The 8×8 method of training was one of Vince Gironda’s favorites – something he called an “honest workout.”
The 8×8 method of training involves picking one exercise per bodypart, and by using the same weight for every set completing 8 sets of 8 reps with minimal rest between sets.
The 6×6 and 10×10 set-and-rep schemes are done the same way – there’s just less sets and reps in 6×6, and more in 10×10.
Should I start with 8×8?
Likely not, although most people don’t listen to this piece of advice and jump right into it without even thinking. It comes from the mentality that we’re brought up with that goes something like: the more you work the more you earn. While that may work for making money, it doesn’t work in the gym. Do you see anyone doing 20×20, or even thinking about doing it?
A good primer for this type of training is 6×6, which most people find easier to complete both mentally and physically. Six reps isn’t that much, and six sets isn’t that much to wrap your head and body around either. It’s a good way to get a handle on picking the correct type of weight and learning to minimize the rest between sets in order to progress.
Do I do just one exercise for an 8×8 (or 6×6 or 10×10) program ?
Yes, but unfortunately due to some articles – including a section in Vince’s own book The Wild Physique that described the pre-Olympia training of his pupil Mohammed Makkawy – many people think that you do more.
Some people can handle more than one exercise per bodypart, doing each exercise for 8×8. Mohammed Makkaway was one of them – a genetic super who did it for short periods of time just before the Mr. Olympia.
Most people, however, cannot, and will quickly overtrain. Most should stick to just one exercise, do it correctly, and focus on minimizing the rest period between sets. Remember, working more hours may earn you more money on the job, but the extra exercises and sets in the gym won’t necessarily build you more muscle.