Subj: Build muscle, burn fat and get ripped with Vince GiRonda’s ‘Honest’ 8×8 Workout.
If you’re looking to build serious muscle mass and burn some fat, you’re in luck. Today I’m going to share with you one of the best workouts for building muscle and getting shredded: Vince GiRonda’s 8×8 method.
The 8×8 method, which Vince called “the Honest workout” is a straight-forward workout routine where you blast your muscles with 8 sets of 8 reps per exercises.
The 8×8 method is high-tempo, high-volume and very intense. It’s not for the faint of heart, but is perfect for advanced trainer struggling to push past a plateau. 8 sets of 8 will shock muscles into new growth if you’re at a stand-still.
The 8×8 workout routine is a rare breed that builds muscle and burns fat simultaneously. It’s a muscle-building hypertrophy workout and cardio workout wrapped into one.
8 x 8 workout is the ultimate conditioning routine designed to get you as ripped as possible in the shortest amount of time. The 8×8 workout was Vince’s “preferred” method to get bodybuilders in top-shape before competition.
Enter Vince GiRonda, The Iron Guru
Vince GiRonda was the greatest bodybuilding trainer of all time.
His training and nutrition methods transformed the physiques of many actors, models and bodybuilders. All of whom flocked to Vince during the 1950’s, 1960’s and 1970’s to learn from the Master.
Vince GiRonda was a bodybuilding pioneer and possessed an unparalleled understand and knowledge of the human body.
He was considered a bit “out there” in terms of personality. But his results spoke for themselves. Like all geniuses, he was ahead of his time and made people raise an eyebrow.
He had a keen awareness and understanding of the human body and his methods and philosophy far exceeded the understanding of science at the time.
As the undisputed master of his craft he was hired by many of the best actors, models, bodybuilders and celebrities. He gladly whipped them into the best shape of their lives.
Vince GiRonda also served as a mentor and teacher for many legendary bodybuilders, including Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Vince was credited with turning out more Mr. America and Mr. Universe champions than any trainer in history including Larry Scott and Mohammed Makkawy.
Hollywood actor and entertainers would seek Vince out to get ripped before taking the stage or big screen. Vince’s client list had a bunch of celebrities including Cher, Erik Estrada(Cop dude from CHIPS), Clint Eastwood, Denzel Washington, Michael Landon, Kurt Russell, Burt Reynolds, Carl Weathers and Tommy Chong. The list goes on and on.
Needless to say, Vince knew his shit and got results.
Vince’s mastery of bodybuilding and training techniques earned him the “The Iron Guru”.
Vince didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk and competed in bodybuilding competitions before the sport was popular.
The picture you see of him here was taken when Vince was over 50 years old and he’s in better shape then most competitive bodybuilders half his age!
Vince used a variety of training methods during his decades of training and teaching however the absolute best for building muscle mass and definition was the 8×8 Workout.
The Vince GiRonda ‘Honest’ 8×8 Workout
Vince created popular training methods including the 6×6 total body workout, 10-8-6-15 method, 15 sets of 5 reps and many others. Each method had a purpose, usually to get his clients as strong and ripped as possible.
Out of all Vince’s creations, 8 by 8 method was his favorite:
“I have a definite preference for the 8 X 8 system of sets and reps,” wrote Vince. “I come back to this high intensity “honest workout” more often than any other for maximizing muscle fiber growth in the quickest possible time for the advanced bodybuilder.” – Vince GiRonda
8 sets of 8 is the best set and rep scheme ever developed for rapidly building muscle mass and burning fat. Vince called it the “honest workout ” because of the pure muscle fiber size that can be achieved on it:
“Keep to 8 X 8 and your muscle fiber will plump out, giving you a solid mass of muscle density as a result.”
He also warned that the 8×8 method is an advance technique and not suitable for beginners:
“You have to build up to the stage where you can benefit from this extremely advanced form of training. I doubt if anyone with less than two years of training experience could benefit from this method.”
So, if you’re a beginning training, stick to a linear strength program for a couple years. Something like Starting Strength is good. Then once you have a nice layer of muscle, move on to something more advanced.
Benefits of the 8 x 8 Workout Routine
The 8×8 workout is super intense and the benefit comes from the huge amount of work you do in the short amount of time. This puts tremendous stress on your muscles and forces them to grow.
The 8×8 Method Build Muscle
8 sets of 8 is a hypertrophy inducing workout. It takes your muscles to the limit and forces them to grow bigger and stronger.
Rather than having something get lost in translation, I’ll let the Man himself explain:
“To acquire larger muscles you must increase the intensity of work done within a given time. This means minimum rest between sets. Push yourself. I feel workouts should be timed and you should constantly strive to shorten the time it takes to get through your routine. This is another form of progressive resistance, and is more important than raising your weights. This principle of overload explains why sprinters have bigger muscles than distance runners. Although it’s more work to run a mile than it is to run 100 yards, the sprinter is doing more work per second. Consequently, his muscles will become larger.” – Vince GiRonda
The 8×8 Method Burns Fat
The high tempo, and low rest means your heart rate will shoot through the roof to damn near sprinting levels.
8 sets of 8 Improves Conditioning
The Honest workout is a perfect conditioning and endurance workout. You cardiovascular and respiratory systems will get a great workout as well. Making them stronger and more efficient.
How to Perform the 8×8 Training Method
Minimize Rest Between Sets
Vince said that using the 8 sets of 8 format is not enough to ensure muscle gains. What’s more important is the speed with which you get through the program. “Minimum rest between sets is a must”.
Your goal is to reduce your rest intervals to 30 seconds or less, ultimately cutting them down to just 15-20 seconds between each set. Once your conditioning has adjusted to the demands, you’ll need just five to ten deep breaths between each set, then it’s on to the next set.
Short rest periods ensure high intensity. Keeping your muscles working without full recovery makes them breakdown and grow back stronger. This way you reach hypertrophy. This is important. Part of the benefit of doing this workout is to burn fat and sweat. You need to keep your muscles working and heart rate up for best result. Focus on nothing but training for this workout.
30 seconds is extremely fast. if you time it, you’ll realize 30 seconds feels like nothing. this is another reason why you need to focus on your next set. it’s easy to get side tracked by wondering thoughts, your cell phone, conversation, or by the sexy lady in yoga pants.
If you listen to musi,c pick a good playlist before you workout or pick one great song that gets you jacked up and put it on repeat.
Don’t fiddle with your phone while in between sets. focus only on your nest set and counting down to your nest set. Workout your way down to 15 seconds
Use a 2-0-2-0 Lifting tempo
If your tempo on each exercise is 2-0-2-0 (2 second eccentric, no pauses and two second concentric), then each rep will take you four seconds. Eight reps per set means that each set will take you 32 seconds. With a 15-20 second rest interval, 24 sets will take only 18 to 21 minutes to complete and 32 sets will take 25 to 28 minutes to complete.
Constant Muscle Tension is Key
Constant whsle tension is key for muscle growth. Focus your mind entirely on the muscle you’re working. You should have laser focus throughout the entire set. Keep the full weight on your target muscle at the top and bottom of each rep.
Use Perfect Form
There’s a few pointers you must follow to get the muscle building benefits of 8×8.
Keep Workouts Under 45 Minutes
Push your self to finish workouts in under 45 minutes. Never train more than an hour. If you take more than an hour your not going fast enough to benefit from this type of training. Work on your conditioning or focus on reducing rest periods and try again.
How to Perform an 8×8 Workout Routine
To perform the workout you pick 3-4 exercises and perform 8 sets of 8 reps for each exercise. Pick a weight that’s about 60% of your 1 rep max for the given exercise.
When doing this workout make sure you keep rest periods between sets to less than 30 seconds.
Pick the Right weight. A good starting point is to use 60-70 percent of your 1 Rep max.
You might start to fizzle out around sets 5,6 or 7 but DO NOT LOWER THE WEIGHT. Even if you can only do 3-4 reps, use the same weight.
Here are some scenarios about using the right weight and weight progression:
If you can complete all 8 sets by doing 8 reps, you need to increase the weight next time.
You complete 7 sets fully but struggle on set 8 only, you can increase the weight a little bit next time.
If you complete 6 sets fully but maybe do 5-6 reps on the 7th set and 3-4 reps on the 8th. You have found a good weight. You can use that same weight nest time you train. This is the ideal weight.
If you complete 5 sets fully but can’t get all 8 reps on sets 6,7 or 8. You shoulder reduce the weight slightly.
you he goal is to lift the most possible weight for the 8×8 method. Always try to add weight each workout. Drop reps not weight! 2 days on 1 day off.
If you’re just trying 8 sets of 8 for the first time it might be wise to pick 1 or 2 main exercises and do 8×8 for only those lifts. for the other lifts do 4 sets of 10 reps or something like that. This workout is a killer so you might want to test the waters first.
Workout splits and frequency
Workout splits and frequency depend on your training preferences and goals.
Vince Gironda recommended training each muscle group every forth day. Each muscle group should get about 12-15 sets per workout but this method is an exception were you do 20+ sets for each muscle group.
I like to train back and shoulders together, legs and chest, and arms separately. it’s completely up to you. Experiment with the volume you can handle and with what fits your needs.
For training frequency, 2 days on 1 day off is a good starting point. if that gets to be too much, you can workout every other day.
This is an extremely taxing workout so take a rest day if you need it!
For the 8×8 workout it’s best to stick to one multi-joint exercise as the main part of your routine.
Single joint movements are OK but the big multi joint lifts will get you the best results overall.
Sample 8×8 Workout Routine
It’s best to pick two muscle groups and do two exercises per muscle group. For example, if you want to do a back and shoulder workout it might look like this:
EXAMPLE 8×8 WORKOUT A (Back and Shoulders)
- Pull Ups 8×8
- Seated Row 8×8
- Shoulder Press 8×8
- Lateral Raise 8×8
EXAMPLE 8×8 WORKOUT B (Legs and Chest)
- Back Squats 8×8
- Leg Press 8×8
- Incline Bench Press 8×8
- Flat Bench Dumbbell Press 8×8
That’s the whole workout; Two muscle groups, two exercises each. Below are the exercises that work best for the 8×8 training method. Build your own workouts, mix and match the exercises to get some variety:
The Best Exercises for GiRonda’s 8×8 Workout
Best Back and Lat Exercises
- Pull ups
- Lat Pull Down
- Seated Row
- T-Bar Row
- Dumbbell Rows laying on bench
Best Chest Exercises
- Flat/Incline Bench
- Dumbbell Bench Press
- Weighted Pushups
Best Leg Exercises
- Back Squats
- Leg Extensions
- Leg Press
- Hamstring Curl
- Calf Raise
Best Shoulder Exercises
- Seated Dumbbell Shoulder Press
- Standing Barbell Shoulder Press
- Push Press
- Barbell Upright Rows
- Lateral Raises (Both arms at the same time)
Best Arm Exercises
- Tricep Pressdown
- Close Grip Bench
- Floor Press
- Dumbbell Overhead Press
- Chin Up
- French Press
Vince didn’t recommend training deadlifts, bent over rows and front squats using the 8×8 method.
The high volume is very taxing on the lower back (deadlifts and bent over rows) and rhomboids (front squat). You’re likely to compromise form and not get a good workout plus put yourself at risk for injury.
You can absolutely do deadlifts, bent over rows and front squats just use a different rep scheme than 8×8 or increase the rest between sets.
Also avoid unilateral movements (one limb at a time) with this workout. It doesn’t work your body hard enough for this workout as it allows too much rest.
Get Plenty of Good Food and Rest
Poor diet and lack of rest are saboteurs of progress in bodybuilding. Check out my Shopping List for healthy food options and give meal prep a try to ensure you have healthy meals available and ready to eat when you’re hungry.
If you’re really hardcore you can try Vince Gironda’s old school steak and eggs diet for maximum results! This is the same diet Vince used to build massive muscle and get that shredded look.
Enjoy Your New Muscles
Upon completing a cycle of 8×8 training I guarantee you will gain bigger, fuller and more defined muscles.
This workout is an absolute grind at times but once you start seeing results it’s easy to stay motivated and be hungry for more!
there will be days where your heads just not into it. You need to force yourself to have a great workout. Focus everything you’ve got into your training and workout with a purpose!
Keep those abs of steel envisioned in your mind – that’s what you’re working for and don’t forget it!
Train hard. Train Often.