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My Strength-Gaining Mission (Day 20 check-in)

Gain Muscle and Lose Fat Easily

OK, here is the latest installment of my experiment to gain massive amounts of strength and size with minimal time spent in the gym. This is a 30 day challenge. So far, the scale isn’t showing a pretty picture.

HOWEVER, my strength gains are DEFINITELY PLEASING.  Also consider that I started challenge pretty well-trained. That is, I have been weight training regularly for the past 12 months or so. I wouldn’t attribute the gains in strength to just going from out of shape to somewhat in shape.

Also, before the experiment began I took a day to test-out the new protocol I am using (high intensity, super-slow reps to failure) and calibrate the amount of weight I needed to use.

Here is where I started on May 1st 2007:

  • Dead-lift 95lbs x 12 reps
  • Nautilus Chest 145 lbs x 7 reps
  • Pull Ups 6 reps
  • Nautilus Leg Press 210 x 10 reps
  • Nautilus Pullover 140 x 10 reps
  • Nautilus Fly 130 x 5 reps
  • Barbell Curl 55 x 7 reps
  •  Triceps Press – Bar 40 x 8

For comparison….here were my weights for a few other exercises I did during my second workout using this protocol on May 5th:

  • Squats – Power Rack 115 lbs x 10 reps
  • Leg Press – Sled 245 x 10

And here is how I did yesterday in the gym (I also did a few other exercises that I am omitting in this list):

  • Squats – Power rack 145 lbs x 10 reps
  • Nautilus Bench – 160 x 10 reps
  • Leg Press – Sled 305 x 5 (did 275 lbs x 9 reps during the previous workout)
  • Nautilus Fly – 145 x 5 reps
  • Nautilus Pullover 170 x 9 reps

So in 20 days, I’ve managed to INCREASE my Squat by +26%,  Chest Press +10% with +3 added reps, Chest Fly +11%, Pullover +30% (with 1 less rep) and Leg Press +12% with 1 fewer rep.

The amazing thing is, I’ve ONLY done 5 workouts!

Part of the gains might have something to do with my body getting used to the super-slow reps (5 second up, 5 second down); but there is no doubt I AM GETTING STRONGER.

More importantly, I FEEL STRONGER….even if my bodyweight doesn’t seem to show it!

Now it’s time to go eat 🙂

Update 1: The Mission

Update 2: Day 1

Update 3: Day 12

Update 4: One Set To Failure Training Protocol 


  1. Darren says:

    Hey Ravi,

    I saw your post on Tim Ferris’ comments and was inspired to do the same. I am doing a modified version of this workout program, and I am recording my results in detail. I am tracking every thing I eat, how much I sleep, and the exact details of my workout. I have created a blog to track everything and you can follow it here:

    I’m finding similar results to you. I feel stronger, and look a little fitter, but I’m certainly nowhere near gaining 34 pounds in 30 days.


  2. ChrisH says:

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that you haven’t gained 30+ pounds of muscle. While that ferris dude has some good pointers, overall I think he is mostly a con man.

  3. ravisraman says:

    Hey Paul…I do think that just getting mentally used to this amount of pain and going slow had something to do with the gains. For example, your nautilus row increase seems pretty crazy! I actually had a similar thing happen to me with the rows….it was hard to calibrate that one with enough weight for several workouts.

    However, I have noticed increases in weight and/or reps for EVERY workout…without fail…across almost all exercises.

    Have u noticed steady gains since your first workout?

    Also, I really do feel good training this way. Saving about 6 hours per week due to the short-infrequent workouts is also a nice benefit.

  4. Paul says:

    Hey Ravi,
    I’ve been doing a couple of these workouts after reading your initial post on this subject. Stunning results!
    Just one example:
    May 1: Nautilus Seated Row: 80 lbs, 1 set to failure: 15 reps.
    May 19: Nautilus Seated Row: 180 lbs, 1 set to failure: 13 reps.
    NO TYPOS. I can hardly believe it myself.
    I hadn’t been lifting regularly for a while, so that might be a factor as to the rapid improvements. I think there is also something to be said regarding the idea of just getting used to the intensity level of these workouts. They are as challenging mentally as they are physically. Fun stuff though. Keep up the good work.

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