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
Split
Intermediate
8 weeks
4
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.

67 Comments+ Post Comment

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

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
JoshEngland

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
Paul

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

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

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
Fel

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
JoshEngland

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
JoshEngland

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
JoshEngland

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
AHSAN

recommended ideal diet plan for this workout? thanks

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

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
JoshEngland

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
Sam

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
JoshEngland

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
Mike

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
JoshEngland

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
Mike

Great! Thanks for the help.

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

Hi,
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
JoshEngland

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
Al

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
JoshEngland

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
Yasith

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
JoshEngland

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
JL

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
JoshEngland

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
JoshEngland

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
Paul

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
JoshEngland

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
Eybi

Hello.
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
JoshEngland

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
JoshEngland

Hi Andrew,

I would suggest smith machine front squat.

Hope this helps!

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Posted Thu, 10/03/2019 - 17:37
Eybi

Thank you very much

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Posted Sat, 09/21/2019 - 22:06
Kyle Malone

Would throwing in a hundred push ups every night help or hurt me. I’ve had success with doing push ups at night before in helping increase weight. What’s your opinion?

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Posted Mon, 09/23/2019 - 14:17
JoshEngland

Hi Kyle,

I wouldn't recommend it.

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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
JoshEngland

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
JoshEngland

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
Tero

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
JoshEngland
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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
JoshEngland

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
Tero

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
JoshEngland

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
Kizlet

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.