8 Sets of 8 eBook During his time, Vince Gironda was credited with turning out more Mr. America winners than any trainer in the sports history. True, Vince was perhaps one of the most, if not the most, controversial person ever in the field of bodybuilding. Some of his ideas on training, nutrition, and supplements were viewed as outright ridiculous.
Yet years later, many leading authorities have confirmed much of what Vince stated thirty or so years ago and have proven much of what he said as fact today. People tend to love or hate Vince. In either case, each side either built him up larger than life or cut him to the bone. In reality, Vince was deserving of both, but only to a certain extent.
Vince, as with all high profile people, was neither as bad as those that disliked him said he was nor as good as those that loved him said he was. My personal relationship with Vince was middle of the road. I felt the sting of his sharp tongue on occasion and I was also the recipient of his goodwill and kindness. I liked Vince, respected him, and wanted to know what he had to say about things. I will be the first to admit I did not follow everything he said but I would never tell him that, I did however listen to all he said.
I believe one of Vince’s favorite routines for the advanced bodybuilder was the 8 sets of 8 reps program. Vince was convinced this was the best routine for maximizing muscle growth in the shortest possible amount of time. It is designed to rapidly build muscle while at the same time reduce body fat.
As all advanced trainers know, either one of these is a difficult thing to do by itself, let alone simultaneously. The 8 x 8 is also a wonderful program to follow when you hit a sticking point and need to shock muscles into a new growth pattern, whether it is an individual muscle or your entire body.
I have seen and heard many variations on Vince’s 8 sets of 8 routine. Some suggesting performing 8 x 8 on each movement; others selecting two movements and performing 4 sets of each for a total of 8 sets. Some have suggested using three or four movements per body part.
Some recommend only one movement per body part. I even read one article that stated Vince prescribed performing two movements for the chest and back, three movements for the legs, and one movement for all other body parts. Others have advised the routine be followed 3 days on and 3 days off. Some suggest following the program for 3 weeks then taking 1 week off.
Some claim you are to train once per day, some twice per day and still others, three times per day. Who’s right? Which way is the real 8 x 8 to be followed? As I stated, I have seen and heard almost every variation you can think of being associated with the 8 x 8, those listed as well as others and still, I am sure, some I have not heard of.
I can only tell you what I was told. I am not trying to suggest Vince did not advise some of or even all of the above, perhaps even other variations I did not list. Knowing Vince, he modified almost everything based on the individual and the results desired so, I can see him prescribing what I was told as well as all of the above. Vince would experiment with not only exercises, nutrition, and supplements but also people as well.
He would use himself and others to test his ideas. Besides, if Vince was around today and he thought his 8 x 8 routine was causing a controversy or confusion, boy would he add more wood to the fire… he would love it. Recognizing variations do exist, with not only the 8 x 8 but other routines as well and, acknowledging the fact I know Vince adjusted things according to ones need.
I am going to outline the information provided to me for the 8 x 8 routine.
1. You must move quickly with minimum rest during the entire workout. Each session should last no longer than about thirty minutes. The speed in which you perform each movement should be quick but not jerky and you must adhere to strict form and rest no longer then 15 seconds between movements.
2. Do not drink water during your workout session or immediately after. Wait at least forty-five minutes after your session and then sip water slowly.
3. Concentrate on each movement. No outside distractions and no talking during the workout.
4. Follow the routine exactly as outlined and do not adjust the order in which the movements are listed.
5. Intermediate trainers should follow this routine 1x per day. Advanced trainers could follow it 2x per day. Pro’s could follow it 3x per day.
6. One with less than two solid years of training behind them should not attempt the 8 sets of 8 routine.
7. Vince advised taking a nap after each session to help the body recuperate and recover.
8. This is important for understanding the 8 sets of 8 and how to perform it, at least the way it was given to me.
Take the chest for example. You will perform one set of 8 reps of Barbell Bench Press To The Neck then immediately, super-set fashion; perform 8 reps of the “V” Bar Dips. Rest a maximum of fifteen to thirty seconds; you will then repeat this sequence. Perform it four times. In other words, you do not perform 8 sets of presses and 8 sets of dips; you actually perform 4 sets of presses and 4 sets of dips for a total of eight sets.
The exception to this is the Wednesday and Friday leg workouts. On these days, you perform 4 sets of each exercise listed in straight set fashion. Occasionally I would perform them in giant set fashion but you had better be in shape because it will really drain you. I use to perform them in giant set fashion on Saturdays only, because I knew I would get an extra day of rest on Sunday with no workout scheduled and believe me I needed it. Only the most advanced trainer should attempt performing them in giant set fashion.
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8 Sets of 8
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