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Book Review: Huge In A Hurry

By Samir | May 28, 2011

Review of Huge in a Hurry
by Chad Waterbury
29 May 2011

Having trained in the gym for the better part of the last four years, I can honestly say that the two books that have given me the greatest results are Beyond Brawn (by Stuart McRobert, reviewed here) and Huge in a Hurry, by Chad Waterbury, a notable contributor to the bodybuilding site T-Nation. Brawn is more of an abbreviated workout philosophy, favoring very gradual, incremental upticks in training load, training with weights two times a week. I followed the program to great results last summer, where I was able to up all my weights by about 10% in the span of two months.

The only problem I had with Brawn was that it left me craving the gym. I went on Saturday and Sunday, and would spend the entire week waiting for my next Saturday. Eventually, my anxiousness got the better of me and I started using a conventional split routine, just so I could get to the gym more often. My results immediately tailed off. For reasons beyond my understanding, I kept at the split routine anyway, with negligible gains for over half a year. After a few months, I began searching for the next workout routine I’d want to try.

How I came upon Huge In A Hurry (“HIAH”) is a bit of happenstance. My own instincts as an admittedly novice bodybuilder told me that if I trained a muscle group once a week, by the time I’d come back to it seven days later, it had “forgotten” about the adaptation I was trying to force on it. I spoke to other bodybuilders, but to a man, these were all on a typical, post-modern split routine. No help there.

I needed something that would get me in the gym at least three times a week, but would hit each muscle group more than once a week. I came upon an article in Men’s Journal (November 2010) about “Super-compensation”, the theory that a muscle should not be hit once it’s fully rested from the previous workout, but when it is in the midst of over-compensating for a heavy weight load from its previous workout. In theory, this happens not seven, but two or three days after a workout. The idea seemed interesting.

Looking back on some of the “old school” routines I’d read - you know - only barbells, total body workouts each day, no steroids, no protein shakes, etc., it started to dawn on me that this was perhaps how I should train my body. Eventually, while going through a book store with some friends when I came upon Huge in a Hurry, buried somewhere between books on why soy proteins would save the world and how to do Yoga at home.

I read about 100 pages of it right then and there. I went home, slept on it, and ordered it online.

To put it simply, Chad Waterbury’s philosophy in HIAH is as follows:
- Work out 3 days a week. I say “days” because some of his more advanced workout includes two-a-days, but never a fourth day in the gym.
- In order to recruit the most muscle, lift as quickly as possible without compromising form.
- Stop when the lift slows down, not at a failure. (”Stimulate, don’t annihilate.”) You’ll be coming back to this muscle group later in the week.
- Each workout is organized to have 1 push (bench press, military press, etc.), 1 pull (chin-up, rows, etc.), and 1 leg (squats, deadlifts, lunges, etc.)
- For strength, 2-3 and 4-6 rep sets are the cornerstone of the routine.
- For size, 4-6 and 10-12 rep sets are the cornerstone of the routine.
- Rest days are absolutely crucial when lifting in this manner.
- High frequency each week is favored over high intensity
- Eat properly (duh.)
- After four weeks, take a light week and even an off-week to let your nerves and joints recover.
- He has a set of “Get Lean” workouts also; I’ll do and discuss those at a later time. For now, I’m only discussing his “Get Strong” and “Get Big” workouts.

Like the old school lifters, Waterbury focuses primarily on compound exercises which require massive efforts, thereby inducing large metabolic surges. Having done his “Get Big” program, I can attest to the following for myself. As any lifter, novice or not knows, results always vary per person. If you’re like me, you’ll get these results:

- Mass gains are almost immediate. Two weeks in, I saw noticeable changes in my back, chest, trapezius, legs and arms.
- You will feel the need to rest on non-lifting days if you’re doing it properly.
- You can add about 2%-5% to the weights each week.
- If you eat properly, you’ll stay lean.
- The program gets easier by the 3rd week. You must push yourself to keep seeing results.

Of course, I modified Chad’s routine somewhat since I dislike cables (where in the real world are you pulling cabled weight?). I tried to do as much of it with barbells as possible, while leaving in some dumbbells to force some of my stabilizers to work differently. I also added a fourth push exercise on my third day, because, well, I kinda like doing incline chest :).

Here’s what I did at the beginning. Like any program, you’ll have to change it up as you go, to keep seeing gains.

Day 1
- PULL Chin-ups with a dumbbell between my feet
- PUSH Flat bench press
- LEG Wide-leg squats
- Donkey calf raises

Day 2
- PUSH Incline bench press
- PULL Bent over row with a wide grip
- LEG Standard deadlift into a shrug
- Sit-ups with a plate on my chest, and I pressed the plate over my head at the top of each sit-up

Day 3
- PUSH Dumbbell shoulder presses (standing!)
- PUSH Cable cross-over flies, past my median, for lower chest
- LEG Backward lunges with dumbbells
- PULL High pulls (this is like the beginning of snatch lift, but you don’t get the bar over your head)

There was no isolation on the arms or traps, but each muscle group improved regardless. The abs felt hit each day because of the standing nature of many of these exercises, especially the shoulder presses. I won’t go crazy regarding results, but I can report they were excellent, with strength improving by 10-35% depending on body part, with greatest gains in the arms, which surprised me due to the lack of isolation. My lowest gains occurred in the chest, but I theorize this is because, like many typical males, my chest has been trained “with priority” for most of my bodybuilding life and thus was probably more developed than other areas.

I’m going to keep at this program for another few months, and report back in a few months.

Topics: Books / Livres |

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