Feel like you’re carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders? Let’s make that weight feel more manageable. Clear your calendar for the next six weeks. The goal?

Over those six weeks, I want you to progress your weights up with 8 sets of 8, say, on a lateral raise machine, with breaks of 30 seconds or less. With each week, you’ll probably be resting less and less, and you’ll be surprised by how you’ll adapt to this.

WATCH: 8x8 Leg Blast

The first week, you’re going to feel like you’re dying... then bam! Week 4 will have you saying, “I’m ready to go 15 to 20 seconds and throw on a little more pig iron and get that son of a buck done,” and that’s what you’ll do. You’re increasing density from multiple angles, bombarding those muscles with low fatigue. (For the lab coats reading this, you’ll know this as “metabolic stress.”)

It’s 8 reps with a good time of tension for very short breaks, so it’s like you get this continuous time of tension with very short rests interspersed in there, so it’s really gonna help you if you’ve never done this sort of training before.

JJ and I are going to work on his delts. As a former NFL player, JJ has done a lot of neck and trap work, so it’s easy for him to want to get that trap dominant, like people who do lateral raises. But if you’re working on those delts, you’ll have to focus and keep it honest for the next six weeks, which should help you get ready for the bodybuilding or Chippendale stages. Not so much for powerlifting, though.

It’s a constant struggle for JJ to not engage his traps, and it doesn’t help that his traps are overdeveloped. That’s why I have him focus on depression, keeping those upper back traps down. He’ll force those down as he moves his arms, like he’s putting his hand and arm through a window. Both hands should move away from the body in an outward movement, not an upward movement.

JJ’s basically locking down like he’s putting those muscles into his back pocket while he reaches far (not raising far). Even if you’re doing lateral raises with a bent arm, you’re still going as far away from yourself. Just don’t go too far up and get your trap. Focus on that side delt.

I’ll have JJ do more isometric exercises. He’ll grab a band and pull it apart as far as it can go and hold for 30 seconds. It’s absolute hell on the side delts, which is great since that’s where the focus is. It’s all about using those side delts to try to rip that band apart but it’s not gonna move.

After that, we’ll finish with the rear delts in a prone movement. See, when you’re in a prone position, that’ll take out any core engagement. This forces you to isolate your rear delt in a way that’s similar to forcing your hands apart. This movement targets your posterior, or rear, delts and removes any other momentum or muscular engagement you’d normally have.

Last but not least, we’ll finish the workout off with a triceps machine. If you don’t have access to one of these machines, you can use a rope. Then follow up with a dumbbell triceps extension. The key is to initiate the contraction in your triceps when you move weights off the floor. Keep your elbows in and finish this up with machine dips.

8x8 Shoulders and Triceps

  • 8x8 Lateral Raises. Rest 30 seconds. Add more weight each week for 6 weeks.
  • 8x8 Side Delt Raises. Rest 30 seconds.
  • 8x8 Band Pull-Aparts. Hold for 30 seconds. Rest 30 seconds.
  • 8x8 Rear Delt Raises in a prone position. Rest 30 seconds.
  • 8x8 Triceps Extension with machine or rope. Rest 30 seconds.
  • 8x8 Dumbbell Triceps Extension. Initiate contraction while moving weights off the floor. Rest 30 seconds.
  • 8x8 Machine Dips. Rest 30 seconds.

And there you have it: 56 sets, 7 exercises, 8 sets, keeping it honest.

Bodybuilding for the Powerlifter: The Offseason (with Full Program)