Diversify Your Workout with Chaos and Pain Training

Diversify Your Workout with Chaos and Pain Training

There is a popular style of training going around the Internet called Chaos and Pain. It started from a blog by Jamie Lewis, and while many people have heard of this style, most do not really know what it is. And there is a good reason for that.

What is chaos and pain training?

Chaos and Pain is not really a training method as much as it is a way of life.  Chaos and Pain is about doing everything 100% hardcore, constantly using lifts with a ton of weight and doing things most other people would not do.

The training methodology associated with Chaos and Pain is to train heavy and hard all the time.  You should stick to heavy compound exercises 3 days a week.  Here is the simplest way to structure a Chaos and Pain program: Pick a squat, push and a pull to do three days a week.  You can do the same exercises each time, but I suggest picking something different for each workout.

Utilize a lot of partials on this program, load up the weights and do partial squats or rack pulls.  Do everything for low reps; triples are high as you should go.  The repetition ranges on this program are 15 singles, 12 sets of 2 reps, or 10 sets of 3 reps.  You have to figure out which one works best for you. My personal favorite is 10 sets of 3 reps.

Here is an example of a workout you could do while working on your own Chaos and Pain: Partial squats 10 sets of 3 reps, followed by 15 push press singles, and then finish up with 10 sets of 3 reps on bent over rows.

Get crazy with your program


Constantly work with weights around 90% of your one rep max. This is the most fun program I have ever done, as you can vary your workouts and do whatever you want on any given day.

Make this workout your own. Pick your favorite exercises but focus on heavy compound movements.  This program will work for beginners but allow your body to adjust, maybe start out with 2 heavy days and one light day each week. Then once your body has adjusted you can keep adding workouts until you are satisfied.

This type of program goes back to the roots of lifting, and was born out of a lot of the old time strongmen workouts like Paul Anderson and Chuck Sipes.  These guys were steroid free, yet they were stronger than almost anyone today.  Why? They trained hard and they trained all the time.

So, get it in the gym, pick up some heavy weight and then do it again two days later.  Stick to compounds with heavy weight and you will grow, I guarantee it. Many people would like to see a template of this program, which is tough to do because the program is constantly changing.


Here is a week of training you could do:


  • Partial Squats – 15 sets of singles
  • Behind the Neck Push Press – 10 sets of 3 reps
  • Bent Over Rows – 10 sets of 3 reps


  • Rest or abs


  • Front Squats – 10 sets of 3 reps
  • Close Grip Bench Press – 15 singles
  • One Arm Snatches – 12 sets of 2 reps


  • Rest or abs


  • Parallel Squats – 15 singles
  • Standing Military Press – 10 sets of 3 reps
  • Power Cleans – 15 singles

This is just an example of one way to set up a Chaos and Pain workout. The best way to set it up for yourself is to make a list of your favorite squat, push, and pull compound exercises. Then pick one of each per workout and train them with either singles, doubles, or triples.

You should also keep your rest limited or else these workouts will take a long time. I suggest around 45 to 60 seconds of rest. Give this is try only if you are ready.

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