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Ivysuar 4-4-8 Program Overview
Initially shared on Reddit’s /r/fitness community by /u/ivysaur, the Ivysaur 4-4-8 Beginner Program was designed to improve upon the foundation laid out by popular “sets of 5” novice lifting programs like Starting Strength and Strong Lifts.
Graduates of the Ivysaur 4-4-8 program may be interested in checking out the Ivysaur Intermediate Aesthetic Workout Program for inducing muscular growth.
Ivysaur 4-4-8 vs. Strong Lifts vs. Starting Strength
The Ivysaur Beginner Program differs from Starting Strength and Strong Lifts in a few important ways:
- More bench press volume and frequency
- More deadlift volume and frequency
- AMRAP sets to determine rate of progression instead of only using linear progression rates
- Squatting 1-2x per week instead of 3x per week
- More direct bicep work via chin ups
The program takes advantage of the novice lifter’s ability to recover more quickly between workouts by turning the volume and frequency up a notch. This makes it a great option for “graduates” of the Strong Lifts or Starting Strength programs as well as lifters just getting started.
Truthfully, if you’re a novice lifter, focus on eating, sleeping, and lifting. You’ll figure programming out along the way.
Full program description, FAQ, comments, and sources.
Questions about Ivysaur 4-4-8?
Discuss Ivysaur 4-4-8 with other lifters on the Lift Vault Forum.
Ivysaur 4-4-8 Program Spreadsheet
8/3/20 Update: Just added starting weight calculation tab to make figuring out your 4×4 weight easier.
Ivysaur 4-4-8 Program Summary & Progression
See below for a handy cheat sheet on how to structure the Ivysaur beginner program and add weight after a successful week of hitting all prescribed reps.
Tips for Running Ivysaur 4-4-8
Here are a few pieces of advice from my experience running this program:
- Don’t start off the program too heavy.
- It ramps up very quickly. If you crank through the work really quickly and want to do extra work, do some accessories for lagging body parts. I did hammer curls, tricep extensions, and suitcase carries when I had time.
- When the intensity gets quite high and you’re at RPE 9.5 or 10 finishing a set, I’d recommend to start scaling the rep ranges down.
- I moved my 8 rep sets down to 5-6 reps per set and my 4 rep sets down to 2 reps per set. This let me continue running out the program for several more weeks before switching to a Heavy Light Medium Program Template that progressed at a slower rate.
- As the deadlight weights got heavier, I reduced sets to one or two, depending on how I felt that day.