From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 Weeks

1,370 Comments

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After holding off for nearly two years, I’m posting this because too many people have asked for it. The lasses should read it, too, as the same principles can be applied to bodyfat loss.

I weighed 152 lbs. for four years of high school, and after training in tango in Buenos Aires in 2005, that had withered to 146 lbs. Upon returning to the US, I performed an exhaustive analysis of muscular hypertrophy (growth) research and exercise protocols, ignoring what was popular to examine the hard science. The end result? I gained 34 lbs. of muscle, while losing 3 lbs. of fat, in 28 days.

Before and after measurements, including underwater hydrostatic weighings, were taken by Dr. Peggy Plato at the Human Performance Laboratory at the San Jose State University, and I had blood tests taken on September 30 and October 20. Though this ridiculous experiment might seem unhealthy, I also dropped my total cholesterol count from 222 to 147 without the use of statins. No joke.

Here are a few comparative shots. Oh, and I forgot to mention, all of this was done with two 30-minute workouts per week, for a total of 4 HOURS of gym time:

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How did I do it?

First, some select stats on the 4-week change (9/21-10/23):

Bodyfat %- 16.72 to 12.23
Suit Size- 40 short to 44 regular (measured at Brooks Brothers at Santana Row in San Jose by a professional tailor)
Neck- 15.8″ to 18″
Chest- 37.5″ to 43″
Shoulders- 43″ to 52″
Thigh- 21.5″ to 25.5″
Calf- 13.5″ to 14.9″
Upper Arm- 12″ to 14.6
Forearm- 10.8″ to 12″
Waist- 29.5″ to 33.1″
Hips (Ass at widest)- 34″ to 38.23″

Here are the six basic principles that made it happen:

1. Follow Arthur Jones’ general recommendations for one-set-to-failure from the little-known Colorado Experiment, but with lower frequency (maximum of twice per week) and with at least 3 minutes between exercises.

2. Perform every repetition with a 5/5 cadence (5 seconds up, 5 seconds down) to eliminate momentum and ensure constant load.

3. Focus on no more than 4-7 multi-joint exercises (leg press, trap bar deadlift, overhead press, Yates bent row, dips, incline machine benchpress, etc.) and exercise your entire body each workout to elicit a maximal hormonal (testosterone, growth hormone + IGF-1) response.

4. Eat enormous quantities of protein (much like my current fat-loss diet) with low-glycemic index carbohydrates like quinoa, but drop calories by 50% one day per week to prevent protein uptake downregulation.

5. Exercise less frequently as you increase strength and size, as your recovery abilities can only increase 20-30%, while you can often increase fat-free muscle tissue up to 100% before reaching a genetic set-point.

6. Record every workout in detail, including date, time of day, order of exercises, reps, and weight. Remember that this is an experiment, and you need to control the variables to accurately assess progress and make adjustments.

For the ladies not interested in becoming the Hulk, if you follow a “slow-carb” diet and reduce rest periods to 30 seconds between exercises, this exact workout protocol can help you lose 10-20 pounds of fat in the same 28-day time span.

Once again, questioning assumptions leads to the conclusion: less is more. Detox from TV twice a week and put in your 4 hours a month!

###

If you enjoyed this post, check out my latest book, The 4-Hour Body, #1 New York Times and #1 Amazon bestseller. You will learn: How to lose 20 pounds in 30 days (without exercise), how to triple your testosterone, techniques for producing 15-minute female orgasms, and more.

You can also pick up the Expanded and Updated 4-Hour Workweek, which includes more than 50 new case studies of luxury lifestyle design, business building, reducing hours 80%+, and world travel.

Related and Recommended Posts:

Tim Ferriss interviewed by Derek Sivers
Tim Ferriss articles on Huffington Post
Tim Ferriss interview – common questions on lifestyle design and productivity

Posted on: April 29, 2007.

Please check out Tribe of Mentors, my newest book, which shares short, tactical life advice from 100+ world-class performers. Many of the world's most famous entrepreneurs, athletes, investors, poker players, and artists are part of the book. The tips and strategies in Tribe of Mentors have already changed my life, and I hope the same for you. Click here for a sample chapter and full details. Roughly 90% of the guests have never appeared on my podcast.

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1,370 comments on “From Geek to Freak: How I Gained 34 lbs. of Muscle in 4 Weeks

  1. Some people have talked about Pete Sisco’s Static Contraction training method. I actually used it for 60 days last year and had decent results. However, they were not that much better than what I would get from normal weight training (actually about the same). The difference was that the workouts were really short and infrequent. I stopped using the technique because it just wasn’t that enjoyable. I never got that pumped feeling from working out. It was also pretty tough to find enough weight in the gym to use…and tough to find a spotter all the time to get the machine or weights in the right position. Power-racks helped but even with them, these problems remained.

    That said, I am going to give the program Time used a try (as per The Colorado Experiment) for the next 30 days. I did my first workout using the one-set-to-failure technique and it was one of the hardest (and shortest) workouts I’ve done in a long time. It really felt good. I’ll be blogging about my progress.

    I really don’t need to gain 34lbs in 4 weeks…but I would surely love to gain about 20lbs 😉

    we’ll see how it goes…..now time to go drink a protein shake!

    Like

  2. I’d have to agree that you look pretty fit already. As a ‘real’ geek, I’m currently just aiming for the body you had at the start of your program, and after 4 months of going to the gym for an hour 4 times a week I am nowhere near.

    I AM a lot fitter, and more toned, but the big problem I have, and it sounds like you found difficult too, is ‘how on earth do you eat that much’.

    I really struggle to manage 1500 cals per day. The 5000 odd you were managing I can’t even begin to get my head around. Would be really interested in more detail not on the exercise program but the eating aspect of it!

    Thanks – your results are really impressive.

    Like

  3. Hey Tim,

    Have you tried this diet on someone that is overweight?? not obese but overweight? Becasue 5000-8000 cals per day might end up making people fat. You seemed to be a slim guy are you prone to gaining fat?

    Thanks for this great post,
    Saga

    Like

  4. Tim’s right about the abbreviated workouts being the most efficient and productive. A decade ago I gained 17 lbs in seven weeks working-out only twice a week, with each session lasting less than 45 minutes each. He’s also correct in favoring compound movements over isolation exercises. A good example of the former would be the bench press, while an example of the latter would be curls. The difference being that the bench press recruits many muscle groups, while curls involve only one. Because such exercises involve a greater percentage of the body’s total musculature, and therefore allow the use of greater poundage, they are much more effective in terms of strength and mass gains.

    Exercise selection can be equally simple. That is, essentially, your upper body can either push or pull. So it’s as easy as selecting two compound movements, one where you push, and one where you pull. The afore mentioned bench press is a good example of a pushing movement. Chins or Yate’s rows are a good example of a pulling movement. That leave’s the lower body. Good compound movements for the lower body include squats, dead lifts, and as Tim mentioned, leg presses. Throw in a little core workout and you’re golden!w

    Like

  5. Its not impossible to achieve his success. The problem is that 85% of the gym population sticks with the same basic exercise; which consist primarily of upper body exercise.

    I was a Super Slow trainer for a few years and I’ve seen first hand want a truly motivated and genetically gifted individual can accomplish. I no longer involved with Super Slow, but I incorporate some of their methods in my work out. I combine fuctional movement exercises e.g. Squats, Dead Lifts, Shoulder Press, Dips, CORE training, and cardio.

    It’s 80% diet 20% exercise so his diet had a lot to do with it as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Holy cow! Congrats on your progress! Something tells me that you’d be able to do just about anything you want, if you set your mind to it.

    Mr. Olympia, here Tim comes!

    Your book is getting incredible press, and I’m frankly afraid to read it. My 2nd daughter will be arriving in mid-June — I don’t think my life can stand any more upheaval at this time!

    Like

  7. I’m also going to be doing the one-set-to-failure training. I did my first workout yesterday (Wednesday) and it was freaking intense and very short. The Bent-over Rows were hard for me, but I do them reverse, my forearms and grip was giving out way before my back was. I couldn’t hold the weight up, even though I still got around 8-9 reps. But, I’m also going to be doing 8-12 reps, then up weight once 11-12 reps are possible. Do you have to rest 3 minutes between each exercise? I rested only about 1 min or a 1 min and half. I’m going to be doing 5 sessions every 2 weeks, 3 the first week Mon/Wed/Fri and 2 the next week Mon/Thurs. But the 2 sessions a week, I’m prob. going to drop 2-3 exercises of the regular workout and focus only on 4 mass exercises (Deadlifts, Flat Bench or Incline, Yates Rows, and Overhead Press).

    Like

  8. Both “The Slow Burn Fitness Revolution” (http://www.seriousstrength.com/) and “The Power of Ten” are riffs on Jones’ research. Both are built around 20 seconds per rep (10 seconds up, 10 down), and say to increase the weight whenever you can do six perfect reps at a given load.

    Like

  9. To Bjorn:

    This may sound like an advert, but some time back I bought 2 pairs (1 for me, 1 for my wife) of “1-ton lifting hooks” (easy to find on Google). The main reason is my hands tend more towards the surgeon’s hand (or piano player’s hand) of the spectrum, and I’ve certainly experienced the premature forearm/hand grip failure you’re talking about. The hooks make a HUGE difference, and I’ve got nothing bad to say about them. Prepare to put them on *really* tight for those heavier weights, though. (In the past I’ve seen… how do I describe it… the blood pooling in my hands combined with the downward motion of the wrist constriction combined with the intense lift of heavy weights, I ended up with tiny spots on my hands, presumably the result of capillaries bursting under the strain. A curious look, but not painful. Although I’m sure it would alarm a physician. They look like tiny freckles until they fade.)

    To Ravi: Yes I’m the one who mentioned using Pete Sisco’s Static Contraction Training method, but I sort of ‘hybridized’ it with his Power Factor Training method, the latter of which sounds a LOT like what Tim was doing. But Sisco better explains the increasing need to take more and more time off, rather than sticking with a fixed period between workouts.

    My ‘hybrid’ approach worked something like this: One set to failure (two if I felt like I needed to, which perhaps in retrospect was the wrong approach), but I would hold the last contraction as long as possible (eg, shrugs) if I suspected I wasn’t going to be able to get the bar back up again.

    This approach may not have managed to bulk me up beyond 179 lbs, but my strength increases were huge. I don’t recall exact numbers, but memory is telling me that my shrugs were on the order of 320 (or 360) lbs, dead lifts were 360 lbs, dumbbell preacher curls were 70 lbs (per arm), one-legged leg press (because the machine simply couldn’t hold enough weight of 450 lbs, etc. And I’ve yet to break 180 lbs of body weight.

    One reason for the progress then the sudden stop was that we had a decent gym in the last apartment complex we lived in, but the Smith machine where we live now has a couple of design issues which make it exceptionally difficult to get the weight safely into position (and put it back). We’ve since joined a decent gym, but distance and trying to co-ordinate the family makes for greater challenges. I’d picked up a book by Charles Staley and had tried his “as many reps as possible for a 5 (10) min period” approach, but have had limited gains that way.

    Time for me to switch back to the one set/rep to failure approach.

    Like

  10. Do you have to rest 3 minutes after each exercise? I rest only about 1 min and a half maybe. Also, did you do any flat bench, or was it only incline bench? Thanks.

    Like

  11. Good job. I’d say you’ve already learned more than the other 99% of meathead-bodybuilders out there blindly following any and every training protocol there is. Intensity is what matters the most, with an adequate rest period between workouts. Also, don’t be afraid to eventually add an additional rest day or two as you get stronger.

    Like

  12. I agree with what Jim says. There is so much crap out there.

    Another thing to look into is HST (Hypertrophy Specific Training). It works pretty well.

    Like

  13. (Changed my name to “Jim (PFT/SCT)” because it seems there’s another Jim posting comments.)

    To Bjorn:

    I don’t think I really timed the rest between my exercises. One issue I have (and it hit me again last night, details below) is that it doesn’t take much for me to overdo it. And when I overdo it, I get warning signals, such as a sense that if I continue doing this, I’ll hurl my biscuits, or I get lightheaded, or my hearing gets a bit quieter (or gets a sort of slow-ish ‘buffeting’ effect, like the effect helicopter blades make, only much much slower). So while I push myself like mad during the set, I make sure my body is damn ready for the next exercise, otherwise I could end up faceplanting.

    Right or wrong, last night I warmed up with a 5 min run on the treadmill, followed by a 5 min walk on the treadmill. Then, off to the Smith machine to do the hack squat. I’d recently read about drop sets, so I did 140×16 followed by 90×12. The one difference in how I’m doing these now compared to a while back, is that I’m not doing “strongest range” training (big focus of PFT/SCT). And it might be worth noting that I’m just getting “back on the horse” so to speak. At any rate, after I’d finished these up, I had to take a LONG rest, and during that rest I pondered whether I was going to do any more exercises at all. I ended up getting off a set of Yates rows, then 2 sets of dips before calling it a night (the gym was closing, so I had to get my butt out of there). Feeling decent today though, no soreness in my legs/butt (already went through that a couple weeks back). From what I recall from many similar past experiences, this could just be my body getting used to intense exercises again. Over time, I expect I’ll be able to do more during a workout; I’ll just need to play it smart and not try to do too many exercises during a workout. Last night I had plans to do hack squats, shrugs, Yates rows, pullovers, dead lifts and dips. That seems to cover everything, or…?

    So while I’m sure others can do their next set after 3 mins, and yet others can do it after 1 min, I personally let common sense be my guide. If I thought I could knock off another set after 1 min without making myself feel like crap, I’d do it.

    And to those who recognize that the rest period between workout days is crucial, this is exactly what I’ve got from reading Sisco’s stuff. If anything, it seems the stronger one gets, the longer one needs to rest between workouts. If you haven’t read his stuff, then you might not be familiar with how he could work out once a month and *still* make gains. Seems counterintuitive, but he makes a strong case for taking that rest.

    Like

  14. I can’t wait to try this plan. Years ago I went from 130 to 150 LBS in 3 months, my first time ever weightlifting, and it was with a plan kind of like this. Recently I was trained by the champion bodybuilder in our province who I met at the YMCA by chance. His program for me was just 2 body parts a day, very isolated. It didn’t work for me because I didn’t enjoy it so I just didn’t do it! Doing an intense whole body workout gets me mentally pumped and motivated. That’s the workout I love, so I do it, and get the results! THANKS TIM!

    Like

  15. The following is from Tim Ferriss….hope he doesn’t mind me reposting:

    “here’s what I recommend:

    “Check out the most recent books by Ellington Darden, and also check out any writing by Ken Hutchins of “Super Slow”.

    “For exercise sequence, I recommend doing one or two exercises upper body to prep the nervous system, then go legs. If you are really serious, and you haven’t trained much before, I recommend splitting the week into three workouts: pushing movements, pulling movements, and legs. Take one day between workouts for the first two weeks, then two days between them. It works like gangbusters. My favorite movements for pure mass, in the order I recommend, are below. Don’t forget about 3-5 minutes between exercises (just one set for each exercise):

    “Push: Incline bench, weighted dips, close-grip shoulder press (never behind neck)
    Pull: Machine pull-over, Yates bent row (google it), close grip supinated (palms facing you) pulldowns, SLOW shrugs with dumbbells (pause for 2 seconds at the top)
    Legs: Leg press with feet shoulder width (do higher reps on this; at least 120 seconds before failure), adduction maching (bringing legs together like Suzanne Sommers – sp?), hamstring curl, leg extension, seated calf raises

    “Those are your three workouts. Simple and very effective.

    “To minimize leg soreness, so about 5 minutes of light stationary biking after finishing the “legs” workout.

    “Most people fail because they work out too often and eat too little, usually due to skipping breakfast. Never skip breakfast, as you’ve already been fasting for 6-12 hours. Take 2 scoops of NOXplode upon getting to work or 30 minutes after breakfast, and again before workouts. Drink one of those disgusting post-workout drinks they sell at the gyms within 20 minutes of working out (I actually mix one with water and sip about 50% of the bottle between sets, polishing off the rest after the workout).

    “Check out Ken Hutchins’ and Darden’s stuff — they give other sample routines. I like my routine above. You’ll gain at least 10 pounds in 4 weeks if you eat and sleep enough. For gaining, I’ll eat at: 9am (breakfast), 12pm, 4pm, 8 or 9pm, then again before bed.
    Take some before and after pics or you’ll be kicking yourself later!
    Train HARD & eat often”

    Like

  16. I will be starting a diet/workout regimen shortly but was curious about eating: if I only workout 2 days/week, do I still consume the 3300 calories/day even on the off days as well? I won’t be burning 3300 calories on the days that I’m recovering and not working out. Any comments regarding this? You guys make for some excellent reading. Thanks!

    Like

  17. Thanks alot Jim for the information, I want to keep this thread going, I’m over all the bodybuilding threads talking about volume and 5-6 days a week workouts. I’m doing 7 exercises, 1 set till failure 3-4 seconds to raise and 3-4 seconds to lower the weight. I do Flat BB Bench, Bent-over BB Rows Reverse Grip, Seated BB Military Press, Standing BB Curls, Weighted Dips, Weighted Pull-ups, Squats or Deadlifts. I do 5 sessions every two weeks. I’m kind of following Don Lemmons principles, he’s the first person I have heard of doing the 1 set til complete failure. He has a website and everything http://www.DonLemmon.com he gained 90lbs in less than a year doing the 1 set routine and his routine only lasted 15-20 mins two to three times a week, depending how strong and how good he did on those workouts either adding more reps, or more weight. I have his books.

    I was wondering though if I should alternate between Incline and Flat Bench. Which one would be better for overall chest development? Or Should I focus on Flat bnehc for a while then switch to Incline for a while and repeat.

    Thanks for all the help. I hope Tim can come back and give us some more detailed info. but I know he’s super busy.

    Like

  18. I just need to eat more. I think thats my main problem, I’m getting the workout down, I hope. It’s just eating so much clean food is hard to do. It’s easier to eat junk food to get calories in. I’m trying to eat canned tuna alot more and instant oatmeal mixed with some brown sugar, honey, and raisens. And a 700-800 protein type shake which includes whey, peanut butter, milk, oatmeal, and a banana.

    Like

  19. To Bjorn:

    Working out 5-6 days a week? Ouch. And you haven’t plateaued yet?

    As for which bench to do, I seem to recall reading somewhere that to recruit all the fibres in the pectoralis, the ideal lift will be a slight incline. I’d say the choice is really yours to make, and I’m not convinced that making a ‘bad’ decision will qualify as a setback. So long as you haven’t injured yourself and you’re not bored, work with whatever brings you the gains.

    Which brings me to a personal observation. There’s quite a bit of diversity in available exercises. For example, let’s take the basic bench press. Well, it may be basic, but you could do it wide- or narrow-grip. Or incline. Or decline. Or switch to a machine. Or do dumbbell flyes. Or dumbbell presses. I’m sure if any one of us gave it some thought, we could invent new ways to exercise the same muscle(s), maybe invent new machines to help realize those goals. But why? Why do this? Well, it makes something which could turn out to be fundamentally boring into a more creative/diverse activity. It also creates access to a wider audience. For example, I’m not too keen on the vertical row, because my right wrist does a nasty click towards the top of the row. So I’ll do something else. Accessibility.

    As a bit of a tangent, do some Googling on the CoreControl RTX Glove. There are various articles (including on Wired) which describe how to increase your workout performance. Thing is, I’m not quite prepared to drop the kind of money required to buy the device. Not yet, anyway. So I figure I’ll work out some alternative, some combo of crushed ice with water, I guess. Dunk my hands in that between sets (thus quickly cooling my core temp), and get going to the next set.

    Cheers.

    Like

  20. I’m going to stick to the one set til failure training through August or September. I want to see what kind of results I can get, hopefully they will be better than some type of split routine everyone and their brother does. I enjoy doing full body and my workouts are over in 15-20 minutes. Are these workouts toward trying to lift heavier weight in proper form? Trying to add 5lbs to the bar whenever you can? Or at least strive for more reps then the last workout, making each workout harder then the last, then add weight to the bar?

    Like

  21. Hi Tim – you really ought to do a whole book about this. I actually found this by googling a comment you made in your talk with Marci Alboher at Google, about cutting your weight dramatically. Between cutting your weight dramatically, increasing your muscle dramatically, and lowering your cholesterol dramatically, you have a whole book there. Also – you have a whole book there which could seriously improve my personal life expectancy. I want my life expectancy to improve! I personally will be massively indebted to you if you document the methods and theory behind these astonishing transformations. I need to make similar transformations, both for superficial reasons and for important ones.

    Like

  22. Look at this guy carefully. For one…he is a short guy and in particular with stubby little legs. To start with nothing and end up gaining that kind of mass over time is no surprise really. And I would know because I have done the same thing.
    Before I started lifting I was five eight and 165-170. All I had done was run and some pushups before. Now at 225 I had the same kind of gains.
    In fact this guy’s arms are rather long so he isn’t getting the development on top he could. Most people with muscle lust don’t realise much of it comes down to limb length, bone size, and stature. The one place guys who are average or short height can flourish is in the gym. Its that simple.
    Eat a clean diet, rest, and simply be consistent over a long scale than a few months and even four hours will yield significant results if you have the right bone structure and symmetry.
    If you are tall, long limbed and or small boned well…there is always crew, steroids, or cycling. Look at it this way in almost every other way sportswise height , limblength and being lighter are a positive. Only in the gym do guys like this guy and I excell.
    What he has done is simply maximising genetic potential.
    The iron snail

    Like

  23. Man this is awesome. I definitely need to get back into shape and this looks like a well built routine. I mainly need to work out to rebuild my strength because I got into a bike wreck.

    Thanks!!

    Like

  24. Hey Ravi.

    I’m following the workout. Except I don’t do the 5/5 cadence, I only do around 3 seconds up and 3 seconds down. A litter faster, but still to failure and writing down my weight/reps, etc. I do 7 exercises all compound mulit-joint exercises except barbell curls. I’m done in around 20 minutes give or take. I don’t really rest much inbetween exercises either. Only about a min and a half, just enough time to get the barbell ready with the weight and a little breather.

    Is working out only 2 times a week better then 3? I know recovery is the best thing for your muscles, just wandering. All my friends follow the pro bodybuilding trend (5-6 workouts a week, one body-part per day, 14-16 sets per bodypart).

    Like

  25. All about diet.

    So everyone is mentioning how important the diet is, but I would love some more specific advice. I started on this workout plan a few days ago and its going well.

    I’m a fishitarian (I eat fish, eggs, dairy products, but no other meats). Here’s my diet:

    Morning
    1 whole egg, 2 egg whites, 1 can of tuna or sardines. Some refried beans. Water

    Lunch
    Brown rice, heaps of beans, mixed veggies, 1 egg. Water.

    Snack
    Nothing yet.

    Dinner
    Grilled fish, rice and beans
    or pasta and tuna with mayo and an egg
    or tuna pizza

    Also drink 4 whey protein shakes throughout the day. 1 extra on training days.

    I am on the right track? I have no idea how many calories I am getting, but I surely hope there are enough proteins in my diet.

    Any other food suggestions are very welcome!

    Like

  26. How’s it going Tim?

    Let me just first congratulate you on successfully completing this incredible gain in muscle mass. I’m surprised you didn’t sustain any injury from such intense workouts.

    Now, like everyone else, I’d love to try this out and I happen to have a couple questions for you. Hope you don’t mind.

    1. I’d like to know more about the types of exercises you performed each workout period that would include negative work, full range, rotary form, auto variable, direct resistance. Figured I could adapt to your workout regime.

    2. I suppose through full range motion exercises, the need to stretch prior or afterwards is negligible?

    3. I was wondering about “protein uptake downregulation.” I’m not in favour of dropping my calories for a day.

    Anyway, your post was wonderful and I hope to reap the benefits of this little program. Thanks for the great insight Tim!

    Andrew

    Like

  27. Jim and Bjorn, I have really appreciated your thread. I am just getting started with this plan and am wondering if you guys do cardio or not? I am lugging around a pretty good amount of baby weight, so fat loss is also key for me. Also, diet-wise, do you feel that nuts and/or fruit have any place in your plan? Thanks for your posts, they are very helpful.

    Like

  28. Bjorn said: “I’m following the workout. Except I don’t do the 5/5 cadence, I only do around 3 seconds up and 3 seconds down. A litter faster, but still to failure and writing down my weight/reps, etc. I do 7 exercises all compound mulit-joint exercises except barbell curls. I’m done in around 20 minutes give or take. I don’t really rest much inbetween exercises either. Only about a min and a half, just enough time to get the barbell ready with the weight and a little breather.”

    Sounds pretty good to me! I wouldn’t worry *too* much about it being a 3/3 cadence, but if you are, and you’re finding the 5/5 cadence to be too much, clearly you’ve got too much weight on there. Try knocking off 5-10% of the weight and seeing if that makes a difference. And above all else, don’t compromise your form just to add more weight and stroke the ego; really focus the mind on crisp form even at the expense of lesser weight. If you find you can do 15 reps, you should have done more weight, and if you can’t even do 5, you’ve got too much on there. While you *could* do another set, theoretically you’ve already exhausted your muscles. Save it for another day, there will be plenty more of them to come!

    That said, I had an absolutely brilliant workout this past Tuesday, which was 6 days after my previous workout. To recap, I’d had a workout on May 6th where I felt like I was going to hurl, most likely because I had the braniac idea of doing a short run first. I’ll get into the details of this past Tuesday May 15 in a bit.

    Bjorn said: “Is working out only 2 times a week better then 3? I know recovery is the best thing for your muscles, just wandering. All my friends follow the pro bodybuilding trend (5-6 workouts a week, one body-part per day, 14-16 sets per bodypart).

    I’ll re-reference the PFT/SCT approach, and harp on recovery being your limiting factor. Simply put, if your muscles haven’t had time to recover, you won’t be able to add more weight to the bar. So your friends are working out like their lives depended on it. So how’s that working out for them thus far? 14-16 sets per bodypart just seems excessive to me. So what does this mean? Did they not succeed in exhausting the bodypart within the first 2-3 sets? If not, are they just spending all that time with lighter weights just because they love living in the gym? Personally, I’ve got better things to do. Yeah, I love seeing the eye candy there too, and have in the past been approached and chatted up by a couple of cute thangs who were either genuinely interested in the exercise I was doing (ie, dips) or were just looking for an excuse to chat me up. (My cluefulness when it comes to chatting up women is close to zero, so it may have been the latter case.) So if you’re there just for the eye candy opportunities, feel free to stretch out your workout as long as you like.

    Andrew said: “I suppose through full range motion exercises, the need to stretch prior or afterwards is negligible?”

    Form should always be your priority. If you have to sacrifice form just to get that extra bit of weight aloft, you risk injury.

    That said, let common sense be your guide. In my case, I like to do a quick stretch (if you can call it that) of my knees and ankles before doing squats, get them to crack first so they don’t do an amplified crack in the middle of the lift.

    If you feel the need to stretch first, by all means do it. But then there’s the question of warming up the muscles first. Ultimately it turns into a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem: warm up first or stretch first? If you warm up first, should you just do the set, or do you do the same exercise but at a greatly reduced weight?

    Yeah, I’m probably getting off on a wild tangent here. 🙂

    So, my workout this past week:

    – hack squats – 180 x 10
    – Yates rows – 160 x 8
    – bench press – 90 x 15
    – deadlift – 230 x 20
    – barbell shrugs – 180 x 20
    – T-bar rows – 45 x 15
    – dips (unweighted) – 12 x 2 sets
    – bicep (dumbbell) curls – 25 x 11

    As you can see, it wasn’t exactly optimal. I didn’t have enough weight on the deadlift, so I’ll add at least 10% to that next time out. I did the T-bar rows because the Yates rows just didn’t feel right to me. I felt I could have done quite a bit more on the T-bar, but was mainly interested in how it felt; easily could have done 90 lbs, and theoretically those muscles were already exhausted.

    As much as possible, I focused on putting my all into the contractions, and did 3-5 secs on the relaxing movement. And while everyone always says to breathe in on the contraction, I feel there is one exception: if the exercise means that your elbows are moving up (towards your head/shoulders) or back/rearwards, it’s far more natural to be breathing in with that move. And while I do try to breathe with every exercise, the one thing I’ve read (think it was entitled something like Bodybuilding Anatomy 101 — no time to look it up at the moment) is the concept of creating a ‘block’ by taking a deep breath and making your chest/back rigid, which usually means holding one’s breath, albeit briefly.

    After re-reading about the similarities and differences of the hack squat vs. regular squat, I think I’ll be focusing more on the regular squat.

    Anyway, no time to go any further with this. Need to head out for a couple hours.

    Like

  29. This is very interesting and compelling to me. I put myself on a 25 week challenge to lose 80 pounds (210 to 130). I am on week 20 now and have lost 55 pounds so far, and I was stressing a bit thinking I would not be able to lose the last 25 pounds in the last 5 weeks. I probably won’t change my diet any because my goal was/is to learn how to eat without overeating, and I want to stick with that at least until the 25 weeks are up. But at least I know the option is out there and there is a healthy way to do such quick weight loss. I didn’t think such a thing was possible.

    Like

  30. Thanks for helping me out with all of this Jim. Are you a personal trainer? Just wandering.

    Also, is it better to follow the 5/5 cadence? It just sucks that my weight will have to be dropped alot, but if that doesn’t matter for my muscles, I want my muscles to work as hard as they can. I workout at home so I don’t have no ego about weight haha. Would 5/5 cadence be better than my 3/3 cadence. Sometimes I only do 2 seconds on raising the weight and 3 on the way down(the negative part) since that is the most beneficial part of the exercise.

    Thanks for the help. Tim needs to get up on here more often haha, but I know he’s busy.

    Like

  31. Excellent gains, but this is nothing new……

    As you’ve stated, as well as many others who’ve visited this site, this is simply H.I.T. advocated by Arthur Jones and Ellington Darden.
    Darden has written many books on the subject including “The New High-Intensity Training” and “The new Bodybuilding for old-school results”, both of which outline many routines in a step-by-step fashion as well as nutritional guidelines for an increase in mass.

    Like

  32. Hi Bjorn,

    Nope, not a personal trainer. But I’ve taken various vectors on it for… geez, 25 years now. I would say I’m not what you would call genetically gifted. Although, back when we lived at the last apartment, they had a decent gym there, and doing the PFT/SCT approach and doing shrugs, I eventually had to switch from dumbbells to the barbell, and the Smith machine was the safest approach there. (Trying to lift a couple of 100 lb dumbbells off the ground can be a bit challenging.) One day I looked in the mirror and noticed these strange humps to the side/rear of my neck. I was like, “What the…?” and on closer inspection, realized it was bona fide muscular development! It was definitely noticeable. I was stunned, because in all my years, I’d never had that sort of a pleasant surprise regarding muscular development.

    It seems there are two keys here. First, you need to exercise the muscle to failure. And there seem to be a number of different ways to get there. I’m not going to debate the relative merits of each, because I don’t have several years of experience with each approach. But I think it’s safe to assume that working the muscle to failure is far better than taking it so easy that you can still knock off another 10-12 sets hitting that same muscle.

    The second key is to ensure you give your muscle adequate recovery time. If your muscle is still hurting from the previous workout, it’s still too early. If you find at your next workout that you’re not able to lift as much as your previous workout, you haven’t given enough time to recover. So in this case, if you waited 3 days since your last workout but today’s exercises aren’t doing as well as the last one (and of course you’re keeping a log, right?), wait more time before your next workout. And I don’t mean wait 4 days instead of 3. Try doubling the time, or just round up to a nice even week. Next time you hit that plateau, bump it up to 10-11 days, then the time after that, 2 weeks, etc.

    If you’re giving it your all each workout and your job forces you to take off 3-4 weeks, don’t freak out. Just give it your all next time you get to the gym, and don’t be surprised if you do at least as well as your last visit, if not better.

    Oh, yeah, there’s that 3rd vector of nutrition. Protein good, junk food bad. I don’t really follow this too closely, which I’m sure will cause others to roll their eyes. But I listen to my body. If I’m thirsty, I drink water. If I’m starved, I eat lots. If I’m not hungry, I’m not going to force myself to be miserable and cram unwanted food into my face. Recently I was at Chipotle and after having their Burrito Barbacoa Bol, I was surprised that I wasn’t feeling overstuffed, which is the more typical conclusion. I went and had a snack after that. I don’t think anyone was more surprised than I.

    As for 5/5 vs 3/3 vs anything else, don’t over-analyze it, unless you’re terribly bored and are looking for some variation. Maybe you start out doing 5/5, but by the end of the set you’re doing 3/3 because you can feel the imminent failure at around 10 reps. No biggie. But go until you can’t lift the bar anymore. If you’d like to do another rep but you’re convinced you won’t be able to lift it after the next rep, then just make that last lowering of the bar as slow as possible. Heck, just hold it in mid-contraction on the way down until your muscle totally gives it up (with a big F-you to you). (To any newbies reading this: I strongly recommend you ease into it and don’t jump into this level of intensity from the get-go, or you’ll hate me for anywhere from 2 to 7 days, you’ll think this approach is a total crock, etc. Seriously, if your muscles aren’t used to it, be nice to them the first few workouts. If they’re ‘shuddering’, that (I’ve been told before) is the neural pathways getting established. This isn’t me talking down to you, this is me talking as someone who has been dumb enough to overdo it more than once after being away from it for an extended period.)

    I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this yet, but one tidbit of wisdom I read recently was that when you leave the gym, you should feel like you could have done a bit more. That’s a good sign. Conversely, feeling like you just want to hurl your biscuits, curl up in a ball and die, that’s a sign of overdoing it.

    One of these days, I’m going to try bringing some crushed ice in water (and maybe a modest handful of salt for enhanced effect) to the gym, and soak my hands between sets to help bring down my core temp. This inspiration is based on some stuff I’ve read on the CoreControl glove (except that mine will a) be cheap, and b) won’t have any vacuum).

    Disclaimer: This is my current approach. If you have excellent results training 6 days a week, 2-3 hours a day, kudos to you. That approach has never worked for me. Ever.

    Like

  33. Thanks Jim. This type of training is just what Don Lemmon says. You can read all about him and get his books, I have 3 of them and they are exactly what Tim says. http://www.DonLemmon.com

    He says all about the 1 set til failure, training 2-3 days a week and as you get stronger you need more rest days,always full body workouts, 15-20 minute workouts, etc. He gained 90lbs drug free in less than a year doing this approach.

    Like

  34. I do wish you would have edited those pictures to scale yourself the same size each time. They make the changes seem a bit deceptive. (How did you shrink a foot in 4 weeks?)

    I’d also love it if it had been layed out better into a pdf or something more portable. After reading your book, I’m limiting my time online and wish I could get the most important stuff faster!

    The other thing is that you have two articles, one on how to lose weight, the other on how to gain it. I really want to stay about the same, but lose the fat and gain the muscle. The secret can’t all be in the amount of rest between sets, can it?

    Like

  35. Ok so I just max out my work out right?
    using cadesnes and till msucle failure set?
    Ok Im 6″3(and 75kg!) me and my friend gonna try this whole thing.
    One month from now I’ll give you my weight gain!

    Like

  36. I’m actually ecstatic with my results, though they were nothing near our hero’s.

    I’m 33 and live a sedentary lifestyle. I started out 5’10” and about 168 lbs, yet flabby abdomen, undefined, small arms, chest and shoulders. Previously, I only ate 1 meal a day (dinner) and occassionally 2 if work necessitated having lunch with a client. I was out of shape and felt like crap most of the time.

    I extended the ‘experiment’ idea and eliminated one more variable: I didn’t change my diet during the 28-day experiment, except for eating more beef for dinner than I normally did.

    Though I missed a couple workouts, as I approach the end, I definitely notice a difference. After the 2nd workout, I noticed an increase in energy and an increased attention span (during those long, boring meetings). Throughout, I’ve been able to increase the resistance (I use a BowFlex) to keep my able-reps in the 8-12 range. I came home from a business trip today and put on some jeans that fit a month ago to find I can’t keep them up without a belt. Though I still weigh 168-170 lbs, I’ve lost 2 inches off my waist! My shirts definitely bit better too (noticeable chest, arm and shoulder improvements).

    So, now that the experiment is almost done, I think I’ll reduce doing a “HIT” to once a week and introduce more cardio and toning exercises. I think the most valuable thing I’ve gained from this experience is momentum. I mean, it was so hard before to exercise at all. But this program has shown me what a little exercise can do for my own physical and mental well-being. Now, I’m hooked.

    Like

  37. Pingback: ttiqq.com
  38. Hey ho, I haven’t posted in a while, so I thought I’d share an update.

    First, I haven’t really gained much in the way of weight. So far, my best weight (these past few weeks) has been 170 lbs. Which is actually the best it’s been in a while. Thing is, I’ve slipped back down to around 166. I blame my lack of disciplined protein consumption for that.

    That said, I *have* made steady strength increases. Here’s the latest (from May 29/07):

    – Description – weight (lbs) x reps – Previous week’s results
    – regular squat – 200 x 12 – 200 x 7
    – dead lift – 270 x 17 – 250 x 14
    – shrugs – 230 x 12 – 200 x 18
    – T-bar row – 110 x 8 – 100 x 10
    – bench press – 130 x 12 – 110 x 12
    – bicep curls (machine) – 100 x 13 – 95 x 13
    – dips (unweighted) – 15/15/10 – 15/12/7

    I should point out the following:

    1. A gain is a gain. So if the weight was the same as the prior workout, but the # of reps was greater, then it’s a gain. Assuming one works out to failure in ALL cases, of course.

    2. I did try the Yates rows in the beginning. Didn’t think they were for me, so I switched to the T-bar row. I don’t think that’s my thing either (ie, I’m only getting a partial flex in all cases… perhaps I need to drop the weight down to a lower point and focus on form through to full movements). I was considering switching to the seated cable row, as I’ve always been a fan of that one. Perhaps the lat pull-down. Undecided at this point.

    3. If you noticed that some of my reps are on the high side, you would be right. But I still aimed to doing the set to failure. “One set to failure”, remember? So instead of trying a second set and skewing the results, better to kick up the weight next trip to the gym.

    4. My wife is also working out with me. She’s presently unable to do all the exercises, because of a problem with her right knee. So for now, she avoids squats and dead lifts. She does like the T-bar row, though. And yes, she’s making slow but steady gains each time. (She’s also elected to do the thigh adductor/abductor exercises, which isn’t in my plan.)

    Tonight is another night, unless we get derailed! 🙂

    Like

  39. Tim

    I wanted to know what you thought about Dr. Campbell’s book The China Study?

    For those of you who are unfamiliar the book is a culmination of a 20-year partnership of Cornell University, Oxford University, and the Chinese Academy of Preventive Medicine.

    Distilling the book to its essence: the greater amount of protein you eat by way of meat (all kinds) the greater the risk you have for cancer.

    Curious as to how you view the book and its impressive research with respect to your high protein diet…-Rich

    *For us science geeks out there…the study found that the lower protein intake, the lower the amount of aflatoxin_DNA adducts.

    The evidence impressively indicated that the lower protein intake could markedly decrease enzyme activity and prevent dangerous carcinogens binding to DNA

    http://www.thechinastudy.com/about.html

    Like

  40. This sounds interesting. Ive never done HIT before. In my early days i bought into the whole musclemag advice and train how the pros train and not really accomplished much. This was before they were all getting busted for steriod use.

    From what i read, i can believe Tim has achieved this. But i have my reservations too.

    Has anyone actually tried this and what results did you receive.

    Regardless im going to try it. I know Mike M. pushed this as part of his Heavy Duty, but then he was also taking steroids. Thats why i never did.

    Can anyone share their results please?

    thanks Sonny

    Like

  41. Hi everyone,

    I am doing this program, and I am recording my results in detail. I am tracking every thing I eat, how much I sleep, and the exact details of my workout. I have created a blog to track everything and you can follow it here:
    http://www.4weekstofit.com

    Hope it helps some of you.

    Darren

    Like

  42. Hi,

    I just read another article about HIT training. And this particular article split the workout over 4 days doing 3 exercises for a total of 3 set taken to failure.

    Even tho this can be accomplished in under 15-20 mins.. im wondering if the “recovery” variable is still possible going from a 2 day workout to 4 day workout but still totals 1 hour per week. For example, (mon)Day1- chest/back/Shoulders, (wed)Day2- legs, (Fri)Day3- arms.

    Thanks,
    Sonny

    Like

  43. Just to add to my previous comment the actual routine is:

    Monday:
    Deadlift 1 x 20 (5 seconds rest after each rep)
    Shrugs (DB or bar) 1 x 10
    Chins 2 x 6-8

    Tuesday:
    Bench Press (DB or Bar) 2 x 4-6
    Shoulder press (DB or bar) 1 x 10
    Lateral raise 1 x 15

    Wednesday:
    Squats 2 x 4-6
    Leg curls 1 x 15
    Calf Raises (seated or standing) 2 x 15

    Friday:
    Close Grip Bench lockouts 1 x 6-8
    Pushdowns 1 x 10
    Barbell curls 1 x 10
    Incline Dumbell curls 1 x 6-8
    Crunches 2 x 15

    Is this too much. Because i know the recovery is important in any HIT routine.. Im not sure going to 4 days is providing the required recovery

    thanks,
    Sonny

    Like

  44. This post isn’t so nearly impressive when you consider that Tim weighed 193lbs back in 1999 for a kickboxing competition (according to Tim’s 4-Hour Workweek Book).

    Two word’s spring to mind…

    Muscle Memory.

    Like

  45. Chris,

    That’s very valuable information that was left out, thanks for posting it. I’d like to note this from the colorado experiment:

    “So both of the subjects have demonstrated the potential for greater than average muscular mass and BOTH SUBJECTS WERE REBUILDING PREVIOUSLY EXISTING LEVELS OF MUSCULAR SIZE.”

    In other words:
    If you at one point were extremely muscular and lost it, then this is the exercise routine to GET IT BACK, not gain new muscle.

    Like

  46. Chris and Joe,

    You hit the nail on the head. I just finished 30 days of the program and I think I lost 2 pounds of fat and gained 4 pounds of muscle. Tim’s gains can only be attributed to muscle memory.

    I actually followed the program very strictly. I never missed a workout and I followed the diet almost perfectly. I just posted my results here:
    http://www.4weekstofit.com/2007/06/21/sleep-diet-workout/day-30-status-report/

    I carefully recorded every detail of my diet and my workouts on my daily blog, so you can see for yourself that I followed the program almost perfectly.

    While I didn’t see the gains that Tim saw, I have however incorporated healthy eating and regular exercise into my lifestyle. It’s only a matter of time before I reach my fitness goals.

    Like

  47. Hmmmm, in your before shots your posture is poor and youre not tensing muscle properly, you dont show your legs and are hairy and pale.

    In your after shots you are tensed properly, shaved tanned and showing your legs.

    Its typical of what adverts do in bodybuilding mags, they make the before and after pics look as extreme as possible to try and make the ‘transformation’ look more impressive than it actually is.

    As for the 34Ibs of muscle in four weeks I would SERIOUSLY doubt that this happend unless you were the biggest genetic freak on the planet (which looking at you, you arent). It would be extremely difficult to put on that much quality muscle (which you have in your shots) even with steroids and from your pictures you dont look like youve gained that much either.

    To put on 34Ibs of muslce mass whilst simultaneously reducing your body fat by 4.49% in four weeks is in my opinion nigh on impossible.

    All in all you’ve done well and should be proud but I dont think the transformation is as magical as youre making out and for anyone reading this page, I would take this all with a pinch of salt.

    Hopefully you’ll leave this comment on to give a balanced, multi-sided view.

    Like

  48. A friend pointed me to this article a month ago. While I haven’t added 34lbs of muscle I have been giddy with the weight loss. I started at 234, 17.5 neck 46 chest 34 waist As of today I’m down to 218, 18 neck 47 chest and a 32 waist.

    Can’t complain.

    I’ve been a weight lifter since 1993 and been stuck in a rut for over a year with no appreciable gains.

    After following the slow cadence reps and cutting down from 4 workouts to 2, the weight I can move at a slow cadence and the “normal” 2 down 1.5 up cadence has gone way way up.

    (Sets of 10)
    Tricep extensions from 90/130 bicep from 70/110 Bench from 185/235

    Even without the blubber loss I’m giddy about that.

    thanks so much.

    Like

  49. My gains were also much less than Ferriss’, yet were still far better than I’ve gotten with other regimens. In fact, last week a girl was feeling my (very unimpressive) biceps and asked me, “Do you work out?” No one has EVER before asked me that question in my entire life. It was a blast.

    So do I look like Ferriss? No, not even close. But I’ll keep plugging away because it works better than anything I’ve tried before.

    Like

  50. Tim advocates “as much diet cola as you’d like”, which of course I don’t take to mean literally, but I have heard of studies examining how tricking the brain with a sweet-tasting but calorie-barren substance like aspartame, sucrose, even stevia, causes carbohydrate cravings. How closely are cravings corellated with insulin surges. I’m just wondering if liberal diet cola use could actually spike insulin while on this diet, meaning neutral or worse benefit from the carbohydrate restriction. Any thoughts?

    Like

  51. Hey All,

    I have a couple of questions, and maybe somebody has some sage advice.

    I started the one-set-to-failure today and the diet yesterday. I am a vegan, so I am going hard on the brown rice protein and the soy, different kinds of beans and whatever else I can find without killing anything.

    I am a martial artist, have been training for over 30 years, and had started a weightlifting routine a couple of years ago, along with bag work, step intervals and just major-bloody-insane workouts, with mixed results. Main issue, of course overtraining. The fact is, for me martial arts is a life choice rather than a just workout, and although I would make it to the gym 2x/week, I was still training at the dojo 3-4x/week and have been too exhausted to do it all with the kind of intensity necessary for major muscle growth.

    Here are my issues, and I wonder if anybody has any intelligent thoughts about them:

    (1) 5/5 or 3/3 seconds is going to seriously mess with my speed. In my prior weight training, I was exploding the weight up and letting it down slowly. Since April 2004, my karate speed has increased significantly because of it. Will I find similar muscle gains doing 1-set-failure-reps and this kind of explosive movement? Or am I pretty much not going to reap the benefits without slow movements?

    (2) Am I completely going to miss the boat by training karate 3x/week as well? The fact is, I have to go to the dojo, and when I’m there I have to train hard. So yes, going to the gym twice/week and giving myself adequate muscle recovery time is great…but I don’t really have the luxury of being one of the senior students and not showing up for a month in order to bulk up.

    Sincerely,
    Erik

    Like

  52. Daniel, I also have had problems with diet soda triggering massive late-night carb cravings (and elevated hunger all day long.) For me, diet soda is not the easy win it seems to be for Tim.

    Erik, I read on ArthurDevany.com an article where he discusses why doing multiple sets causes you to lose fast-twitch response (the fast-twitch IIa & IIb fibers will start to convert to slow-twitch if they are worked too many sets), but I can’t find the entry where he discusses how cadence affects fiber variation. But maybe you can, and his site is informative and well-worth poking around. Here’s an article that’s at least somewhat relevant:

    http://www.arthurdevany.com/2005/05/intermittent_tr.html

    Like

  53. You know im coming to the conclusion that this routine works, maybe not to a degree as Tims, but it works because of the long recovery period. Nowadays people want to work out 4-6 times a week, which is way too much. In fact Vince Gironda stated in his book (the wild physique) that working out 2 days a week will give faster results then one might imagine and as always you cant go wrong with the 3 day workout (upper body, lower body, upper body) and lets not forget there are no quick fixes– its all about being consistent.

    So when i see articles like this where the author claims 34 pounds of muscle in 4 weeks i get a a little dubious. In fact its always 4 weeks, 8 weeks or 12 weeks. Why not 3 weeks or 6 weeks, or 9 weeks.

    Bodybuilding has become so complicated with all the supplements and various training programs delivering quick results. This is why it is a billion dollar industry.

    Dont give into the hype- Just eat good and train hard and give yourself enough time to “recover” and your goal will come.

    Im not against this routine. I think people should change their routine every 6-8 weeks. And if you havent tried this, then try it it may help and shock your body into growth or do nothing. But at the end of it at least you know what works and doesnt work for YOU!!!

    Sorry dont mean to preach but thats my 2 cents…

    thnx
    Sonny

    Like

  54. I also have a similar question as Erik, I’m doing kickboxing twice a week and I’m wondering how that affects myt training and results if I’m going to the gym twice a week for HIT? Do the muscles have enough of a resting period or should i cut down the gym to once a week (not going to cut down on the kickboxing). Thanks for some great tips!

    Regards

    MÃ¥rten

    Like

  55. A quick comment on diet soda: There’s a weekly local radio show called A New You which is dedicated to folks wanting to improve their health (mainly geared towards folks trying to lose weight). Not long ago one nutrition expert was on and commented on how artificial sweeteners (eg, Aspartame) was recently discovered to have some sort of negative effect on the brain. Sorry for not remembering more details. But that was enough for me, as I’ve largely avoided artificial sweeteners for years. I figure if a man-made molecule tried to do better than nature, there’s got to be something fundamentally wrong. As the old saying goes, there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch. You never get something for nothing.

    To MÃ¥rten: I’ve recently switched from 1 day a week at the gym to 2 days a week (in order to split my exercise routine up — I was feeling too drained and lightheaded to do it all in one session), and I also go to Aikido class 2 days of the week (3 if you include Saturday noon-ish). Granted I think kickboxing is far more cardio-intense than Aikido. (I need to get back to hitting the treadmill a couple times a week.) Bottom line, just listen to your body. If you have sore muscles from one (weights or KB) and you plan to use those same muscles in the current session (KB or weights) then you’re probably pushing it. Sore is a good indicator.

    To all: I should post my latest, but it’s late and I’m tapped. Suffice it to say I’m still gaining strength. I’ve switched some exercises for ones which feel more effective *for me*. Others may work better for you. For example, I went from the Yates row to the t-bar (with chest pad) row to the seated cable row (one of my all-time fave) and lat pulldowns (another all-time fave). If anything, I’m increasing the exercises I do. I’ll either do one set to failure, or a drop set (only two sets for a given exercise). In the case of biceps, I’ll do machine preacher curls (hands are angled at 45 degrees) then do dumbbell curls (holding barbell vertical to better hit the brachiradialis.

    I was having troubles with Smith machine bench press, but found a seated machine where you press forwards and the hands draw together the farther out they go. The left is independent from the right; you put the plates on thick pins which are near the ground. Don’t recall the name of the machine, but I’ve made surprising gains with it that I wasn’t making with traditional bench. Guess what I’ll be sticking with for the foreseeable future? 🙂

    Strength gains aside, my weight has remained perfectly stable. I’m still around 165 lbs, which is driving me batty. I’ve even upped my protein intake. Grr.

    I’ll try to post my latest gains sometime this week.

    Like

  56. Im currently a little over 2 weeks into this routine. Im 21 years old. I weighed 178lbs when I started, today I weighed in at 188.5lbs. Some of that is most likely fat as Im just eating whatever is around, not following a strict diet, I am eating 6 meals a day as suggested.

    I am using whey protein as a supplement 2-3 scoops a day (20g/scoop).

    I do have to say that this isnt my first time working out. I have been on and off for a few years now. Im just not good at keeping it consistent. So these gains could be due to the fact that I havent worked out for a few months and now Ive started again (muscle memory as mentioned by someone above).

    My routine is a little different then what is described above: I am working out day 1. Then I have 2 days rest, and then I go back to day 1 again. I am doing this to get as many workouts as possible within the month, while still maintaining a good rest period. I also havent been doing any cardio for a long time, so I have been doing 20mins of cardio on day 3.

    Here are todays workouts results:
    regular squat – 7.5×90
    dead lift – 5.5×90
    shrugs – 9×105
    T-bar row – 8×105
    bench press – 8.5×90
    bicep curls – 7.5×40

    When I started, I was only doing 5-6 reps to failure a set though, then I reread the instructions and realized it said 8-12, so I started to do a weight that allowed 8 reps just today.

    So far I gotta say that Its been a good overall program, especially for someone getting back into weightlifting such as myself. I think that after a certain time this workout wont be as good as a more advanced plan. That is why I have bought Arnold Schwarzeneggers Encyclopedia of bodybuilding to use after this month is done…Im hoping reading that will motivate me to keep my workouts consistent.

    I will return here after the month is over (July 20th) with some before and after shots.

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