Build Muscle & Lose Fat at the Same Time Using Vince Gironda’s 8×8 Workout Method

Absolutely! There’s a popular saying in the bodybuilding community that uses a colorful metaphor: “You can’t ride two horses with one ass.” In bodybuilding, this translates to the idea that it’s complex or almost impossible to achieve muscle gain and fat loss simultaneously. However, Vince Gironda’s 8×8 workout method is an old and proven path to defy it.

Don’t know much about Vince Gironda or his 8×8 training method? Keep reading; we’ll cover it in detail here.

Vince Gironda’s 8x8 Workout Method

Vince Gironda’s 8×8 Training Method

Many considered the late Vince Gironda to be the first bodybuilding coach. He was also the most eccentric due to his 8 sets of 8 reps (8×8) workout, which was also called the honest workout.

Gironda’s 8×8 training method is a highly challenging, high-volume workout method that’s strictly for aesthetic improvements. Similarly, the name “honesty “is given to it due to the humbling weight lifter being forced to choose at the time of performing the actual workout.

Like German Volume Training, Vince Gironda’s 8×8 workout method consists of 8 sets and 8 reps per exercise instead of 10 sets and 10 reps. Similarly, it’s more suitable for those looking to improve their aesthetic looks rather than for those who want to enhance their strength, explosiveness, and power. Lastly, Vince generally prescribed this workout method mostly to lifters during their bodybuilding contest preparation, and many have even gotten the results.

How Vince Gironda’s 8×8 Workout Is Done

Lifter will go for three or four exercises per muscle group and will perform 8 sets of 8 reps on each of the chosen exercises. It means the lifter will do 24 to 32 sets per body part. Also, the lifter will have to work two or three muscle groups per session while making sure resting time is between 15 and 30 seconds. Lastly, the lifter should ensure that the workout is completed within 45 to 60 minutes.

Like German Volume Training (10×10), lifters should choose 60 to 70% of their 1RM (1 Rep Max) in any given compound exercise, preferably, and perform 8 sets of 8 reps with 30 seconds or less resting time. Similarly, this training technique can also be applied to up to four different exercises per workout session. However, if you’re just starting out, it’s recommended that you initially do only one exercise to get comfortable with it.

The 8×8 training method is good and will make you push harder to complete all the sets. Similarly, training using 60 to 70% of your 1 Rep Max and doing it eight times may look easy initially. However, six exercises eight times within 6 to 8 minutes on compound movement is challenging. In addition, it leads to metabolic stress, which helps burn calories while improving your endurance.

Further, there is no need to worry that it may lead to overtraining because you aren’t exceeding workout duration, which can lead to a negative effect on recovery. Here, in this 8×8 workout method, you’re simply overloading the muscles by condensing more training in less duration.

Overload isn’t entirely based on adding more weight, and you can do it other ways as well. No doubt, Vince Gironda always supported the idea of adding more weights to the bar, but he equally believed in performing more work in less time.

Let’s Bring an Old Legend Vince Gironda Back to Life

Vince Gironda was one of the legendary bodybuilders and bodybuilding coaches of yesteryear whose knowledge is helpful to date. He was the real “Iron Guru.” While Joe Weider was pushing himself as the trainer of champions, it was Vince Gironda who originally had the most successful following among bodybuilding champions.

Vince Gironda was the one who had helped bodybuilding champion Larry Scott to go from a 157-pound guy with average genetics to the Mr. Olympia winner weighing 207 pounds. Similarly, he has also helped other bodybuilding legends like Mohammed Makkawy, known for being the most shredded and aesthetic bodybuilder of the time. Though Mohammed never became Mr. Olympia, but he finished second twice and had won many pro contests.

They were Vince’s two best students. However, many others have been stable champions as well, like Mr. America of 1967, Don Howorth, and Rick Wayne, who had been three times Mr. Universe and two times Mr. World. Similarly, he was also popular for training movie stars. Whenever actors wanted to get in shape for their role in a short duration, Vince was the go-to person.

On the flip side, Vince wasn’t into marketing himself and was more like an underground guru, which is one of the main reasons why many haven’t heard about him. Also, some of his methods were against what was advocated in his prime time (even today). Some of his ideas were so innovative that people weren’t ready to accept them.

Exercise Selection for Vince Gironda’s 8×8 Workout Method

Choosing exercise is usually based on the muscularity and cardiorespiratory demands of the workout. However, in this 8×8 workout, rules can be bent. It might be the only workout program where single-joint and open-chain movements are compelling.

Note: Compound movement is still recommended. But cardiovascular demands may get limited, so it’s recommended that you choose your loads wisely.


  • Pull – Ups
  • Lat Pulldown
  • Seated Rowing
  • T – Bar Rowing
  • DB Chest Supported Rowing


  • French Press
  • Chin – Ups
  • Floor Press
  • Close Grip BB Bench Press
  • BB/DB/ Zottman Curls
  • Triceps Press down


  • Cable Chest Press
  • Flat or Incline BB Bench Press
  • DB Bench Press
  • Blast Strap Push – Ups


  • Leg Extensions
  • BB Back Squats
  • Leg Press
  • Leg Curls
  • Calf Raises


  • Seated DB Shoulder Press
  • Push Press
  • Chest Supported Fly
  • DB Upright Rowing
  • Standing BB Shoulder Press

Note: Perform DB / BB / Zottman Curls alternatively and not at once.

Beginner-Friendly Exercise for Each Body Part

  • Back: Lat Pulldown
  • Chest: Barbell Bench Press
  • Triceps: Rope Press down
  • Biceps: Standing Barbell Curl
  • Delts: Seated DB Press
  • Quads: Leg Press
  • Hamstrings: Lying Leg Curl
  • Calves: Standing Calf Raise
  • Abs: Crunch

Recommended Advanced Exercise for Each Body Part

  • Chest: Wide Grip Parallel Dips
  • Back: Seated Cable Row
  • Biceps: Preacher Curl
  • Triceps: Triceps Rope Pull in Race Car Drive Position
  • Delts: Seated Dumbbell Lateral Raise
  • Quads: Hack Squats
  • Hamstrings: Leg Machine Curl
  • Calves: Donkey Calf Raise
  • Forearms: Seated Barbell Wrist Curl
  • Abs: Crunch

You may think it’s boring, but it’s important to emphasize the effects of such workout methods. As you perform high volume on specific exercises, the result will be great. Similar to German Volume Training, it’ll help you add muscle size at a much faster rate.

Sample Workout Based on Vince Gironda’s 8×8 Workout Method

3 Day Splits

Monday – Push

Exercise NameSetsReps
BB Bench Press88
Seated Machine Shoulder Press88
Incline DB Bench Press38 – 12
DB Side Lateral Raises2 – 312 – 20
Triceps Rope Pushdowns2 – 312 – 20

Tuesday – Rest Day

Wednesday – Pull

Exercise NameSetsReps
Bent Over BB Rowing88
Chest Supported Incline DB Rowing88
Lat Pulldowns310 – 12
DB Bicep Curls312 – 15
DB Hammer Curls312 – 15
Face Pulls315 – 25

Thursday – Rest Day

Friday – Legs

Exercise NameRepsSets
BB Back Squats88
Romanian DB Deadlift88
Leg Extensions312 – 15
Glute Bridge312 – 20
Standing Calf Raises312 – 15

Saturday – Rest Day

Sunday – Rest Day

4-Day Splits – I

Day – 1: Chest, Biceps & Forearms

Exercise NameSetsReps
Decline Low Cable Crossover88
Guillotine Press88
Incline DB Press88
Wide Grip V–Bar Dips88
Drag Curls88
Preacher Curls88
Incline DB Curls88
Zottman Curls88
BB Wrist Curls88

Day – 2: Shoulders & Triceps

Exercise NameSetsReps
DB Seated Side Lateral Raises88
Wide Grip Upright Rowing88
Front to Back BB Shoulder Press88
DB Bent Over Rear Deltoid Lateral Raises88
Kneeling Rope Extensions88
Lying Triceps Extensions88
Triceps Kickbacks88

Day – 3: Back & Abs

Exercise NameSetsReps
Sternum Chin Ups88
High Bench DB Rowing88
Low Cable Rowing W/ 18-Inch-High Pulley88
Medium Grip Lat Pulldown to Chest88
Double Crunches88
Weighted Crunches88
Lying Bent Knee Leg Raises88

Day 4 – Legs

Exercise NameSetsReps
Front Squats88
Hack Squats88
Sissy Squats88
Leg Extensions88
Supine Leg Curls88
Seated Leg Curls88
Standing Calf Raises820
Seated Calf Raises820

4 Day Splits – II

Day – 1: Back & Triceps

Exercise NameSetsReps
Pull Ups88
Seated Rowing88
DB Pullovers88
Narrow Grip Triceps Dips88
Kneeling Overhead Extensions88

Day – 2: Legs

Exercise NameSetsReps
Hack Squats88
Wide Stance Single-Legged Leg Press88
Stiff-Legged Deadlift88

Day – 3: Shoulders & Calves

Exercise NameSetsReps
Standing Military Press88
Leaning DB Side Lateral Raises88
Donkey Calf Raises88

Day – 4: Chest & Biceps

Exercise NameSetsReps
Cable Floor Fly88
V – Dips88
Incline DB Bench Press88
Zottman Curls88
Drag Curls88

5 Day Splits

Monday – Chest

 Exercise NameSetsReps
BB Bench Press88
Incline DB Bench Press88
Push Ups35 – 20
Cable Fly Crossover315 – 20

Tuesday – Back

 Exercise NameSetsReps
BB Pendlay Rowing88
T – Bar Rowing88
Lat Pulldown310 – 12
Seated Cable Rowing312 – 15

Wednesday – Legs & Abs

 Exercise NameSetsReps
BB Back Squats88
DB Romanian Deadlift88
Leg Extensions312 – 15
Lying Leg Curls312 – 15
Seated Calf Raises215 – 20
Cable Twist212 – 20
Lying Leg Raises215 – 30

Thursday – Rest Day

Friday – Shoulders & Traps

 Exercise NameSetsReps
BB Shoulder Press88
BB Shrugs88
DB Upright Rowing38 – 12
DB Side Lateral Raises312 – 15
Face Pulls315 – 25

Saturday – Biceps & Triceps       

 Exercise NameSetsReps
BB Biceps Curls88
Close Grip BB Bench Press88
Triceps Rope Pushdown312 – 15
DB Biceps Curls312 – 15

Sunday – Rest Day

4 Benefits of Vince Gironda’s 8×8 Workout Method

Here below are the benefits of implementing the 8×8 workout method into your training schedule:

Muscle Gains

Heavyweight is usually seen as the holy grail for building muscles. However, utilizing lighter loads can stimulate hypertrophy as well. Vince Gironda’s 8×8 workout is based upon training by making use of moderate loads but doing it in much lesser resting time, which leads to more muscle growth.

Better Endurance

Vince Gironda’s 8×8 training methodology is structured in a way where a lifter is required to do an activity, take a break, and repeat until you complete all 8 sets and then go down to other chosen exercises. However, most 8×8 workout plans are structured where you train with high repetition and moderate weight while ensuring rest time is 30 seconds or less. Similarly, it also helps increase average heart rate, which ultimately helps in improving endurance levels.

Time Efficient Training

The best part of Gironda’s 8×8 workout method is that you work your entire body and try to do it in around 30 minutes. On average, every exercise should take 6 to 8 minutes to complete. Further, two movements and a warm-up should be completed in 20 to 25 minutes.

Best for Developing Grit

It’s easy to do an 8-rep set using 60 percent of your 1-rep max. However, repeating it 8, 16, 24, or 32 times in a single workout session is challenging and tests your limits.

Vince Gironda’s 8×8 workout is best for developing grit as it has defined rules to follow, and there’s no other way around it, which can help to make the workout easier for the lifter. For instance, you need to dig deep and find the discipline to keep going, even if your muscles start burning.

4 Rules to Make Gironda’s 8×8 Workout More Effective

Resting Time

The resting time is predefined and is the main pivot. Here, you’ll make sure that you don’t rest for more than 30 seconds between sets. This will help keep your heart rate elevated, which will cause more metabolic stress.

Workout Tempo

Vince Gironda’s 8×8 workout method is based on fast execution. For instance, you’re required to perform repetitions from moderate to quick tempo, making sure you’re training with full range of motion. The program requires you to go for quick reps while making sure you’re in full control of the weight you’re using for an exercise.

Progressing the Load

Progressing the load plays a crucial role in long-term improvements as it continuously stimulates and shocks your muscles. Similarly, Vince Gironda’s workout program doesn’t have a specific progression scheme, but you should increase the load and keep yourself challenged over the weeks. For instance, you make sure that the weight you attempt to lift allows you to complete 8 reps successfully with proper form.

Selection of Exercise

Vince Gironda’s 8×8 works best with various exercises. However, it’s recommended that you go more with compound exercises like squats, overhead presses, bench presses, barbell rowing, and more. Another reason is that with compound exercises, you can go with reasonably heavier weights for 8 reps without compromising on technique more quickly compared to isolation exercises.

Wrapping Up

Vince Gironda’s 8×8 workout method is quite a misinterpreted workout program. This is mostly because Vince never bothered to provide in-detail clarity, not even in his popular mail-order courses. Even if it’s fully understood, many never attempt to try this training technique, as it isn’t easier to complete the full cycle of 8 sets and 8 reps while making sure 8 reps are performed within five minutes for a large muscle.

You can agree with some of the points mentioned in this workout method. And it’s been used for a long time and has helped many lifters at the time of their bodybuilding preparation or to achieve any fat loss goal. Nonetheless, if you’re an intermediate to advanced lifter who knows about exercises, then you can give it a try, and if it’s done properly, you’ll get results for sure.

Satinder Chowdhry Avatar

Satinder Chowdhry