A Doug Hepburn Power and Pump Workout Variation for Average Joes


Hepburn Training 7/3/18 + 7/9/18

Video taken from the channel: CrazyJamon


Strength Circuits (using the Hepburn progression model)

Video taken from the channel: Ben Halsall


Doug Hepburn Bench Press Routine

Video taken from the channel: Street Strength and Bulk


Anatomy of Strength-Doug Hepburn

Video taken from the channel: Lunarisx718



Video taken from the channel: ET’S RAMBLINGS: HEALTH, AGING & POLITICS


Doug Hepburns “Power & Pump” Routines & Beginners,Intermediates & Advanced Lifters

Video taken from the channel: Unbreakable Strength And Health


My Take on the Doug Hepburn Power and Pump Method

Video taken from the channel: Massive Iron Steve Shaw

The Doug Hepburn Power and Pump Method for Average Joes. The Doug Hepburn power and pump 8x3 protocol (Program A) is one of my favorite training systems. It’s powerbuilding at its finest brutal, hard work on basic exercises. No frills, no over-complication just straight-forward mucking it out. Program A basically works like this.

After the power phase of the workout, take a ten to fifteen minute break, and then do the pump routine. Take a weight you can comfortably lift for eight reps, and do 6x3, resting just one minute between each set. At the second workout, do 5x3 and 1x4. The third workout would be 4x3 and 2x4.

In the old days, Hepburn used to run both the power phase and the pump phase in the same workout (you’ll see this recommended in the linked T-Nation article), but in his later years he recommended running only one at a time, then switching phases when the athlete became burnt out on whichever phase they were running. When alternating between the two, the athlete will achieve. Day 1 of Modified Doug Hepburn Power & Pump Porgram Link: https://www.tigerfitness.com/articles/post/doug-hepburn-power-pump-method/ Workout A: Squat +.

Answering a question aboit Doug Hepburns “Power & Pump” routines and how they fare in overall volume and how useful are they for Intermediates and advanced l. Up to that point Doug had been doing what we would now call a powerlifting routine. In a single workout at New York City gym in 1951 he squatted with 500 for reps, push-pressed 400 and bench-pressed 450’unheard-of numbers in those days. In official competition at an Olympic contest he set a world record in the press with 345 1/2. The Doug Hepburn Method.

Doug Hepburn was a Canadian strongman. He won a weightlifting gold medal at the 1953 World Championships. Doug was old school strong. He was the first natural lifter to bench press 500 pounds, and he could squat 600 pounds for reps at the age of 54. But, Doug wasn’t just strong.

He was also as big as a tank. (PUMP)Do five sets of 3 at 70% adding a rep each workout building to 5x5, with three min rests between sets. Thought the B routine would be easier than the A routine, I was fucking wrong. I love these routines and will be back on the Hepburn routines when winter comes again, and the cycling weather goes away. Barski and I also hoped that we’d get to meet Doug Hepburn, one of the legends in our sport, who also lived there.

Born with a club foot and a withered right leg, Doug was faced with many more obstacles than the average teenager when he began lifting weights at 15. Power (strength): do 5 sets of 1 with a weight you can lift for 3 reps and work up to 8 sets of 1 Pump (hypertrophy): do 6 sets of 3 with a weight you can lift 8 times and work up to 6 sets of 5 As I said, Doug Hepburn recommended upper lower splits that looked something like this: Lower: Squat, Bent Over Row, Deadlift.

List of related literature:

His workout volume is calculated by multiplying sets, reps, and weight for each exercise, and then taking the sum of all exercises.

“Strength Training for Triathletes: The Complete Program to Build Triathlon Power, Speed, and Muscular Endurance” by Patrick Hagerman, EdD
from Strength Training for Triathletes: The Complete Program to Build Triathlon Power, Speed, and Muscular Endurance
by Patrick Hagerman, EdD
VeloPress, 2014

Years later Judd became a highly successful master bodybuilder when he upped his volume and started squatting 325x30.

“Power to the People!: Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American” by Pavel Tsatsouline
from Power to the People!: Russian Strength Training Secrets for Every American
by Pavel Tsatsouline
Dragon Door Publications, 2000

Doug also has, in his yoga instructor, a model for how each position should be performed, and he monitors his steady improvement toward the goals he has set.

“All Learning Is Social and Emotional: Helping Students Develop Essential Skills for the Classroom and Beyond” by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher, Dominique Smith
from All Learning Is Social and Emotional: Helping Students Develop Essential Skills for the Classroom and Beyond
by Nancy Frey, Douglas Fisher, Dominique Smith
ASCD, 2019

He went on this program of cleans and jerks… with all the poundage he could use correctly for the required number of reps (about 15 to 20).

“The Russian Kettlebell Challenge: Xtreme Fitness for Hard Living Comrades” by Pavel Tsatsouline
from The Russian Kettlebell Challenge: Xtreme Fitness for Hard Living Comrades
by Pavel Tsatsouline
Dragon Door Publications, 2001

The lifter performs 3 repetitions in succession.

“Optimizing Strength Training: Designing Nonlinear Periodization Workouts” by William J. Kraemer, Steven J. Fleck
from Optimizing Strength Training: Designing Nonlinear Periodization Workouts
by William J. Kraemer, Steven J. Fleck
Human Kinetics, 2007

Use the two-for-two rule: If an athlete can do two or more reps over the target number of reps in the last set in two consecutive workouts, increase the load.

“Successful Coaching” by Rainer Martens
from Successful Coaching
by Rainer Martens
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2012

John Mitchell of Maple Grove, Minnesota, does CrossFit 2 or 3 times a week and usually disconnects his pump while doing these workouts because they are so incredibly intense.

“The Athlete’s Guide to Diabetes” by Sheri R. Colberg
from The Athlete’s Guide to Diabetes
by Sheri R. Colberg
Human Kinetics, Incorporated, 2019

To summarize, instead of performing 6 straight reps, you do 6 reps, rest for around 10 seconds, then 2 reps, rest for around 10 seconds, 1 rep, rest for around 5 seconds, and then one more rep to finish.

“Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training” by Bret Contreras, Glen Cordoza
from Glute Lab: The Art and Science of Strength and Physique Training
by Bret Contreras, Glen Cordoza
Victory Belt Publishing, 2019

Olympic lifter Brian Jacob, who set five American records, works out 5 days a week, training for a total of 20 hours.

“Mental Training for Peak Performance: Top Athletes Reveal the Mind Exercises They Use to Excel” by Steven Ungerleider
from Mental Training for Peak Performance: Top Athletes Reveal the Mind Exercises They Use to Excel
by Steven Ungerleider
Rodale Books, 2005

There’s nothing easy about high-rep workouts if you stay after the pump with a one-hundred-percent effort and all-out focus.

“Triple H Making the Game: Triple H's Approach to a Better Body” by Triple H, James Rosenthal, Robert Caprio
from Triple H Making the Game: Triple H’s Approach to a Better Body
by Triple H, James Rosenthal, Robert Caprio
World Wrestling Entertainment, 2010

Alexia Lewis RD

Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Heath Coach who believes life is better with science, humor, and beautiful, delicious, healthy food.

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  • hey, you have an incredible voice. I am also making videos about oldschool strongman. But my english is bad and it is a huge effort to voice over these videos. And I wanted to ask you if want to cooperate with me (only making voice over, I am doing the edit part..i would even pay money)?

  • I actually followed Hepburns routine for over 9 months and never missed a rep, the progression is slow however after 9 months I realized I added over 50 lbs to my bench. Overall one of the best programs I ever ran.

  • At 70+ Doug smashes the 187 lb overhead press out of the racks with ease. I bet 90 percent of gym goers today couldn’t touch that lift.

  • Doug was at a level where if he were around today, drug free, doing those lifts, the social media crew wouldn’t believe he was natural and he’d get called a “fake natty” lol

  • I was Doug Hepburn’s friend, author, and business partner from, off and on, 1947 to 2000 (the year he died). I like Steve Shaw’s adaptation of
    of the Hepburn Methoid but I never saw Hepburn do more than 5 reps on anything except a warmup set.

  • I train with Doug’s ideologies. The big lifts, one weightlifting workout every 4th or 5th day. Bench or Floor press, Deadlift, Military or DB Press, Heavy rows. Also 1 very fun bodyweight workout a week too. At the local park. Pull ups, push ups, sit ups. I still Deadlift over 600LB at 250. I’m drug free, and 42 years old. I believe in Hepburn’s slow approach. You guys train way too heavy. That’s the problem. I’ve pulled 630, training with 415 for 3’s. I trained conjugate for years. Nothing but serious injuries await weekly maximums. Why rack pull 900 (Done that) to pull 650 off the floor? (Also did this too). Those overhead lockouts, I have worked up to over 500LB before. They don’t do shit. My best Clean and Press was 360LB. I just trained the lift. There are lifetime drug free lifters in an IPF powerlifting gym in my area. 2, 600LB bench pressers, and 1 830LB Deadlifter with a 500LB raw bench press. He’s a farmer. Everybody trains like Doug. All the Russian “grease the groove” programs were influenced from Hepburn. NOBODY trains conjugate in the IPF.

  • I did this mon wed Friday for about 2 months went from 250-280ish bench for a max..but I have only been lifting for about 7 months at the time

  • Actually you are right the book does say that but he told me personally in 1996 to only do the power routine then when you go stale do the pump routine and vice versa. He stated it would quickly lead to overtraining doing both in the same workout.

  • Read his book. He was an amazing guy. Drug free, overcame alcoholism. One of the strongest drug free lifters of all time. He was an anti steroid advocate. He got screwed early in his career because many of his lifts were not counted because of prejudice of western Canadians. By eastern Canada who ran the federation

  • Hmmm… 8 sets of 2. Two days a week squat and deads, two days a week press and bench with power and “pump” work at a 30% to 50% reduction? Sounds like another more popular method…

  • when you’re doing the back off sets. Are you getting your percentages from the singles you work with or your overall max? Good job by the way, how much have you improved since this video

  • Keep in mind that Hepburn’s diet protocol wasn’t necessarily the healthiest long-run. It can, however, lead to amazing strength gains when coupled with Doug’s lifting routine.

  • I’m coming to the end of my first month on the 8×3 program. Started conservative enough after a shoulder issue. Ive tried looking on forums but it’s hard to find anyone who has stuck with the program long term (12 months or so). Most seem to stop after a few months, probably started too heavy. Anyway, the goal is hopefully to hit a 600kg total in 12 months using this method.

  • Hi ET great post would you recommend this for a 50 year old man like me. I’m kind of stuck on 180 ponds I would like to get bigger before I get to old.
    Regards Alex

  • Once again, thanks for posting the video. I just remembered that he told me that both he and Paul Anderson had a bench press contest and that he tied Paul. He was a very honest guy.

  • Back in 92, I bought all of his spiral bound courses that he advertised in Powerlifting USA. He had his phone number in the back of them and I called him several times over the course of the next 4 years. I also ordered his videos he put out back in 96 of him lifting and telling his life story, too. He was talking about the one lift he hated the most was the deadlift. He told me that the most he ever got on the deadlift was 700 lbs. and that he only got it up to his knees. He was also telling me that he mostly drank milk and ate eggs, sometimes dozens of eggs daily. He did say he loved to consume a big can of spaghetti, especially when he was traveling, he would take cans of spaghetti, a loaf of bread and fruit with him. I wish I would have contacted him more over the years. He was a great guy, but was a little cocky, lol! He told me to only eat wholesome foods, along with fruits a vegetables and eat lots of fats and proteins, as proteins and fats were the strength and growth foods. He did say not to waste any money on protein powders if you was tight on a budget, as whole foods were much more effective at building strength and muscle. He did recommend to take vitamins just to be sure you was not deficient in any nutrients. Thanks so much for giving him props, as he really was overlooked and not given anywhere near enough credit for his accomplishments.

  • Stupid question but from what I’ve gathered, to get to 8×2 to 8×3 training you add a rep on the last set each workout until each set is 3 reps? Surely for a power workout it would make sense to start adding reps the beginning rather than end???

  • I’m 37 @225lbs. My forever goal is to have 300lbs my final working set. I dont entertain ideas of being a pro bencher it’s just nice to know I’m 3 times as strong as the average guy my age and size.

  • What a great perspective of people doing that works for them I’m figuring it out as they go along! I’ve heard from many people weight lifting really helps boost mood!

  • I am, was and still do
    The Doug Hepburn routine
    I knew Doug, took out the garbage and did odd chores
    In return I deadlift 800 lbs
    At 220 body wt
    I am 50 and probably could break every world ( raw ) and tested event. Record
    What for
    Lift forme and my god
    I still love you Doug
    My friend

  • This is an amazing method. Used it for 2 years. I lift weight that even larger guys just admire! My pump phase was 15 to 20 reps. Body building style.

  • I read somewhere he would take all day to do his sets and reps because he owned his own gym, so if you have limted time it won’t work as well, inbetween sets he wrote poetry.

  • Interesting. I had someone ask me what I thought about the routine so I looked it up. I personally just pyramid up adding weight on each set until I can only do a single then go back down the back side increasing the reps and decreasing the weight. I vary it up and do a heavy bench day and a volume bench day each week, but am doing pretty well. I compete often and have not lost yet. I tell everyone though tthey have to find their own groove and use what is best for them.

  • In the book “Hepburn Method” from 1980 the pump workout consists of 6,5,4,4,4,3 reps always with the same weight (20% less than power set weight). Was the the 666 888 approach established later?

  • Great lifting! I’m looking for this course for years… You find Doug Hepburn’s courses for the other lifts,but not for the Bench Press. Is there any possibility that you could upload it somehow?