The Bigness Project is a hypertrophy training plan for men and women designed to increase muscle size with a workout method based on lower loads, higher repetitions, minimal rest between sets, an emphasis on the eccentric part of reps and mind-muscle connection.
It is not a power lifting plan for strength, but it can be used as a periodization alternative in order to spur muscle gains, on which to build more strength later on when switching back to lower reps and heavier weights.
The plan comes in two different packages, with or without cardio plan, plus an optional nutritional plan, if desired. Stay here to find out what this plan by Jen Sinkler and Kourtney Thomas has to offer and whether it is for you.
Who Is The Bigness Project For?
This is a program for everyone, men and women, beginners to advanced, young and old. It can be used either as a stand alone protocol for hypertrophy or as a welcome periodization plan to break through strength training plateaus.
It is not a functional strength, skill performance plan, but a training method useful to achieve the greatest possible muscle gains or to set the foundations for extra strength gains, so this plan may be suitable to regular gym warriors or power lifters who need a rest from heavy lifting in order to break through stagnation.
You should also check our Lift Weights Faster review.
What Is The Bigness Project?
The Bigness Project is a purely a hypertrophy program for getting as muscular and big as possible. It is not a strength program, but it can also increase strength as a secondary side effect.
This is because strength is not only the result of an efficient central nervous system and fast twitch fiber activation but also the net result of your muscle cross section area.
The bigger the muscle, the greater its strength, anything else being equal, like specific strength conditioning and nutrition. This is because this program can also prepare the foundations for bigger strength gains later on, when you switch to a pure strength regimen.
Beginners may increase both muscle mass and strength with this program, while advanced lifter or power lifter lifter stuck in a strength plateau may find the Bigness Project hypertrophy training the ideal method to stimulate progression once more, before switching back to strength training again.
The Bigness Project Workouts
The program works on a 14/week schedule, four to five times a week. The workout sessions are designed in split fashion, with one or two body parts each session, each muscle group done once a week.
This means you must keep a schedule through the week, or else your total body workout for the week will be compromised. The first seven weeks are scheduled with four workouts per week, each taking 45 minutes to one hour to complete, while the remaining seven weeks require five workout sessions per week lasting one hour to one hour and an half each.
The techniques involved are primarily for hypertrophy, with strength gains possible as a side effect of size increase, depending on your current fitness levels and training history.
This means performing repetitions in the range of 8 to 15 with one minute rest between sets. But this is not the only factor. Time Under Tension and correct form come into play as well.
The Mind-Muscle Connection
The program stresses the importance of proper execution, making each repetition count, focusing on your muscle working rather than simply lifting the weight up and down as a task.
In other words, it is about using the weights to feel the muscle and get it working, rather than using the muscles to simply lift the weight. In order to do so, the Bigness Project method recommends to develop a sensitivity for mind and muscle connection by deliberately slowing down the pace.
This may require to reduce the weight on the barbell even further, an important aspect of hypertrophy training that may be a hard pill to swallow for gym warriors used to pure strength training.
However, this simple “regression” to lighter weights is only temporary and can greatly contribute for further strength gains down the line.
The Importance Of Slow Eccentrics
The single most important technique recommended in the program to achieve a better execution and a greater awareness of your muscle working through the set is the slowing down of the eccentric part of a repetition.
There are actually 3 different kind of eccentrics: sub-maximal eccentrics, maximal eccentrics and supra-maximal eccentrics, but the eccentrics employed in the Bigness Project are only the sub-maximal ones, as the other two types are way too taxing for your tendons and joints and always require a spotter’s assistance.
Consider that since your muscle strength is greater in the eccentric portion, in supra-maximal eccentrics you can lower a weight that is up to 30% heavier than your 1 repetition max concentric, but this is a really advanced technique for professional lifters, very stressing on your joints and ligaments .
Instead, the sub-maximal eccentrics recommended in the program are a tried and tested method that has been around for ages and is easy to implement. It works very well with moderate weights, but less so with heavier weights because the high motor unit threshold used in heavier weights allow for less slow-speed control.
Instead, with lower resistance it is possible to slow down the eccentric part by a long margin, making the muscle work harder for longer, but it may require to strip down the weight even further than a straight set performed without slow eccentrics.
This is no problem in this program. It is not about ego-boosting weight lifting records, but about working your muscles as hard as possible, with the right combination of total work volume, intensity, rest, frequency and nutrition.
Slow, sub-maximal eccentrics in particular create more micro-tears than the concentric part of a set, setting the ground for extra muscle tissue repair and extra gains afterwards.
Sub-maximal eccentrics work great for building mass but also strength in beginner, intermediate and advanced trainees, and its beneficial effects have been well documented and studied. See here and here.
The program advocates a tempo of 3 to 5 seconds eccentric and a load in the range of 60 to 85 percent of your max for effectiveness and safety. As an added bonus, slow, hypertrophy training is beneficial for your joints and tendons, an important consideration especially for older athletes and gym goers who want to get fit without getting injured.
All in all, the Bigness Project offers a sound and tested method for getting big muscles in a safe and sustainable way, preventing injury and building the foundation for further strength gains.
What About Cardio?
The cardio part of the plan is included only in the GOLD version. According to the author, cardio training in addition to resistance training can help increase muscle gains, rather than being an obstacle, improving cardiovascular performance in the process.
This is because by default hypertrophy decreases blood capillaries relative to the size of the muscles, lowering the amount of blood flow as a result.
Cardio training offsets this situation by helping build new blood capillaries, which in turn lead to better oxygen and nutrients transportation. The Cardio Calendars of the plan lay out a strategy to maximize your muscle size along with a healthy heart.
This is all good and well, but if you have your own cardio regimen in place and you know it works, you may want to skip on this information and stick to the workouts or consider the nutritional part instead.
The RP Bigness Project Nutritional Guide
This part of the program is optional, both for the SILVER and GOLD versions, meaning that you can get it with or without the cardio part, if you wish. The logic for it is that, according to Jen, the training regimen for hypertrophy is so effective that it works very well for beginners and intermediates even without any particular nutritional plan.
However, if you have already a training history and want to give your muscles the best chance to achieve their full hypertrophy potential, the Bigness Program comes with this optional nutritional plan called RP Bigness Plan.
RP stands for Renaissance Periodization, which is a diet program for athletes by world famous coach PhD Mike Israetel. This nutrition guide recommends about a gram per pound of bodyweight of proteins per day, which is about standard practice for hypertrophy, with correct guidance on macro-nutrients ratios and calorie input.
Dr Mike Israetel needs no introduction, he is a leader in nutrition and training with outstanding results both for his clients and himself, as he is also a professional bodybuilder and power-lifter holding many records.
The RP Bigness Plan diet was written more with fitness enthusiasts in mind, those who want to get as big as possible with the program, but it needs to be paid extra for.
This diet plan is structured in a simple way despite its scientific background and is easy to follow. Basically, it offers two options, one with a balanced macro-nutrient content and one that is low-carb, plus a list of recommended foods and meal planning.
Depending on your life style and job commitment, you can split your daily intake into three or four meals. By default, the plan is written for maintenance mode, which means you can expect to keep the same body weight while changing your body composition, that is more muscle and less fat.
But you can also tweak the nutrition up or down in calories and proteins to suit a more specific goal, like more muscle building or more fat burning. In addition to this, the RP Bigness Project diet plan also offers private coaching.
About Jen Sinkler And Kourtney Thomas
There are actually two contributors to this project. One is Kourtney Thomas and the other is Jen Sinkler.
It all started from a 14/week trial project designed by coach Kourtney Thomas that put men and women through their paces with a protocol that proved very effective for building muscle.
The plan was then organized and assembled in the current format by Jen Sinkler for the general public.
Kourtney Thomas is a professional trainer with an ACSM Personal Training Certification, a RRCA Endurance Running Coaching Certification, and is a NSCA Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist and a member of the National Women’s Committee.
Jen Sinkler is a RKC and KBA Kettlebell Instructor, a USA Weightlifting Olympic Lifting coach and holds Onnit Academy, Progressive Calisthenics, TACFIT, Primal Move, CrossFit and DVRT (Ultimate Sandbag) coaching certifications.
Jen played rugby for 13 years in the US and now runs a gym with her husband, The Movement Minneapolis, where she coaches using a highly flexible, customized method that suits a person best each day.
What’s In The Program?
The Bigness Project comes in digital format only. It can be downloaded immediately and viewed on your phone, tablet or PC. It is offered in 2 versions, silver and gold. Both versions include 4 common components, but the gold version offers the extra “Cardio Calendars”.
There is also the optional RP Diet Bigness Plan which can be added after you get either the silver or the gold package.
User Manual PDF – The bread and butter of the project with the information for building bigger muscles, the theory of hypertrophy training and the methods used in the program. Also included is information on flexibility and stability.
Exercise Glossary – A photo manual with accompanying detailed explanations for each of the 95 hypertrophy exercise in the program so you know how to implement them correctly.
The Training Program – A 14-week program manual that explains the schedules, workouts, repetitions, eccentrics and rest times.
The Video Library – A 20-video collection of tutorials that goes hand in hand with the workout and glossary manuals. The videos break down every exercises for a better understanding of form and execution.
The Bigness Project is a well laid out and feasible hypertrophy training plan that teaches you how to increase your muscle size in the shortest possible time. It is not a pure strength plan, though strength gains are also included as a bypass product of the increase on muscle mass.
This hypertrophy protocol can be used by anyone for muscle gains or even by power lifters who need to switch to lighter weights and hypertrophy mode for a while in order to break through adaptation and get even stronger later.
The Bigness Project is also very safe and kind on joints and tendons, as it implies the use of moderate loads, emphasizing proper form and a slow tempo, making it suitable for older people too.
To sum up, if you are looking for a safe and practical approach primarily to sustainable muscle gains with strength increases as a secondary bonus, this program is very well worth considering.