Workout Systems: 10,8,6 Training Method
It’s often difficult to determine the origins of a weight training system, and the 10,8,6 Training Method is no exception.
In 1982, Vince Gironda published a book about a similar system called 10,8,6,15. The program involves performing three sets of progressively heavier weights and lower reps,10,8,6, followed by a lighter “pump” set with 15 reps. The major difference between Gironda’s program and the 10,8,6 Training Method is that a fourth set is not performed.
One proponent of the 10,8,6 program was Bob Perata, owner of Bob’s Athletic Club in Fremont, California. Bob’s Athletic Club was one of those basic, primarily free-weight gyms of the past where bodybuilders, weightlifters, and the general population trained together.
The 10,8,6 Training Method, which Perata used as early as 1972, is based on your best result in an exercise for 6 reps (6RM). It consists of performing a light set (about 50 percent of your 6RM) for 10 reps, followed by a medium set (about 75 percent of your 6RM) for 8 reps, followed by as many reps as possible with a maximum weight (100 percent of 6RM) with a goal of 6 reps. If you complete all 6 reps on that third set, or more, you increase the weight for the next workout. If you only do 5 reps or less reps, use the same weights for the next workout.
The 10,8,6 Training Method is especially motivating for beginners because the fewer reps on the second and third sets enable much heavier weights to be used – in effect, it gives the user the illusion of getting stronger throughout the workout. This is a training protocol designed for a beginner, and as such three sets are enough to make excellent progress in increasing both strength and muscle mass.
Often, a trainee at Bob’s club would use this program for a month and then would move on to another program for variety – sometimes the client would simply add another set, doing permutations such as 12,10,8,6 if they wanted more muscle mass, and 10,8,6,4 if they wanted more strength. This rep/set scheme is not appropriate for all exercises, especially the Olympic lifts (snatch and clean and jerk) and most of their assistance exercises due to the technical nature of these exercises.
The 10,8,6 Training Method is extremely flexibility as it can be used with station training (i.e., performing all the sets of one exercise before moving on to another), supersets, and even tri-sets. Here is a sample workout for a beginner using the 10,8,6 Training Method at uses both station training and supersets:
A. Back Squat, 10,8,6, 4011, rest 240 seconds
B1. Barbell Military Press, 10,8,6, 3010, rest 120 seconds
B2. Bent-Over Dumbbell Row, 10,8,6, 3110, rest 120 seconds
C1. Dumbbell Incline Bench Press, 10,8,6, 3011, rest 120 seconds
C2. Lat Pulldown, 10,8,6, 3110, rest 120 seconds
D1. Triceps Pressdown, Rope, 10,8,6, 3010, rest 120 seconds
D2. Standing Barbell Curl, 3010, 10,8,6, rest 120 seconds
The 10,8,6 Training Method is not the single best workout program because such a program doesn’t exist. But most individuals, especially beginners, will enjoy this simple approach to training and can make progress on it for quite some time. Sure, there are many other ways to train, but the 10,8,6 system is a good place to start.