for their extra workouts and doing a high frequency of things like triceps band press downs, for example. There was another upper/lower split program I did about 8 years ago that used some arm training at the end of each training session to bring them up. Specialization cycles are also used in bodybuilding to bring various body parts up.

So if the OP is interested in Waterbury, then consider full body, as you mentioned. If it’s just HFT in general, I think there’s a bit more leeway.

For sure. I just meant in regard to when he specifically is talking about it he does do within the framework of his training style. Although as you said adding frequency or volume can be done with any program

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I hear you and totally agree.

Still on the subject, a routine I ran before Christmas for a bit of a change was his wave loading scheme. Principles are the same, 3 exercise circuit, but you pick a 7 RM. You undulate the rep’s for each exercise and round. For example:

Chins x 5
Squat x 3
Dip x 1

Chins x 1
Squat x 5
Dip x 3

Chins x 3
Squat x 1
Dip x 5

Repeat for 1 more round. Worth a try for a switch up.

Interesting. I’ve never done any kind of mini-circuit like this. So you’re using loads that would allow a 7RM for each exercise and how long do you rest between rounds and those numbers you have there are (5,3,1) are the number of sets?

How do you manage each of the clusters or round of exercise groups if you’re doing 5 sets of A, 3 sets of B, and 1 set of C? Does it progress to just doing A and B after you’ve done your one set of C? And then eventually just the A after you’ve done 3 sets of B?

Sorry, maybe I’m confused. This who HF and your workout mentioned are all a complete paradigm shift for me.

Its reps. You are effectively doing 16 reps in total for each exercise, assuming you make all reps. Unlike standard circuits, you do different reps for each exercise every round. Try Google and you should find his illustration, which will explain it much better than I am here.