paragon training methods 45 min physique

45-Min Physique

Can’t or don’t want to spend hours and hours working out each day?

Meet your perfect (workout) match: 45-Minute Physique. Less time in the gym doesn’t *have* to mean “less results,” IF you follow good workouts like ours (:

The best workouts are the ones that actually fit YOUR life and that you can consistently get done. Get in, get jacked, and get on with life – AND look good while doing it.

To get access to this program, you’ll need to sign up for the Paragon Full Gym Physique Membership. New cycles begin every 6-weeks.

Ready to join us? Click here to join!

General Program Info

  • 45-minute workouts
  • 4 lift days per week
  • 12-week Hypertrophy cycles

Equipment Needed

  • Barbell
  • Dumbbells
  • Squat rack
  • Bench
  • Machines / Cable Machines

Who is 45-Min Physique For?

  • Anyone in a busy season of life
  • Those who don’t have (or want to) spend hours and hours in the gym
  • Parents, students, shift work/healthcare workers
  • Also a great option for those newer to lifting, as less time working out = less movements and lifts to learn all at once

45-Min vs 3-Day/4-Day Physique

45-Minute Physique:

  • Not just a shorter 3-Day/4-Day. This is a 4-Day program with it’s own unique programming
  • 12-Week Training Cycles: lives in Hypertrophy year-round to help you maximize looking/feeling your best while working out for less than an hour per day.
  • Programming: bodybuilding and strength training. Similar vibes to what you already know and love with our Physique programs – just delivered via fun and creative rep schemes and a goal to maximize time and energy spent working out.
  • Workouts Do NOT Include: warm-ups or ab/calve accessory work
  • Program Member Fave During Holidays/Summer: helloooo more time to live at the pool, make memories with your kids, travel, hike, and enjoy all the world has to offer.

3-Day Physique and 4-Day Physique:

  • Workouts Take: 60-75 min.
  • 12-Week Training Cycles: alternate between Hypertrophy, Strength, and Metabolic Conditioning training focuses.
  • Programming: bodybuilding, strength training
  • Workouts Include: warm-ups and ab/calve accessory work
  • Optional Cardio: You have the option to complete 1-3 Zone 2 / Zone 5 cardio sessions per week, if you wish to.

Sample Workouts

In our training app, we have detailed workout instructions, movement modification and substitution ideas, and over 600+ movement demo videos.

The Science Behind 45-Min Physique

Doing “less” doesn’t have to mean “getting less.”

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.

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.

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

Special Program Features

1. Different Rep Schemes

In our 60-minute 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-Minute Physique, programming may look 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.

Some general recommendations:

  • Single Leg DB Calf Raise (deficit)
    2 sets x 6-10 reps per leg (both sets to failure)
    Pause for 2-3 sec 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 20-30 sec between sets, expect reps to drop set-to-set
    All sets close to failure
4. Always in Hypertrophy

The final main differentiator between physique programs is that 45-Minute 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. Specialization requires adding significant volume to specific areas, which is just not practical for a 45-minute program.


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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LCK and Bryan from Paragon Training Methods

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