• DanEiden

6 - 12 - 25, A personal favorite and a great program for maximal fat loss

I have been strength training for 34 years now. I was first introduced to strength training as a 14 year old entering high school doing the strength training program we had for our football team. I have also been a personal trainer and strength coach for nearly 20 years. I have done all types of training programs with my clients as well as with myself. I have done programs for strength, muscle hypertrophy (muscle building), bodybuilding, general fitness, post rehab training after an injury, sports performance training for nearly every sport and a host of other types of training programs.


The most popular training programs that everyone seems to want to do are fat loss programs. I should mention before going any further that you can lose body fat on any training program and gear any training program towards fat loss. Also, if someone’s nutrition isn’t correct and they aren’t checking all the other boxes needed for success with fat loss or any other fitness goal (sleep, hydration, recovery, stress management, etc) it won’t matter how hard they are training or what training program they are on. They probably won’t lose any body fat.


That being said, there are some really good training programs that if followed correctly can produce some significant fat loss results. I have had success with fat loss for myself as well as with my clients doing all different types of training programs. Most of them have had several things in common. They all are built around the big, basic movements (squats, deadlifts, chin-ups, etc.), utilized supersets, tri-sets and circuits and incorporated short rest intervals.


If I had to pick just one program for fat loss though that was my favorite it would be the late, legendary strength coach Charles Poliquin’s 6 - 12 - 25 program. The program is also referred to by some as lactic acid training. The goal of the program is to produce lactate or lactic acid in the muscles. Lactate production is associated with growth hormone release. Growth hormone is a potent anabolic hormone (muscle building) as well as a very potent fat burning hormone. Anyone who has ever trained before knows the feeling of lactic acid accumulating in the muscles. It is that burning sensation that you start feeling when you are starting to fatigue and are getting those last few reps in during a set. The program is designed in a way to produce a lot of lactate production and in turn produce fat loss.


The program looks like this. You break down the workouts into training different body parts on different days. You can break them down any way you want but I think it works best when you train opposing body parts in the same workout. For example, chest and back, quads and hamstrings and biceps and triceps. You would set them up into 3 separate workouts done in a 2 days on, 1 day off, 1 day on, 1 day off and then repeat. Workout 1 would be chest and back, workout 2 would be legs (quads and hamstrings) and workout 3 would be shoulders and arms. So a week would look like Monday = chest and back, Tuesday = legs, Wednesday = off, Thursday = shoulders and arms, Friday = off and then on Saturday you repeat.


The exercises in each of the workouts are performed in tri-sets. A tri-set is 3 exercises performed consecutively. So you pick 3 exercises for each body part to be performed in a tri-set with the first exercise being done for 6 reps, the second exercise being done for 12 reps and the last exercise done for 25 reps. For the program to be truly effective the reps must be your rep maxes. For example, a 6 rep max means you can do 6 reps but are unable to perform a 7th rep. Going to this muscular failure is what will help produce the lactate production. When performing the tri-sets you will only rest 10 seconds between each exercise (just enough time to go from one exercise to the next) and then rest 2 minutes after the tri-set. You do 3 tri-sets for each body part and can work up to doing 4 tri-sets eventually in the workout after 2 or 3 weeks.


When choosing exercises it is best to do the exercises that get the most bang for your buck, especially for the first exercise of each tri-set. Examples would be multi-joint, free weight exercises such as squats, lunges, presses and rows. You can then work your way out to another free weight or machine based multi-joint exercise for your second exercise and then an isolation exercise (i.e. a single joint exercise such as a chest fly or leg extension) for your last exercise. Since the last exercise will be being performed when you are in a fatigued state and will be performed for 25 reps it is probably best to choose an isolation exercise. This will help to maintain proper form and technique while still completing the necessary reps. Since, you are performing the exercises for your rep max each time the weight you are using will probably need to go down after each tri-set for you to be able to get the necessary reps. If you can complete all the tri-sets with the same weight for the same reps each time the weight was probably too light and wasn’t truly your rep max.


Another important component of this program is to perform the reps with the correct rep tempo for each exercise. The first exercise will be done with a 4010 rep tempo, the second exercise will be done with a 3010 rep tempo and the last exercise will be done with a 1010 rep tempo. Rep tempo or rep cadence as some call it is the speed the reps will be performed at. Each of the 4 numbers represents seconds. The first number is the negative or eccentric phase of the exercise, the second number is the transition between the negative portion of the exercise to the positive or concentric phase, the third number is the positive or concentric phase and the last number is the end of the positive phase. A 4010 rep tempo for a dumbbell bench press for example would be performed lowering the weight for 4 seconds, a zero or no pause at the bottom position, 1 second to lift the weight back up and a zero or no pause after the completion of the rep. The tempo being performed for each exercise with no pause at any point in the movement is what will help produce the lactate production.


Ok, so now let’s look at what an example of this program will look like. This is an example of how I have set this program up and completed it successfully.



Day 1 = Chest and Back


A1) Dumbbell bench press

3 x 6 RM (rep max)

4010 tempo

10 seconds rest


A2) Incline barbell bench press

3 x 12 RM

3010 tempo

10 seconds rest


A3) Chest fly machine

3 x 25 RM

1010 tempo

Rest interval = 2 minutes


B1) Chin-ups

3 x 6 RM

4010 tempo

10 seconds rest


B2) Barbell row

3 x 12 RM

3010 tempo

10 seconds rest


B3) Seated cable row

3 x 25 RM

1010 tempo

Rest interval = 2 minutes


Day 2 = Legs


A1) Barbell back squat

3 x 6 RM

4010 tempo

10 seconds rest


A2) Dumbbell split squat

3 x 12 RM

3010 tempo

10 seconds rest


A3) Leg extensions

3 x 25 RM

1010 tempo

Rest interval = 2 minutes


B1) Barbell deadlift

3 x 6 RM

4010 tempo

10 seconds rest


B2) Seated leg curls

3 x 12 RM

3010 tempo

10 seconds rest


B3) Leg press machine

3 x 25 RM

1010 tempo

Rest interval = 2 minutes


Day 3 = Off


Day 4 = Shoulders and Arms


A1) Seated dumbbell press

3 x 6 RM

4010 tempo

10 seconds rest


A2) Side dumbbell lateral raise

3 x 12 RM

3010 tempo

10 seconds rest


A3) Side lateral raise machine

3 x 25 RM

1010 tempo

Rest interval = 2 minutes


B1) Parallel bar dips

3 x 6 RM

4010 tempo

10 seconds rest


B2) Lying EZ bar triceps extensions

3 x 12 RM

3010 tempo

10 seconds rest


B3) Rope tricep pushdowns

3 x 25 RM

1010 tempo

Rest interval = 2 minutes


C1) Incline dumbbell curls

3 x 6 RM

4010 tempo

10 seconds rest


C2) EZ bar preacher curls

3 x 12 RM

3010 tempo

10 seconds rest


C3) Seated dumbbell curls

3 x 25 RM

1010 tempo

Rest interval = 2 minutes


Day 5 = Off


Day 6 = Repeat


This program is probably good for 4 to 6 weeks and then it will be time to shift gears and transition to another training program. This program is very challenging and very taxing on the body. For it to be truly effective one needs to be able to push themselves and be consistent with it. This is not a program I would recommend for a beginner. I feel someone needs to have at least several months of consistent training experience behind them before they attempt this program. If you are an experienced trainee and are looking to lose some body fat and build some muscle give this program a shot. I think you will be pleased with the results.


Before going on any specific diet or exercise program it is important to consult your doctor before starting.


Thank you for reading my blog article and if anyone has any questions or is interested in personal fitness training or sports performance training reach out to me via email = Dan@eidensfitness.com or you can contact me directly at 702-521-6012




36 views0 comments