The “4 X 7” Model of Periodization Using Body Weight Training

June 7, 2011

I’m going to do something I haven’t ever done before on this blog. I’m basically going to do half a post, then send you over to another site to get the rest of the info. I’m not an expert on this subject and just want to guide you in the right direction. If you think “4 X 7” means 4 sets of 7 reps, then you would be mistaken. It is referring to something quite a bit different than that.

[I learned about 4 X 7 periodization from my buddy Ryan. I had a beer with him earlier this year in Seattle and he told me of his plans to move to Malta. I thought he was crazy until I saw some of his photos. This place is amazing!]

What is the 4 X 7 Model of Periodization?

The 4 refers to 4 distinct workouts…

  • Workout 1: No Intensity
  • Workout 2: Low Intensity
  • Workout 3: Medium Intensity
  • Workout 4: High Intensity

These 4 workouts are done 4 days in a row. The “7” refers to how many times this 4 day cycle is done. So over a period of 28 days, this 4 day cycle is done 7 times.

Where Did I Learn About This Funky Workout System?

Back in 2009 I was closely following an emerging blogger named Adam Steer. I liked his blog because he talked about many Eastern Philosophies ignored by many of us in the West. I learned things I had never seen mentioned in typical “fitness magazines”. Adam teamed up with Ryan Murdock (inducted into the International Martial Arts Hall of Fame in 2006) In late September of 2009, they released a groundbreaking body weight course—> I was so committed to learning what Adam and Ryan were teaching that I cancelled my gym membership…breaking a 17 year streak of paying monthly gym dues.

I Led a Private Blog  for People to Learn the Program With Me

Over 200 people decided to ditch the gym Oct, Nov, and Dec of 2009…and learn Ryan and Adam’s body weight program along with me. I posted every day for 90 days and we all did the program together. Out of the 200 who started the program with me, only 46 made it to the end. It was a tough program, but every single person in that private blog group who finished the program loved the results.

No Rest Days Using the 4 X 7 Method of Training?

You do a workout every day, so no true rest days. Here’s the cool thing…the “No Intensity Days” and “Low Intensity Days” are almost better than a rest day. I sometimes trash Yoga, but Ryan had us doing “Prasara Yoga”. This was a complex high level program we were doing. The first two days of the cycle, prepared our bodies to perform at a higher level when the intensity was increased. Adam and Ryan call this, “Releasing the Parking Brake”.

[In February of this year, Ryan and his wife met me and my girlfriend for lunch on the Seattle waterfront. This was before Ryan moved from Canada to Malta.]

Learned About His New Project Over A Hefeweizen

So Ryan is an extremely brave and adventurous guy. We were eating some delicious Seattle seafood, drinking beer, and having a great time…then he told us that he was moving to Malta. I think my girlfriend asked him what Malta was like. Get this…he had never been to Malta! That is nutty, but cool at the same time. I don’t have that in my DNA. Very funny! Then he told us about a massive project that he was launching in June…

Adam and Ryan Launching a Body Weight “Game Changer”

They are releasing a master product called Shapeshifter...but have set it up to where you can add “plugins” to create a custom program. Want to do body weight and resistance band training? They will have a resistance band plugin. It will be one master program with various plugins. Supposedly they will add more and more plugins over time for people to create any program that suits their needs. I can’t wait to see what this looks like (the program isn’t for sale at this time).

Get a Free Shapeshifter Sample for the Next 24 Hours

Bottom line…I believe in what Adam and Ryan are doing here.I was pleased with their first big program, but this is supposedly going to blow that one out of the water. My only complaint about the last program was the quality of the videos. Ryan told me they hired a guy who works on major motion pictures to film Shapeshifter. You can see how impressive this looks, by checking out their free sample workout…

Click Here to Get a Sample Shapeshifter Bodyweight Workout

Note: My passion is training with weights, but I plan to buy Shapeshifter (not for sale yet) and follow the program once every other year for 3-4 months to get past sticking points. After I completed their previous program…I came back to the gym weaker in a few lifts…but then blew past my personal best. <---this was due to a concept they teach called "releasing the parking brake". Great stuff!

Important Message: Although this site has received 25+ million visitors, I am starting from scratch and abandoning it. This site is dated and old school looking, terrible to read on mobile, etc.

It's like a Ford Pinto compared to my new site...which is like a Ferrari. Click the link to head over to my new site.

Starting Over...R.I.P. Fitness Black Book!

Thanks for reading all these years!


----> (New) Facebook Comments..."Cause all the cool kids are doin' it!"

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Healthy Waist July 13, 2011 at 3:49 am

This is fantastic Rusty! Some years ago I used to do weight training along with yoga and was really fascinated with how lean my body looked so knowing that they’re incorporating a type of yoga in this sounds fun.This “modular” system sounds like it will be just perfect. Please keep us all updated on how it progresses. I’ll grab the sample right away.Thank you for sharing! Keep it up buddy! 🙂

Michael July 14, 2011 at 11:18 am

Scott Sonnon’s CST 4×7 protocol usually follows a template like this if you wanted to incorporate it in your training regardless of what modality you use

“No” Intensity- Joint Mobility/Intu-flow (a free version of beginner version is on Youtube) Mostly rest and very light exertion (Rate of Perceived Exertion) RPE 1-2

“Low” Intensity- Compensations (Prasara Yoga or any kind of yoga, Mobility, or some sort of active stretching) RPE- 3-4

“Mod”Intensity- Strength training (Weights, Clubbells, Kettlebells, bodyweight etc) or lighter version of whatever you do on High day at a moderate heart rate. Good day to practice skills/movements RPE 5-7

“High” Intensity- Metabolic Conditioning (Tabata, Tacfit , Crossfit, Sprinting Interval Training, or some sort of sport) High heart rate or could be strength training with higher reps or weight RPE 8-10 (All out with good technique…but don’t puke!)

Michael July 14, 2011 at 11:23 am×7 Adam Steer posted this back awhile ago, if anyone is interested.

Eduardo July 19, 2011 at 9:38 am

Yes, with bodyweight exercises one can train seven days a week just changing the intensity. There’s no problem.

Anyway, i think that placing the low/medium/etc intensity days as consecutive is more of a personal choice. Perhaps you prefer to follow a lower body/ upper body routine or take two hard consecutive days or whatever you like ….

The philosphy would be: do as much as you can without overtraining.

Nice post!

Brad Pitt Workout August 16, 2011 at 12:43 pm

An another effective, impressive and fantastic post. I am just loving your posts…

Bob Burns September 11, 2011 at 11:17 pm


Did you try to fast before the workouts, just like Rusty is explaining in one his videos? I am planning on implementing that but I heard it gives some true results.

Also try that protein shake each morning within 30 minutes of waking up. I just started doing that this week so I’m still yet to see the results from that.

Also cardio is VERY important. You need to do after each and every workout. I workout 4 times a week @ the gym and then I also run outside on Sundays in the morning.

Another factor is to workout in the morning. This is the best time to burn off the fat quicker as you will be working out on a calorie deficit right off the bat.

Hope this helps.




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Liporidex September 12, 2011 at 7:23 pm

Wow, what an awesome post. I’ve been working out and involved in health, fitness and nutrition for the last 25 years. In the last 8 years, I’ve returned to my roots – pushing myself and other I train with into more “non-standard”, functional workouts.

I’m going to get a group of us together to try this. I’m particularly excited to put our spin on the low/no intensity days. A lowered intensity Muay thai sparring session sounds pretty cool!

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Luke Cage - Fit Switch October 26, 2011 at 3:00 pm

I think body weight training has always gotten the back burner, but actually some Kung fu masters I’ve studied under in China do nothing but bodyweight and their level of performance and strength is quite surprising!

Renita January 10, 2012 at 11:20 am

Rusty, I just finished listening to your interview with Craig Ballantyne. Decided to come over & check your blog out and when I saw your picture of Malta I knew where it was. My husband & I visited Malta and toured the harbor around Malta on one of those boats. We loved Malta and would like to go back some time.
I am not into body building but I think you have a great blog. It looks very nice, is very inviting and is easy to read.

merle February 2, 2012 at 12:58 pm

Love all the comments, I think body weight excersise rock! Especially if you don’t have any equipment @home !

Destiny February 13, 2012 at 2:27 pm

I’m sorry, not to sound skeptical, but exactly where do you pull your research and evidence from your articles, besides personal experience? I like to cast a broad net to gather up fitness information and then filter out the bad advice, and I have some views conflicting to yours, only theirs has multiple research studies quoted that I can follow up on, and you do not- primarily on the methods of eating. I’m trying to lower my body fat percentage from twelve to about ten so I can better see my abs, and I’m on P90X; I don’t want to waste ninety days of effort by not eating correctly.

casas prefabricadas May 10, 2012 at 8:26 am

Love all the comments, I think body weight excersise rock! Especially if you don’t have any equipment @home !

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