Bodybuilding Workouts

Casey Viator’s Training Routine

casey viator
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Casey Viator was a professional American bodybuilder known for his symmetrical, and extremely well proportioned physique. He was reported to gain 63.21 pounds of muscle in just 28 days (that’s no typo…63.21 pounds!) back in 1973 in a Colorado muscle experiment.

During the Colorado experiment he trained every other day, so 14 days over the 28 day period. Apparently in the first week, he gained 27.25kg of muscle – a seemingly ridiculous number, considering it would take most normal people 1-3 years of training to build this amount of muscle tissue!

Natural Or Assisted?

According to online reports Casey Viator didn’t take anabolic steroids, performance enhancing drugs, or food supplements during the Colarado experiment – which has caused lots of speculation…

Was the experiment a hoax or did he cheat by taking steroids?

Like in most cases… it’s hard to know for sure. Some people are genetic freaks and totally break the mould, however building 63.21lbs of muscle in 28 days – just seems ridiculous!

There are arguments for and against Casey Viators results – because they are such an anomaly. That said the Colorado experiment has been repeated with other bodybuilders, where guys have built between 15-22lbs of muscle over a 6 week period – a significant difference from Casey’s results! BUT there’s no doubt that this style of training can be effective – even building 15lbs of muscle in 6 weeks is an amazing achievement regardless of who you are.

Casey Viator’s Training Routine

So what type of training did Casey Viator do?

The routines consisted of…

High intensity sets – where he would perform an ‘all out set’ – giving 100%. This type of training is similar to what Dorian Yates did – training at maximum effort and intensity for a small number of sets (1-2).

Negative reps – this is where you have a spotter (or two people) who help you lift the weight on the concentric portion of the lift BUT then you control the weight on the eccentric phase – for example lowering the bar down to your chest on a bench press. The idea of ‘negative reps’ is that you load the bar with an extra  30-40% compared to normal, this is because you are stronger on the eccentric portion of the lift. This extra percentage of weight then overloads the muscle more than usual, leading to muscle tear, and then ultimately muscle growth.

A Sample of Casey Viator’s Workout Regime…

Casey would train the whole body and do a mixture of high intensity sets, largely with high reps (20+), and heavy weight (505lb back squat!). He also did lots of negative reps – to completely overload and destroy his muscles.

Here is Casey’s 3 day workout split:


  1. Leg Presses 750 lbs x 20 reps.
  2. Leg Extensions – 250 lbs. x 15-20 reps
  3. Squats – 505 x 15-20 reps
  4. Leg Curls – 150 x 15-20 reps

Casey did these exercises after one another (with short rest periods); which is against the tradition of strength-based workouts. This will surely boost your cardio as a result.


The following exercises are done using a nautilus machine.

  1. Pullovers – 3 x 20 reps.
  2. Circular Pulldowns – 3 x 20 reps
  3. Chin ups – 3 x 20 reps.


  1. Lateral raises – 60 lbs: 3 x 20 reps.
  2. Barbell Press (behind neck) – 215 lbs: 3 x 20 reps.
  3. Lateral Raise (using nautilus machine) – 3 x 20 reps.
  4. Shrugs (using barbell) – 280 lbs: 3 x 20 reps.


  1. Bench Press (barbell) – 350 lbs: 2 x 20 reps.
  2. Incline Bench Press (barbell) – 225 lbs:  3 x 20 reps.
  3. Dips – 100 lbs: 3 x 20 reps.
  4. Cable Crossovers – 40 lbs: 3 x 20 reps.


The following exercises are done using a nautilus machine.

  1. Barbell Curl – 200 lbs: 1 x 20 reps.
  2. Triceps & Biceps exercise – 120 lbs: 1 x 20 reps.
  3. Triceps Extension (similar to pulley pushdown) – 110 lbs: 1 x 20 reps.
  4. Compound Triceps movement – 1 x 20 reps.


  1. Calf Raise (one leg) – 85 lb. dumbell 4 x 50 reps.


  1. Wrist Curls (using barbell) – 145 lbs: 2 x 20 reps.
  2. Deadlifts – 400 lbs: 1 set of 30 reps.

After a heavy day of training he would take the next day off, before then blasting his whole body again with a slightly different workout, although still applying the same training methodologies.

An Extremely Effective Style Of Training

There’s no doubt about it that the Casey Viator method of training is highly effective, it worked for him, and very similarly has worked for other world class bodybuilders i.e. Dorian Yates.

This training methodology is also advocated by lots of top bodybuilding coaches who are currently very popular in the fitness i.e. Jordan Peters, who believes that 2 max out sets per muscle, and doing full body splits – can see a beginner weight lifter gain 24lbs + of muscle over a 6-12 month period.

You may not build 63.21lbs like Casey (that’s just crazy!) but even if you can gain 15lbs of muscle…its worth trying this type of training program.

Nick Screetoni

Nick is a certified personal trainer who's been transforming people's physiques for the last 10 years. Nick's conducted over 10,000 training sessions and his brand LEPfitness is continuously growing (based in Sheffield, England).
Nick Screetoni
  • Catalin Manea Sep 6,2013 at 8:15 am

    I love doing giant sets and I prefer a HIT routine over volume training. Very inspiring post

  • george Feb 8,2012 at 12:36 pm

    Well peoples, I gave this workout a try yesterday. I will say that i tweeked it a bit. only change i did was only do one set per exercise but still kept the rep range on it. Today, I am pretty sore but the good kind. So overall this is a great routine if you want to do something different. I would say adjust it accordingly to your own specific needs.
    I will also say that Casey was definitely a beast! One set was tough enough for me and this man did 3 sets for the majority of each. The weight he used as well is outstanding!I did a mere fraction and I’m worn out.
    So in all……good routine..Casey was a Beast…and try it for yourself to see if you like it. I may do this one when I need a break from the norm…

  • arlen Jun 8,2011 at 1:55 am

    casey used to date my friend shelia in jax, fla back in the 70’s I helped him do this workout there was no rest between sets during the leg workout – there is not a pro bodybuilder today who could duplicate that workout – casey had sergio oliva on the ground about to die trying to keep up with him -one of the strongest guys ive ever trained with, arlen

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