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Q: What are your thoughts on the 10-8-6 method?

7208-smart2Q: What are your thoughts on the 10-8-6 method?

A: It’s a fine system for a beginner, and I could see it being very practical for a high school weight-training class because it’s extremely easy to administer. “Iron Guru” Vince Gironda used a variation of this method with a 10-8-6-15 approach.

The system is based on your six-rep maximum for an exercise. The first set is performed with 50 percent of that maximum, the second at 75 percent, the third at 100 percent, and the last set at 35 percent, as Gironda described it, “to pump the capillaries with blood.” Let’s say you can curl 100 pounds for six reps. Using this system, your sequence would be 50 pounds x 10 reps, 75 x 8, 100 x 6, 35 x 15.

The 10-8-6 system has been around a long time and was especially popular at many bodybuilding gyms in the 1970s, one being Bob’s Athletic Club in Fremont, California. Named after its owner, Bob Perata, it was the home gym of Ed Corney, the runner-up to Franco Columbu in the ’75 Mr. Olympia contest. Corney appeared on the cover of Charles Gains’ book Pumping Iron as well as on the poster for the movie.

Although the 10-8-6 system can be varied with percentages, such as what Gironda did with his 10-8-6-15 method, the general advice about such systems is often simplified as “Go light, medium, then heavy.” As you get stronger, all the weights will increase.

The 10-8-6 program became especially motivating for beginners because doing fewer reps on the second and third sets enables them to use heavier weights—in effect, it gives them the illusion of getting stronger throughout the workout. Because only three sets are performed, this is a protocol that should be limited to beginners.


Editor’s note: Charles Poliquin is recognized as one of the world’s most suc-cessful strength coaches, having coached Olympic med-alists in 12 different sports, including the U.S. women’s track-and-field team for the 2000 Olympics. He’s spent years researching European journals (he’s fluent in English, French and German) and speaking with other coaches and scientists in his quest to optimize training methods. For more on his books, seminars and methods, visit IM


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