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Project X Program Overview

Extreme gains in muscle and strength – plus extreme fat loss – can be yours with this 12-week routine.

Project X Program Overview

Project X Program Snapshot

  • Length: 12 weeks
  • Workouts per Week: 5
  • Training Split: 5-day split
  • Equipment: Commercial gym or well-equipped home gym.
  • Featured Techniques: Rest-pauses and drop sets. In Weeks 1, 2, 5, 6, 9, and 10, two rest-pauses are performed on the last set of every exercise. In Weeks 3, 4, 7, 8, 11, and 12, two drop sets are done on the last set of each exercise.
  • Rep Ranges: In Weeks 1, 5, and 9 – 30 reps per set; in Weeks 2, 6, and 10 – 15 reps per set; in Weeks 3, 7, and 11 – 8 reps per set; in Weeks 4, 8, and 12 – 4 reps per set
  • Rest Periods: 1 minute between all sets, with that minute being "active rest" in the form of cardioacceleration. However, if doing cardioacceleration the entire minute is too difficult, the workout can be modified by cutting the cardioaccleration time to 30 seconds or less.
  • Cardio: Cardioacceleration between all sets in all workouts.
  • Meal Plan: Muscle-Building Rules to maximize mass-gaining; Dieting 101 or Intermittent Fasting to maximize fat loss.
  • Summary: Project X is an advanced-level ("extreme") program that emphasizes four main training aspects – linear periodization, volume/variety, intensity techniques, and cardioacceleration – to maximize muscle size, muscle strength, and fat loss.
  • Note: If you’re a beginner or just getting back to the gym after an extended time away (months or years), this program will likely be too intense/advanced for you. If you’re a beginner, consider my Beginner to Advanced Program before taking on Project X.

Next-level results often require extreme methods. If you want to look in the mirror 12 weeks from now and see a considerably leaner, more muscular, and stronger body, and you’re willing to work for it… then you’re ready for my Project X training program, where ‘X’ is short for Xtreme.

I have to be honest with you, it’s not going to be easy. To succeed at the 12-week Project X, you’ll need to dig deep and keep at it. You’ll have some ups and downs, some great workouts and some humbling ones. But if you just finish the training sessions and keep coming back day after day, in the end the rewards will be well worth the effort.

Good news: You’ll have lots of help. Online support and motivation from myself and the JYM Army, of course, but also a powerful boost from my brand-new pre-workout product Pre JYM X. This is my most advanced performance-enhancing formula to date, with ingredients scientifically tested to increase energy for workouts, provide an amazing pump, sharpen mental focus, and boost power and strength during hard sessions.

I purposely launched the Project X training program and Pre JYM X at the same because they were both designed to be extreme in their own unique ways for extremely satisfying results. Below is an overview of the primary training variables involved in the Project X 12-week program.

Project X Program Highlights – Extreme Techniques for Extreme Results

The Project X program design is extreme on many levels. There were four major training variables I focused on to drive results over the course of 12 weeks:

  1. Periodization
  2. Volume/Variety
  3. Intensity Techniques
  4. Cardioacceleration

Here’s a rundown of each of the four individual training variables…

1) Periodization

The periodization scheme in Project X uses linear microcycles to rapidly increase the weight you use each week.

Week 1 starts the training with sets of 30 reps for all exercises to burn and challenge the muscles in a whole new way. If you’re accustomed to doing mainly low- and/or moderate-rep sets – anywhere from 8-15 reps per set, with some heavier 5-6-rep sets and occasionally up to 20 or 25 reps – this first week will be a huge shock to your system. You’ll likely experience some soreness, and it won’t always be fun, but these first five workouts will set the stage for the whole program in terms of building size and strength and shredding body fat.

In Week 2, you’ll bump up your training weights by slashing rep counts in half, at 15 per set. While these are still relatively high-rep sets, the weight will be significantly greater than in Week 1.

In Week 3, there’s another big jump in weight, with the reps essentially being cut in half once again at 8 per set.

In Week 4, you guessed it – increasing training weights even further and again cutting reps in half, this time at 4 per set.

As you can see, these aren’t subtle changes we’re making. Each week will feel markedly different (considerably heavier) than the previous one. And over the course of four weeks, your muscles will be subjected to the extremes in terms of rep counts – very high reps (30) to promote muscular endurance and provide a muscle-building shock, down to very low reps (4) to maximize strength, with moderate reps in between (15, 8) to hit the hypertrophy (muscle building) “sweet spot.”

After that? You’ll start all over again, back to 30-rep sets in Week 5, then 15 reps in Week 6, 8 reps in Week 7, and 4 reps in Week 8. This time around, however, you’ll be considerably stronger than you were the first four weeks, so plan on using heavier weights for your sets in Weeks 5-8.

In Weeks 9-12, you’ll repeat the linear one-week microcycles one more time. Again, you should be stronger than before, so make it your goal to bump up your training weights to at least slightly more than you used in Weeks 5-9.

Project X Periodization – Linear Microcycles

  • Weeks 1/5/9: 30 reps
  • Weeks 2/6/10: 15 reps
  • Weeks 3/7/11: 8 reps
  • Weeks 4/8/12: 4 reps

Training Tips: Weight Selection and Logging

I want to emphasize the importance of adjusting your weights according to the change in rep count every week. You want to make sure you're reaching failure on pretty much all of your sets. This means that on the 4-rep sets you're going plenty heavy, and even the 8-rep sets should be fairly heavy. If your first set of 4 or 8 reps is too easy, add weight for the next set.

On the flip side, don't go too heavy on the 30- and 15-rep sets. They need to be challenging, but you also want to make sure you're hitting those rep counts to get the full muscle-building and endurance effects. Save the heavy weights for the 4- and 8-rep weeks.

Another important thing is logging your weights. Make a note of how much weight you use on each exercise in all workouts; that way, the next time that rep count comes around four weeks later, you can see how much weight you used previously and (ideally) increase the poundages from there.

2) Volume + Variety

Another thing that’s extreme about this workout program is the volume and variety (I mention these two aspects together because they go hand in hand). Project X features a 5-day training split, where each muscle group is only trained once a week (except for abs and calves); this allows you to “go nuts,” so to speak, each time out because you’ll have a full week of rest before you have to train a given muscle group again. And you’ll need every bit of that week to recover!

Project X 5-Day Training Split

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Most muscle groups (chest, legs, back, shoulders, triceps, biceps) are trained with five different exercises per workout for a total of 15 or 16 sets. For a single body part, this is considered high volume, which is what it takes to maximize muscle building and fat loss.

Smaller muscle groups (abs, calves, traps, forearms) are trained with two or three exercises each. Keep in mind, though, that abs and calves are both trained twice a week (with abs getting 18 total sets per week and calves 16), and traps and forearms are stimulated while training shoulders and biceps, respectively. Point being, training volume is sufficient for all body parts.

As for variety, five different exercises per large muscle group will ensure that every angle is being hit and that the muscles are being subjected to both compound (multijoint) and isolation (single-joint) moves. We’re talking all areas of the chest; all four quadriceps muscles in the legs; upper lats, lower lats, rhomboids, and middle traps in the back; all three deltoid heads; all three triceps heads; both biceps heads; and so on. Maximizing variety equals maximizing development in all muscles.

3) Intensity Techniques

Another extreme measure I take in Project X are the intensity boosters added on to the end of the final set of each exercise. I use two in particular:

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