T Nation

KorStrength's Hellraiser Solo Training


Not sure how many weeks this log is going to span. I’m normally a huge back squat and deadlift proponent, but seeing how I’ve been out of the gym for about 5 consecutive weeks and overall around 10 weeks due to a lumbar disc herniation (L4) from deadlifting (and it was totally my fault. I let my pelvis tilt anteriorly as I was coming down for about a quarter of an inch. That did me in) I went in search of a plan that would allow me to train all out, but limit the spinal load.

And even then, this is still a little out of my norm. I do more of a powerlifting set up with a few bodybuilder elements in my normal training. This is pretty much pure bodybuilding, and it’s intense as hell.

For those who aren’t familiar, it’s a four days/week routine and everything is 2 sets of 8+6 reps. The +6 are 5 count negatives, and they are done at the end of both working sets.

It’s quite humbling.

I don’t know my starting stats. I could give you what they were around ten weeks ago, but those mean squat. I’m going into each lift and figuring out my weights from there for now. All I know is I’m going to be quite a bit lower than usual due to what essentially amounts to 14 rep sets.

That said, here’s Day I.

Day I
Shoulders and Bis

  1. BB Seated Press - 2x8+6 @ 95 lbs - The 8 reps were easy. But the +6? Were not. I managed to get 5 1/2 reps on set #2, so I’ll be keeping this weight static next week.

  2. DB Seated lateral raises - 2x8+6 @ 15 lbs - These were a bit light. I think I underestimated my ability to do these. Going to go to 17.5 lb DBs next week.

  3. BB Front Raises - Used those fixed weight things. 2x8+6 @ 50 lbs - These were fun. I managed to get all the reps and sets, but the negative was hard to slow down to a 5 count. Going to keep the weight and work on slowing the negative.

  4. BB Curl - 2x8+6 @ 50 lbs - Fixed bar. Felt great. I think I can increase the load next week.

  5. Reverse BB Curl - Fixed bar. 2x8+6 @ 40 lbs - Again, the negative was challenging. Keeping the load the same.

  6. BB Reverse Wrist Curls - Fixed bar. 2x8+6 @ 20 lbs - Wrist curls aren’t something I ever do. These were freakin’ hard. But I got the reps. Weight stays the same next week

  7. BB Wrist Curls - Fixed bar. 2x8+6 @ 20 lbs- Easy. Weight goes up next week.

  8. 4 rounds of 30 sec on, 1:00 off stair master at 15/3. 1 round of 1:00 on, 2:00 off at 15/3. Going to increase the low end and add a round next week.


Day II

Given the herniated disc situation, I went very light with these. It was still intense.

General cardio warm up: 5.0 on treadmill for .25 miles (3:09 mins)

  1. Leg Press - 2x8+6 @ 360 lbs - Slight increase next week. Felt these a little in the lower back, but not pain. More like an intense stretch. Given that I was able to move just fine, I’m going to say this was a good feeling and I’m on the mend!

  2. Hack Squat - 2x8+6 @ 90 lbs - Slight increase next week. There was no feeling in the lower back at all with these. Felt great.

  3. Leg Extensions - 2x8+6 @ 80 lbs - These were tough to get a full ROM due to the back. I actually felt a twinge of pain if I went high with them, so I went to a comfortable distance to make sure I didn’t aggravate anything. Slight increase next week and will also look to increase ROM

  4. Lying Leg Curls - 2x8+6 @ 80 lbs - These were intense. I will go for the increase next week.

  5. Elliptical HIIT - 5 rounds 30 secs on/1:00 min light @ 10/3 - Add a round next week.

Had a hard time going up and down the stairs after today. Sign of progress. Excited for Chest on Tuesday… Going to add a heavy 3x3 on bench to start the day to keep my strength up and I’m going to do a some minor tweaking with the HRT Solo workout as well. Nothing crazy, but I’m going to get rid of the decline bench. They’re useless for me.



  1. Heavy flat - 3x3 @ 185, 225, 265 (8.5-9RPE) - not too upset with this. Further than I thought I’d be given my time away.

  2. DB flat - 2x8+6 @ 50 lbs - the negatives were tough. I overestimated the difficulty here, so up next week.

  3. DB Incline - 2x8+6 @ 45 lbs - the initial 8 were extremely easy so I doubted my weight choice… The negatives were EXTREMELY hard. Might increase next week but we’ll see.

  4. Low cable crossovers - 2x8+6 @ 15 lbs - light, but I haven’t done these in awhile and had no idea where to start. Slight increase next week.

  5. Skullcrushers - fixed bar. 2x8+6 @ 30 - light, but the negatives were intense.

  6. DB elbows out extensions - 2x8+6 @ 22.5 - wow. These sucked. Same weight next week. What a challenge

10 mins in sauna.

This is a humbling ass workout. These weights are a lot lower than I’m used to working with, but I’m really challenging myself.


Went way under where I should have been weight wise today. Not on purpose, mind you, just overestimated how hard each weight would be…

Day IV
Back and Calves

  1. Wide grip Lat Pulldown - 2x8+6 @ 80 lbs - increase

  2. Seated low cable row - 2x8+6@70lbs - increase

  3. Chest Supp. T-Bar row - 2x8+6 @ 25 - definite increase.

  4. BB Shrug - 2x8+6@135 - increase. Grip strength is going to be a limiting factor as it pertains to the negative portion down the line

  5. Rear delt raises - 2x8+6@15 lbs - increase

  6. Seated calf raise - 2x8+6@45 lbs - increase

  7. Seated Zercher Good Mornings - rehab work - 3x12 @ fixed bar 40 lbs

Session felt good… Just too light. Definitely didn’t push myself hard enough today. Hopefully that’s remedied next week.

Good first week of training back in the gym. Body feels good. Gotta add ab work in somewhere and I want to increase volume on back with chins on shoulder and chest days.


Week 2
Day I

  1. Seated Military - 2x8+6 @ 95 lbs - same weight as last week, but I didn’t need to pause to get all 5 reps. Up 2.5 lbs next week.

  2. DB Lateral Raises - 2x8+6 @ 17.5 - Challenging but fun. Weight will stay the same next week.

  3. BB Front Raised - 2x8+6 @ 50 lbs - Fixed bar. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to go up in weight with these. The negative is a real bastard. You gotta be built like a damn gorilla to stop the weight from coming down. Debating with myself to lower the weight and work my way back up or to stop being a pussy and just keep at it until I get it.

  4. BB Bicep Curl - 2x8+6@55 lbs - Was up from last week. The last negative or two were real bastards. Gonna be a game time decision on if I’m up or not next week.

  5. Reverse BB Curl - 40 lbs - same as last week, got these much easier. Up next week.

  6. Reverse BB Wrist Curl - 20 lbs - same as last week. Easy. Up next week.

  7. BB Wrist Curl - 30 lbs - up from last week. The last two negatives were a real burn but I’m confident I could increase the weight next week.

  8. HIIT Treadmill Cardio - 5x 30 sec on, 1:00 off @ 8.0/4.0, 1x 45 sec on/45 sec off @ 8.0/4.0

Good start to week two. It’s still humbling to be handling such light weights, but I really believe this is the right course of action coming off the disc injury. After I’m done with a good run on this program I should have increased mass and I should be able to get back to my squats and deadlifts.

I’m actually planning on squatting in week 5. Low weight, high reps, no negatives (but I’ll go with a slower tempo down). I won’t deadlift until I run into the end of this program and then I’m going to start as if I have no strength whatsoever. Feels good and this is VERY different than what I’m used to.


Day II

Changed some stuff up. The leg press was awkward with the disc injury, and although it’s improving I decided I didn’t want to push that. So I decided to try actual squatting instead. Started extremely light. Went deeper than I ever have. Figure if I’m going to start from the bottom and work myself back up, I may as well re-train the movement a bit and get deeper than parallel.

  1. General Warm Up - 6.0 on treadmill for 3 mins and 30 seconds, .34 miles

  2. Jump Rope - 2x100 jumps

  3. Squat - 3x5 @ 135, 155, 175 - Next week will be 3x3 @ 145, 165, 185. Slow and steady wins the race. I will get back to where I was and better, but rushing it is not a good option.

  4. Hack Squat - 2x8+6 @ 110 lbs - Was an increase from last week and was brutal with the negatives. Will increase again next week, though, because it was a mental barrier, not physical.

  5. Reverse Hacks - 2x8 (no +6). Skipped these last week because I was nervous about my back. Did them this week with only the weight of the hack machine. They felt alright so I’ll add a little weight next week and consider the +6.

  6. Leg Extensions - 2x8+6 @ 85 lbs - It’s light as hell for the 8 reps, but those 6’s though. Holy shit did they burn. Still, up next week.

  7. Lying Leg Curls - 2x8+6 @ 85 lbs - Same as above, but slightly easier. Increase next week.

  8. Elliptical HIIT - 5x30 secs on/1:00 off @ 10/3, 1x45 seconds on/45 seconds off @ 10/3 - Increase to 6 and 1 next week.

  9. Sauna - 10 minutes

Great leg day. I can feel the improvement in the back and I am very encouraged by my progress. I’ll be back and better than ever sooner rather than later.



  1. Bench - worked up to 245x3, wasn’t feeling triples today at all, so I added a single at 270. Went up nice and smooth. Curious where I am max wise, but I’ll lay off of that for now.

  2. Flat DB - 2x8+6@55 - easier than last week. Felt good. Definitely felt the pecs working. Up next week.

  3. Incline DB - 2x8+6@50 - also easier than last week. The last two reps were a real grind. Not sure if I’ll keep it the same or raise it next week. Game day decision.

  4. Low cable crossover - 2x8+6@20 - felt good. These are a lot tougher than you’d think. Kept the focus on contracting the pec.

  5. Skullcrushers - 2x8+6@40 - fixed bar. Felt the burn. Will decide up or same next week.

  6. Elbows out extensions - 2x8+6@22.5 - I’m not sure these are going to increase ever. These are grueling, especially after skullcrushers

  7. 5ish minutes in sauna


Day IV

  1. Lat Pulldown - 2x8+6@90- easy enough. Love the burn the negative gives but I can definitely go up next week.

  2. Seated Low Cable Row - 2x8+6@80?- I’ll have to look at my training log. Might have been 90. I got it recorded accurately there. Whatever it was, up next week.

  3. T-Bar Row - 2x8+6@35- this is one of the more humbling lifts on this program so far. I used to do sets of 5/6 with a ton of weight. Now doing 8+6 is a fight. The negatives really change the fatigue level of this lift. Slight increase next week.

  4. Deadlift/BB Shrug - 2x8 @ 145- no negatives here. This is my first time deadlifting since the herniated disc. I decided to make it a combined effort. Each rep from the floor. Deadlift, shrug, control down. I was extremely nervous and I definitely felt the muscles activating in the lower back. If I keep steady but slow progress, I definitely think I’ll be fine psychologically. But my mind is definitely against me with the deads. Oh well. Progress.

  5. Rear delt raises - 2x8+6@20 - these were a bitch in the negative portion. Same weight next week.

  6. Seated calf raise - 2x8+6@45 - easy. Up next week.

  7. Seated Zercher GM - 3x10@50 fixed bar - getting that lower back rehab work in.


Week 3
Day I

  1. Seated Military - 2x8+6 @ 100 - increase next week

  2. DB Lateral Raises - 2x8+6 @ 17.5 - increase next week

  3. Fixed Bar Front Raise - 2x8+6 @ 40 - went down from last week and focused on form. Keeping it here next week.

  4. EZ Bar Bicep Curls - 2x8+6 @ 45 lbs - Even though I was fine last week, I lowered the weight and put even more emphasis on form. Went well. May increase next week.

  5. EZ Bar Reverse Curls - 2x8+6 @ 35 lbs - Same as above

  6. EZ Bar Reverse Wrist Curls - 2x8+6 @ 25 lbs - increase next week

  7. EZ Bar Wrist Curls - 2x8+6 @ 35 lbs - increase next week


Day II

  1. Squat - worked up to 225 for 3. Kept going as low as my body allowed me. Felt pretty darn good. Belted up for the first time in a long time and I felt the difference. Was capable of a lot more, but again, not going to do anything stupid at this point.

  2. Hack Squat - 2x8+6 @ 120 - up next week

  3. Reverse Hack - 2x8 (no negatives) @ 10 lbs - Adding weight and doing negatives next week. I got the form down now.

  4. Leg Extensions - 2x8+6 @ 90 lbs - Increase next week

  5. Leg Curls - 2x8+6 @ 90 lbs - First set was fine. Second set I only managed 4 negatives before I hit failure. Same weight next week.

  6. Treadmill HIIT - 6x30 sec on, 1:00 off @ 8/4.5, 1x45 sec on, 45 sec off @ 8/3.5



  1. Bench - 3xAMRAP @ 225 - 14, 7, 6 reps. Didn’t plan on doing this… Just kind of did it. Felt great, but definitely skipped DB Bench tonight!

  2. Incline DB Bench - 2x8+6@55 lbs - Holy hell these were hard. I got 5 reps on set 1 of negs and 4 on set 2 of negs. Keeping the same weight. I WILL conquer it.

  3. Low Cable Crossovers - 2x8+6@20 lbs - Same as last week. These were a nice change of pace from the first two lifts. Definitely not “hard” but had a couple great battles. Up next week.

  4. Skullcrushers - 2x8+6@45 lbs - Used the EZ Bar. The lighter weight, emphasis on form and the slow controlled reps and negatives really make for an excellent tricep session. Loved it. Up next week.

  5. Elbows Out Tricep Extensions - 2x8+6@22.5 - Kept the same weight as last week (and the week before). These are getting easier, so it’s time to really challenge myself and move up next week.

Wow, what a great day. I’m beat the eff up. Not a big fan of training to failure all the time, but used sparingly with a good spotter I think it could be extremely beneficial. That 225 rep out session was a shitload of fun. Can’t wait to see where I am size wise at the end of this 8-12 week cycle. I can already see the size I’ve put on… Then it’s back to moving some big ass weights. Back seems to be healing up nice, too. Keep it slow and steady and I’ll be back and kicking ass again in no time.


Day IV

  1. Lat Pulldowns - 2x8+6@100- felt easy!

  2. Seated low row - 2x8+6@90- up for sure

  3. T-Bar row- 2x8+6@45 - easy

  4. Deadlift/shrug - 2x8@155 - slowly working the DL back up. Felt great. Best my back has felt. Was very, very happy. LONG way to go.

  5. Rear delt raise - 2x8+6@20 - up next week

  6. Seated calf raise - 2x8+6@70- up.

  7. Seated Zercher GMs- 2x8@60 - up

Great day. I think I’m going to go 8 weeks on this routine and during the course start transitioning to more compounds without negs.


Week 4
Day I

  1. Seated Military - 2x8+6@105 - only got 4 reps on last set negatives. Shooting for same weight with two complete sets next week

  2. DB lat raises - 2x8+6@20 - same next week

  3. Fixed Bar front raises - 2x8+6@40 - same next week

  4. Straight bar bicep curls - 2x8+6@55 - same next week

  5. Straight bar reverse bicep curls - 2x8+6@45 - same next week

  6. Reverse wrist curls - 2x8+6@25 - same next week

  7. Wrist curls - 2x8+6@35 - same next week

We’ll see what lifts I keep and which I change headed into next week. I think I’m going to start more linear progression on the main compounds, although I may keep seated shoulder as is. Or I may keep things similar and just change up a few lifts for the next four week cycle. So far so good.


Day II

  1. Squat - two real working sets… 225x5 and 255x3. 255 felt good. I’m on the mend. I know I have a LOT more in me. Just trying not to be stupid.

  2. Hacks - 2x8+6@130 - easiest week so far. Up next week

  3. RDL - 2x8+6@95 - switched out the reverse hacks for these. There’s still pain down my femoral nerve, but it’s tolerable and got better with every rep. I focused completely on form and these went well. I have to keep reminding myself that it’s a process when I’m going so light, but it is.

  4. Leg extensions - 2x8+6@100 - easy this week

  5. Cable crunches - 2x8+6@49.5- felt great.

Great day. Looking forward to bench day in the morning.


good work … the negative part… from solo hell raiser work is it after failure on main set…? lets say leg pres…
do i do 8 reps then do more 6 with slow negative ? or rich failure first?