The juggernaut method is one of the most popular strength training programmes available, but is it actually any good? In this complete juggernaut method 2.0 review we’ll look at:
- Background on Chad Wesley Smith and the Juggernaut Method
- Juggernaut Method 2.0 Program
- Juggernaut 2.0 Program Explanation
- Wave and Block Periodization in Juggernaut
- Juggernaut 2.0 Weekly Structure (Microcycle)
- Exercise Selection on Juggernaut 2.0
- Juggernaut Method Accessory Work
- Pre-Program Testing (And Training Maxes)
- Juggernaut Method Workouts
- Juggernaut Programme Progression
- Juggernaut Method Spreadsheet
- Looking For a Custom Strength Program?
- Modifying Juggernaut 2.0
- Juggernaut Method 2.0: The Pros
- Juggernaut Method: The Cons
- Juggernaut Method 2.0 Review: Is the juggernaut program good?
- Juggernaut Method Books
- Juggernaut Method Frequently Asked Questions
- Next Steps
Let’s jump straight in.
Background on Chad Wesley Smith and the Juggernaut Method
Juggernaut Training Systems
Juggernaut Training Systems, or JTS, is coaching and content business ran by Chad Wesley Smith.
Chad is an ex-competitive powerlifter, strongman and shotputter. In 2011, he ranked in the world top ten for powerlifting with a 2165lb total, and an american squat record of 905lb (410kg) So the man knows a good deal about strength training.
He put together the juggernaut method as a way to train not only himself, but his clients, and eventually published the juggernaut method in book form.
Juggernaut Method 2.0 Program
The overall structure of the Juggernaut method program was born out of Chad’s training insight, and it uses a block and wave structure. He’s what it looks like…
*These numbers are based on a training max of around 90%
Juggernaut 2.0 Program Explanation
The first question I usually get after people look at the above programme is…
“So how does the juggernaut method work?”
And I’ll admit, there is quite a lot going on.
But when you break it down the overall structure is actually pretty simple, and is built on two overlapping types of periodisation.
Wave and Block Periodization in Juggernaut
Juggernaut is divided into 4 blocks of training, and each block is 4 weeks long. This makes the entire programme 16 weeks long.
Each block of training has a different focus, which is reflected by the different rep scheme:
- Block 1 is sets of 10 reps
- Block 2 is sets of 8 reps
- Block 3 is sets of 5 reps
- And Block 4 is sets of 3 reps
In many ways, this is simply a classic linear periodisation, in which you start with lower weights and higher volumes of work, and end the programme with heavier weights and lower volumes of work.
Now, where juggernaut 2.0 gets a little fancy, is that it also uses waves of volume and intensity within each block.
So instead of doing say 4 sets for the whole 4-week block, with minor increases week to week, the juggernaut method divides work up into a ‘mini-linear’ periodisation that looks like:
- Week 1: 5 or 6 sets lighter
- Week 2: 3 or 5 sets moderate
- Week 3: 1 set heavier
- Week 4: Deload
What this means is that you get variation in volume and intensity on a weekly basis, which is often what advanced lifters need in order to make progress.
Juggernaut 2.0 Weekly Structure (Microcycle)
Juggernaut’s weekly structure is wonderfully simple.
Day 1: Squat
Day 2: Bench
Day 3: Deadlift
Day 4: Overhead Press
Upper and lower body days can be performed back to back, so your week can be organised in loads of different ways. Some examples include:
Exercise Selection on Juggernaut 2.0
The juggernaut method relies predominantly on the big 4, the squat, bench press, deadlift and overhead press.
These larger compound movements have been shown to have greater impacts on strength development than smaller isolation movements (Paoli et al. 2017) as they recruit more total musculature and require more neural drive.
Juggernaut Method Accessory Work
In theory, you can just perform the main lift for the day and then leave the gym. However, since we know that muscle cross-sectional area (aka muscle size) is a key factor in strength for experienced lifters it’s also a good idea to add in some accessory work.
Juggernaut 2.0 doesn’t prescribe any set work and instead recommends that you choose accessory work to best target your own weaknesses and needs.
Some good articles from JTS and Chad Wesley Smith on this include…
For the most part, we’re talking about things like pull-ups and rows for your back, pressing variations and dips for your chest, plus some jumps, throws and core work for general athleticism.
Pre-Program Testing (And Training Maxes)
Running Juggernaut 2.0 successfully relies on you knowing your 1 rep maxes for various lifts, or at least being able to accurately estimate them from recent 3rms or 5rms.
For most people, this should be easy, as you’ve likely just finished another programme, for example, 5/3/1 or maybe the texas method. So you should have a clear idea of what you can lift, or you can use a lift conversation calculator.
However, if you’re not sure then it’s best to dedicate a week to some testing, building up to hit a challenging 1, 2 or 3rm.
Juggernaut then uses a ‘training max’ to calculate your loads. So all the percentages you use will not be percentages of your true maxed out, hyped up 1 rep max. Instead, they will be percentages based on a heavy single, which tends to be around 90% of your true 1 rep max.
Juggernaut Method Workouts
So, here are a couple of examples to show what a workout looks like on the Juggernaut 2.0 programme.
Block 1: Week 1: Squat Day
- Box Jumps: 4×5
- Squat: 4×10 at 60% of training max followed by 1×10+ @ 60% of training max
- Walking Lunges (Assistance): 3×12 @ RIR 3
Block 3: Week 2: Bench Day
- Med Ball Throws: 4×5
- Bench Press: 2×5 @ 77.5% of training max then 1×5+ @ 77.5% of training max
- Incline DB Bench Press (Assistance): 3×8
Juggernaut Programme Progression
With Juggernaut 2.0 there’s a built-in form of ‘autoregulation’ (or individualization) within the programme.
Week 3 of each block is an AMRAP set for each exercise. So you perform as many reps as possible with the weight suggested. You then plug the reps you achieved into a rep max calculator to find your new estimated 1 rep max, take 90% of that to make a training max, and then base your next block of training on those new numbers.
So if you achieve loads more reps than required, your training max will go up loads for the next block. Whereas if you only achieve the required reps, your training max will stay the same.
The spreadsheet provided below has useful boxes that automatically calculate these for you.
Juggernaut Method Spreadsheet
Trying to run Juggernaut without a well-designed spreadsheet is a huge amount of work, so to save you the trouble, here’s a pre-formatted excel spreadsheet I found on reddit:
Looking For a Custom Strength Program?
If you want someone to take the thinking away and ensure your long-term progress, why not consider having me design a custom strength programme for you?
You send in your details, answer questions about your training numbers, goals, training history, equipment etc, and then I craft your program custom to you.
I also throw in a check-in each month, just to make sure that everything is working well, and to make any adjustments if needed.
Modifying Juggernaut 2.0
Juggernaut Method 3-day Split
If you want to run Juggernaut 3 days per week instead of 4, then you’ve got two options.
A) Just spread the regular workouts out and let the programme take a bit longer. So you’ll do workouts A, B and C in week 1, then D, A and B in week 2, etc.
B) Combine benching or pressing with the squat or deadlift day. For example:
- Day 1: Squat and Bench
- Day 2: Deadlift
- Day 3: Press
Personally, I prefer option B. Day 1 takes longer, but it keeps each week far simpler.
Juggernaut Method 2.0 Crossfit
There’s no official juggernaut programme for crossfit, but I can think of two good options.
Option 1: Run Juggernaut as written, just don’t bother with the assistance work. Do your main lift then move onto your other crossfit activities
Option 2: Run the juggernaut method but only for deadlifts and overhead presses, as these are the most commonly used strength exercises and movement patterns within CrossFit. You can then add in plenty of assistance work and still have energy for your other CrossFit work.
Juggernaut Method Strongman
The juggernaut method can work really well alongside strongman training. I have two good options to recommend.
Option 1: If you can train 5 days per week.
- Day 1: Squat
- Day 2: Bench
- Day 3: Deadlift
- Day 4: Overhead Press
- Day 5: Strongman Specific Implement Training
I’ve had some athletes use similar routines and see some great results.
Option 2: If you can only train 3-4 times per week.
Start each day with 1 or 2 strongman-specific implement exercises, then make the second half of your workout the juggernaut main lift. You can sprinkle in some assistance work if you have extra time.
Juggernaut Method 2.0: The Pros
Alright so now that we’ve covered the LSUS weightlifting program in detail, plus some possible variations, here’s what I like:
- A solid, evidence-based structure
The core of juggernaut is a mixture of block and wave periodisation, both of which have been shown to be incredibly effective for developing strength (Harries et al. 2015)
- Juggernaut works alongside other sporting commitments
The overall flexibility of juggernaut 2.0, and the optional nature of the assistance work, means that you can plug it into your training without too much fatigue impacting your sports training. In fact, this was one of Chad’s main aims when writing the programme.
- The Juggernaut Method 2.0 Program has plenty of conversation around it
Since the juggernaut method is fairly well known, plenty of people have tried it and discussed it, which means that all you need to do is google:
– “juggernaut 2.0 reddit”
– “Juggernaut Method results”
And you’ll get plenty of people’s experiences just like this guy who added about 100lb to his total in 13 weeks and this experienced lifter who turned most of his 1 rep maxes into his new 5 or 6 rep maxes.
- Using rep PR’s in each block to adjust training maxes is smart
Many longer programmes (12+ weeks) fail to account for you getting stronger during the programme, so you end up lifting inaccurate percentages. Juggernaut accounts for this by using rep maxes to adjust each training block. Very smart stuff.
Juggernaut Method: The Cons
- Not Enough Exposure to Heavier Lifts
The juggernaut method 2.0 never has you lifting more than 90%. In fact, the majority of the programme is very much submaximal. This is great for building a wide base of strength, but if your goal is to compete in powerlifting or strength sports you need more exposure to heavy lifting.
- Low Frequency for Main Lifts
Each main lift, the squat, bench, overhead press and deadlift, is only trained once per week. Whilst this might be okay for some bigger, stronger lifters who need longer recovery times, most lifters tend to need more frequent exposure to an exercise to master the skill, and to maximise strength progress.
Key Point: In Chad’s defence, he does actually address exactly these concerns in a follow-up video in which he critiques his own programme, as well as suggests a few alterations he would make to solve these issues.
Juggernaut Method 2.0 Review: Is the juggernaut program good?
In my mind, the juggernaut method is a fantastic programme, and I would happily recommend it to any advanced or late intermediate lifter.
Practically, the ideas and periodisation that Chad used were way ahead of their time in comparison to what was being released online at the same time, and the programme is very well designed.
The only thing I would say is to make sure to watch Chad’s review of his own programme above and take his recommendations to make the programme better. Mainly, by adding a bit more regular exposure to heavy lifts, and by using a heavier peaking block.
Juggernaut Method Books
For more information, and an incredibly in-depth breakdown of the programme, I highly recommend checking out the Juggernaut Method 2.0 book.
Juggernaut Method Frequently Asked Questions
Who is Juggernaut Method for?
The juggernaut method is for advanced strength athletes who have already exhausted their progress on programmes like texas method, madcow and 5/3/1.
Juggernaut method vs 5/3/1?
The Juggernaut method is for advanced strength athletes, whereas 5/3/1 is better for late intermediate lifters. This is because 5/3/1 uses a 4 week progression with moderate variation, whilst the juggernaut method uses a 16-week progression and large amounts of variation.
Can You Use Juggernaut for Powerlifting?
Absolutely, you can use juggernaut 2.0 for powerlifting, all I recommend is that you add a peaking block to provide you with more exposure to heavy lifts.
Is the Juggernaut Method Good for Hypertrophy?
The juggernaut method is great for hypertrophy, especially when combined with a good amount of assistance and accessory work. The programme uses lots of sets of 10’s, 8’s and 5’s, all of which fall in the range of hypertrophy.
Juggernaut Method for Bodybuilding?
Whilst you can get big and add size on the juggernaut method, it is a strength programme at heart, and not a bodybuilding programme. If your main goal is bodybuilding, I recommend checking out my 4-day upper/lower split hypertrophy programme.
Juggernaut Method for Beginners?
The juggernaut method is not suitable for beginners. This is because beginners don’t need anything like this much variation or complexity to their training. Beginner strength trainees would be far better following starting strength or stronglifts.
Alright, that’s enough reading for today, time to lift some stuff.
1) If the Juggernaut Method like a good programme for you then get in the gym and start working through it.
2) If you want more training tips, workouts and programmes, feel free to join my mailing list.
3) And if you’re looking for more individualised guidance, consider having me write you a custom programme.
‘Til Next Time
Alex Parry, MSc, BA
Alex is the Head content writer and Coach at Character Strength & Conditioning, as well as an Assistant Lecturer and PhD Researcher at the University of Hull.
His experience includes 7+ years within professional strength and conditioning, as well as working as a tutor & educator for British Weightlifting.
Harries, Simon K.1,2; Lubans, David R.2,3; Callister, Robin1,2. Systematic Review and Meta-analysis of Linear and Undulating Periodized Resistance Training Programs on Muscular Strength. Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research: April 2015 – Volume 29 – Issue 4 – p 1113-1125 doi: 10.1519/JSC.0000000000000712
Paoli, A., Gentil, P., Moro, T., Marcolin, G., & Bianco, A. (2017). Resistance Training with Single vs. Multi-joint Exercises at Equal Total Load Volume: Effects on Body Composition, Cardiorespiratory Fitness, and Muscle Strength. Frontiers in physiology, 8, 1105. https://doi.org/10.3389/fphys.2017.01105