Week 3 – Your Workout of the Week – 4 sets x 6 reps

Thanks guys for your stimulus to write this up, I have tried it on a few guys here and with different movements at it works a treat, will definitely being using it with a few Crusaders players this off season and beyond, learning never stops, ash

4 sets x 6 reps
Ashley Jones

When is 4 x 6 not 4 x 6? My thanks to great friends and colleagues Damian Marsh and Luke Thornley for opening my eyes to this scenario. Any errors in logic or calculation are mine entirely and should not reflect on these two guys.

I have used clusters on many programs and have had good success on improving size and strength with certain players, but what my colleagues have suggested sounds an even better method to explore.

I like 4 x 6 as a good solid start point for a strength training program, and a block of just 4 x 6 can provide you with some good solid gains on the major compound movements. But how about we change the scene on each set within this training session and greatly increase the intensity loading possible with our basic 4 x 6.

Growing up on calculating percentages for rep loads, I have always worked around 80% for a set of 6, or thereabouts, so let’s say 77.5% – 82.5%. Now let’s use that for our first set to lay the foundations for the session, our trainee is doing Power Cleans from the floor and has a training max of 112.5 kg.

Set 1: 1 x 6 @ 77.5% – 82.5% 87.5kg – 92.5kg 90 x 6 = 540kg

Now on the second set our trainee is going to cluster that set of 6 into 2 x 3 with a 10 – 15 second pause between each group of reps, by doing 3’s our trainee can bump the weight up a wee bit and thereby increase his loading intensity.

Set 2: 1 x 3/3 @ 82.5% – 87.5% 92.5kg – 97.5kg 95 x 6 = 570kg

Next our trainee is going to cluster that set of 6 into 3 x 2 with a 10 – 15 second pause between each group, and increase the intensity again.

Set 3: 1 x 2/2/2 @ 87.5% – 92.5% 97.5kg – 105kg 102.5 x 6 = 615kg

On our trainees final set the intensity will be again ramped up and that set of 6 will now be 6 singles with the 10 – 15 seconds rest between each single.

Set 4: 1 x 1/1/1/1/1/1 @ 92.5% – 97.5% 105kg – 110kg 105 x 6 = 630kg

(All the loadings have been rounded up or down to equate for weight plates)

Now what was achieved by doing this, apart from filling in time before bed on a lonely evening in Hokkaido, the total weight lifted during the session based on 4 x 6 with 90kg would have been 2160kg but using the methods outlined above our trainee has lifted 2355kg a 9% increase, on what he would have lifted if he had stuck with 4 x 6 straight weight sets.

You could also use a 1 x 3/2/1 set as well and substitute this in for any of the sets listed above, give it a go and see what you think, cheers, ashley


Hi Ash,

This breakdown sure will break barriers! I have only recently joined and the information available and the lessons learnt far exceeds many years of studying!
thanks for this.
I am based in South Africa and involved full-time with private rugby academy. A volume-block that has worked well for me in the past when working with younger players struggling to push the limits is a 4 set, 10-8-6-10 week 1, then 8-6-4-8, to 6-4-2-6 in weeks that follow. The final set of 10 or 8 or 6 reps is done using the same load as in the second set of 8, 6 or 4 – ie:
set 1: 8 x 100kg
set 2: 6 x 120kg
set 3: 4 x 140kg
set 4: 8 x 120kg

helps to weekly overload as well as per session.
all thoughts are welcome!
stay strong


Hi Sean, thanks for your contribution to the forum, looks like a very solid program for anyone to be working on, a good balance of hypertrophy and maximal strength, I started out when i was a boy of 15 at The American Health Spa in Brookvale, Sydney, the owner/manager was a Canadian bodybuilding champion by the name of Vince Basile, a wealth of knowledge, he placed me on a steady diet of basic movments and the 10 – 8 – 6 – 15 rep scheme I think originally poularied by Vince Gironda in the original IronMan magazine when it was owned by Peary and Mabel Rader, based in Alliance, Nebraska. Cheers and keep your ideas coming in we all learn from each other, ashley

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