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Super Shredded 8 (SS8)

Burn fat fast with this lethal combination of high-intensity training techniques – all wrapped up in a comprehensive 8-week training, nutrition, and supplement plan.

Super Shredded 8 (SS8)

Yep, that's me in the above image. The guy with all the tattoos. Don't let common stereotypes and misconceptions deceive you. I’m actually a PhD and a former Yale School of Medicine researcher in exercise science and biochemistry. After Yale, I was the Senior Science Editor for Muscle & Fitness, Flex, and Muscle & Fitness Hers magazines for over a decade. Basically, I was the one writing and validating every article published in those magazines related to workouts, meal plans, and why supplements worked and didn't work – based on actual science. I’ve also authored and co-authored several books on training and nutrition and consulted such celebrities as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, LL Cool J, and Dr. Dre on how to train, eat, and supplement more effectively.

Now that I have that formal introduction out of the way, I’m interested in YOU. So, let's get into what SS8 is all about!

If you’re looking to burn some serious fat and you’re not afraid of a little intensity, you’ve come to the right program. Super Shredded 8 (“SS8” for short) is an 8-week get-lean plan based mainly on supersets – but it’s so much more than that. If I had to sum up what Super Shredded 8 is, I would say it's a combination of my Show Time, 1-2-3 Lean and Un-Rested Development programs. That’s quite a hybrid, huh?

My Super-Man program uses supersets in which exercises for opposing muscle groups are paired together. With SS8, the supersets pair exercises for the same muscle group. This is technically called a “compound set,” a term coined by the late Joe Weider over 50 years ago. But nowadays, the lifting community basically calls any pairing of two exercises with no rest in between a superset, so I’ll stick with the more modern verbiage.  

Perfect Pairings – Get Shredded with Supersets

For each superset in SS8, one exercise is done with heavy weight for low reps and the other with light weight and high reps. In most cases, the first superset pairing per muscle group in a workout puts the heavy exercise first. Then, the order is reversed on the next pairing, where you’ll go light first. For many muscle groups, this second exercise pair is done as a pre-exhaust superset, with a single-joint (isolation) exercise serving as the light move followed by a heavier multi-joint (compound) exercise.

This bevy of training variables – light weight, heavy weight, supersets, pre-exhaust, compound moves, isolation moves – isn’t just for the sake of variety. There’s real science behind all of it. Supersets are employed because research shows that individuals who use supersets burn over 35% more calories during the workout and over 35% more calories after the training session, compared to those doing only straight sets.

As for the high-rep sets in SS8, these will instigate more calorie burning during the workout. Research from the College of New Jersey found that doing 10-rep sets burned more calories in the workout than sets of five reps. This makes sense since you perform more work when doing more reps. This is why I bumped the sets up to 30 reps on some exercises in the final two weeks of the program. This "more work" effect is also the reason I increased the total number of sets performed per workout in Weeks 5-8 – to keep you burning more calories as your body adjusts to the program.

After Burn – Heavier Weights for More Fat Loss

While torching calories during the workout is important, even more critical for dropping fat is the number of calories you burn outside the gym. Think of it this way: The longest workout will probably last two hours, tops. Out of a 24-hour day, those two hours are a very small percentage of it (less than 10%). Maximizing calorie burn in the remaining 22 hours can add up to some serious fat shredding in a short period of time.

This ability to burn calories post-workout is known scientifically as EPOC (excess post-exercise oxygen consumption). It refers to the fact that after workouts, you take in more oxygen for recovery purposes, which in turn burns more calories. The higher the EPOC, the more calories you’re burning.

One problem with doing only light-weight high-rep sets is that they don't keep your calorie burning up very high after the workout. Doing heavy-weight sets does, and that’s exactly why I included them in SS8. Research has shown that subjects training their legs with their six-rep max burned significantly more calories for up to 48 hours (yes, that's two days!) after the workout compared to those using their 12-rep max. Furthermore, researchers from the College of New Jersey found that when their subjects used five reps per set on the bench press, they burned significantly more calories after the workout than when they did 10-rep sets.

SS8 Training Split

The 8-week SS8 program follows a 3-day split (meaning, all muscle groups in the body are trained over the course of three workouts), repeated twice a week for six weekly workouts. Perform these workouts any six days of the week you want – Monday through Saturday, every day but Wednesday, whatever.

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SS8 Rep Ranges and Rest Periods

The SS8 program progresses every two weeks, with the heavy exercises getting heavier and the rep counts decreasing accordingly. If you've done my Micro Muscle (aka Shortcut To Size) or 1-2-3 Lean (Shortcut To Shred) programs, you’ll recognize this as linear periodization. While you’re increasing the weight on heavy lifts, the light exercises get lighter and the rep counts get higher. This you should recognize as reverse linear periodizaton. These progressions in tandem will not only help you get bigger and stronger, but also leaner. The heavy stuff will cause you to burn more calories post-workout, while the higher reps on the light exercises will maximize calories expenditure during the session. Basically, you’re attacking your fat stores from all angles!

Another change that occurs every two weeks on SS8 is your rest between sets. You’ll start off in the first two weeks with one minute of rest between supersets. Every two weeks, the rest periods drop by 15 seconds. In Weeks 3 and 4, you’ll be taking 45 seconds between supersets; in Weeks 5 and 6 that will drop down to 30 seconds; in Weeks 7 and 8 the rest periods will be virtually non-existent (anywhere from 0-15 seconds). You’ll go back and forth between exercises in supersets resting only as long as it takes you to get in position to for the next move. You’ll do this until all three or four supersets are completed, then you’ll immediately move onto the next superset.

SS8 Rep and Rest Progessions

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SS8 Cardio – Maximize Fat-Burning with Tabatas

There's one more trick I threw into this program to really help you shed excess body fat: Tabata, a specific form of HIIT in which you alternate 20 seconds of exercise with 10 seconds of rest eight times for a total of four minutes. During SS8, you’ll be doing Tabata intervals between every muscle group. For example, when you finish your last chest superset, you’ll do a bout of Tabata before moving on to shoulders. After finishing shoulders, you’ll do Tabata before triceps, then one more time (after triceps) to finish off your workout.

HIIT has been shown in numerous research studies to be far more effective than slow, steady cardio for burning body fat. One study from Australia reported that subjects following a 20-minute HIIT program lost about six times more body fat than a group who followed a 40-minute cardio program performed at a constant intensity of about 60% of their maximum heart rate. The major reason that HIIT works so well to drop body fat is due to the greater calorie burn (EPOC) that’s maintained post-workout.

A 1996 study from Baylor College of Medicine (Houston) reported that subjects who followed a HIIT workout on a stationary cycle burned significantly more calories during the 24 hours following the workout than those who cycled at a moderate, steady-state intensity.

The beauty of the Tabata HIIT sessions in the SS8 program is the fact that they’re jammed in between body-part training. This allows you to put more into each short bout than you would if you combined all three bouts into one continuous Tabata workout. In fact, a 2003 study from the University of Missouri (Columbia) reported that when subjects performed either a 30-minute treadmill run or three 10-minute bouts of running at the same intensity separated by 20-minute rest periods, the intermittent cardio (three 10-minute bouts) was much easier for the subjects and even burned a little more body fat than the continuous 30-minute cardio workout.

Intermittent cardio has also been shown to raise EPOC higher than the same amount of cardio done continuously. Researchers from the University of Kansas (Lawrence) found that two 15-minute cardio sessions raised EPOC 40% higher than one 30-minute session. Northeastern Illinois University researchers reported that two 25-minute cardio sessions raised EPOC 120% more than one 50-minute session.

In SS8, you’ll do Tabata HIIT work using light-weight exercises like dumbbell cleans and kettlebell swings or bodyweight calisthenics like jumping jacks, mountain climbers and burpees.

SS8 Tabata Progression

During Weeks 1 and 2, you’ll do one four-minute Tabata bout between muscle groups, which adds up to three Tabatas per workout. This is only 12 total minutes of HIIT, but it will end up burning more fat than 30 minutes of steady-state cardio. From weeks 3 and 4 on, you’ll step it up by doing two bouts of Tabata after each muscle group for a total of 24 minutes of HIIT in the workout (eight minutes after each muscle group).

Weeks 1-2: 1 Tabata interval after each muscle group (12 minutes total of HIIT cardio per workout)

Weeks 3-8: 2 Tabata intervals after each muscle group (24 minutes total of HIIT cardio per workout)

With the combination of fast-paced supersets and Tabatas in every workout, the SS8 program will be intense start to finish, and at times, a little painful. But it will be well worth the effort when you find yourself considerably leaner eight weeks down the road.

Super Shredded 8 Workouts

Download Weeks 1-2 Workouts Here

Download Weeks 3-4 Workouts Here

Download Weeks 5-6 Workouts Here

Download Weeks 7-8 Workouts Here

Week 1

Week 2

Week 3

Week 4

Week 5

Week 6

Week 7

Week 8