Body By Science Review and
Big 5 Workout PDFs

The new workout book Body By Science, by Doug McGuff, M.D. and John Little, has introduced a lot of people to high intensity weight training. It presents a ludicrously simple workout routine, along with the well-documented and highly persuasive science to back it up!

Weight training is one of the best methods of strength training! If you want to start weight training safely and effectively, with the best info, diet, and routines, check out the 5 Day Beginner Weight Training Course!

While BBS only came out in 2008, this book has rapidly gained traction because of the efficiency of its workouts. It recommends working out a lot less than most other workout routines.

BBS shows how you can gain significant strength and muscle with only one workout a week that's only 12 - 15 minutes long. And if that didn't just blow your mind, it should!

If you're really looking to start weight training safely and effectively right away, with the best info, diet, and routines, check out the 5 Day Beginner Weight Training Course! It includes PDFs of the following Body By Scienceworkout routines.

The chest press is an essential lift in the Body By Science Workout.

A Short Body By Science Review

McGuff and Little have worked hard to compile a stunningly compelling book about the science and most effective techniques for getting stronger and adding muscle. The science is truly impressive!

In the beginning of BBS they present studies showing that for many individuals, working out 2 or 3 times a week is no better than working out once a week in terms of actual results. So they advocate once weekly workouts.

McGuff and Little deserve praise for challenging the prevailing opinions of fitness gurus through methodical research. They present their own training routine, which has been perfected over the years with many clients through observation in the gym — the complete opposite of 'broscience'.

Broscience Definition (from Urban Dictionary): The predominant brand of reasoning in bodybuilding circles where the anecdotal reports of jacked dudes are considered more credible than scientific research.

The Body By Science high intensity training routines are the one's I'll present here. They are extremely simple, and produce great results.


The only criticism I have of BBS is the overly strong emphasis on genetic determinism found in the book. McGuff and Little place a lot of weight on genetics as the main factor behind your strength and muscle development.

In my opinion genetics are certainly important, but not as important a factor as most people seem to think. And while hard work will not make up for not having Olympic-level genes, hard work can take you a lotfarther than you think.

The Body By Science Workout Essentials

Here are the fundamentals of the high intensity weight training model that McGuff and Little present. They differ from everything you've been told about weight training, I'll bet, so take a good look.

During your workout you should remember these points...


  • Move as slowly as possible without stuttering or pausing.
  • Do not hold your breath (the valsalva maneuver).


  • Measure your progress in terms of 'Time Under Load' (T.U.L.), not how many reps you perform. 'Time Under Load' simply refers to how long (in seconds) you're able to do exercise repetitions with the weight you're using.[1]
  • Work with a weight at 80% of your 1 Rep Max.


  • Each set should be no longer than 90 seconds, and…
  • The last 30 seconds should be hell!
  • Stay tense at the end of your set for 10 seconds when you can't move the bar anymore and are too fatigued to continue.

Sets, Number of Exercises, and Rests

  • Do 1 set of each exercise, with 5 different exercises.
  • Rest for 30 seconds to a minute between sets.


  • Since it takes 5 to 7 days to grow more muscle, most people should workout just once a week.
  • No overtraining!

So, you'll only spend 12 - 15 minutes in the gym per week. If you spend more time than that working out, you're not working hard enough!

Just a tiny bit of high intensity weight training each week and you can get much stronger. It's shocking, and a real change from the conventional 3 days a week, an hour each day, 6 to 8 lifts, and 2 to 4 sets per lift workout!

Body By Science Workout With Machines

The Body By Science high intensity weight training recommended workout with machines.

The first workout routine presented is for five different machine exercises. McGuff and Little call it simply 'The Body By Science Big 5 Workout,' since it incorporates five big, full body lifts.

I'm normally more fond of free weights because they improve balance more. But machines are much safer and allow beginners to exert themselves fully without having to spend a lot of time focusing on proper form.

This workout routine has space for an entire month of training, one short workout per week. You can see the schedule of one workout to your right.

Body By Science Workout With Free Weights

The Body By Science high intensity weight training recommended workout using free weights.

This is the more traditional free weight version of the Body by Science Big 5 Workout. If you already work with free weights, prefer them, or simply don't have access to machines, use this workout.

The downloadable PDF allows for a month of workouts, one each week. You can see an example workout to the right.

Unconventional, But Effective

These workout routines challenge all conventional wisdom about what a good workout should be. And yet, they work and give excellent results.

The two workouts above are great for people who want the most bang for your buck in terms of time for strength gained. They also show how important it is to workout intensely, right up to the point of failure (and beyond!) to get the greatest results from your training.

If you don't have much time to exercise and want a safe and effective workout, try these. Or even if you just want a change of pace!

Oh, and be sure to sign up for the e-zine Starting Strong to get monthly strength training, exercise, and diet tips e-mailed to you - and access to the free e-book Train Smart, Eat Smart: Exercise Nutrition Hacks!

• Click here to learn more about Workout Exercises and Routines!


• Click here to leave 'Body By Science Review and Big 5 Workout PDFs' & go back to the Home-page!

1. McGuff, Doug, and John R. Little. 2009. Body By Science: A Research Based Program To Get The Results You Want In 12 Minutes A Week. New York: McGraw-Hill. Pp. 86.

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