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Ripped in 6 Challenge Tutorial Transcript

My tutorial on the techniques included in the Ripped in 6 Challenge and why they're so effective.

Ripped in 6 Program Training Tutorial

Note: This tutorial video was recorded as a live Facebook event. The text below is an edited transcript of the tutorial intended to provide members with a convenient means of referring to and further researching the topics and content detailed in the video.


Ripped in 6 Means Variety

Now I started my Train with Jim series—my whole-body or full-body training program that I put up for you, that's my personal training program every day that you get to follow—I started it with 4-Minute Muscle, and so with the Ripped in 6 Challenge you're going to basically be starting the program that started Train with Jim—4-Minute Muscle—moving into the next one that I followed 4-Minute Muscle with, the 5-System, and then Power Pyramid training, Giant Program, the next week H.I.T.—and that's not high-intensity interval training, that's High-Intensity Training; little Mike Mentzer-style training, Casey Viator, Dorian Yates—and then Hundreds training in the final week of the program.

That is essentially the Ripped in 6 challenge, and these are full-body training workouts, so you're doing—the significance of the "6" here is that it's a six-week program, and you're basically doing six workouts per week. Now, each week you're learning a whole new training system, and likely one that you either haven't used before or that you didn't use in this sort of manner, because what I do is I take a lot of these techniques—although a lot of them are novel, that I've designed myself—a lot of my training techniques are old-school training systems.

We've been lifting weights for many, many decades, and documenting those workouts over many years, and that's why we have so many great training programs that we can rely on. What I like to do is take those old programs and update them based on what the new science finds and bring them up to speed with the way we train today.

Ripped in 6 Utilizes Full-Body Training

Let's break down each one of the techniques that we get into. Remember, this is going to be whole-body style training, now. With whole-body style training, you're doing basically the entire body, and I break it down into 10 muscle groups: Chest, back, legs, shoulders, traps, calves, triceps, biceps, forearms, and abs as well.

So I break it down, hitting all the major muscle groups—including forearms and calves—and that frequency of training keeps the genes activated in muscle fibers. Now, that can help with muscle growth, but also what's really critical is that it's keeping your metabolic genes turned on. With the whole-body training, you're going to be a fat-burning machine—all while you're using these different training programs that are going to help you gain muscle and gain strength while you're getting shredded. You'll find with whole-body style training that the fat just melts right off. So let's break down each week.

Week 1: 4-Minute Muscle

With Week 1, it's 4-Minute Muscle. With my 4-Minute Muscle, you basically do as the name implies—four-minute sets. Now that doesn't mean you're going to be continuously lifting for four minutes, but what you're going to do is take each exercise—let's say the bench press—and you're going to set your timer for four minutes. Now, the weight you choose obviously is going to matter, but what you should be shooting for is a weight somewhere around 10-12 reps, maybe 12-15. Everyone's is going to differ; you can kind of find your sweet spot.

Obviously, you're not going be able to get 36 to 45 reps—this is your goal here, the 36 to 45 reps—if you've chosen the weight properly, you should be able to complete about 36 to 45 reps in those four minutes. Now obviously, like I said, you're not going to just be able to do reps straight so you're going to use different techniques. After you've completed failure, you're going to rest 10-12 seconds, or you could do a technique where you're not going to failure and you're stopping short, but giving yourself shorter rest periods. The choice is up to you. But the goal is to hit failure somewhere right in the sweet spot of 36 to 45 reps. If you've failed to hit 36 reps, it means you went too heavy with the weight selection; if you were able to get more than 45 reps then you went far too light.

So after doing six workouts of the 4-Minute Muscle technique—four minutes per muscle group, so that's about 40 minutes of total exercise time; with rest between exercises, you'll be in there just shy of an hour. Then with the 5-System, you're basically doing—and I show you how to do this for both unilaterally—meaning one arm at a time—and bilateral exercises.

Week 2: Full-Body 5-System

The 5-System I created is a unilateral system, meaning you train each arm separately, almost like my alternating rest-pause technique in a way, but you're specifically doing 5 reps per set. And so what you do—let's take an example of dumbbell curls—you're going to go to the dumbbell rack and start doing dumbbell curls with one arm, fairly light. Somewhere around—you can even start down at 50% maybe of your 10 rep max. You're just going to start very light, 5 reps per arm, and then immediately move up in weight. There's no resting because the resting happens while the other arm is working. So you move all the way up in weight until you can no longer complete 5 reps per arm. At that point you start moving back down, completing all the weights that you selected but going to failure each time. It's a very, very brutal technique. And I even show you how to do it bilaterally.

Week 3: Power Pyramid

Now in Week 3, we get into my Power Pyramid technique. So here, what's interesting about the way that the program progresses is we're kind of focusing on different things but getting all the main goals that we want: muscle growth, strength gains, and fat loss. With the 4-Minute Muscle, we're increasing our time under tension there by trying to maximize the reps you get in the four minutes. That's going to help with muscle hypertrophy, muscle growth.

With the 5-System, we're doing 5-rep sets which are fairly heavy, right? I mean 5 reps—that's in the sweet spot as I talked about. For those of you who followed my periodization tutorial, that's the sweet spot for strength gains, right? However, we're doing a lot of warm-up sets and then we're doing a lot of drop sets as we go basically down the rack. So with the 5-System, we're getting both strength gains from those heavy sets, but also gains in muscle mass due to all the fatiguing that we're doing with all the drop sets.

With the Power Pyramid, now we're even getting into power training, so we're not just increasing strength through these six weeks, we're increasing our explosive power—which is going to lead to more strength, which can help to lead to better gains in muscle size. But with power, if you're an athlete by any means—even if recreationally you play a little basketball or flag football if you will, with Thanksgiving coming up—increasing your power is going to make a big difference to your performance on the field.

So with my Power Pyramid training, what we're basically doing here is we're using pyramid training. For those of you who are familiar with pyramid training there are different ways to pyramid: You have ascending pyramid, where each successive set the weight gets heavier; you have descending pyramid—each successive set the weight gets lighter; and we break down different pyramid techniques as well in my Train with Jim series—the Oxford and the DeLorme method, two opposing pyramids—but here with my Power Pyramid, we do both ascending pyramid and then sort of a descending, if you will, right at the end.

So we start off with 8-rep sets. However, this is not going to be 8 reps to failure—this is going to be 8 reps with a weight that's somewhere around 50% of your max; you're not going to go to failure with those 8 reps—or around 30%, I should say, on the 8 reps. And then on the 5 reps, somewhere around 50% of that weight. But remember, you're stopping with the 5 reps. The weight's going to be extremely light, these are your power or explosive exercises, and with the bench press you're going to be doing fast reps, or you can even do the explosive on a smith machine if you really wanted to. However, here we're just going with different rep speeds.

Then we get up in set 3, we increase the weight to our 6-rep max right here and go to failure. Set 4, we use that same weight for our 6-rep max and do as many reps as we can. Set 5, we're now descending, going down in weight. So we're going to drop the weight to allow us to get around 12 reps per set. Once we hit failure on those 12 reps, we're immediately going to reduce the weight by 50%, and your goal is to get 15 reps.

Now, if you don't get 15 reps? Doesn't mean the set's over. Yeah, you can put the weight down—let's say you were doing barbell curls, you put the weight down—you're going to have to rest-pause until you complete all 15 reps. Then—it's not over yet—then you have to drop the weight again, another drop set to complete 15 reps. And again, if you don't get those 15 reps, you have to do your rest-pause, complete those 15 reps. Then you can move on to the next exercise. So all in that ascending and descending pyramid, we're building power, we're building strength, and we're helping to build muscle mass by fatiguing the muscle in those drop sets.

Week 4: Giant Program 2.0

Week 4, we switch it up and we get into what's called my Giant Program, which just uses giant sets. Now, giant sets—old school bodybuilding technique where you're taking basically four—at least four—four or more sets. If you're only using three, that's a tri-set; two is a superset, or a compound set depending on what type of superset it is. With giant sets, we're talking four or more. So with my program, for example, you would basically do four exercises for each muscle group—back to back to back to back. So it's fast-moving, you get—what's nice with the Giant Program here is that with the Power Pyramid you're basically doing one exercise per muscle group. And so for the first three weeks, you're really only limited to one exercise per muscle group. So you're not getting a lot of variety in the muscle fibers within that muscle that you're targeting. Within the week you do, because my workouts change so that you're using different exercises.

With the Giant Program, you're getting four different exercises for each muscle group in every single workout. So it's a ton of variety, which means you're getting to try a lot of new exercises and different angles to see not only how you like those exercises but it will help to maximize hypertrophy in all the muscle fibers—at least a majority of the muscle fibers in that target muscle group.

For example, with chest for one day in a week this is the example chest workout: you go in and do reverse-grip dumbbell press; immediately—without any rest other than to change up the weight or the bench—you go into dumbbell press; then from dumbbell press, you go into a dumbbell flye; and then you finish with an incline dumbbell flye. So you get a variety of movements in a variety of angles, and because of that it can help maximize muscle growth over the long run, let alone how fatiguing it is to blast out 4 different exercises back to back to back to back like that.

Week 5: Whole-Body H.I.T. Blitz

Then in Week 5, we switch it up from doing a ton of variety and reps down to what's known as High-Intensity Training. Now, this is H.I.T. training—this isn't high-intensity interval training, HIIT—this is H.I.T.. The likes of Dorian Yates, who popularized it most recently—I know that's going back for a lot of you guys, he's probably the more recent practitioner of it who really popularized it after Mike Mentzer. And then we can go back and talk about the days of Nautilus with Casey Viator, where the system really originated.

So the premise of the High-Intensity Training is basically just that—you're training with high intensity: you're literally in there to kick the shit out of the muscle. So the real premise is you're only doing one set per exercise. And people are like, "One set?!" It's really not one set. You don't just do a set and put the weight down and walk away. Oh no. When you hit muscle failure, the set really has just begun.

So with my version of H.I.T.—again, we're doing full-body, meaning 10 muscle groups, so we're going to pick one exercise. Now the real working weight you're going to be using is a 3- to 6-rep max. Heavy weight. Like I said, we're going from more hypertrophy focus here, in variety and higher reps, to heavy, heavy weight—not as much variety. So we're getting strength, but then as you'll see with all these intensity factors that we throw in here, it's also very effective for muscle growth.

So you start with basically what's known as a warm-up set. Instead of jumping right up to your 3- to 6-rep max, you do about 50% of that. You don't go to failure, because you don't want to fatigue until you get to your working set weight. So you complete about 5-7 reps, stop there. That's your warm-up. Take a rest, whatever you want—people often ask me, "Well how long should I rest between sets?" Well, resting is an acute variable that you can change up over time. In fact, a few of my workouts actually involve decreasing rest over time, which has been found to produce gains in muscle size as well as even muscle strength, and certainly muscle endurance.

But for my full-body programs, it's really up to you. You can rest as little as you want if you want to get in and out of the gym more; if you want to be able to hit more reps on that next set, you can rest a bit longer. Obviously, it's going to depend on your goals. I'm not big on rest—I don't sit around much—so if I do have a rest period I use it to do some cardioacceleration. However, with my full-body programs I haven't been able to do any cardioacceleration, so I'm really doing them just as-is, but moving, moving, moving, and that's really the secret to how I'm staying so lean these days despite not being able to do any cardio, all through the full-body training.

So you take 50%, and you did your warm-up. Now you put on the real weight, your real 3- to 6-rep max. You take that to failure, okay? Now you've got to do one rest-pause set. You're going to rest about 20 seconds or so—just keep it under 30 seconds; you might need a little more if you really blasted out to failure here—you get as many reps as you can. You probably only get one or two if you're lucky, with that weight. Then you're going to reduce it back to your warm-up weight, you're going to go to failure with that weight. Once you hit failure you're going to do another rest-pause—rest 10, 15 seconds, 20 seconds or so—go to failure.

Now once you've hit failure there, depending on the exercise and what your setup is you still want to try to go beyond failure. So if you have a partner there, you can get some forced reps; if you're in the bench press, obviously you just end the set if you don't have the spotter. But if you're doing things like curls, you can do some cheat reps if you're by yourself. Then you're finally done. So you can see now with the heavy weight how we're getting both strength as well as muscle hypertrophy with all these fatiguing techniques added on at the end.

Week 6: Whole-Body Hundreds

Then we switch it up from going that super-heavy heavy weight to 100-rep training. So yeah, that's 100 reps per set. You're going to do one set per exercise but 100 reps. Now, you see right here I've got about 30 reps. Your first—you're not going to do this, you're not going to pick a weight and just do 100 reps like this, "1, 2, 3..." all the way to 100, no matter how good your counting is.

You're going to pick a weight actually that limits you to right around 30 reps. 30 reps, you're going to go right about to failure. Remember you've got to get 100 reps, so you probably don't want to kill yourself—when you're starting to hit failure, somewhere around 30, you can stop. What you're going to do then is use rest-pause until you complete the 100 reps. And here, rest-pause rules I usually recommend somewhere in the 10-20 seconds max. If you're going really heavy with weight—three to six, maybe—you might want 30 seconds. Here? If you need 45 seconds, take it. Try to keep it as short as possible, but if you're dead and you're not getting those 100—take the rest, just make sure you don't leave the gym until you've completed 100 reps, and with those 10 different exercises you're going to walk out of there doing 1000 reps that day—six days a week, 6000 reps for that week.

Ripped in 6: What to expect

And that will finalize the workout, those high-rep rest-pause sets. That high intensity will definitely help get those metabolic genes activated and melting away body fat. And you'll coast right into the end of the challenge, six weeks, going "Cannot believe how easy it was to lose that bodyfat!" Not just weight—we're not just talking about weight. A lot of people get used to talking about "How much weight am I losing?" What you're going to see here with the Ripped in 6 Challenge and the full-body training is that some people might not even lose weight. Some people actually maintain the same weight; however, they may drop like 10% body fat, an insane amount of body fat, while building muscle. So they basically build the same amount of muscle as the weight that they've lost in body fat. So you don't see much of a change on the scale.

So I recommend getting some form of body fat testing done for your own good. I'll be choosing on photos, but I would recommend—just for your own progress. Clearly, you want to look in the mirror, don't get too stuck on that scale weight while you're going through the Ripped in 6 Challenge or any one of my challenges. It's really about how you look in the mirror—you'll be able to see the difference, particularly with this program. You'll really see a huge change in your body as you're going through this, building muscle and burning fat at the same time.


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