I have just completed a popular mass building program by Jim Stoppani called "Shortcut to Size". I found it to be really well designed. There are subtle variations in exercises that become noticeable over time, and they make total sense.

It took me longer than advertised 12 weeks: I started on December 15 and finished on April 27, which is approximately 18 weeks. I pulled a back muscle in the end of January (lost about 10 days there), took extra days off while traveling, etc. It took me longer, but I finished every workout, every set, and every rep. Nutrition wise, I followed Jim's advice on supplements (ordered bulk from Amazon and mixed my own). As far as food, I cannot possibly eat as much as Jim recommends for this program. It is a terrible thing - to eat when not hungry. It works better for me to wait between meals to start feeling a little bit hungry, and then eat with appetite.

As far as results, I started at 182 lbs and finished around 207. I am 6'3", so this is not the limit. I would like to bulk up beyond 220 lbs, maybe 230.

I spent some time considering what to do next. I did not find any program that would seem obviously good, so I started the same program from the beginning. I like it that it is 4 workouts per week, and that there are no exercises that require exotic equipment. I was able to do every exercise (or find a reasonable substitute) in a small gym with some free weights, a Smith machine, and a cable machine. The only problem with that program is that some workouts took me forever to complete. On many days I spent 2 hours and 30 minutes in the gym, and rarely did I spend less than 1 hour and 30 minutes per workout. I really think that 2h30m is excessive. Ideally I would like to keep it to 1 hour, maybe 1h30m. I think a program with supersets might help to keep workout time manageable.

There is another program by Jim, "Shortcut to Shred", which it seems most people would start after "Shortcut to Size". But I would like to do another round of mass building first.

What's a good program for me to do next? Any other advice for me? I feel like I had a good start, and want to keep the momentum.

  • What is it that you want to accomplish? This is very vague, and will result in a lot of "Well, I think you should do this" which isn't a good fit for the site. What are your goals?
    – JohnP
    May 2, 2015 at 15:45
  • @JohnP: I want to build muscle. I am not a pro athlete, nor am I interested in amateur contests. Just doing it for exercise because it feels good.
    – user443854
    May 2, 2015 at 18:20
  • Ok, that gives people a bit more to work with. If you have some more specific goals, such as a goal weight, or something like that I would add that to your question, and people can suggest specific programs/lifts.
    – JohnP
    May 2, 2015 at 18:52
  • I just finished shortcut to size and I'm planning to try superman workout muscleandfitness.com/workouts/workout-routines/…
    – user15693
    May 10, 2015 at 10:13
  • 1
    Jim has a bunch of other workouts, you can check out his app on your phone, or hop on twitter/facebook and see what he might recommend. He's very active on social media and is pretty good about answering any fittness questions people ask him
    – user15882
    May 30, 2015 at 16:21

4 Answers 4


I contacted Jim directly, and his advice was to mix things up as much as possible. In other words, it is less likely that optimal results will be achieved by repeating the same program.

Jim recommended his own web site. In his words "I have hundreds of workouts and dozens of programs on my site. Any and all of them are sound options."

Unfortunately, it is a paid, subscription-based resource.


My advice? Simple, if the program is working for you, then just restart the program.

  • 1
    Let me play devil's advocate here: Won't his body get used to the same routine the second time around? Why (not)?
    – user8119
    Jun 12, 2015 at 7:07
  • @LarissaGodzilla Are you implying that there is things such as "shocking the muscle" or something along those lines? Of course not. If he wants to lose fat or gain muscle, he needs to make sure his diet is in check, not his routine. With that being said, yes, he can change routines if he wants to, but if the program he is on is working, why not stick to the program. Give it around 6 months ~.
    – Aizul
    Jun 12, 2015 at 8:07
  • No, I agree with you wholeheartedly, but Jim himself suggests this in his program: "A typical periodization program switches every 4-6 weeks. The problem is, your body adapts more quickly than that!" So the question was bound to come up. He also implies why that won't happen on Shortcut To Size: "This program changes rep ranges and weight every week, a period called a "microcycle"—a week-long period where you stick with the same weight and rep range.". It's just that you answer is quite short and I think stuff like that could have been mentioned, if just to quell unreasonable doubts.
    – user8119
    Jun 12, 2015 at 8:12
  • @LarissaGodzilla First off, he suggests this, "A typical periodization program switches every 4-6 weeks. The problem is, your body adapts more quickly than that!". If your body really adapts, then consider this example, when you see someone do the leg press and the squat, why do both of them goes through the same motion? Why are they bending their legs in 90 degress or past that? Does that mean they need to do lunges now? Well, since you are quite unhappy with my answer, I would like to know what body adaptation means to you.
    – Aizul
    Jun 12, 2015 at 8:14
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    No worries. I too think that sticking with what works is the best approach. Now let's just hope the mods won't hit us for spamming the comments :)
    – user8119
    Jun 12, 2015 at 8:56

First off - congratulations on completing the Shortcut to Size programme. I completed it a few weeks ago and its regimented approach is certainly a challenge but rewarding nonetheless.

Based on what you mentioned already, it seems like Shortcut to Shred would be the most natural programme to transition into.

It'll help drop the body fat you might have gained being on Shortcut to Size but also keep your muscle mass in check due to incorporating linear and reverse periodization. Linear periodization is basically the strength aspect of the programme which will maintain and build muscle size. This will involve increasing the weights and decreasing the reps for the compound lifts.

The reverse periodization of the programme will involve increasing the reps but decreasing the weight - normally on isolation exercises. Essentially, this is the fat burning phase of the plan which will ensure you are getting the best of both worlds.

Oh... another thing, cardio acceleration is a fundamental component of Shortcut to Shred. You'll have no rest periods between sets and perform a 1 minute HIIT (high intensity interval training) workout.

I reckon you should transition into this programme once you're happy with your overall size as you've probably already built up the habit, routine and discipline from Shortcut to Size which will definitely help keep up the momentum.


The Shortcut to Shred workout by Jim Stappani is great for strength and really toning up all that fat you gained.


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