T Nation

Hardcore Workout or Idiotic Workout


I was always lifting heavy and it got me big, but I stopped growing consistently after a while. I wondered what it was? Was it my eating or my workout plan. I finally found out that high weight\low reps CONSISTENTLY eventually slowed my muscle growth to a snail. I just switched to a high rep and low rep workout scheme in order to gain size as well as strength. Is there too few\too many reps for either goal. (I want one load to be size and the other to be strength).

Now I know that you can just combine the two and do 10x8, but thats not my plan. I was wondering if anyone would like to try this for one day and tell me if it kicked their ass, or I am just a wuss, because it kicked my ass... badly. I did this for two weeks in order to get "used" to it. Sometimes I had to cut it short because I was about to barf. By no means was it easy, but I got to the point where I could finish the whole workout. I blame the nausea on my lack of high rep training, as that is where it occurred.

I urge anyone to try this for a day and see if they can complete a whole day's workout. Maybe I was going too easy on myself until now, but I found that this workout COMPLETELY made me feel like I had accomplished something that day. I have gained four lbs of mass in those two weeks. I am very grateful.

Now since this is different from what I usually see in a workout and I can't post my excel sheet, let me explain it.

ALL exercises will have these "settings":
Sets-A: 5
Sets-B: 5
Reps-A: 3-5
Reps-B: 12-14
Weight-A: 85% 1RM
Weight-B: 70% 1RM
Rest-A: 75s
Rest-B: 90s

That means that every exercise you see will have those ramifications. If anyone wants to tweak this for different workouts or thinks an altering of the percent woulds help me achieve my goals please post.

I usually have seven exercises a day, that means I will have a grand total of 70 sets per day. Every 2 weeks, I increase both weights percentages by an increment of 2%, until 6 weeks have passed. Then I re-test my maxes and go from there.

The sets are done in a certain order:
A (High weight\Low Rep) first, then B (Low weight\High Rep).

Example: I do 1 set of squats w\Weight-A, 1 set of leg curls w\Weight-A, then I go back and repeat until I have done 5 sets each. Then I do the same, but with Weight-B and a different amount of reps.

Here is my 2 week plan, (6 weeks total, just increase the weight % after 2 weeks)

Day 1\9
A1 BB Squat
A2 Lying Leg Curl
B1 BB Bench Press
B2 Chest-Supported Row
C1 BB Curl
C2 Tricep Pressdown
D1 Weighted Sit-ups

Day 3\11
A1 DB Shoulder Press
A2 Weighted Pull-ups
B1 Deadlift
B2 Front Squat
C1 Pectoral Flies
C2 T-Bar Row
D1 High Pull

Day 5\13
A1 Good Mornings
A2 Weighted Hanging Knee Raise
B1 DB Incline Bench Press
B2 Power Cleans
C1 Reverse Curls
C2 Skullcrushers
D1 Lateral Raise

Day 7\15
A1 BB Squat
A2 DB Lunges
B1 DB Decline Bench Press
B2 Power Snatch
C1 Hammer Curls
C2 Cable Tricep Extension
D1 Frontal Raise

Please comment on this as it is important to me. If you have anything that you REALLY think should be modified, please post. If you have a suggestion that may improve the workout SLIGHTLY, please post. Any and all feedback is welcomed.


Well you definitely are not under training. The amount of mass you are able to gain usually reflects the diet more than the regiment.

Keep in mind, being burned out is not an accomplishment....it is just a side effect.

I personally think you have too much intensity and volume. Then again I really don't understand your rep scheme.

What is the recovery time?


Unless you can do 12 reps with 85% of your 1RM, you better switch weight A and weight B.


edit: stumbled across your progress thread, you look much thicker in that pic, so disregard the comment that was here originally.

This site is chock full of better programs for you to do, why not check them out?


Oops! Thats a big error, thanks for finding that.


Any more feedback on this?


Are you for real? Did I read that right? 70 sets a day? Cos I only see 35.

Even so, I think it's more on the stupid side than anything else.

Yes it WILL get you results. For a couple of weeks. But you'll over do it fast.

Apart from the obvious, biggest flaws I see are supersetting money exercises (deadlifts and front squats???) where fatigue will cut down on your intensity massively.

Apart from that, and the incredibly over the top volume, go for it.

I hope you're on AAS, but go for it man, you'll never know if you don't.


I'm just gonna finish up my 4 weeks I guess, people are telling me this is too much :. Oh well, regardless I'm not on AAS and I don't plan to unless I'm in my late 40's. It is 70 sets though because you do 5 sets for the A section and 5 sets for the B section. Thanks for the advice, I'll just finish up and post results and move on.



All sets to be done 3x5 for heavy weight. Warm-ups as you like but no more than 20 total reps.


30 min light jog


Nice long walk (45min)

Power Cleans or Chins

Intervals for 15min


You can throw 1 exercise for bi and 1 for tri alternated on fridays only. Save the energy for the squats. Stay with this program until you reach 300 on the squats.

Eat healthy protein. Try to get all your meals from whole food sources and only have shakes post workout


I understand the goal of mass and burn some extra cals while you are working out. However at your stage it is too much. Err on the side of doing too little that way you have all the energy to focus on 1 or 2 exercises.

Steroids are not for you. Anabolic Food (meat, fish, chicken, eggs and milk) is needed urgently.

Alternatively, if you are really really determined. Do a squat specialization now. You said in another thread that you are starting with ATG. Take them only until you can do 2 wheels per side. Then add the other exercises. You will not look "pretty" but in 3 years time you will be ahead of all the kids your age.

Legs and back are the foundation of all power.


I like the idea but think it's too much volume. Still I applaud you on doing it bc that's a shitload of sets, I understand how you do it though. I think this is the type of routine that one you finish your 4 weeks, take a week off before you move onto your next one.

The SS of BB squats and lunges would be absolute death


i cannot keep intensity up for more then 20-25 sets. 30 MAX in a single workout. i also find if i do more im in the gym too long. But generally depending on the rep range, its 20-30 sets per workout. (thats including my shit for abs, external rotators etc)


:\ I don't think I'm learning the difference between stimulating muscle and annihilating muscle. My Box\90deg squat is around 375 lbs, while my ATG squat is 295 lbs. I am not a beginner, it is just I wanted to experiment with a new program.

EDIT : Just tested box squat today, around 435 lbs, failed on 455, but did 405 five times w/ a tad left over in the system. Maybe I was just tired, I dunno, I'll test it again.


OK I will be very blunt. Maybe get a lot of flames and some coaches angry by what I will tell you but here it goes.

The issue goes like this. You are young and natural. Most articles you read are geared with people who are taking tons of supplements, sleeping perfectly and doing everything right. Sounds reasonable? Hell no.

The variables that you need to control are simple.

Issue 1. How much weight is on the bar
Issue 2. How much food I am eating

This will determine all your intensity. You can beat yourself with all the weights in the gym, but if you are eating like crap you will gain too much fat.

Remember the old FITT
Frequency (days of week)
Intensity (% of max)
Tempo (how you work your reps)
Time (total workout duration)

Stimulating the muscle has to do with total tonnage of the workout. Take for example your
Day 1 workout (with the guidelines you mentioned):

Day 1
A1 BB Squat
A2 Lying Leg Curl
B1 BB Bench Press
B2 Chest-Supported Row
C1 BB Curl
C2 Tricep Pressdown
D1 Weighted Sit-ups

With the following rep scheme
Set A total 5
Reps A total 3-5
Volume A=15-25 reps

Set B toal 5
Reps B total 12-14
Volume B=60-70 reps

Grant total 75-95 reps

Assigning that into the exercises. Since you didn't assign data for the C ones

A1 BB Squat 75-95 reps
A2 Lying Leg Curl 75-95 reps
B1 BB Bench Press 75-95 reps
B2 Chest-Supported Row 75-95 reps
C1 BB Curl 75-95 reps
C2 Tricep Pressdown 75-95 reps
D1 Weighted Sit-ups 75-95 reps

Total workout volume 505reps ~ 665reps

And that is only for 1 day!!!

compare with Chad Waterbury's TBT (just a random example)
Workout general guidelines
Exercises 6
Sets: 3
Reps: 5
Total volume 90reps

Even if I was to include his general parameters it comes to:
Exercises per Session: 6
Sets per Muscle Group: 2-4
Reps per Exercise: 5-18

Rep total: 60reps~432reps

Your Total for day 1: 505reps ~ 665reps
TBT day 1 total: 90 reps

Less reps means you need to increase the strenght even more. The volume will come later.

Regarding the squats it's a different story. For additional info on some recent standards please read:


I also use the ones from Practical Programming which is a great book i recommend you to read for future reference:

I will use the 198lb standards

Untrained: 85
Novice: 116
Intermediate: 146
Advanced: 173
Elite: 234

Untrained: 135
Novice: 173
Intermediate: 213
Advanced: 289
Elite: 362

Untrained: 125
Novice: 232
Intermediate: 285
Advanced: 387
Elite: 504

Untrained: 156
Novice: 289
Intermediate: 333
Advanced: 457
Elite: 567

These numbers are for the 198lb lifter. The reps are to be done with full control of the bar and proper form. No jerking, bouncing or imbalance.

So in your case squat of 295 equates to just intermediate. For that case strenght training should be done 3 days per week. When you get to the advanced stage then you start playing with more volume and frequency.

I am not saying don't experiment, but take it easy on the volume and focus only on the compounds while making the assistance either on 1 day or at the end of the week.

I'm tired...talk later


What kind of body have you built using the methods you recommend, sawadeekrob?
Would you like to share some pictures of the development you've gotten from training the way you do?



It's good to see you have the motivation to test yourself with such a challenging program.

Days 3 and 7 look especially tough to me. I am a little older than you. If this where my program I would only do 3 sets for the B exercise for all days. I also would not do any ab work.

It's also unclear what your set/rep plan for C and D are?

But go for it. Please post your results.


Hardcore doesn't come from a workout, it comes from you. What's more hardcore, doing 70 work sets in a session or having a year long battle with one exercise knowing if you don't progress on it each and every time that you lose your favorite exercise for months?


Does the squat count as ATG or Box\90 degree? Because IMHO, Box squats and ATG squats are COMPLETELY different. My legs are definitely my most powerful feature, but I think I am not utilizing some muscle in my dead lifts, maybe it is my back or my hamstrings, but I definitely need to find out what it is. I think this because my squat is higher than my deadlift.


Oh, to minimize the confusion: The Weight-A , Weight-B, Rest-A, Rest-B, etc etc is correlated to the SETS, not the workouts. All the workouts have the same A + B weight, I just figured it A and B would be a way of describing the different rest\weight\rep differences. The A1 A2, B1 B2, etc is the super set, except with a rest period.