Designed and popularized by the Iron Guru Vince Gironda himself, the 8×8 workout program is known for its effectiveness in promoting lean muscle gains and targeting fat loss. Apart from being an old-school bodybuilder, Vince was also a badass fitness trainer who transformed the physiques of numerous golden-era bodybuilding legends.
His training programs were intense but effective and his 8×8 training protocol also falls in that category. It consists of performing 8 sets of 8 reps on certain exercises.
The 8×8 training program is still used by numerous bodybuilders and gym freaks who want to add an element of intensity into their workout routines. Needless to say, the results that it fetches in terms of lean muscle gains and fat loss have always been as per their expectations. And owing to this reason the 8×8 workout program is often regarded as ‘the honest workout’.
Facilitating lean muscle gains
This has to be one of the most common benefits that you can avail yourself of while following the 8×8 training program. The 8×8 training program follows a high-volume, high-intensity approach. It subjects your muscles to adequate stress that promotes growth thereby facilitating lean muscle gains.
While following this training protocol all you need to do is to be on a slight caloric surplus. This combined with the 8×8 training protocol will enable your body to put on a decent amount of lean muscle mass.
Stimulates the cardiovascular system
The 8×8 workout program allows you to adequately stimulate your cardiovascular system. The rest intervals in between the working sets in the 8×8 training protocol are kept short (around 15-30 seconds) which not only burns a greater amount of calories but also speeds up the metabolism.
This further allows you to lose excess fat from your frame which gives your physique a leaner and more aesthetic appearance.
Shocking the muscle
When it comes to promoting muscle growth, the element of ‘shocking the muscle’ plays a pivotal role. Muscles tend to grow only when they are subjected to a shock which not only stimulates them but also puts them in a condition to adapt and grow bigger and stronger over time.
When you perform 8 sets of 8 reps on certain exercises with a weight that is around 50-60% of your 1 RM, your muscles have to work far beyond their normal capacity to get that job done. This further turns on the growth spurt of your muscles which makes them bigger.
Enhancing both muscle density and definition
Muscle density gets enhanced when the muscles are put under tension. The tempo of the 8×8 workout program gets that job done pretty well. When you perform slow and controlled reps on the exercises under the 8×8 workout program, your muscles get exposed to a greater degree of tension. It also allows you to establish a better mind-muscle connection which serves you pretty well in your bodybuilding journey.
When it comes to adding definition to your muscles, it has a lot to do with having a low body fat percentage. The high-volume and high-intensity nature of the 8×8 training program enables you to burn off excess fat from your frame and makes your muscles look more fuller and defined.
More work in less time
The structure of the 8×8 workout program is designed in a manner that gets more work done in less time. Owing to its short rest intervals that fall in the range of around 15-30 seconds, a single training session under the 8×8 workout goes no longer than 45-60 minutes. Vince Gironda had stated,
“To acquire larger muscles you must increase the intensity of work done within a given time.”
The 8×8 training program is also an apt one for people who are aspiring to look leaner and muscular in a short period of time. This further makes this training protocol an ideal one for those who can’t spend numerous hours in the gym owing to their hectic schedules.
If you have acquired a decent amount of muscle mass but want to make your physique look more ripped and shredded, the 8×8 training protocol can serve you in your best interests. When you go through it, you tend to perform around 4 exercises in each of your training sessions. And you hit 64 reps (8 sets of 8 reps) on each of them taking as little rest as possible in between the sets.
This requires your body to perform like a machine and burns plenty of calories in a very short span of time. This in turn provides your body with a lean and shredded look and makes it appear more aesthetic.
You might be questioning to yourself how a training program that is designed to enhance muscle density and definition can fetch strength gains. Well, the Iron Guru Vince Gironda had stated once,
“Train for shape, and strength would follow.”
And that is absolutely true. When it comes to a training program like 8×8, it subjects your muscles to a different kind of overload which is not just confined to lifting super heavyweights. Instead, it exposes your muscles to a different kind of stress where they are forced to work more in a relatively short period of time.
This training approach fetches them with strength gains along with hypertrophy gains. That’s like hitting two birds with one stone. Therefore, by relying on the 8×8 training program for a certain period, you can also work on enhancing your strength levels along with building an aesthetic and defined physique.
So that was all about the 8×8 training program. If you are willing to subject your muscles to a new kind of training stimulus, you should surely give it a try. But before trying it out, you must make sure that you have a decent amount of training experience.
If you are an absolute newbie the high-intensity and high-volume element of the 8×8 workout program would easily wear you out. You would also have to ensure that your diet is on point to gain the most out of it along with making provisions for rest and recovery.