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8 x 8 System for Chest Training

The classic term for bodybuilding is that you can't ride two horses with one ass when it comes to building muscle and losing fat.

This is why it is prudent for traditional non-competitive trainees to concentrate only on one goal at a time, either muscle building or fat shedding. Although both ends are not difficult to attain at the same time, most trainees simply do not have the biology, expertise, or dietary discipline to do so. For the overwhelming majority, it is a more realistic solution to split the targets into two separate blocks or stages.

All the exceptions are here. There's an easy, but painful way to achieve the Holy Grail of building muscle and losing fat if you're an intermediate strength trainee with a reasonable level of conditioning.

The 8/8 Method of Gironda

Gironda Vince

The late Vince Gironda, considered by many to be the first and undoubtedly the most eccentric bodybuilding instructor, referred to 8 sets of 8 reps (or 8-8) as the' honest' workout.

Its "honesty" derives from the humbling weight used during the real exercise, an extreme high-volume device designed solely for cosmetic improvements. Vince prescribed 8/8 especially for pre-contest conditions, and given its elegant simplicity, its brutal efficacy is shocking.

How's that done? Choose 60-70 percent of your 1RM in a given lift (compound movements preferred), like 10-10 or German Volume Training, and perform 8 sets of 8 reps with a mere 30 seconds or less rest. For up to four different movements per exercise, this technique can be implemented, but I would suggest working up to that because the program can be a total shock to the body.

After the fifth set of a 10-10 German Volume workout, if you feel like a total waste of life, this is all about training volume, since you are using the wrong energy systems, you won't be tapping into strength benefits. However, you will achieve impressive metabolic ramping and fat loss advantages because your heart rate can be up near sprinting speeds during the workout.

1. Barbell Bench Press

Unrack the bar and lower it slowly towards your chest until it nearly hits it. This portion of the lift should take you about 3 seconds to perform. Pick the bar back up explosively without pausing at the bottom, before the elbows lock out.

For 8 reps, repeat the movement, then pause for 30 seconds and go again until you finish a total of 8 sets. It's all right if on any set you can't pull off 8 reps-just try and give your best and don't go below 5 reps. A severe chest burning feeling would mean that you've done it right.

And make sure you have a spotter, by the way, as it's highly likely you'll crash.

2. Dumbbell Flyes Flyes

Dumbbell Flyes Flyes

Lie down on a flat bench and raise the dumbbells at shoulder width in front of you, making sure the palms of your hands are facing each other. Bend your elbows slightly, then slowly lower your arms out in a wide arc at the sides until you feel a strong stretch in your chest muscles. Back to the starting spot, lift the weights and repeat.

The goal is to complete eight sets of eight reps with 30 seconds of rest between sets.

3. The Dips

Setup: Grasp bars with your arms extended and locked with dips. Step forward while holding your legs crossed, and bend your knees.

Execution: When you bend them to lower your body down until your upper arms are about parallel to the floor, hold your elbows out to your sides. In order to stretch your arms and lift your body back up, push your hands into the bars.

Josh's Notes: Lean forward during the dip and hold your elbows out to place the bulk of the load on the chest. Follow the weekly rest periods outlined.

#4. The Bench Press Reverse-Grip

Set up: Sitting on a flat bench, with a supinated (reverse) grip, hands separated from the shoulder width, and thumbs around the pole, grab the bar. In a slight backward arc, press the bar up to the start position without letting your elbows flare out. Don't lock your elbows at the top of the rep; keep a bend in your arms at all times, keeping the weight under control.

Execution: Slowly lower the bar down to your lower pecs with your elbows tucked in to your sides, and touch down gently.

Notes from Josh: This exercise emphasizes the growth of the upper chest, and either a barbell or a dumbbell is okay. Follow the weekly rest periods outlined.

5. Pullover Dumbbell

Setup: Lie on a flat bench and feel flat on the floor about shoulder width apart or wider with your upper back supported by the bench. Hold the inside edge of a dumbbell directly over your chest at arm's length and lower your hips towards the floor slightly.

Execution: As far as possible, put your arms back behind your head while retaining a slight bend in your elbows. Pull the weight back up over your chest and reverse the direction.

Josh's Notes: The pullover dumbbell variant transfers much of the load to the chest. Hold an iA bend of 10-15 degrees.