It all started one warm July day, when the sun was calling and the GYM well, you know the story… really wasn’t calling.
I was about 2 months into Occam’s Protocol and really enjoying the sequence. But I happened to pick up a wonderful book that Tim Ferriss himself recommends in the 4 Hour Body.
The Book: Body By Science
If you buy the book (which you should) you will learn more about the human body and its relationship to exercise than you had ever imagined was possible.
I can guarantee one thing: If you read this book you will never return to your old workout routine again.
What you are about to read is a product of my first 5 months of “field” testing. A product of what I have read, and what I have found while doing Occam’s Protocol and searching for the most streamlined approach possible.
In “Body By Science” we are introduced to the foundation behind Occam’s Protocol. A well tested method for building muscle.
The program consists exclusively of compound exercises – those that involve rotation around several joint axes – and thus involve several muscle groups per exercise.
These exercises are big but simple movements that involve multiple muscle groups and are also easy for the average person to coordinate and perform.
A trainee who is relatively well conditioned and is going to true failure should perform this workout once every 7 days.
The Big 8 Workout
The Big 3:
A Core of 3 will work all the major muscle structures of the body (these will be labeled below under “the big 3”)
- Chest Press: Upper body “pushing” exercise
- Lat Pull-down: Upper body “pulling” exercise
- Leg Press: Lower Body “everything” exercise
Added to this core to create The Big 5 are:
- Seated Row: Upper Body “pulling” exercise
- Overhead Press: Upper Body “pushing” exercise
Added to this are 3 exercises from the 4 Hour Body:
- Myotatic Crunch
- Cat Vomit
- The Kettlebell Swing
Total = 8 exercises encompassing all the major muscle structures of the body performed just like Occam’s Protocol with a 5/5 count just once every 7 days.
Let’s take a look at the sequence:
EXERCISE 1 (Big 5):
Seated Row: Upper Body “pulling” exercise
- Latissimus Dorsi
- Rhomboid (draw shoulders together)
- Spinal extensors running from the base of sacrum to the back of the head
- Flexor side of the forearm that flex your wrists and biceps
- And the brachioradialis muscles that bend your arm at the elbow
Exercise 2 (Big 3)
Chest Press: Upper body “pushing” exercise
- Triceps Muscles (to a great extent)
- Deltoid (surrounding the shoulder joint)
- Pectoralis Major and Pectoralis Minor
Exercise 3 (Big 3)
Lat Pull-down: Upper body “pulling” exercise
- Properly performed the pull-down exercise thoroughly activates almost all of the muscles of the torso- front and back
- Latissimus dorsi muscles of the upper back
- The gripping muscles, or forearm flexors
- Biceps: Although most train the biceps with single-joint movements such as barbell curls, the biceps crosses both the elbow and shoulder joints, so by doing a pull-down that involves rotation around the elbow and the shoulder joint, you’re involving the biceps from both ends.
Exercise 4 (Big 5)
Overhead Press: Immediately after the pull-down, you should move on to the overhead press.When this exercise is performed properly, you will be engaging all of the muscles involved in an upper-body “pushing” movement, similar to those involved in the chest press.
- Pectoralis Major and Minor
Exercise 5 (Big 3)
Leg Press: The final exercise in the workout is the leg press, which covers virtually every muscle group in the lower body.
The leg press exercise hits the entire lower body from the waist down, with particular emphasis on the hip and buttock musculature. It also strongly involves the hamstring musculature on the back of the thighs and the quadriceps musculature located on the front of the thighs, and to some extent, there is also rotation around the ankle joint, which serves to recruit and load the gastrocnemius (calf) muscles of the lower leg. There are many leg press machines from which to choose, with varying pressing angles. Any of them will do the job, but the larger the angle is from linear (straight up and down), the less resistance you are moving (in much the same way that pushing your car horizontally down a street would be much easier than pushing it directly overhead). Exceptions to this would be both Nautilus and MedX leg press machines that make use of offset cams to vary the resistance properly.
Exercise 6 (4HB)
- Rectus Abdominis
- Internal Oblique
- External Oblique
Exercise 7 (4HB)
- Transverse abdominis
Exercise 8 (4HB)
The Kettlebell Swing
- Back (all parts from the lower back all the way to the traps)
The beauty of the Big 8 Workout is
- The above routine can be modified to your own needs and time constraints: For example if you do not have time to do all 8 exercises you could perform only the Big 3 or for a more complete program you could perform the Big 5.
- Part of your routine can be performed at the gym with the other part performed at home. For example: I like to do my heavy weight lifting at the gym along with my abdominal routine and do my kettlebell swings later at home.
- It is once every 7 days! This is perfect for anyone who is active in other sports. I love to run, bike, swim, play tennis, etc… For me this one day a week workout routine allows me to do what Tim talks about all the time: Do more of what I really love to do.
Some recommendations from real world practice
- Start with Occam’s Protocol and use this as your base. Once you plateau consider transitioning into a BIG 8 WORKOUT. This way you can get a more complete routine every 7 days. I think this is a bit better as a long term weight training solution.
- I have not mentioned this here but you could also mix up a partial free weight and machine weight routine for variation. This is something I will discuss and demonstrate in a future blog post.
- In The Body by Science they talk about the BIG 5 routine as the “index fund of workouts”. I love this idea. If you know anything about investing you will know that you can constantly change your funds by chasing the market. The same is true with your workout routine. If you buy a good mix of funds that is well diversified and covers all major parts of the market you will beat the competition 9 times out of ten.
- The Big 8 Workout: Is the only mutual fund you will need. It is well diversified, covers all your major muscle groups and if you stick with it, it will give you long term returns on your investment. Guaranteed!
- Make sure you track your progress. Grab a clipboard and carry it with you while you work out. Write down your weight lifted, and note your seat heights. This is all you need.
- Kettlebell : Shop around, Amazon has several options, just make sure you purchase one with free shipping. I personally bought a 53 pound bell, it is quite heavy and you may want to start smaller and work your way up. Given the cost it may be cheaper to build one as demonstrated in the book. But I like the size and ease of use of the actual kettlebell.
- Bosu Balance Trainer : Honestly this is a must have. I am lucky enough to have one at my gym. But, if I didn’t I would purchase one. This is the best workout for your abs I have every tried. And it is easy on the back and neck.
- Body by Science: A Research Based Program to Get the Results You Want in 12 Minutes a Week: Simply put, this is a must read!
- Occam’s Protocol Step by Step plus a New and Improved Cheat Sheet
- 4 Hour Body and The Elusive Body Fat: How do you Measure Up?
- Occam’s Protocol Essential’s Toolkit Part Un: Keeping Time!
- The 4-Hour Body Vitamin and Supplement Cheat Sheet
Download the BIG 8 WORKOUT CHEAT SHEET For your reference!
View all posts in this series
- Organizing the Four Hour Body: Occam’s Protocol Cheat Sheet Number 1 - February 6, 2011
- The Four Hour Body Fat Loss Cheat Sheet - February 25, 2011
- Damage Control and the 4-Hour Body Slow Carb Diet Binge Day Cheat Sheet - March 9, 2011
- Adventures in Tripling Testosterone: The Four Hour Body Sex Machine: Protocol’s Simplified - March 11, 2011
- How to get 8 Hours of sleep in just Four Hours! - March 26, 2011
- A Wonderful 4-Hour Body Cheat Sheet: Simple and Comprehensive! - April 5, 2011
- Why your Doctor wants you to buy the 4 Hour Body and the 4 Hour Workweek but doesn’t know it yet. - May 2, 2011
- Occam’s Protocol Step by Step plus a New and Improved Cheat Sheet - May 8, 2011
- Occam’s Protocol Week One (and 1/2) “Wheying” In - May 21, 2011
- 4 Hour Body vs. P90X vs. Insanity “Beach Body” Challenge! - May 30, 2011
- The 4 Hour Body: How to Outsource your Workout! - June 3, 2011
- Having Trouble with Rapid Fat-Loss, Incredible Sex, and Becoming Superhuman? You need the 4 Hour Body Google Calendar! - June 6, 2011
- Deconstructing the “A” in PAGG: Alpha Lipoic Acid and Why it may be Worth a Second Look! - June 10, 2011
- 4 Hour Body vs. P90X: Day 30 Updates - June 12, 2011
- A Virtual Assistants Guide to Conquering the 4 Hour Body - July 1, 2011
- Occam’s Protocol Essential’s Toolkit Part Un: Keeping Time! - July 9, 2011
- The 4 Hour Body + The 4 Hour Workweek = The Evolution of A Superhuman - August 5, 2011
- The 4 Hour Body Vitamins & Supplements: A Comprehensive Evidence Based Review - August 8, 2011
- POLICOSANOL: The Four Hour Body Vitamins and Supplements Series
- A Better Occam’s Protocol: Body by Science Meets the 4 Hour Body - August 23, 2011
- Questions? Things I Think About as I go Looking for Food - September 23, 2011
- 150 Days of Tracking and 8 Months of Clinical Outcomes: Photos and Numbers - October 10, 2011
- Tim Ferriss Slow Carb Diet: Simple Condensed Patient Handouts & Guides - October 24, 2011
- From Slow Carb to Slow Sex: 5 Things I have learned after 1 Year with The 4-Hour Body - December 12, 2011
- Occam’s Prescriptions + Occam’s Feeding + Slow Carb Diet = Confusion - February 7, 2012
- The 4 Hour Body Occam’s Protocol Excel Worksheet - June 4, 2012
- Occam’s Protocol Free Weight Option: Workout A and B with Video Demo - August 6, 2012
- Tim Ferriss Prison Day 2: Convict Conditioning – Squats Cheat Sheet - August 26, 2012
- Tim Ferriss Prison Day 3: Convict Conditioning – Pull-Up Cheat Sheet - September 14, 2012
- Choosing Lean Meats, Seafood and Shellfish on The 4 Hour Body Diet - September 21, 2012
- The Slow Carb Diet Reloaded: Better Fat Loss Through Simplicity 2013 Edition - February 4, 2013
- 10 Totally Awesome Occam’s Protocol Meal Replacement Shakes - April 26, 2013
- The 4 Hour Chef: Positive Contstraints and the Holy Grail of “The One-Pager” - May 18, 2013
- INROADING and The 4 Principal Stages of an Effective Occam’s Protocol Workout - August 4, 2013
- The Ultimate Slow Carb Supplement One-Pager With Cheat Day Requirements - August 12, 2013
- Mass Gain Supplements: Glutamine, Creatine and Low Carbohydrate Diets - September 23, 2013
- Occam’s Protocol and The Slow Carb Diet – Why You Need to Do Both Now! - March 11, 2014