I Tried “Shortcut to Shred” by Jim Stoppani with Unexpected Results

I Tried “Shortcut to Shred” by Jim Stoppani with Unexpected Results
I Tried “Shortcut to Shred” by Jim Stoppani with Unexpected Results

Muscle Group:



Over the past year, the bodybuilding community has been a buzz with the new program by Bodybuilding.com veteran, Jim Stoppani. Stoppani, a phD in Kinesiology and biochemistry from the University of Connecticut, certainly has the credentials and the time in the weight room to develop an incredible program, but for some reason, his  program is under great scrutiny by many intermediate and advanced lifters.

With complaints ranging from impractical frequency to pushing muscles past the point of work for maximal strength, power, and hypertrophy (that’s size growth) outcomes, the internet always seems to have something negative to say. But, when we break down the science, you quickly start to realize that these programs aren’t just getting your muscles bigger or tightening up your physique, they’re actually changing the way your body treats a workout.


Shortcut to Shred was developed as a secondary program to Stoppani’s Shortcut to Size, and although there has been a great deal of bullshit swirling around Stoppani’s position within the fitness community, we know one thing is for sure: the program works.

I started my journey with Jim last winter. Having spent about a year in resistance training prior to taking on his aggressive mass building program, I felt good about the exercise and rep frequencies he was putting on the table for each workout. The amount of sets and reps you do in the primary lifts of “Shortcut to Size” are a formidable workout in their own right, but the genius of Shortcut to Size/ Shred comes into play with the other cool stuff Jim includes in every single workout.

Cardio Acceleration is a progressive training method that requires the athlete to use a conventional rest period to push their body in a new direction. By doing a short period of moderate to high intensity cardiovascular exercise in between resistance exercise sets, the body is pushed past their usual endurance threshold. For example, let’s say you’re doing a set of bench press with dumbbells. If the standard workout routine says “Do 4 sets of  8-12 reps, resting for 1-2 minutes between sets.” Instead of taking that rest period to sit still and maybe grab water, you jog in place, or have some fun with the battle ropes. Or maybe if battle ropes are a little too intense, try shadowboxing! Throwing a combination of jabs, crosses and hooks is an easy way to burn some calories and engage all of the same muscles as the more challenging ropes!

This strategy works for a few key reasons, but this type of strain is difficult for beginners. For this reason, it’s critical to know your limits, but be consistent in your workouts. Because your body is forced to stay active, even when it is resting from the primary weighted exercise you are doing, your heart rate and blood flow increase dramatically, helping your body recover more effectively after each workout. Whats more, your endurance gradually grows to adjust to this new normal. Over time, you will see yourself shredding unwanted body mass and, more importantly, be able to push to the next level.

Consistent Rep Ratio, or Periodization, has been proven by the American College of Sports Medicine to increase the hypertrophy you see in your muscles over time. By segmenting your routine with a combination of linear periodization (more weight, less reps) and reverse linear periodization (more reps, less weight), you are able to build strength and develop your muscles in a way that optimizes your body’s ability to preform under any circumstance because it is prepared for both of these types of events. What’s more, it’s the easiest way to move through a workout. Whether it’s a circuit of cardio movements, a standard lineup of weight training exercises, or an ab training circuit, giving your each of the parts of your body equal servings of care is the easiest way to ensure a balanced result.

Here’s a mid-weight rep range (about 70% of your maximum weight) Jim uses frequently in the program, and three exercises from his “Shortcut to Shred” Day 1-Week 1:

4sets; 9-11 reps

Flat Bench Press (Medium Grip)
Incline Bench Press

Microcycles are a popular scheme for long term training regimes, and with good reason! Revisiting exercises too often can create plateaus, but having routine “check-ups” with your exercises can provide you with accurate bench marks for your progress, and make it easier to adjust your approach to the workout when necessary. Here’s an example of how Jim structures his microcycles for the six week program:

Week 1: 9-11 reps

Week 2: 6-8 reps

Week 3: 2-5 reps

When the cycle of workout weeks is followed with 100% dedication, the gains are undeniable. Personally, I saw each of my key olympic lifts (Bench, Squat, and Deadlift) increase by no less than 40% by the end of the six week program.

When trying to decide on a program, there are many different things you need to consider before you commit your time and your energy, but it is critical to always do your homework and see how the time and intensity you will need to commit to in order to see results. Programs only work when they are made a habit. If training is your goal, it must be the thing you put before other aspects of your life. This sounds scary, but it can become a point of pride. When someone asks you “what did you do today”, you get to pepper that lineup with something really challenging, and more importantly, really interesting!

For more information on this program, be sure to consult the website of Jim Stoppani and the amazing resources at bodybuilding.com for more specifics about supplementation, nutrition, and more helpful tips specific to this workout!

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