Posted on 06 Jun 2013
5 min read
With an opening gambit of ‘Real Science, Unreal Results’, I couldn’t help but be interested in this workout.
After all, a quick search on YouTube for other guru workout programmes reveals a myriad of hokum, quasi-debilitating looking exercises and gratuitous use of the word ‘bro’.
For example, just have a look at this video detailing Greg Plitt’s ‘MFT 28 Shoulder Shred’ workout.
Now I’m not doubting his physique, but probably 90% of people interested in following his videos won’t be able to do these particular exercises.
It’s absurd – concussion is far more likely than muscle growth.
Whereas Dr Jim Stoppani PhD has a doctorate in exercise physiology.
I know who I’d go with…
Warning: if you plan on following the full 12 week Shortcut to Size programme, then I advise you to start putting aside money for new clothes now.
The upper body gains in particular were Hulk-esque.
If we were to give Shortcut to Size a label, it would be ‘Linear Periodisation’, as each week you perform a different rep range:
Week 1: 12-15
Week 2: 9-11
Week 3: 6-8
Week 4: 3-5
I love the variance.
Very few programmes will include strength work, but this one looks to build size and strength.
Not bad, not bad at all, eh?
You then repeat this for two further four week cycles, by which time you’ll be looking like something carved out of Marble.
(It’ll probably be the statue of the thalidomide woman if you follow Greg Plitt’s workout.)
Rather than guide you through the programme week by week, just click on the following link which has everything you need, including both instructional videos and a useful PDF:
With this review I’m simply going to give you my personal highlights of the programme.
Perhaps a slightly grandiose statement, but I think this technique is one of the principle contributing factors to the success of this programme.
During weeks 1-2, after the final set of each exercise you rack the weights, rest 15 seconds, then go again to failure.
In weeks 3-4, you do the same but reduce the weight after the last set and go once again to failure.
I had this discussion with a fellow Gymtalk employee: “Why do rest-pause, shouldn’t you just go to failure on the final set?”
It’s a valid argument, and, indeed, Stoppani encourages you to go to failure, but the real beneficiary of rest-pause is that it allows you to squeeze out a few more reps to failure, but with better technique.
Let’s face it, you can be the best lifter in the world, but when you know you can’t physically lift that barbell off your chest, a primordial instinct takes over and you contort your body in any way possible to get it up (insert phallus joke).
Good technique is, of course, all important in bodybuilding – unless you’re Branch Warren.
Seriously, watch this video from about 6 minutes onwards.
Sure, it’s a heavy weight, but I’m surprised his lungs don’t collapse:
The age old adage in bodybuilding is that you need to be constantly ‘shocking’ your muscles.
Monotony breeds muscle inertia, but, by the end of Shortcut to Size, I’d done 7 exercises I’d never done before in this form:
How could I help but build muscle?
Forgive me Stoppani for I have sinned.
I did not do any of the abdominal work (I’m not that vain) nor did I follow the diet (I simply don’t have the time at work to eat all those meals).
Plus it just looks cuntish when you’re tucking into your fifth meal of the day and the receptionist is surviving on a diet of rice cakes, water and pseudo-flirtatious banter with anyone that’ll give her the time of day.
That said, I knew what I was getting into and still felt the programme was a success
Due to the aforementioned points, I didn’t gain quite the same amount as Stoppani suggests I would in the introduction to Shortcut to Size.
Personally, I see that as a bit of a safety net.
That is, if you haven’t followed Shortcut to Size to the absolute letter then you can’t complain.
However, I improved all strength lifts by around 10-16% and had visibly packed on muscle on all body parts.
The overall gain across a three month period was about 4kg.
I have to say a lot of that was back muscle, as my back grew exponentially, to which I can only surmise was due to the ‘single arm dumbbell rows’.
I’m a huge fan of barbell row so very rarely do this singular form.
Suddenly it became the main focus of my back workouts, and my strength set went from 37.5kg in Phase 1 to 45kg in Phase 3.
These will be few, and one is simply the diet.
I think unless you’re unemployed (and therefore probably unable to afford all that gear), or a pro-athlete, you’ll find it nigh on impossible to STRICTLY follow this diet plan.
For instance, I’d be on A45 just passing Wellingborough when I’m supposed to be tucking into a six egg scrambled egg with cheese and a bowl of oatmeal.
Secondly, I don’t quite feel that the strength week worked with the isolation exercises: lat raises, incline dumbbell curls, cable flies, etc.
There was no evident benefit to going heavy, but that’s just my opinion.
I thoroughly enjoyed and recommend Jim Stoppani’s 12 Week Shortcut to Size to anyone and everyone looking to pack on a serious amount of bulk without pissing around with unrealistic and pointless exercises.
This is a solid workout routine that no-one can question.
It’s easy to follow and, most importantly, leaves you looking forward to the next week the second you finish your session.
If you’ve tried Shortcut to Size and have an opinion on it – or if you’ve tried any other ‘celebrity workouts’ – please let me know in the comments below.
I’d love to hear from you!