The Poliquin Shock Method

6-12-25 for Lower-Body Gains and Fat Loss

Want to burn fat while building muscle? Use the 6-12-25 method. Here’s what to do.

It may just be the fastest way to get ripped without getting skinny. The 6-12-25 method, popularized by Charles Poliquin, facilitates massive lactate spikes, facilitating GH production. That means fat loss while sparing muscle mass.

The 6-12-25 method is where you do three exercises in a row for the same muscle group using minimal rest between those exercises.

It Looks Like This

1st Exercise: Use a heavier weight for 6 reps. Rest 10 seconds, then do the second exercise.
2nd Exercise: Use a moderate weight for 12 reps. Rest 10 seconds, then do the third exercise.
3rd Exercise: Use a lighter weight for 25 reps. Rest a few minutes and repeat.

Let’s take a closer look, then get into some workouts.

6 Reps

On the first exercise, you do 6 reps, but it’s not a true 6RM (rep max) weight. It should be more like a 8-10RM load. Heavy, yes, but not taken to failure.

12 Reps

Most people think of 8-12 reps as hypertrophy work, but it’s potentiated by the first relatively heavy exercise in this scenario. That’s why you’ll experience higher levels of metabolic stress, which decreases your ability to push loading the way you would if this was a stand-alone exercise.

But don’t worry. The trainability will actually be higher, and because you’re using lighter than normal loads, your movement proficiency will be improved.

25 Reps

Strength-endurance requires repeated bursts of high-intensity efforts. It’s a maximal force of power production, and you usually hear about it in relation to sports.

In our case, it’s important because it’s coming at the tail-end of this giant set. This means potentiation and metabolic stress are higher, but so is the onset of fatigue, which means you’ll likely be using a much lighter load than normal. Some may see this as a detriment but think of it as something that improves the aerobic abilities of fast-twitch muscle fibers.

Who Benefits From 6-12-25?

Everyone! But this method is for those who love doing a lot of work in a short period of time. Ex-CrossFitters who like to kick their own asses tend to gravitate toward it. It’s also for those who want to strategically target a lagging muscle group because this is a great “shock method” that can trigger new gains.

Check out these examples:

The Glute & Hamstring Grenade 1

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Trap Bar RDL 3-4 6 10 sec.
A2. Hip Thrust 3-4 12 10 sec.
A3. Russian Kettlebell Swing 3-4 25 3-4 min.

Now start it all over again for 2-3 more rounds. If you use enough weight, you’ll need the entire rest interval to recover fully.

Note: Use a load that’s challenging but doesn’t put you at the point of mechanical failure. For the RDL, a 10RM load will suffice.

The Glute & Hamstring Grenade 2

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Medball Loaded Glute-Ham Raise 3-4 6 10 sec.
A2. Glute Hip Thrust 3-4 12 10 sec.
A3. GHD Back Extension 3-4 25 3-4 min.

Leg Builder, Fat Burner 1

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Front Squat 3-4 6 10 sec.
A2. Front-Foot Elevated Split Squat 3-4 6/side 10 sec.
A3. Heels-Elevated Goblet Squat 3-4 25 3-4 min.

Note: For the front squat, use a 10RM load.

Leg Builder, Fat Burner 2

Exercise Sets Reps Rest
A1. Front Box Squat 3-4 6 10 sec.
A2. Rear-Foot Elevated Split Squat 3-4 6/side 10 sec.
A3. Low-Handle Sled Push 3-4 180 ft. 4 min.

Note: For the front box squat, use a 14-16 inch box.

Programming and Tips

Separate these workouts by 3-4 days. You might do one of the glute and ham grenades on Monday and then a leg builder, fat burner on Friday.

Your prescribed sets are 3-4 rounds, but you could certainly do fewer. Just make sure to do enough ramp-up sets before starting your actual work sets.

While these methods are incredibly effective, they likely aren’t what you’re going to use for months on end. Think about cycling these every few months for 4 weeks at a time.

Experiment with it. You can customize the exercise selection based on your goals.

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