Q: Hey James, I’m a big fan of your Hypertrophy for Ectomorphs training routine and have got good gains using it. I’m at the stage now where I want to drop some body fat. I wanted your opinion on what would be a good cutting workout for me, as I don’t really want to go back to using a split routine.
My Answer: Of the 7 strength training strategies for fat loss found in Volume One, I am most fond of the 8×8 routine. In fact I just went through the 8×8 routine a few weeks ago. It’s a great total body program that gives you a combination of fat loss, muscularity and improved conditioning.
Lately I’ve been experimenting with extremely short periods (15-30 seconds) coupled with higher reps (8-10) and light weight. 41 is just around the corner, and I’m starting to feel the wear and tear on my body from years of training and demanding work. People are surprised that a program like 8×8 would build muscle, because the weight used is so low. But because the rest periods are so short, you’re performing more work in a shorter period of time. By increasing the density of training, you increase growth hormone output, which strips away fat and builds muscle in conjunction with testosterone.
This sort of training (low weight, high reps, short rest periods) is called “muscle spinning.” This training develops sarcoplasmic hypertrophy. It increases the number of capillaries in the muscles worked. Your muscles get fuller from water weight and glycogen retention. Thus the muscle size you get is transient and less dense compared to the muscle size you get from heavy weight.
Reps for a typical muscle spinning routine are much higher (15-20), but I’ve found the weight used for 8-10 reps to be very effective in building more permanent muscle. The weight is low enough where it’s not as stressful on your joints, but high enough where you develop the Type IIa intermediate fast twitch muscle fibers.