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Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2009 (Minneapolis, MN) with: Joseph Lamoree
Ben Nadel at cf.Objective() 2009 (Minneapolis, MN) with: Joseph Lamoree ( @jlamoree )

Project HUGE: Huge In A Hurry - Get Ready

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With this post, I am officially bringing Chad Waterbury's Huge In A Hurry book into my Project HUGE world (that's a lot of Hugeness in one sentence). Project HUGE, of course, being the fitness topics that I am putting into effect in my own personal training regimen. Because the Huge In A Hurry programs are a shift away from the way that most people are used to training, Chad Waterbury suggests that all weight lifters, novice and expert, execute his "Get Ready" phase before moving onto any of the other plans. This phase allows people to get comfortable with moving weights with maximal speeds for enough volume. It also allows people and adjustment period where they can start to focus on rep volume rather than sets.

This "Get Ready" phase consists of 3 total body workouts (Monday, Wednesday, Friday) repeated for three weeks. All the factors are to remain constant (rep scheme, volume) for the three weeks; but, the weight will probably increase from week to week as you start to gauge your own strength more accurately.

Here are the three workouts outlined:

Workout A - Load: Heavy (4-6 RM)

Cable Standing Mid-Pulley Row (bar)
Total Reps: 25
Rest: 45 seconds

Weighted Dip
Total Reps: 25
Rest: 45 seconds

Dumbbell Split Squat
Total Reps: 25
Rest: 45 seconds

Workout B - Load: Medium (10-12 RM)

Suppinated Lat Pull Down
Total Reps: 35
Rest: 60

Dumbbell Standing Shoulder Press (neutral)
Total Reps: 35
Rest: 60

Total Reps: 35
Rest: 60

Workout C - Load: Light (20-22 RM)

Cable Standing Low-Pulley Row (rope)
Total Reps: 50
Rest: 90

Total Reps: 50
Rest: 90

Total Reps: 50
Rest: 90

A couple of things make me nervous here; for starters, I have never done a split squat in my life and I am concerned about the stress on my knees. Also, I am concerned about doing split squats for such low reps (requiring heavy dumbbells - I want to make sure my legs fade before my hands). Also, the idea of having to do like 15 reps of squats in a given set makes my legs twitch, but in a good way I suppose.

What I am gonna try not to do, however, is judge any this program negatively until I try it. Like I stated in my last post, I am jazzed up about the idea of having tree opportunities to perform any given directional action in a given week. That is badass. These workouts seem short, but I'll report back on how I feel.

Reader Comments



I'm definitely huge in my head - now I just have to transfer that to my body :)

Not sure what to do in the other 4 days. Might throw in some light cardio here and there (which I should be doing anyway).



That's what I gather. But, he does list out the explicit exercises (in case you think I picked those arbitrarily).


Granted, I am a long ways from huge - more of a runner than anything. However, I've found that the split squats most definitely get the job done but they never hurt my knees (again here, I love running). With that many reps, depending on the dumbbells, I'd consider using gloves though - that might improve your grip a little.



I'm not much of a runner, but my knees are not the greatest, and this will definitely have to felt out (split squat). Yeah, I think I might bring my straps in to help get the job done right.


I'm eager to see how it works out for you! Are you going to alter your nutrition at all? While keeping my workouts the same, I find that my intake dramatically alters my gains. Maybe you're already on a calorie excess diet? Can't grow without fuel after all. Just curious what your goals are, competition, being ripped, or just the ability to throw somebody out a window with minimal effort?

As for Arnold, he claims to have only juiced while cutting while trying maintain muscle mass. Juice (legal back then) or not, the playing field was even in terms of what was available to his competition. It takes something special, be it genetics or technique, to become the best. I do see how for those of us that can't/don't want to be in the gym all day, making workouts as efficient as possible makes sense.



I don't follow any special diet - I just try to get plenty of protein. It's probably an excess of calories as I am not lean nor do I seem to get leaner.

As far as goals, I just want to get big and strong :)


Results for the day:

Row (Cable Standing Mid-Pulley)

1. 80 x 6
2. 90 x 5
3. 100 x 5
4. 100 x 6
5. 100 x 3

Notes: Not sure if i was going heavy enough. May have been stressing speed too much.


1. 90 x 6
2. 100 x 5
3. 100 x 4
4. 100 x 5
5. 100 x 4
6. 100 x 1

Squat (Split DB)

1. 55 x 5
2. 55 x 6
3. 55 x 6
4. 60 x 5
5. 60 x 3

Notes: Took me a couple of sets to get the form-getting my ass back

For the pulley row, I actually had to switch over to the Lat Pull down machine and lean back - the pulley stack did not go high enough and it was an extremely awkward position.

The Split Squat was very strange too - it took me like three sets just to get used to the position of the movement. Once I had it down, however, I felt like it was pretty good. But, as I was a bit concerned with, I felt my grip strength loosening before my legs were weak.

Overall, I think maybe I concentrated on the speed too much and not enough on the selecting the right weight. Now, I can see why there is a 3-week "Getting Started" period - there is a lot to consider in terms of optimal output during the performance.

I can tell you, I sweated way more than I usually do when working out. I take this as a good sign. And, even with three exercises, each hitting a totally different type of movement, I was quite whipped at the end of the day. The workout was a bit long, but I think I can make the next one shorter (the rest period I needed between sets was less than I actually took - I can move faster next time).

I am pumped up to be doing the same type of movements in just another two days rather than 7 weeks. So far, I'm feeling good about this.



Congrats on starting HIAH.

I started it back in mid-December, and am about 2/3 through the Get Lean program. Overall, I've seen great results with this workout. Dropped a pants-size, but lost no weight. So basically just changed body composition.

You're right about the Get Ready period. It's main purpose is to get used to working out this way. Finding the weight for each exercise can be a little bit tricky, so now is the time to get the hang of it.

There's a forum on the Men's Health site that you should check out. Chad Waterbury checks in about once a week and answers questions. There was just a whole discussion regarding grip strength.

When I first read over everything, it didn't seem like 'enough' work. Only a handful of exercises, three times a week, with four days off each week. But you'll see results. And the rest periods in between are a pretty important part of it too. I assume your plan is to start with the Get Big program?

Anyway, good luck. Keep updating the blog with results, interested to hear what you think...



Yeah, it does seem like not enough, but I'll tell you, my back is kind of sore and my chest is wicked sore today. I attribute the bigger chest soreness to fact I was probably more accurate with the RM to be using.

I am liking it so far. I'll check out that forum as I am sure I will have questions.

Hey, small world - I just checked out your site and I see you did Wing Dippers. I am friends with Aaron Foss - he comes to our CFUG meetings :)


Yeah, not too much of a small world though, Aaron is the one that sent this blog post to me :)

You and I met briefly back in January actually, I came to the CFUG meeting with him.

You'll def have soreness from these routines, and you'll also get surprisingly winded. Doing 20 squats in a row can really get the heart pumping.

Now we just have to convince Foss to get on the HIAH bandwagon...



Ahh, well then good to meet you again :)

Yeah, I was sweating yesterday more than I usually sweat, especially for upper body exercises (lower body stuff has me sweating no problem).

But yeah, the idea of using a 20-22 RM squat on Friday... oh man!!


Glad to see that everything went well so far. Did you end up using your straps for the split squats?

I'll be interested to see how it works out for you. It just seems strange only going three times per week and still gaining significantly.



No, I didn't end up having to use straps for the split squats cause I only went up to like 60. Once I get up past 70 and 80, I'll definitely start to use them (if I end up getting that high).

I think I was trying to go too fast on the split squat especially. I think I could have gone higher weights, but slower initial speed. Not sure how to balance the speed w/ the weight. I know that I shouldn't slow down DURING the set, but still figuring out the starting speed.


I am fighting the huge desire to go workout right now :) I feel pumped and energized. I know when I get in the gym tomorrow, it's gonna be awesome!



Word up. I woke up this morning and literally, the second I opened my eyes, my first thought was, "How's the energy level - am I ready to workout." I didn't even mean to think it, it just popped into my head.

I am excited today because I have not done supinated pull downs in a long time. Also, I am not sure I have ever done 10-12RM on deadlifts! That's gonna be fun.

Counting the hours!


Just finished my first workout B. It was interesting.

Pull Down (Supinated)

1. 80 x 10
2. 90 x 7
3. 90 x 5
4. 90 x 7
5. 90 x 6

Shoulder Press (DB Standing)

1. 50 x 8
2. 50 x 9
3. 50 x 9
4. 50 x 8
5. 50 x 1

Dead Lift (BB)

1. 225 x 10
2. 245 x 10
3. 275 x 7
4. 275 x 5
5. 275 x 3

I feel like I am definitely more intense on my pressing movements than I am on my pulling movements.

I think I am stressing the speed too much and not the weight. I think my form is OK - I don't think I am sacrificing it; I simply think that I am not going heavy enough because I don't want to lose speed. I am giving the speed too high an importance.

Also, the Dead Lift was very funky. I am supposed to "reset" the bar each time, but I also don't want to lose my flow. After about rep 3, the bar starts to bounce weird when it hits the ground. Not sure if my pause between reps is supposed to be a tad longer.

And, on the Deadlifts, I am not sure I am going heavy enough. The other week, I was doing 365 x 5 on deads. Now, I am rocking on 275. Granted, its higher reps and faster, but again, am I going too fast?


My back is blasted from yesterday. I'm feeling like I've hardly done any legs yet. Tomorrow's squats will be interesting I am sure.


Dude, don't stress so much about the speed especially on Mondays when you are lifting heavy. The purpose of lifting swiftly is activating maximum amount of muscle fiber and you are already lifting heavy shit, and the speed that Chad is talking about is not necessarily actual speed of the weights more about a conscious effort to move weights quickly. He is not talking about ballistic training here, especially not on the heavy day. As for your exercises: Do not use the straps unless you are trying for 1RM max, otherwise your grip will remain weak and don't worry about knees just push through your heels, this exercise is not putting big stress on the knee. As for low cable pulley replace it with the dumbbell upright row, because lat pull-down with lean-back is not an equivalent exercise.

Best of luck



I have definitely calmed down about the speed stuff. I just try not to consciously slow down my movements if I don't need to. Some exercises, where my knees can be a bit tweaky, such as squats, I will go at a comfortable speed to make sure they don't act up (I have patellar tracking issues).

As far as straps, I don't necessarily agree. I don't think my grip will ever be as strong as my pulling, and I don't mind that so much. There's a lot of heavy lifting on the program, 2-3 RM, and 4-6 RM, in which I don't want to have think about my hands - just about the pulling.


Well that's OK too. Only think about incorporating some grip work then, maybe hangs from fat pull-up bar, some farmer walks too. I know wrist strength is (in theory) the least trainable and mostly gene-determined, but I for one had great results from above mentioned exercises + grip master.
Oh and keep us posted, on your progress :)


To help get me started in grip and wrist strength, I have started doing wrist rollers. I real feel like it is helping me get my grip strength and coordination to improve, hopefully someday, being able to get strong enough to do the heavy lifting without needing straps.



Yeah, I should probably start doing those, if for no other reason, my sports doctor recommended them for my wrist pain like a year ago. I tried doing them, but I think I started with too much weight and my shoulders couldn't hold the weight up :(


@Ben, That's exactly what I did at first too. I thought to myself, yeah, I'm strong, I can do this with 25-30lbs. Yeah right!

I had to start with about 10-15lbs. and move up from there. It didn't take me too long to get up to 20lbs. Now tonight I am going to try to do all of my sets with 25lbs, we'll see how that goes.

My shoulders have been getting strong from other exercises as well, so that may have something to do with it.


thanx for your posting of this info. i to have been following this program let a fellow gym rat borrow the book , during phase 1 havent gotten it back yet, went to by book today not on the shelf. so thanks a lot i can move forward til i purchase a new book .


I would say your fear is good. But Chad Waterbury is very on in what he talks about.

I use tons of his methods. He is always looking how to get real people lean and strong.

Not the 100% perfect dieter or perfect bodybuilder.



Skip the fruit, on at least 6 days out of 7, that goes for fruit cup too.

Also you need much more protein in your diet, this is essential.

Thirdly it would be more conductive to fat loss to choose something with smaller GI as your source of carbs, ie. ditch the bread, have some peas or beans.

Finally, even oatmeal can be ditched for peas or beans, but only if your fat loss is still slow after these first 3 changes, witch I doubt.

Eat all green vegetables you want.
Don't starve your self, eat enough.
Once a week eat some crap for meal or two to up-regulate your fat loss hormones.



I definitely trust all of the people who write for T-Nation. That publication, in general, just strikes me as people who LOVE what they are doing and just want to get everyone huge and strong :)


I just finished reading Tim Ferris' new book, "The 4 Hour Body." A lot of the thing he says in his book echo your sentiments. One thing that shocked me in the book was basically saying that fruit is not all that important.

I just went through the book quickly to get a feel for it; gonna go through it again slowly to get more take-aways.


sounds like a great work out plan will give it a go.

isn't it easier if i just buy the protein mass or whatever you call it???


As someone who has always struggled with putting on weight I applaud your attempt to get big.

The old eat big, lift big, get big might be a good thought.


I'm 69 years old and like to try and lift as heavy as I can.The diet recommendation seems suicidal when you consider the cholesterol and fat.Although some people seem to think cholesterol is not that much a factor in heart disease I just find it troubling to throw out the prevalent medical advice and try the diet.Am I missing something here?


I'm 69 years old and like to try and lift as heavy as I can.The diet recommendation seems suicidal when you consider the cholesterol and fat.Although some people seem to think cholesterol is not that much a factor in heart disease I just find it troubling to throw out the prevalent medical advice and try the diet.Am I missing something here?



I know this is about getting bigger, and what I read recently has to do with losing weight, but might work the other way, also. I recently read that 80% of weight you lose (and maybe gain as well?) has to do with eating, whereas 20% has to do with exercise. Definitely not saying exercise isn't important, but in terms of weight...if this is true...may be less for weight and more for other benefits. For things other than weight, for example fitness and heart health, exercise is absolutely a great way to keep those things in shape.

As for the cholesterol and fat discussion, in addition to people not seeming to think cholesterol has that much to do with heart disease, it's also very important to have fat in your diet, and it has been found that some fat is necessary, and in fact, having fat in your diet helps you actually burn fat.

There are a whole group of people who think that meat, and especially red meat is the devil. I recently had a screening at my doctor. We did a blood laboratory, and because of the way I eat, I thought I might have a reason for concern when my results came back.

I eat red meat, at least 5 times a week, sometimes more than twice a day. From that, I eat at least 3 steaks a week. I eat meat period, pretty much every day...usually...7 days a week. I often eat meat itself (not just read meat) more than once a day. There have been times in my life where I ate meat twice every day, without fail, and sometimes three times a day, having two servings for breakfast since I grew up eating the bacon and eggs country breakfasts. (And I am considering eggs a "meat" here).

My numbers came back, and they were nothing short of awesome. My HDL cholesterol was HIGH, which it is supposed to be, and my LDL cholesterol was low. My ratio of HDL cholesterol to LDL cholesterol was very, very close to 1:1, which had my doctor classifying my cholesterol profile as "phenomenal". My triglycerides were very, very low (but not too low), and my glucose was really low also, but again, not too low. I had been worried a bit about diabetes and my blood sugar because of the fact that I am from time to time attacked by this obnoxious sweet tooth, and I am also an excellent cook when it comes to baking sweet things. So I was surprised and delighted when my glucose levels came back as low (but not too low).

I did a little research after getting my results back and came across a study concerning meat eaters (as I am), protein, and health indicators such as cholesterol levels, etc. There was a group of people who had both diabetes and high cholesterol, but they were trying to get the diabetes under control first, then work on the cholesterol. I have friends and family who are diabetic, and they say that one of the ways they try to control diabetes is by decreasing carbohydrates and increasing the amounts of meats/proteins they would eat. The study found, in surprising numbers, that many of the diabetic patients who also had high cholesterol would see a significant decrease in cholesterol once they went on this diet. One patient even had as significant a decrease as his cholesterol was at 300 when he started the diet. After having been on it a few months, his cholesterol came down to something along the lines of around 179 or so. Definitely in normal range, from a pretty good range above normal. After the results of this study were published, a lot of other people, some who didn't necessarily have diabetes, also tried it in order to try to bring their cholesterol down, because they had tried everything. To their surprise and delight, their cholesterol numbers came down also.

The point is: meat may not be the enemy a lot of people want to cast it as. Meat and protein is very good for you. I'll be the first to admit that eating too much of it can destroy your kidney and overwork it, but so can drinking too much alcohol or intaking too many of certain types of vitamins or minerals, which includes eating too much of the foods in the quantities that causes you to have too many of them in your system.

I believe in love. I believe in compassion. I believe in human rights. I believe that we can afford to give more of these gifts to the world around us because it costs us nothing to be decent and kind and understanding. And, I want you to know that when you land on this site, you are accepted for who you are, no matter how you identify, what truths you live, or whatever kind of goofy shit makes you feel alive! Rock on with your bad self!
Ben Nadel