Vince Gironda’s 8x8 workout routine is an advanced bodybuilding routines designed to shock your muscles into growth. It is a high volume, old school bodybuilding programs that have become the stuff of legend. The related 6x6 workout routine is an intermediate version of the same program.
I will be sharing spreadsheets for a few different variations of Vince Gironda’s workout routines, along with links where you can do some additional reading.
- 1 Overview of Vince Gironda’s 8x8 and 6x6 Workout Routines
- 2 Spreadsheets: Vince Gironda Workout Routines
- 3 Video: Vince Gironda 8x8 Upper Body Workout by Jailhouse Strong
Overview of Vince Gironda’s 8x8 and 6x6 Workout Routines
Some of the most popular routines popularized by Vince Gironda are his 8x8 and 6x6 routines. They also generate a lot of confusion as to how exactly to follow them.
In all likelihood, Vince Gironda recommended different routines to different individuals based on their individual needs. This reminds me a bit to how some of Boris Sheiko’s powerlifting programs, routines designed specifically for an individual powerlifter, circulated around the Internet and created some confusion around his programming methods.
So Who is Right About Vince Gironda’s Routines?
I think the most legitimate seeming interpretations of these routines can be found via Iron Guru, a site dedicated to Vince Gironda’s teachings, and Critical Bench, who published an article from Alan Palmieri, who knew Vince.
Both of them agree that Vince generally did not intend for every exercise to use an 8x8 rep scheme, but instead desired for each muscle group to perform 8 sets.
This was was often achieved by performing two exercises with a 4x8 scheme.
4 sets of exercise 1 + 4 sets of exercise 2 = 8 sets, all hitting the same muscle group.
Alternatively, a single movement could be performed for 8x8, but no other exercises targeting that muscle group would be performed. Only very advanced bodybuilders should be attempting more than 8 sets for a muscle group in a single session.
Iron Guru also states that Vince did not recommend that everyone follow the 8x8 scheme. Iron Guru recommends beginners and intermediates using a 6x6 rep scheme to start and that would provide plenty of volume for growth.
General Tips for Vince Gironda’s 8x8 and 6x6 Routines
Vince provided lots of specific advice for following his routines. Again, I recommend checking out Iron Guru and Critical Bench for thorough descriptions of how he wants you to perform the movements (especially the Critical Bench article), but the most important general advice can be captured in a few points:
- Rest should be minimal between sets. Like 15 seconds.
- Due to the minimal rest, you’ll very likely need to reduce weight significantly.
- The routine should be performed for as long as it is deemed effective.
Spreadsheets: Vince Gironda Workout Routines
In the spirit of Vince’s programs being interpreted many different ways, I have provided a few different spreadsheet variations.
“Classic” Advanced 6 Day 8x8 Workout Routine Spreadsheet
This is based on my interpretation of the articles from Critical Bench and Iron Guru. 8 sets per muscle group are performed, split between two different exercise movements that are performed as a superset (marked “SS”).
For example, on Monday’s the bench press to the neck is performed for one set of 8 reps, then one set of V bar dips is immediately performed for 8 reps, then rest. This represents 2 out of 8 sets, or 4 sets per exercise movement.
Vince Gironda 8x8 Workout Example
|Bench Press to Neck (SS1)||4||8|
|V Bar Dips||4||8|
|Chin Ups to Sternum (SS2)||4||8|
|Wide Grip Pulldowns (SS2)||4||8|
|Lateral Raises (SS3)||4||8|
|Dumbbell Swings (SS3)||4||8|
Above is an example of an 8x8 chest, back, and shoulders workout.
Again, the two exercises which are to be performed as a superset have a matching “SS” -- i.e. both “SS1” exercises are one superset and both “SS2” exercises are the next superset to be done after 4 sets of bench press to neck and 4 sets of V bar dips have been finished.
“Classic” Intermediate 6 Day 6x6 Workout Routine Spreadsheet
This is the same methodology as the 8x8 routine, but using the 6x6 rep scheme. This is the recommended starting point for individuals that are not used to this style of training.
Here’s an example of a 6x6 chest, back, and shoulders workout:
|Bench Press to Neck (SS1)||3||8|
|V Bar Dips||3||8|
|Chin Ups to Sternum (SS2)||3||8|
|Wide Grip Pulldowns (SS2)||3||8|
|Lateral Raises (SS3)||3||8|
|Dumbbell Swings (SS3)||3||8|
“Intense” Advanced 4 Day 8x8 Workout Routine Spreadsheet
This is following the training split and exercise selection laid out in Old School Trainer. This differs significantly than the other methods by programming 8x8 for each movement. If you ask me, this is pretty bananas.
To make things slightly less insane, I used a bold/unbolded/bold/unbolded style on the exercise movements to identify which exercises belong the the same muscle group.
For example, on Day 1 the decline low cable crossover, bench press to neck, incline dumbbell press, and wide grip V bar dips are all bolded to show they all work the chest.
Then drag curls, preacher curls, and incline dumbbell curls are unbolded to show they belong to the next muscle group: biceps.
Finally, the zottman curl and barbell wrist curl are bolded to indiciate they are both forearm exercises.
This is done so that, if you’d like, you can select 1-2 exercises per group to perform per session instead of everything.
Video: Vince Gironda 8x8 Upper Body Workout by Jailhouse Strong
Here’s a pretty interesting video by Josh Bryant on his experience with Gironda’s 8x8 workout.