T Nation

Phil Hernon's Training Program


Hey everyone,

I'm about to start training with Phil Hernon's program- well, his old one anyway. I understand he does something a little different now, so I'm referring to the one where, for each muscle group, you do 3 sets to failure- one at 4-6 reps, one at 8-12, and one at 15-25. I know that's even slightly different (I believe his went 5, 10 and 15 actually) but it's a little better for me.

Anyway, especially from those who have experience (but anyone feel free to chime in) with this or anything VERY similar, here's what I'd like opinions on- For each muscle group, should I use only 1 exercise each day and just lower the weight for each set, or should I use 3 (i.e.- chinups for 4-6 reps, wide lat pulldowns for 8-12, and an isolation movement, like straight arm lat pulldowns, for 15-25)

I've always been a mainly (like, 98%) compound movement guy, but I could see, especially for the light set, maybe an isolation exercise working well there, especially like incline flyes for my lagging upper chest, etc. Here's the thing though- I use a DC style rotation of 3 workouts, so if I did 3 exercises each day, I'd actually have to use 9 different chest exercises total, which may not be a bad thing, as it would prolly be a LONG time before you hit a wall and had to drop one, hahaha.

Anyway, especially from you guys experienced with this type of training program, DC, Big Beyond Belief, etc, I'd like to get your opnions and a reason why. Thanks yall!



Well I don't have much knowledge of Hernon's routine, but if you were to use only one exercise, your volume would be significantly less, if I understand the routine correctly. Say you warm up and reach failure in the 4-6 rep range, all you have to do is drop weight to a range that will induce failure in the 8-12 range, and the same for the 15-25 rep range.

However, if you were to use three exercises, I can't see how you would directly go from failing in exercise one at 4-6 after warming up directly into failure at 8-12 in exercise two WITHOUT some type of warm up or ramp. Do you get my gist? With each change in exercise, you are going to have to warm up or ramp up to the appropriate weight to induce failure, which will inherently lead to more volume than option one.

Is the routine focused on shorter more intense workouts or a more volume based approach (or what are you more comfortable with)? I feel like that is important to consider when determining which route to take.



Hey Mike check out the T-cell thread started by Modok... "bodyparts once weekly" or something similar. Him and I exchanged a few posts on there about Phil's style and his experience with that sort of training, very good thread that I was just rereading the other day.

Personally I would just stick with 3 exercises total and rotate which one was in which rep range. I mean are there really 9 good hamstring moves?

I'll post up a great thread from another board that some may recognize that is pretty much exactly the style I was talking about.

I kept the part about the gear in there so you could see that it was a slight factor in what he does. 2 on 1 off or EOD with a protocol like that would be much better for those with mortal recovery ability. 3 on 1 off is perfect if you split the body 3 ways(which Phil does now with his guys).


Bumping this for Stuntcock.


Note to self... if you'd like to stop a thread dead in it's tracks just post a wall of text and ask people to read it lol


I read it :slightly_smiling: good stuff.

Edit: I might actually put shoulders with chest/tri's now so I can drop to a 3 way split and up the frequency.


I've read it before, and I read it again. I think it's a great philosophy.


looks very interesting and seems logical. I think i'll give it a shot once i give BBB a run through. I seem to be responding well to this higher frequency of training. Does anyone have any comments regarding deloads/backing off in either this program or BBB???


BBB doesn't have deload, cruise or time off. It's shifts from short rest intervals, higher ramping sets to longer rest periods, lower sets.


Week 1 is 3 sets 120 seconds rest, week 2 is 4 sets with 90 seconds rest and week 3 is 5 sets with 90 seconds rest. Then week 4-6 is 180 seconds rest with 3 sets. Once you've completed 6 weeks, you move on to the next 6 weeks and then the final 6 weeks for 18 total. No rest or deloading, which is what kicked my ass as well as the caloric needs are very high for recovery. You are doing full body workouts on day 3 and 4, it gets rough, I ran 11 weeks and had to call it quits.

I'm liking the ideas of Phil and may look at putting something together for my next start up here on Monday. I just took this week as a deload and only trained 2 days out of the last 7.

I'm very interested in getting more info on this training style. So I hope others can chime in.


Hey Braunbeck, sorry i didn't quite make it clear, i do undersrand BBB, i meant to say would it benefit from a deload?


For me "YES", I'm good for about 7-9 weeks max! It's weird, I'll plug along and then my recovery goes to shit, I'm like a bear with a chapped ass (mean, irritable) and I start getting strains/tears throughout my body. The first round with BBB was 5 weeks and I popped something in my upper quad, then I restarted it and popped some old scar tissue same leg, but in the groin. I also did damage to my good shoulder (right one) a week prior, it was just to much for to long, plus at my size I was told to consume 20-23 cals per pound that's like 7,000 calories per day, I was getting 4 to 4,500 daily and it worked for a while, but I just couldn't keep the recovery going.

If you are eating plenty and following the workout it will provide good results, I added size and strength throughout.

I just need a change, rest and restart with something I can control on a 6 week run. It's either Phil's theory or back to DC.