45-Min Physique

New Hypertrophy Cycles Begin on May 22nd

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Paragon Training Methods = the life-changing workouts, coaching, and online community you’ve been searching for to build muscle, achieve your goals, and look great in just 30-75 minutes a day, depending on your lifestyle and program needs. We have workouts for all goals, skill levels, and time/equipment constraints.

By signing up for the Paragon Bodybuilding Physique Bundle, you’ll get access to 4 bodybuilding and strength training programs designed to help you maximize your body composition and physique. These are the Paragon workouts to follow if looking to improve body comp, gain muscle, or lose body fat.

45-Min Physique Deets

Physique workouts at Paragon Training Methods are our most popular bodybuilding and strength training workouts guaranteed to help you look and feel your best — but not everyone has an hour (or more) to devote in the gym.

Thankfully, with good workout programming (like ours), less time in the gym doesn’t have to mean fewer results or less progress towards your goals. We released 45-Min Physique in November of 2022 and have been absolutely blown away by everyone’s feedback and love for the program.

Get in, get jacked, and get on with life (and look good while doing it) ♥️

45-Min Physique Program Details

General Info

  • 4 days per week
  • 45-min workouts
  • 12-week Hypertrophy cycles

Equipment Needed

  • Barbell
  • Dumbbells
  • Squat rack
  • Bench
  • Resistance bands
  • Option to use machines/cables (but you don’t have to)

Who is This Program For?

  • Busy parents
  • Students
  • Badasses who work a lot (or work long hours)
  • Those who don’t have (or want to) spend hours and hours in the gym
  • Also a great option for those newer to lifting (less time working out = less movements and programming to learn)

New + Different Programming Than 4-Day Physique

This isn’t just a shortened version of 4-Day programming (:

45-Min Physique will have its own unique cycle programming that lives in Hypertrophy. Similar programming vibes to what you already know and love with our Physique programs – but delivered via fun and creative rep schemes and a goal to maximize time and efficiency in the gym.

The Science

Did you know that the majority of the gains you get in strength and muscle gain result from the first hard set that you do?

Studies have demonstrated a “dose/response” relationship for training volume. This means that the more you do (up to a point), the better results you will get.

The “up to a point,” means that this graph is actually an upside-down U-curve. There is a point where you can do too much and actually get worse results.

Maximizing Adaptations

When you look at the research on the health benefits of weight training, most data says that 30-60 minutes a week will maximize these adaptations.

In 45-Min Physique , we are getting 180 minutes a week of training.

In this case, 45-Min Physique should not be considered a low-volume program, but rather a more moderate volume. Therefore, the question we want to know is how much benefit might we get from a moderate dose of training volume, compared to a high dose?

In 2017, there was a Meta-analysis and Systematic Review (a study of all studies on a topic) (1).

This analysis revealed a few intriguing conclusions:
1. “Clearly, substantial hypertrophic gains can be made using low-volume protocols (≤4 weekly sets per muscle group). Such an approach, therefore, represents a viable muscle-building option”

2. “When considering weekly sets as a binary predictor (< 9 sets versus > 9 sets) findings did not reach statistical significance between conditions.”

The two above statements represent a convincing argument. Doing 5-9 sets per muscle group per week will produce similar results as doing a much higher volume of training.

Special Features

1. Different Rep Schemes

In our 60 min programs, lift sets may look like this:

2-3 warm-up sets

then 3 work sets x 6-10 Reps

^This is 5-6 total sets, including warm-up.

In 45-Min Physique, programming will look more like this:

Complete 12-10-8-6 reps, increasing weight/effort of each set

^ This is 4 total sets. The set of 12 acts like a warm-up, and then you progress effort and load each set from there. This is effectively only one really hard set. Still, you are getting some significant training volume from the prior sets. 

We will also work slightly closer to failure in 45-Min Physique. Similarly, we will still progress effort week to week. This progression will vary based on movement type (same as the other physique programs).

2. Use of Intensity Techniques

The “effective reps” model states that the final 5 reps before failure are the key reps for hypertrophy.

As an example, assume you did 3 sets x 15 reps to technical failure. This achieves 5 “effective” reps in each set (15 total effective reps across three sets). The problem with this approach is that you have tons of “ineffective” reps. Essentially, the first 10 reps of each set are not effective for hypertrophy.

Through the use of an intensity technique called “Rest/Pause sets,” we can enhance the results we get in less time. We do this by getting tons of effective reps, without having to do the ineffective reps prior.  

Using Rest/Pause Sets: the idea is that you will start with a bigger chunk set. This might be like 10-12 reps to the designated reps from failure. From there, you would perform 2-3 additional sets with the same weight, but only rest 10-30 seconds between each set.  

Say you get 10 reps on the first set. Then, we can reasonably assume you get something like 5, then 4, then 3 on the subsequent sets.

As far as effective reps are concerned, we smashed it! We managed 5 on the first 10-rep set, then every set thereafter was all “effective” so to speak (5+4+3). So, over the course of only 3 minutes, we achieved 17 effective reps!! In comparison, the initial example of 3×15 to failure only achieved 15 effective reps and required full rest between sets. This means it was a much less time-efficient approach.

We will also continue to use “max effort partial reps” towards the middle to end of cycles, as well as on movements that are conducive to using them! We will also use Reverse Dropsets, an advanced intensity technique, in the final week of the cycle, on specific movements.

All of these techniques are meant to increase the productivity and intensity of the training to make it more time efficient.

3. No Abs or Calves

Another change from the standard physique programs is to drop the abs and calves movements that are usually included twice a week. When time is limited, there is just significantly more ROI from training the larger muscles.

We also know through research that the “maintenance volume” for muscle groups is under 33% of what it takes to build it. This means if you usually do 9 sets to “build” then 2-3 sets should be fine.

For many trainees, just squatting and walking/running is sufficient to maintain calf growth. Compound movements such as RDLs, squats, and rows/presses are usually sufficient to maintain our abdominal muscles, as well. If you would like to add Abs/calves on your own, doing them 1-2x/week will be plenty.

These are our general recommendations:

  • Single leg DB Calf Raise (deficit)
    2 sets x 6-10 reps per leg (both sets to failure)
    Make sure to pause for 2-3 seconds at the deepest stretch on each rep
  • Cable Crunch OR Garhammer Crunch x 3-4 sets
    Start with a tough 10-15 rep set
    Rest only 20-30 sec between sets and expect reps to drop set to set
    All sets close to failure
4. Always in a Hypertrophy Cycle

The final main differentiator is that 45-Min Physique is always in a hypertrophy cycle.

Research has shown some potential benefits to the use of periodization (jumping out of hypertrophy into brief strength and metabolic phases). However, much of the periodization research is stronger for the benefit of strength. In contrast, hypertrophy tends to be a very forgiving adaptation, that may or may not benefit from periodization at large. 

There is certainly a potential psychological benefit to periodization, which probably has enough merit to warrant it to be included in the longer 4D and 3D programs. On a physiological level, it’s likely that your results will not be significantly impacted either way. 

From a practical standpoint, there just isn’t really room for strength cycles in 45 minutes. The heavy loads, warm-up sets, and longer rest periods are prohibitive to doing this productively in 45 minutes. Specialization cycles are also no longer applicable here. Remember, specialization requires adding significant volume to specific areas, which again is just not practical for a 45-minute program.

Sample Workouts

*In our app, movements have links to movement videos and our Youtube channel

Repeating Movements

Please note that there are alternative movement swaps for most of these exercises that will be available within our training app. For the sake of this blog, the prescribed movement has been left more general.

Monday – Lower Body + Core 

Parts A and B repeat week to week.

A. Seated Leg Curls
B. DB Walking Lunges (Quad focus)

In Part A, the seated leg curls are programmed as the primary, but of course, you can swap for lying leg curls (just stay consistent week to week). I have become a huge fan of doing some leg curls BEFORE squat-pattern movements (like lunges). The increase in blood flow to the hamstring will warm up the knee and provide a noticeable cushion for you to settle into at the bottom of the lunge rep (when the knee is driven over the toe for quad bias).

The Leg curls will use a 15-12-9 rep scheme, where the WEIGHT AND EFFORT should increase set to set. This will be laid out specifically with the reps from failure each week.

The Part B Lunges are meant to be QUAD DOMINANT, as alluded to above. To execute this style of lunge, we must keep the torso vertical, and take a short step, such that the knee can drive far over the toe at the bottom (maximally stretching the quad).

It is also important to avoid standing/resting at the top of the lunge rep. Just move fluidly from rep to rep, controlling each descent with a 2-3 second tempo.

The lunges will follow a similar rep scheme, going from 12-15 reps per leg to 8-12 reps per leg, to the final set of 4-6 reps per leg (increasing weight and effort each set).

Tuesday – Upper Body

Parts A and B repeat week to week.

A. Decline Chest Press
B. Chest-Supported Machine Row

The Part A Chest Press is really meant to be any chest press that feels good for you. The intended stimulus is “mid/lower chest” meaning we would the hands to travel slightly “high to low” (as opposed to pressing straight for mid-chest or upwards for incline).

Using either a Decline press machine or a Cable chest press (with slightly high to low alignment) would be the most specific, however, using a “flat” DB/barbell press would be an acceptable alternative if you don’t have cables or a machine press you like! The flat position usually will still hit plenty of lower/mid-chest.

As you’ve likely seen in our feed and demo videos, we encourage pressing with a semi-pronated grip (half between “palms forward” and “palms facing” each other). While certainly not a requirement for comfort and effectiveness, cables are a great choice here, as they let you manipulate hand positioning much like DB’s, but with a more even resistance profile.

The Part B Row movement is meant to utilize the “semi-pronated” grip to target the rear delts, which are a large part of what makes the back “pop” from behind.

Semi-pronated is halfway between neutral and overhand, as discussed above in reference to chest pressing. Due to the unique hand position, using a D-handle would be the MOST OPTIMAL, because you can rotate it to match your desired line of pull. However, many machines now come standard with a semi-pronated grip, and using Dumbbells is prob the most accessible tool, that allows great chest-supported pulling with the desired grip.

As a prime example of a “short overload” movement, we will quickly progress this row into partial reps after failure, and then a “lengthened” set in the final couple weeks.

Thursday – Lower Body + Core

Parts A and B repeat week to week.

A. RDL (1 and 1/2 reps)
B. Single Leg Leg Press

The 1 and 1/2 RDL is such a productive movement because it forces us to spend MORE time in the lengthened/stretched portion of the range of motion.

Each rep is performed as follows:
2-3 second descent, 1-sec pause at bottom stretch
Ascend to halfway
1-2 second descent, 1-sec pause at bottom stretch
Ascend to top

Due to the length of each rep, these sets will be primarily performed in the lower rep ranges. For Physique 45, the rep scheme will be 9-7-5, increasing weight and effort each set. Thus, we will have one TOP SET with the closest proximity to failure, with two progressively difficult sets prior. Regarding total TIME UNDER TENSION, that final set of 5 Reps should take ~35 seconds (with approx. 7 seconds per rep).

This movement is also extremely fatiguing, and therefore we will be cautious with how close to failure we work in the early weeks of the cycle.

If you are strong, you may find that your gym doesn’t have sufficiently heavy DBs available. You can also do this with a trap bar, barbell, or even a CABLE-loaded option.

In part B, we have the single-leg leg press. Anytime we do a SINGLE LEG movement, we will inevitably have more glute recruitment, when compared to similar execution of the bilateral version. This is a result of needing to control balance due to pelvic instability. The glutes must be more active to help find stability.

With that said, you have the CHOICE to do this movement with a quad or glute bias, based on what area you’d like to focus on (my bias would be to do it quad-dominant since there is already so much glute in the RDL from part A).


Set your foot as low as possible on the platform (the lowest position where your heel stays in contact at the very bottom). Try to achieve as much KNEE FLEXION as possible (meaning to drive the knee over the toe) stretching the quad as much as possible. Drive up by pressing through the front/midfoot.


Set the foot higher on the platform, such that the shin is perpendicular to the footplate at the stretch position (when the knee comes into the chest at the bottom). Achieve the deepest possible stretch for the glute at the bottom. Drive up by pressing through the heel as much as possible.

If you have a poorly designed Leg press machine that doesn’t allow you to go deep, you can get MORE SAFE ROM by putting a pad or foam roller, or bunched towel behind your back

You can also swap this movement for a Single Leg or B-stance Hack Squat or Pendulum squat (if available).

Friday – Upper Body

Parts A and B repeat week to week.

A. One Arm Cable Lat Pulldowns
B. Steep Incline DB Anterior Delt Press
(superset with lateral raise final set)

The Part A pulldown is meant to target the lats (specifically the LOWER lats). Therefore, we want the resistance coming from high to low with a neutral grip hand position (palm facing toward the center of your body) and focus on driving the elbow down towards the waistline as you pull.

The kneeling option shown should be totally fine for MOST people in this program. As you get stronger, you MAY find that you get a better stimulus by having some stability. In that case, you can set up with a bench (I really like being either seated or half kneeling on the bench, one leg planted, and the off-arm pushing against the bench as a brace). You can see this version in the SWAPS. But ultimately, you can set it up in any manner that emulates the points of performance.

The Part B steep incline press is meant to be a “front delt” movement, but we should expect some upper chest in there, too. You’ll want to find a level of incline such that the DBs are touching the front delts at the bottom, and finish above the face (hence the “line of press” is the proper path to bias the front delts over the chest). Most people will do well without about a 60-70 degree bench angle.

This sequence will start with doing 3 straight sets of the DB press movement. Each will increase in weight/effort as the reps drop (like many of the other movements in this program).

The twist in the plot is that the FINAL SET of the DB press will go directly to a DB Lateral Raise. Due to the fatigue from the DB Press, you will need to use prob HALF of the weight you would usually use for your lateral raise set if fresh. It is vital that you keep strict form and avoid even small use of momentum, as to ensure that we can accurately gauge progress week to week.

This will be a painful burn, that hopefully you will come to enjoy (:

Ready To Join the Fun?

@paragontrainingmethods = fun and effective bodybuilding and strength training workouts (you can do from home or at a gym) that will help you build muscle, achieve your goals, and look d*mn good in 45-60 minutes a day.

Whether your goal is:

  • to run AND lift
  • workout 3 days per week
  • lift from home
  • enjoy things you love (CrossFit, Olympic lifting, Peloton)
  • or just look/feel your best

We have amazing hypertrophy workouts with progressive overload that will get you there!

Click here to read more about our Paragon workouts!


1) Brad J. Schoenfeld, Dan Ogborn & James W. Krieger (2017) Dose-response relationship between weekly resistance training volume and increases in muscle mass: A systematic review and meta-analysis, Journal of Sports Sciences, 35:11, 1073-1082, DOI:10.1080/02640414.2016.1210197

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