Vince Gironda

Revisiting Gironda

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Vince Gironda, from the golden era of bodybuilding, was, and probably is still considered The Iron Guru.

His knowledge, tricks, techniques, and innovations, primarily based on experimentation, are still applied today and will probably stay around for years to come, for a simple reason; they work! Even Arnold was trained by the Iron Guru!

Some time ago we wrote an article about different methods to improve body composition, called Heavy Duty Body Composition, and the famous 8×8 from Vince Gironda was mentioned in the report.

His method is so effective to create hypertrophy and conditioning, that I decided to do a full article on it.

As mentioned in the aforementioned article, the 8×8 method emphasizes in short rest and a tremendous workload. Gironda touted “workout density” as the secret behind the effectiveness of the 8×8.

Density refers here to the amount of work done per unit of time.

Thus, doing more work in less time would increase the density of your workouts.

The Routine

Here is my version of a routine for arms using Gironda’s method:

A. Scott Curls, EZ Bar, Mid Supinated Grip884-0-1-030
B. French Press, EZ Bar, Narrow Pronated Grip883-1-1-030
C. Biceps Curls, 45˚ Incline Supine, DB Neutral Grip884-0-1-030
D. Triceps Extension Flat, DB Neutral Grip883-1-1-030
E. Biceps Curls Standing, Cable Rope, Supinating grip884-0-1-030
F. Triceps Press Downs, Cable Rope, Pronating Grip883-0-1-130

Your muscle fiber makeup will dictate your ability for performing the whole routine with decent weights.

If you have high levels of endurance, you’ll be able to execute the 6 exercises while maintaining a good weight.

If you find out that for exercises E and F, the first plate of the cable machine is too heavy for completing the 8 reps, simply change exercises E and F for some forearm work as follows:

E. Wrist Extensions Flat with EZ Bar Mid Grip882-2-1-130
F. Wrist Flexions Flat with BB Mid Grip8122-1-1-130

The Loading

The idea is to maintain the same weight for the 8 sets.

Giving you a specific weight to start with won’t be totally accurate, as it will also depend on your muscle fiber makeup and ATP recovery capacity.

The weight should be such that you can do at least 5 sets of 8 reps and on the last 3 sets, you can fall short in about 1-2 reps each.

For some people, that might fall around their 15RM, but that does not apply to everyone.

Something important about the load is that if you underestimate it, you won’t get the hypertrophy response that you are looking for.

This is one of the cases when I prefer to slightly overestimate the weight, as in the worst-case scenario, you can slightly decrease it throughout the sets.

The Results

As I mentioned before, if you load your sets properly, making your post-workout shake in a shaker will be very challenging and you can expect a deep soreness in the following days.

Also, remember that the short rest intervals will create an important effect on the conditioning aspect of the training, so getting lean is also another result of this system.

Can I Use the Same System for The Other Body Parts?

Absolutely! And I encourage you to do so!

Simply keep in mind to do it with compound movements on exercises A, B, C, and D.

And when you plan your leg day around squats, as it should be, you’ll understand the conditioning power of this training system.

Give it a try and enjoy the new levels of muscle mass and leanness!

Coach Carlos Castro

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