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45-Min Physique (Coming Dec 5!)

You Asked. We’re Delivering.

Physique workouts are our most popular workouts at Paragon — 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 less results or less progress towards your goals. This program will be life changing for so many people!

Meet 45-Min Physique!

New Cycles Begin Every 6 Weeks:

Want to follow this workout program? Click here to get started!

The Quick & Dirty About 45-Min Physique:

– 45-minute workouts
– 4 days per week = 2 upper body days & 2 lower body days
– 12-week hypertrophy cycles
Full gym needed: barbell, DB’s, squat rack, bench, bands (*option to use machines and cable machines, if you want 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)

Different Programming Than 4-Day Physique

This isn’t just a shortened version of 4-Day Physique 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 hypertrophy (muscle) 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 the longer programs, the protocol for a large compound movement 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, the protocol for large compound movements will look more like this:
Complete 12-10-8-6 reps, increasing weight/effort of each set

This is only 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.

We Can’t Wait to Share This Program With You

This 45-min program will be a total game changer for our busy parents, busy students, and those who can’t (or don’t want to) spend hours and hours in the gym. It could also be a great choice for those newer to lifting (as less time working out means less movements and programming to learn).

New Training Cycles Begin Every 6 Weeks:

Ready to follow 45-Min Physique? Click here to get started!


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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45-min physique is here + new training cycles begin 12/5 for all programs! (bf deal ends 12/7)