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Old Forum Steve Justa Singles Routine

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Level 2 Valued Member
Which one did you run, and what results did you see?

Also, will any one of these routines result in hypertrophy? For instance, I personally think that 25 singles every other day with 70+% of your 1RM will cause SOME hypertrophy, granted that you eat at a surplus.

It's almost fasting month for me, and I want to tone the volume down a bit. I just finished MMS and saw some great results. I'm going to focus on the deadlift and military press, if that helps to know.



Level 4 Valued Member
I havent done the program but thinking about it if I ever start deadlifting frequently. But if you do one of the programs please report back and tell if it caused any hypertrophy.


If I get to vote wich program I'd go for the more drawn out version, as I guess you got the idea from Easy Strenght.


Level 2 Valued Member
@Rickard: Thanks for the response. What exactly do you mean by the "drawn out" version? Aren't you supposed to follow the "deadlift every single day" routine before the "every other day" one?


Also, I'm thinking of doing this for a few weeks:


Work out every other day, with the exception of Justa's deadlifts.


One-armed press: (1, 2, 3) x 2 OR 3.

Pullups: (1, 2, 3) x 2 OR 3.

Complex A from MMS: 2 reps, using a weight close to my barbell military press max - 2 OR 3 sets, might finish off with a lighter set of 8.

Ab wheel: as a cooldown.

Justa's deadlift program from Easy Strength: pull daily, everything else listed above will be done on alternate days.


Goals: increase deadlift/military press/OAP max, hypertrophy. Since I'm going to be working out in a fasted state (sunrise to sunset), I'll add 2 litres of milk to my diet.

Any thoughts?




Level 6 Valued Member
Looks fine. You may want to drop the complex if you're doing it fasted. Not sure how much hypertrophy you'll get with that kind of volume, but that mostly comes down to diet. Best of luck! Let us know how it goes.

Andrew Palmer

Level 6 Valued Member
I did Justa's singles routine daily with getups - started with a 16kg, and peaked during week 4. I got a 40kg getup when my previous best was a shaky 32kg.

If I were to do this again, I would go easy and use a light kb in weeks 1-3, and ramp it up week 4, as previously.

As a short term program it worked great, don't know about long term though.

I have also tried his singles routine no.6, the one with 30-40 lifts, with some success, but it wasn't my thing- not enough pressing volume.


Level 6 Valued Member
I used to correspond with a guy who used the Justa Singles Routine with grippers. It worked great for his gripper strength. He was stuck on the #2 for a few years. He could do 2 to 3 reps on it but wasn't even close on his #3. 16 weeks into the Justa Singles Routine he closed his #3 for the first time.



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Ben, he used the #2 for his singles and followed Justa's 6 day a week program to the letter?

Thank you.


Level 1 Valued Member
Cole Slaw,

The only singles program I've done is with deadlifts. I think singles are awesome for DLs, as form starts to break down with heavy weights, with even moderate reps.  And yes, hypertrophy can result: Try "cluster training"; 80% + singles, 1 rep every 30 seconds, for 10 reps, 3 times a week.


Level 6 Valued Member
Andrew, that's awesome. I always thought that the justa singles program (any of them, there are many) would be great for getups, side or bent press, pistols... the kinda lift where groove is really important.


Level 6 Valued Member
Pavel, I was being slightly modest when I didn't mention that I oversaw his training from afar. He liked the basics of the Justa Singles Program, so I altered it to suit the grippers he had and the goal of closing the #3.

If you want the details of the actual program I'm happy to write it out when I'm not typing on my phone.




Level 6 Valued Member
I was trying to add that he did train 6 days per week. He alternated the grippers that he trained with several times during the week.


Level 6 Valued Member
Okay, it took me a while to find the exact workouts I wrote out for him - his name was Chad -but here are the details.  The "Singles Strategy Number 1 - One Lift" is actually a 7 days per week program.  But he trained 6 days per week because one day of the week he had no access to anything to train with.  And that day of the week he worked upwards of 16 hours and, frankly, didn't have much desire to do anything but try to recover for the next day of work. 
The grippers he had: Trainer, #1, #1.5, Master, #2, Super Master, Grand Master, and #3.  These were also "rated" (long explanation of how that works, but any members of the Gripboard will be pretty familiar with it if they've been a member for a while and train grippers) so that helped me put together a progressive plan for him to close his #3.  Here are the ratings:

Trainer: 55lbs

#1: 82lbs

#1.5: 95lbs

Master: 104lbs

#2: 110lbs

Super Master: 126lbs

Grand Master: 138lbs

#3: 146lbs

The "set" he used was just enough to get his pinky around the handle to start the close.  A "set" means that he used his non-closing hand to help pull the handles together to get his pinky curled slightly around the other handle before starting the squeeze.  
I critiqued several of his training/progression videos and the set he used was wide enough that he was able to place a credit card between the handles.  Again, the gripper guys (and gals) will recognize that since it's known as the "credit card set."    
I won't list the entire Steve Justa routine in its entirety.  Anyone wanting to know that can just Google it.  But the general layout is below...  On second thought, I'm going to copy and paste it below so people can "read along" and see what changes I made.
Singles Strategy No.1 — One Lift
1. Lift every day, seven days a week.
2. Use 70% to start out and, as you gain strength, keep using 70%
3. During Week One:
• Day 1 – Do three singles with one to two minutes rest in between
• Day 2 – Do five singles with one to two minutes rest in between
• Day 3 – Do seven singles with one to two minutes rest in between
• Day 4 – Do nine singles with one to two minutes rest in between
• Day 5 – Do 11 singles with one to two minutes rest in between
• Day 6 – Do 13 singles with one to two minutes rest in between
• Day 7 – Do 15 singles with one to two minutes rest in between
You have now made a complete cycly and are at Week 2, Day 1. Now you will add five or 10 lbs and go through the whole cycle again.
4. Once a month, test your max to make sure you are using weights in your weekly cycle that are 70% of your max. If your weekly cycle weight was more than 70%, take weight off and adjust. If your weekly cycle weight was under 70%, add weight and adjust. This monthly testing of your max will keep you in the target zone.
This workout must be done seven days a week, 365 days a year. Each week, you are building your endurance and toughening your tendons and ligaments by doing more and more work towards the end of each cycle, and then during the next week, or cycle as I call it, you're adding more weight and doing it all over again. The great thing about this type of training is that you will build great strength without really ever making yourself tired because the body is adjusting naturally and rhythmically.
I cut the Day 7 workout (15 singles) out because, although he had sufficient time to do that workout, by Day 7 in his work week he was often nearing 80 or more hours on duty.  
You'll notice that I completely ignored the 70% recommendation for what resistance to use.  I did stick with the recommended number of singles per day though. 
I mentioned that Chad was able to close the #2 for two or three reps.  That was right handed.  Lefty he missed on the #2 by about 1/4".  Which is a pretty significant margin. 
I wanted to know exactly what he was capable of so I had him film some max gripper attempts.  He missed on three Super Master attempts.  Best was only about 1/8" off.  So, very close.  But technically, his best close was the #2.  Even though he was able to do that for reps. 
So he trained lefty with a completely different routine that I am almost as proud of him for, just because it was nothing at all like his right hand workout - but he made very, very good progress lefty too.  Just not into the #3 territory.  Warmup is not listed.  But it was the same every day.  Singles with the Trainer, #1, and #1.5.  3 minutes rest between sets.  Right hand only.  None of what is listed next has anything to do with how he trained lefty.


Level 6 Valued Member
WEEK 1 - Day 1: 3 singles/attempts with Super Master.  Rest was 3 minutes between sets.  Or longer, if he felt like he needed it.  None of these attempts were closed.  Not a wasted session though.  I told him he needed to get used to a heavier resistance than the #2.  His thinking was that if he kept repping the #2 (even though the rep count was modest) that it would lead to the Super Master close.  It just wasn't working in his case.   

WEEK 1 - Day 2: 5 attempts with Super Master.  Rest was same as above.  Results were same as above too, meaning no close. 

WEEK 1 - Day 3: 7 attempts with Super Master.  Same as above.  He was starting to get discouraged a bit at this point.  He thought the more he attempted the Super Master, the closer he would get.  I told him to have faith.  But I also told him that he wasn't supposed to be using any methods of prolonging the time under tension.  Just set the gripper, get the pinky into position - and explode into the handles.  Rest and repeat.  Told him not to worry about making the negative part of the gripper close longer than it would be by just immediately releasing the pressure when/if he failed to close the gripper.  That saved some recovery ability for later.  He was going to need it. 

WEEK 1 - Day 4: 9 singles with the #2.  Rest was 3 minutes between sets.  Told him to slam the handles shut and hold for a quick 1-count.  Not longer though.  Just enough to demonstrate to himself that he had crushed the handles shut.  This was a much needed "day of rest" compared to the attempts on the Super Master.  He said the #2 felt kind of hard since his hands were slightly fatigued from the Super Master attempts the previous days.  I told him not to worry.  It would all work out.  Not my first gripper training rodeo, haha, and all that.

WEEK 1 - Day 5: 11 singles with the Master.  Rest was 3 minutes between sets.  He was a bit baffled when I sent him the workout and it had him "going backwards" to the Master.  "But I can already close that," - he told me.  I knew that, of course.  But I explained that he was going to slam the handles shut and hold for a quick 2-count.  Just a 1-count longer hold than the 9 singles with the #2 from yesterday.  But it would take a bit of a toll on his recovery.  I know he thought he was going to just nap through the workout, but later he said it was very challenging in its own way, due to the slams and 2-count holds.  I told him to crush the hell out of the handles on the holds.  "Overcrushes" is a term used to describe those.  Not my invention. 

WEEK 1 - Day 6: 13 singles with the #1.5.  Rest was 3 minutes between sets.  He didn't "complain" today about going to the #1.5, even though it was easier than the Master.  Told him to slam the handles shut and "overcrush" the handles for a quick 3-count today.  He reported that this workout was only moderately difficult, except for the 3-count holds, which made it quite a bit harder than it would've been otherwise.  I think he said he was able to rep the #1.5 for over a dozen when he had tested reps on it a month before getting on my program.


Level 6 Valued Member
He was pretty happy with the way he felt on day 7, so I just told him to repeat that exact workout until he closed his Super Master. 

Week 3, on Day 1, he closed his Super Master for the first time.  He called me (a big deal, since like me, he hated to talk on the phone) and was almost yelling he was so happy.  It was exciting to hear how happy he was about what would seem like a small thing.  On a side note, he was a mid-600lb deadlifter.  So he was no stranger to working hard (he said his first time deadlifting 10 years earlier resulted in a 160lb deadlift at a bodyweight barely under that) to reach goals. 

The #3 was a big jump in poundage (146lbs for the #3 vs. 126lbs for the Super Master) so I had him use the same layout, but substitute the Grand Master for Days 1, 2, and 3.  Days 4, 5, and 6 were all done with the #2.  But the holds were held for a maximum of a quick 1-count.  He still focused on explosive closing on the days he used the #2 for singles.  His best effort was about 1/8" off on the Grand Master.  Even this was a big improvement in a short time for him.  He said that the closest he had ever got his Grand Master before starting the singles program was 5/16".  And he knew that because he was able to get a Red Nail into the gap.  So it was probably a hair over 5/16" in reality. 

He stuck it out - I encouraged him a few times a week - and on Week 9, Day 2 he closed his Grand Master for the first time.  Again, he called me and was ecstatic with the progress he had made.  He was so excited I had to argue with him not to do another gripper workout that day to try to close the #3.  I told him it would be there (the #3) for his next scheduled workout. 

I had him start over (technically it would be Week 9, Day 3) with Week 9, Day 1 workout.  With the #3.  The next step was using his #3 for Days 1, 2, and 3.  Day 4 I moved him up to using his Super Master.  Even though he was a gripper "beyond" that, he wasn't sure he'd be able to close it more than once or twice in a workout.  He didn't have to worry, because he reported back that he absolutely destroyed that gripper.  9 attempts resulted in 9 solid closes.  I had him skip the quick 1-count holds now that he was beyond the #2. 

I gave him the option of either using the #2 for Days 5 and 6, or using the Super Master.  He chose the Super Master route and was closing it on roughly 90% of his attempts for Days 5 and 6 for a few weeks. 

He kept wanting to do more volume with the #3.  I steadfastly told him to stick to the plan.  More volume with the #3 would likely burn him out.  Some weeks went by without hearing from him and I wondered what had happened.  He finally called me (I was hoping it was THE call where he said he'd closed the #3) and said he was sorry.  But that he had to admit he had been doing more volume with the #3 than what I'd laid out for him.  "How much more?" I asked him.  "Uh...quite a bit more..."  He sounded a bit embarrassed at this point.  So I guessed correctly that he had been doing ALL the days with the #3 since the very first workout after closing his Grand Master, lol.  I laughed it off and told him not to worry.  He had burned himself out from what it sounded like.  Said it was getting hard to close his #2 in warmups.  I got another chuckle out of that.  And then asked him if he was ready to close that damn #3 yet.  An emphatic "Yes!" 

"Well, take three days off from all training.  No grippers whatsoever.  Can you do that?"  He assured me he could. 

He started Week 14, Day 1 with the Super Master to get his hands back in the game.  They responded well and he felt strong.  Week 14, Day 2 was with the Grand Master.  And he solidly closed 3 of his 5 attempts!  Week 14, Day 3 was with the #3.  He narrowly missed his #3 by 1/8".  He was very, very happy about that.  Apparently, he was happy a few months before just getting it to parallel.  So this was a huge improvement.  Days 4, 5, and 6 were done with the Super Master again.  He closed every single attempt on days 4, 5, and 6 with the Super Master.  That was a very good sign.  I knew he was close to nailing the #3 shut.


Level 6 Valued Member
On Week 15, Day 1, he came within 1/16" of closing his #3 on his best attempt.  So I changed things up again and had him exercise some willpower and use the Grand Master on Days 2 and 3, instead of the #3.  He was a good sport and did exactly like I asked.  Closed every attempt on Days 2 and 3 with the Grand Master!  I "knew" he was going to close the #3 within a week.  I could taste it.  So could he.  

Days 4, 5, and 6 I had him use the #2.  That was pretty hard for him (mentally) since he had dominated the Grand Master the previous two workouts.  But he did that and by the time Week 16, Day 1 came around he was chomping at the bit to attempt the #3.  Correction.  CLOSE the #3. 
It happened on Week 16, Day 1.  First #3 close!  He called me again and was shouting like a man who just won the lottery, lol.  I still smile thinking about that.
There you have it.  Not the fastest trip to the #3.  Some guys have closed it on the first try.  Others, like me, took 4 years to close it.  Others take longer.  Just like with any strength building endeavor, there are many ways to get there.  This one was particularly fun since I got to witness it. 
I hope this helps someone out there on their way to the #3.  Or the #2.  Or the #1.  I don't judge, it took me quite a while to even close the #2.


Level 3 Valued Member
thanks Ben, I've been staring at the #3 for years - 16 weeks seems like a NY minute.  I've been looking for my next challenge and with a hip surgery scheduled for this Sept I will have a few months of PT, which albeit may be difficult, I suspect the PT will not fulfill my addiction to iron.  but the gripper might just do the trick without upsetting my Dr. and Physical Therapist.  thanks for the workout layout and the inspiration.
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