T NATION | Issue 634
The Intelligent & Relentless Pursuit of Muscle™

Thib's 35 Minutes to Hardcore Muscle

You don't have enough time to train? What are you, a housewife? OK, we're kidding. We know that a lot of Testosterone magazine readers have brutal schedules that leave very little time for serious, hardcore training. We also know it's frustrating, even depressing — you're willing to put in the reps, but you simply can't squeeze in the time.

T NATION bodybuilding and HTH training expert Christian Thibaudeau understands your situation, but wants to tell you something:

Three, 35-minute workouts per week?

This idea, coming from the guy who often trains twice a day, six days a week, there must be a catch.

The Discovery

When Thibaudeau was an Olympic lifter, he had a minimalist approach to training. "I'd focus on one main exercise per movement pattern like the bench press, squat, clean, snatch, row, or chin-up. I didn't hit muscles from different angles and I didn't have a lot of variation, but I saw some amazing muscular gains."

The past few weeks Thibaudeau has been experimenting with something similar but drastically more effective.

What the hell is a force curve?

By using another force curve with the same movement pattern—like a preacher curl done at a cable station or a preacher curl done with band-resistance— you'll hit more muscle fibers which translates into more growth.

But what about exercise variety?

And Thibaudeau isn't just a theorist. He's his own guinea pig.


Want to experience the same thing Thibaudeau did? Then it's time to introduce you to your new workout program.

To save time, with the added benefit of increasing work capacity, Thibaudeau built the program around the pairing of antagonist movement patterns.

Monday          Chest and Back

Wednesday    Legs and Shoulders

Friday             Biceps and triceps

Pick one basic movement pattern for each body part and change the force curve with set to make it a total of three exercises per muscle group. Here are some of his preferred lifts:

The Exercises


   Preacher curl with free weights (EZ or straight bar)

   Preacher curl with cable (or preacher curl machine)

   Preacher curl with band resistance (Thibaudeau used the empty bar and one EliteFTS monster-mini band.)


  Bent-over barbell row with free weights

  Bent-over barbell row with a low pulley

  Bent-over barbell row with added band resistance (using lighter weight).


  Bench press

  Bench press machine

  Bench press with bands (using lighter weight).


  Seated barbell shoulder press

  Shoulder press machine

  Seated barbell shoulder press with bands (using lighter weight).


  Standing overhead DB triceps extension

  Standing overhead rope triceps extension

  Standing overhead DB triceps extension with added band resistant (lighter DB)


  Front squat

  Hack squat

  Front squat with added band resistance (using lighter weight).

Sets and Reps

What about reps?

Ramping the Weight

To select your starting weight for each exercise, calculate 75% of your 1RM (of that exercise), and subtract 10 pounds.

Use that weight (75% 1RM - 10 lb) on your first set, then add five pounds per set on the second and third sets. The third set, obviously, will be at 75% 1RM.


Rest Between Sets and Exercises

"My general guideline for this program is to only rest the amount of time required to give a full effort on the upcoming set, but never more than one minute."

So Monday's workout would look like this:

(resting no more than one minute between each exercise)

Move to back exercises.

(again, resting no more than one minute between each exercise)

Start over with the chest exercises and go through the entire cycle at least two more times.

Stop the workout, or drop an exercise, when you can no longer accelerate the weight. And, never, ever, slowly grind out a rep.

What about Peri-Workout Nutrition?

If you read The Anaconda Difference you're already one of the smart ones who understands the benefits of supplying your muscles with crucial nutrients like rice oligodextrin, palatinose, and high-quality casein hydrolysate before, during, and after your workout.

For the thee-day-per-week guys, Thibaudeau recommends staying with the same protocol to reap the benefits, but reducing the FINIbars to one (instead of three) before your workout since you'll be in the gym for a shorter period of time and won't need all the energy the FINIbars provide.

Click here to see the exact peri-workout nutrition protocol Thibaudeau recommends.


So that's it. Three workouts per week, 35 minutes per session. The only question remains: Are you still going to make excuses about why you can't make any gains?

Try the three-day HTH approach and let us know how it works. (But we already know what you'll tell us, so let's just get this out of the way: You're welcome.)

Dave Tate Dave Tate Dave Tate Dave Tate Dave Tate Dave Tate

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PUBLISHED 06-28-10 08:00
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Thib's 35 Minutes to Hardcore Muscle