T Nation

Waterbury 30-Rep Method


I need to understand how to build a 3 day a week program using the 30 rep method. Waterbury says to do this 3 times a week. Does he mean to do a full body workout hitting each bodypart 3 times per week w/30 rep method or does he mean hit a bodypart once a week. Please if someone could describe the workout for 3 days a week please advise. Thanks...


As a 3 day split I could see it being push/pull/squat. But I think he meant to use it in the context of full body training. Probably 3 or 4 bang for your buck exercises... probably.


It doesn't matter. Find a split you enjoy and get results from. If you like counting total reps instead of sets/reps go for it.


just do a classic 3 way split with "30 rep method" for you first couple of compound lifts


Buy Waterbury's book. Then you'll get the info straight from the source, and not a bunch of hybrid advice from T-Nation members who have no idea wtf the program entails.




I found it an interesting read with good principals.

Re read this also



I am going to use the 30 rep method as a full body 3 day week. example:

a1 bp 30 reps
a2 curls 30 reps

b1 rows 30 reps
b2 dips 30 reps

c1 squats 30 reps
c2 presses 30 reps


Hasn't it already been well established, that full body workouts only benefit beginners and has no place for an advanced or even an intermediate bodybuilder. once you get to a certain strength level, you just can't do your whole body in one workout.


Look up "Chaos and Pain" on google, you will have to do quite a bit of reading (it will be fun, trust me) but in the end you will see how someone can build a 3 day-a-week program that doesnt suck. Be ready to bust your ass every single time your in the gym with big movement though.

Its not necessarily for body bulding purposes, but it will add size and strength.


Have fun with that. I'm just a little disillusioned that you din;t read the article. That program is not even close to what he was saying.

Here's a quote

"The 30-Rep Method is my first line of attack to build a lagging muscle group." Notice the word lagging, not muscle group.

Since you are using a weight that you can only do 6 reps with, good luck on squat day. Ever did a 20 rep breathing squat?


"You can perform straight sets with 60 seconds of rest between each set, but I've found that it's more effective and more efficient to alternate between exercises for different muscle groups."

Which means that you will do squat and deadlifts back to back until you reach 30 reps.....

You see. The program is very simple. If you find your upper arm (as an example) lagging behind, you will do an a/b type of work out, three times a week, only biceps/triceps (any exercise you want). This is on top of your existing program.

This is not a stand alone program. But then again, the article!!!!!!

Like I said, good luck with that. Let us know how that worked out for you.


I read the article as more a way to help bring up a lagging body part...like lats or pecs for example. Even in the article, he suggests something completely different for quads and shoulders. I don't think he wants you to do 3 complete workouts of the 30-rep-method a week for every body part.

I've incorporated the 30-rep-method into my most recent workouts and got a real nice pump and some soreness deep in the lats. I used it on t-bar rows...and plan on using it for the next couple of weeks as well.

Good luck.


why would you go to this program? What is you background?


I did a chest and back workout using the 30 rep plan last week:

Flat dumbell press: 100x8, 100x6, 100x6, 100x5 etc. till I hit 30 reps-kept my rest to 60 seconds.

Seated Cable row: 210x8, 210x7, 210x6, 210x6 etc. till 30 reps-again rest kept at 60 seconds.

No other work for either bodypart.

This was a hard and intense workout. Left me seriously sore for over 72 hrs, there was no way I could have trained either bodypart again in 48 hrs.


hmm sounds painfuly fun...im gunna try a variation for my chest


I would not recommend this


I want someone to explain to me why I cannot do this routine. Is it too much volume, full body workouts not good for mass, won't recover, etc. I have been workingout for 40 years and trying various routines until I found what works.

I recently had cancer treatment and dropped 4o lbs. and went from benching 320lbs to 185 for 5 reps. I have done 5x5, 10x3, 10x10, 531, etc. I am not looking to gain strength but get some mass back. Please advise...


I just tried out Waterbury's full-body routine last month. Not sure which version it was, but it was like 5/3/1 in that you focus on one lift for the day (in this case 10 sets of 3 reps). So a squat focus day, BP focus day and a deadlift focus day. The other body parts were mostly supersets (dips SS w/ rows, etc). the main lift is decided on a percentage of 1RM, starting with 80%. These workouts kick your ass. This is not his 30 rep method to bring up a lagging body part, but you are completing 30 reps for the main lift of the day. The other body parts were done 4 sets of 6 reps.

I did not use this as a bodybuilding routine. I'm more of a PL'r (aspiring).



I recommend you start a thread with the same verbiage.
A few guys (and a gal) here have had cancer as well, and probably have some terrific advice for you.

Be well!


Ill second that.

And to answer your question: It's too much volume. You are using a weight that you can do 12 reps with and doing 30. Just too much volume for full body WO, three times a week.

Good luck.


I think it would be very hard if not impossible to recover in between workouts if you are doing a 3 day total body program. I could see doing 30 rep sets once a week for each body part. Or you could split your body-upper/lower and alternate workouts-mon. upper/-wed.lower/-fri. upper.