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.

81 Comments+ Post Comment

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Posted Sat, 07/11/2020 - 00:21

Hi sir i started workout from 3 month but i cant get muscles in my body so how can i get the muscle and which workout is required sir

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Posted Mon, 08/10/2020 - 16:15

Hey Kaushikkhatri

If you're struggling to grow then often times you aren't consuming enough calories to support growth. If you are sure that you're eating in a caloric surplus then try adding an extra set to each of your exercises and really tap your muscles out, stay intense.

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Posted Wed, 04/29/2020 - 15:58

This workout kicks your butt...its a go to workout for me..

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Posted Mon, 05/04/2020 - 11:10

Yeah it's a killer routine!

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Posted Wed, 03/04/2020 - 15:12

I will start this workout today, can I do (2 ON and 1 OFF) instead of (2 On - 1 Off - 2 On - 2 Off)

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Posted Thu, 03/05/2020 - 12:24

Hi Rabbie,

Yea, that should be fine.

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Posted Sat, 02/29/2020 - 08:13

is this program suitable for beginners ?

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Posted Tue, 03/03/2020 - 12:33

Hi Yasmeen,

No. Start with one of these: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/beginner

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Posted Wed, 02/26/2020 - 00:09
Raj Kumar Joshi

Hi Josh,

Looks a great programme. My goal is fat loss and weight loss. Can I use this programme for that purpose. Please guide.

Thanks a lot.

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Posted Wed, 02/26/2020 - 14:33

Hi Raj,

Yes, most programs can be used for either goal.

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Posted Tue, 02/25/2020 - 07:44

Hi Josh,
Its a really nice workout circuit. My question is regarding my meal plan or calorie intake. I workout anywhere between 19:00 - 22:00 hrs, and I have my dinner by 18:00hrs. Is it recommended to have a last meal after workout and if yes what should I focus on? By the way I am 76kg, 178cm tall and 27 years old, and my target is lean muscle gain but also not gaining more weight.
Thank you

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Posted Sun, 02/23/2020 - 14:07
Daniel Walker

Just a quick question, is this more like a circuit training type where i would move from one movement to the next body part movement, or do 8 sets of 8 chest , then 8 sets of 8 rows then 8 sets of 8 shoulders, or one set of 8 of each movement muscle group until a complete circuit then start over for 8 total circuits?

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Posted Mon, 02/24/2020 - 11:19

Hi Daniel,

Perform all of the sets of an exercise before moving on to the next exercise.

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Posted Sun, 02/23/2020 - 08:02

This was a great workout and a great way to change up what I was doing. Because of availability, I lifted Mon., Tue., Thur., and Sat., and swam on Wed. and Fri. Still was tremendous. I will cycle through other workouts and come back to this one, for sure.

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Posted Tue, 02/18/2020 - 01:35

On rest days should I drop calories to maintenance or slight deficit? Or leave in surplus?

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Posted Tue, 02/18/2020 - 10:02

Hi Josh,

Depends on your goals. I usually keep my calories the same throughout the week. Just makes it easier that way.

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Posted Thu, 02/13/2020 - 07:12

Hi! Could I add some more chest exercises because I see just one.

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Posted Thu, 02/13/2020 - 15:31

Hi Paul,

There's 16 weekly sets for chest between the bench press and dip. That should be plenty.

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Posted Wed, 02/05/2020 - 14:17

I really appreciate your work by posting such an amazing workouts to help people reach up their work, my question is i have been working for more than 4 years now so does this programm suits me? And can i add more excersises on upper days? For example i would like to add 1 more excersise for every muscle !
Thank u :)

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Posted Thu, 02/06/2020 - 10:32

Hi Fel,

You're welcome! Glad you like the workouts. I personally wouldn't as that would be a ton of volume. But, it depends on the person.

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Posted Sat, 02/01/2020 - 14:50
Brandon Miller

How much should I increase weight? And how often?

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Posted Sun, 01/26/2020 - 18:04
Khalieq Ahamad

Can you run on treadmill before starting weighting or straight after the weightlifting

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Posted Mon, 01/27/2020 - 15:25

Hi Khalieq,

I'd recommend performing your cardio after your weight training session.

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Posted Wed, 01/22/2020 - 13:02
Ben Postma

Do these workouts need to be performed in order or can I switch up if needed.

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Posted Thu, 01/23/2020 - 11:48

Hi Ben,

They can be rearranged - just be sure not to schedule your upper days on consecutive days. Same goes for lower days.

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Posted Sat, 01/18/2020 - 16:54

recommended ideal diet plan for this workout? thanks

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Posted Thu, 01/09/2020 - 12:47

I am workingout about 3 months till now , can i start doing this routine or still early to do it now ?
Can i do some alternative such as inverted row machine instead of barbell? And machine row instead of dumbell row?
Thanks in advance

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Posted Fri, 01/10/2020 - 11:00

Hi Sam,

3 months is still very much a beginner level. I would stick with a little volume as you possibly can for however long you still see gains. There's nothing magical about increasing the volume until you need the additional stimulus for further growth a year or so down the road.

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Posted Fri, 01/10/2020 - 18:31

I'm really appreciate your time for helping
Would you recommend a workout routine for me ?
I am already on upper lower routine is it ok or not?
I have one more question, intermediate means how many months of working out ?
Sorry for asking too much
Again thank you so much for your effort
Best regards

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Posted Mon, 01/13/2020 - 10:35

Hi Sam,

Give one of these a try: https://www.muscleandstrength.com/workouts/beginner

Intermediate simply means that the amount of work performed in beginner based workouts in no longer helping you to improve in the weight you're using or your phsyique.

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Posted Tue, 11/26/2019 - 22:12

Have been using this program for a month with great results. Dropped 1% body fat while gaining around 3 lbs of muscle. Can I still add an extra workout day specifically for my arms? I feel they're a bit lagging and would like to develop them more.

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Posted Wed, 11/27/2019 - 16:00

Hi Mike,

Sure, you can add an arm day if you feel it is necessary for your individual goals.

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Posted Wed, 11/27/2019 - 20:57

Great! Thanks for the help.

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Posted Fri, 11/22/2019 - 00:58

Currently I'm doing PHUL and focussing on six packs.if I switch over to this will it be helpful.

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Posted Mon, 11/25/2019 - 12:53

Hi Karthik,

Neither program is necessarily better or worse than the other. Pick whichever you prefer more and stick to it progressing over time to see results.

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Posted Tue, 11/19/2019 - 15:48

Hi. Great program. I can’t go to gym on day four (just this time). Can i do day four workout on my day off (Wednesday)? Usually I workout in the morning, so i was thinking to hit the gym on Wednesday night just to give sone extra time for recovery since Tuesday am workout. Please advise. Thanks in advance.

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Posted Wed, 11/20/2019 - 10:14

Hi Al,

If you were to do this, I would recommend doing the workouts in the order they are listed on the days you have available. So, day 3 on Wed and day 4 on Thursday.

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Posted Wed, 11/13/2019 - 20:25

Hey Josh,
Are the dips Tricep or Chest? The link takes us to Tricep dips.

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Posted Thu, 11/14/2019 - 10:25

Hi Yasith,

Depends on what you're personally lacking development wise. Either is very effective... you could also go half and half.

Both variations will directly and indirectly hit both with plenty of volume to make whichever you decide to go with a good option for the purposes of this program.

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Posted Sun, 10/13/2019 - 21:04

When you say leg press, you mean stance for quads or for hams? Or 4 sets stance for quads 4 sets stance for hams? Or which stance would you use for 8 x8 thanks a lot

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Posted Mon, 10/14/2019 - 11:07

Hi JL,

I treated it as a quad-dominant exercise.

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Posted Mon, 10/07/2019 - 13:51
Jacob N

Not sure if this was asked already but what percentage of your max should you be starting at? Thanks!

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Posted Mon, 10/07/2019 - 13:54

Hi Jacob,

I'm not really a fan of percentage-based training anymore, especially if hypertrophy is the goal. You want each set to be challenging for you. I use an RPE system and would pyramid up. So like RPE 7, 8, 8, 8, 9, 9, 9, 9. That might mean you have to go down in your final sets depending on how you are feeling that day.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Sat, 02/01/2020 - 16:38

I don’t really understand the pyramid up the first 5 sets and then pyramid down when the reps ask for 8 reps? Isn’t the goal to hit 8 reps? How would you possibly pyramid down or up if you are not hitting the recommended reps?

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Posted Mon, 02/03/2020 - 15:06

Hi Paul,

It's not max effort for all of the sets in that scenario. If you want to do all 8 sets at 100% effort, you can try - it'll probably be very difficult though.

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Posted Wed, 10/02/2019 - 07:47

Can you use this program for about 8 weeks, and after 8 weeks, switch it with a more strength focused program. And then after 8 weeks of strength, switch it back to 8x8? And do that for like a year?

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Posted Wed, 10/02/2019 - 15:27

Hi Eybi,

Yes, that would be fine.

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Posted Tue, 09/24/2019 - 20:55
Andrew W

Hey Josh! Thanks for this routine. I'm 4 weeks in and I love it. Quick question... I workout at Planet Fitness where dumbells max out at 75 lbs. This weight has become too light for my 8x8 goblet squats. What substitute exercise would you recommend in place of Goblets each week? Thanks for your time and input as always!

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Posted Wed, 09/25/2019 - 11:56

Hi Andrew,

I would suggest smith machine front squat.

Hope this helps!