8x8 Workout: Lean Muscle Gainz Workout

Ramp up your muscle growth phase with a high volume approach. This 4 day split incorporates an 8x8 volume training approach to help you build muscle!

Workout Summary

Build Muscle
8 weeks
50-70 minutes
Barbell, Bodyweight, Cables, Dumbbells, EZ Bar, Machines
Male & Female
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Workout Description

I went through a phase recently where I was pretty obsessed with Vince Gironda’s training philosophies.

For those of you who are unfamiliar, Gironda was one of the pioneers of bodybuilding.

He was one of the first renowned Hollywood trainers and known as “The Iron Guru”.

But, perhaps the biggest thing he was known for was his implementation of 8x8 training.

And, that’s what has caught all of our eyes and drawn us to this article.

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8x8 Workout Overview

The following program is an 8x8 style workout and it follows an upper/lower split.

It would be perfect for someone looking to add lean muscle mass. It is recommended to pair it with a phase in your training where you are in a caloric surplus to gain the most benefit.

This program would be perfect to run for about 8 weeks before taking a week to deload and reassess your goals.

The exercise selection for the program is important. For most, 8x8 would be incredibly intense to perform using the big 3 movements. Therefore, variations that allow for a lighter load and a more favorable lifting position are selected in place of these heavy movements.

A lot of isolation movements are also incorporated into the program to assist with the total amount of fatigue one can expect to experience when performing an 8 x 8 program.

Each workout consists of four 8 x 8 lifts, one for every major muscle group worked that day. Also included are two 3 x 10 exercises that are more minor body part oriented that I felt were important to train during this particular program.

Weight selection will be highly individual based on the person performing the program. You also do not necessarily need to utilize the same weight for each set. Personally, I’d recommend pyramiding up and then pyramiding back down after set 5 or so.

Rest periods are 30-45 seconds in between each set and exercise. Utilize this time to change out weights and catch your breath. You’ll likely realize quickly that this program is as much of a test of your cardiovascular system as it is a test of your muscular endurance.

If you have any additional questions regarding the workout program, please be sure to leave us a comment in the comments section below.

Day 1: 8x8 Upper Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Wide Grip Bench Press 8 8
Dumbbell Row 8 8
Standing Dumbbell Shoulder Press 8 8
Lat Pull Down 8 8
EZ Bar Curl 3 10
Rope Tricep Extension 3 10

Day 2: 8x8 Lower Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Goblet Squat 8 8
Romanian Deadlift 8 8
Leg Press 8 8
Leg Curl 8 8
Standing Calf Raise 3 10
Hyperextension 3 10

Day 3: Off/Rest Day

On rest days do something to promote recovery. This can be SMR, mobility work, low intensity cardio, or a combination of the three.

Day 4: 8x8 Upper Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Dumbbell Lateral Raise 8 8
Cable Row 8 8
Dips 8 8
Inverted Row 8 8
Dumbbell Shrug 3 10
Cable Face Pull 3 10

Day 5: 8x8 Lower Workout

Exercise Sets Reps
Front Squat 8 8
Barbell Hip Thrust 8 8
Leg Extension 8 8
Seated Leg Curl 8 8
Seated Calf Raise 3 10
Leg Press Calf Raise 3 10

Weekends Off/Rest Day

On rest days do something to promote recovery. This can be SMR, mobility work, low intensity cardio, or a combination of the three.

Other 8x8 Workout Notes

For those of you looking to build lean muscle mass, utilizing this routine that focuses heavily on high volume may be exactly what you need to kick start the growth process.

The focus of each lift should be about feeling the movement taking place in the target muscle groups. Perform each rep in a slower fashion than you would in a strength-based program. A 2/0/2 rep tempo would be perfect.

Feel free to substitute the exercise selection for exercises of your preference. It is understandable that not all exercises are intended to be performed by everyone. However, in doing so, try your best to maintain some of the similar movement patterns listed.

I wouldn’t recommend adding additional exercises to the workout unless they are core-focused. The volume already present in the workout is plenty to stimulate muscle growth for all the major muscle groups.

You are more than welcome to combine a cardio regimen with this workout routine. That being said, I would suggest a low intensity form of cardio either post workout, on your rest days, or a combination of the two.

The workout can be used as a fat loss program if desired. However, as mentioned, it is ideal to pair it with a calorie surplus.

If you decide to give the program a try for yourself, be sure to tag us on any social posts during the time you are doing the routine!

And if you have any questions, always feel free to leave a comment below.

28 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Tue, 08/27/2019 - 10:02
Pentti Hirvonen

Hello! Do you count warm up sets to those 8 sets? If I go pyramid style should I do 1-2 warm up sets before that?

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Posted Tue, 09/03/2019 - 16:18

Hi Pentti,

I personally did when I ran this program for times sake (counted warm ups in my total sets). You can do either or tho.

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Posted Sun, 08/18/2019 - 01:25
Diego Hernandez

So I want to try this program for the next 8 weeks, but I'm a bit new to lifting and was wondering if I should go with this routine or try the 12 weeks body metamorphosis program https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/12-week-total-transformation-... Thanks!

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Posted Mon, 08/19/2019 - 10:17

Hi Diego,

If you're truly new to weight lifting, I wouldn't recommend either. Check out some of these, they're more beginner-friendly: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/beginner

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Posted Sat, 08/03/2019 - 12:27

Hi. First week done and what a great shock to whole body!! Weights are now very very low but add more every week when reach 8x8 easy but same time hard. Is that possible to add gains more how eat? I meen that eat now much rice and meat etc but if add also eggs. ? Im 47 yrs old and bw is now 113kg nad im really glad if my bodyfat get down and mucles replase it.

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Posted Mon, 08/05/2019 - 15:46
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Posted Fri, 07/26/2019 - 19:04
Bryce ehret

Hey huge fan of the site I have been doing your guys workouts since I was 14 anyways I notice my upper chest tends to lag a bit could I do push-ups or incline dumbbell press to fill that area in or should I just leave it be

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Posted Mon, 07/29/2019 - 14:07

Hi Bryce,

The 16 sets between wide grip bench and dips should be plenty. However, you're more than welcome to modify the template in any way you see fit based on your individual goals.

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Posted Mon, 07/22/2019 - 17:41

Hi this program looks very good. How about reps, are we do those to failure or doing like can do few more? I`ll start this next monday.

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Posted Wed, 07/24/2019 - 16:29

Hi Tero,

Don't perform to failure. Keep anywhere between 1-3 reps in reserve throughout all of your sets.

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Posted Fri, 07/19/2019 - 12:21

it says on the rest day you could do SMR. what does that stand for? its a term i am unfamiliar with and wasn't seeing anything workout related with a google search. thank you.

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Posted Fri, 07/19/2019 - 12:28

Hi Kizlet,

Self Myofascial Release aka foam rolling.

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Posted Fri, 07/19/2019 - 12:40

sweet thanks! i knew it had to be something simple like that.

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Posted Fri, 07/19/2019 - 07:56

Hi ...
Bench press should it be flat or incline or decline ....

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Posted Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:30

Hi Vikram,

Wide grip flat.

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Posted Fri, 07/12/2019 - 15:59

Perfect workout

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Posted Wed, 07/03/2019 - 20:29
Travis K.

I see conflicting information out there about whether or not to use the same weight for each set of the 8x8. Most articles indicate that Gironda used the same weight for each set of the 8x8, only increasing weight when all 8 sets were performed with 8 reps. It makes me wonder if this program should be used while recording progress, or just go by feel each day?

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Posted Fri, 07/05/2019 - 10:47

Hi Travis,

I believe either can work. Whichever you feel you can be most consistent doing is going to be your best bet.

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Posted Mon, 06/24/2019 - 06:23

Can i do squat instead globet squat and leg lung 0nstead leg curl.

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Posted Mon, 06/24/2019 - 10:54

Hi ปHathairat,

Might be tough, but you can try it out.

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Posted Sun, 06/23/2019 - 15:29
Lee Morrall

Where is the chest exercises?

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Posted Mon, 06/24/2019 - 10:57

Hi Lee,

Wide grip bench press and dips will both work your chest.

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Posted Sun, 06/23/2019 - 14:19
Rishi Mallik

Hello, thank you very much for this workout routine. I will surely follow this and let you know the results. Basically I am 5'11" and body weight is 86 kgs. I have two questions i.e. 1) what kind of abdominal workout we can include in this. 2) what type of diet I have keep. Means to get the results according to this workout routine what all should I eat. I have a mesomorphic body type.

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Posted Sun, 06/23/2019 - 13:20
Muhammad Zayed

Hey Josh!
Thanks for the awesome workout.
Could you please guide that what should be the primary source of protein with this plan? Should one go for white meat, chicken or fish, or focus on lean beef?


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Posted Mon, 06/24/2019 - 10:59

Hi Muhammad,

Thank you! Hope you enjoy it while you perform it!

For protein source, I actually recommend varying your protein sources regularly. All of those are excellent options to utilize.

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Posted Wed, 06/19/2019 - 00:00

Hi.... Can we do cardio on all recovery day ? How much LISS is good ?

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Posted Wed, 06/19/2019 - 12:32

Hi Vikram,

Absolutely! 30-45 mins of liss (if walking or biking) would be a solid addition.