Rep Ranges – Part 2 – 8 Sets of 8 – What!?

golden age
Hey everyone.

Welcome to the page, or Welcome Back!

In the last article, we discussed rep ranges and which range to choose based on your fitness goal.

We also discussed some new research suggesting a totally different rep range that may be new information to everyone. Definitely an interesting read.

Today, I would like to go even more rouge, and suggest a totally different rep and set range.

Let’s get started.

The Internet

So much information! We are overloaded with information today, and there is more “New and Improved” information hitting our inboxes every day.

As an example, if you Google “best biceps exercises”, you will get 46.3 million results in less than a second. Good luck sifting through all that information to find what works best for you.

And then there is the honesty factor. Who should you believe? If everyone is really just trying to help, how can the suggested paths to the same goals be so diverse?

It is our duty to investigate all the information given on the internet. I want you to investigate everything I say. I am part of the information highway, but I differ somewhat, as I am not motivated to sell you anything. I am giving the advice that I think works best, based on my research.

You have to wonder about motives. I have read a lot of books and articles about nutrition, and when you get to the end, they are always trying to sell you their supplement or product. Makes you wonder if they manipulated the data to get the results that would sell their product the best. Hmmm…

mens health

It makes you wonder about the articles chosen for publication in the magazines. We all know that the advertisers make the magazines rich, so the articles need to reflect the need for the items being advertised. Check it out the next time you read a magazine. The ad for the product that is mentioned in the article is right there on the same page or the next page. Coincidence? I think not.

Anyway, enough of a rant. There is still great information to be had on the internet. There are a lot of people who truly want to help. You need to investigate and find the sources of information that resonate with you. Keep an open mind, do the background check, and follow your favorites.

Just an aside. I like to follow the people who follow their own advice and do the exercises they suggest and take pictures of themselves to show the results of their hard work.

The Golden Days of Body Building

Let’s face facts. I have been around for a while. I was born in 1964. I have seen a lot of trends come and go.

My first body building experience was the purchase some equipment, through the mail because of these Charles Atlas ads:

adadI did’t want to be the skinny guy on the beach being pushed around and not being able to look after my girl!

So I saved my money and ordered some of the advertised equipment.

I remember how excited I was when it came in!

My mom even took a before picture of me. Man was I a skinny kid!

This is what I purchased:spring exerciser

I used this thing religiously for months. I can’t count the number of times my skin got caught in those springs. In the end, it didn’t make any difference. I looked the same. It would be years before I bought my first set of weights.

But there was a lot of good body building going on in the good old days. vince's gymLook at these guys. They knew what they were doing. This was the physique I wanted. If only I could figure out how to do what they were doing. Look at those bodies. Strong, lean. Nobody was kicking sand in their faces!

Many trainers must have had the key to success, as there were many great body builders.

Joe Weider was the next guru who convinced me to make a purchase. I mail-ordered this system, at the same time I bought my first set of weights. This was a complete program with eating tips, training tips, posters of workouts, and pictures of the trainer.

joe weider

He was the trainer of the one and only Arnold Schwarzenegger.joe weider

There were great posters inside, and the men in these posters became my idols: Tom Platz (5’7″, 220 pounds, he had 28″ legs!), Jacques Neuville (Mr. Universe 1981), Bob Birdsong (5’8″, 205 pounds), Lee Haney (8 time Mr. Olympia), Rich Gaspari (the youngest man to win Mr. Universe at 19), and Mike Christian (6’1″, 250 pounds, National and World Champion, 1984).

tom platz
This program changed the way I looked at body building. It became a lifestyle as opposed to a hobby, or an exercise program.

jacques neuville

Bob Birdsong

bob birdsong
lee haney
rich gaspari
mike christian
There were other trainers back in the day who knew what the heck they were doing. I didn’t hear about this one until years later, but one of the more famous trainers was Vince Gironda.

The Manvince gironda

Vince Gironda was an avid body builder. He was born Vincent Anselmo Gironda on November 9, 1917. He was professional bodybuilder, a personal trainer, an author, and the owner of the celebrity-frequented Vince’s Gym. His nickname was the “Iron Guru”.

He was years ahead of everyone else with his ideas about body building and eating. He was, in fact, quite controversial for his time. He seemed to live to push the envelope. People either loved him or hated him, and he was fine with that.

He had his methods, and you either followed them of left the gym. If you spoke the words, “But Vince…” you were asked to leave the gym and never return.

During his time as a trainer, there were more Mr. America winners that came out of Vince’s Gym than any other facility.

He had many famous clients in the gym, including Larry Scott, the first Mr. Olympia, and Mohammed Makkaway, one of the greatest IFBB stars of the 80’s.

He also trained some of Hollywood’s greatest stars like Erik Estrada and Clint Eastwood.

Vince was known for controversy. He had a lot of ideas and training methods that were innovative at the time, but have proven to be solid advice over the years. Some of the controversial ideas he had were:

  • you should not do sit-ups to build your abs
  • you should eat the whole egg, yolk included
  • don’t follow all the advice you read in magazines
  • drug users are cheaters
  • to improve digestion, put your legs higher than your stomach after you eat
  • don’t listen to music while working out; it’s a distraction
  • eating too much protein is counter-productive
  • the regular squat is not the be all and the end all. Other squats are needed

to name a few. Many of these thoughts of his have now been proven to be legitimate through scientific research and practice.

The one thing that Vince is probably best known for is his training program know as “8 Sets of 8”.

Let’s have a look at that.

The Program – 8 Sets of 8

This is a really tough program, and is not recommended for the beginner. Remember, Vince was training elite body builders to complete at a national or world level. Not for the faint of heart.

But, if you have hit a sticking point in your training, then perhaps a version of this program would work for you.

It has been said that Vince did not present this program to any two body builders in the same way. He would tailor the program to the individual; that is what you need to do. Take something from it that will move you toward your goals.

8 sets of 8

That being said, Vince had other rules to follow when performing the exercises:

  1. Move quickly from exercise to exercise with minimal rest.
  2. Do not drink water while working out.
  3. Concentrate on each movement. No distractions.
  4. Follow the routine exactly as outlined.
  5. Only perform the routine once a week for intermediate lifters; twice for advanced lifters.
  6. Do Not Attempt if you haven’t been lifting for two years, minimum.
  7. Take a nap after the workout.

Also, 8 Sets of 8 does not mean 8 sets of each exercise.

For example, for the chest portion, you would do 8 repetitions of bench press to neck, followed immediately by 8 repetitions of the v-bar dip. Do this four times to get to 8 sets of 8.

So here is the routine.

Monday and Thursday bench press

Chest, Back, Shoulders

Chest – Barbell Bench Press to Neck followed by “V” Bar dips

Back – Gironda Chin Ups followed by Wide Grip Pulldowns

Shoulders – Lateral Raises followed by Dumbbell Swings

Tuesday and Friday

Biceps, Triceps, Forearmsgironda pull up

Biceps – Barbell Body Drag Curls followed by Seated Dumbbell Curls

Triceps – Triceps Rope Pulls followed by Dumbbell Kickbacks

Forearms – Reverse Wrist Curl followed by Wrist Curls

Wednesday and Saturday

Thighs, Calves – do four sets of each exercise in a row

Thighs – Sissy Squats

Thighs – Hack Squats

Thighs – Leg Curls

Calf – Standing Calf Raise

All of those exercises are fairly self-explanatory, especially to the seasoned lifter, to whom this routine is geared.

The only one that may be new is the Dumbbell Swing for shoulders. Start with a dumbbell in each hand and your arms in a drawn bow position. As if you were shooting a bow and arrow. Let your arms drop and swing and then end with your arms in the drawn bow position facing the other direction. Interesting.

dumbbell swingOnce again, please do some research on this workout and only attempt if you are a seasoned lifter. And please, as always, consult a professional for advice. I am only giving my opinion.

Last Words

So there you have it.
Try some new rep ranges and new weight ranges and see of it helps you reach your goals. Perhaps 8 Sets of 8 is somethingvince you want to try.

As always, if you have questions or comments about my opinions, please leave them below.

Also, if you are a father (or mother) (or anyone for that matter) who would like an easy to follow program that includes a menu and work out information, check out this article from a few months ago.
Thanks for listening.

See you in the next post.

Have a great day!


Tom Fitzsimmons

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