The Candito program is a 6-week program that can be categorized as a strength peaking routine. Each week is themed and has workouts tailored for that specific goal. The general structure is as follows:
Week 1 - Muscle Conditioning (5x)
Week 2 - Hypertrophy (5x)
Week 3 - Linear Max OT (4x)
Week 4 - Heavy Weight Acclimation / Explosiveness (4x)
Week 5 - Intense Strength Training (x)
Week 6 - Deload (optional)
If you are coming from simpler programs with straightforward splits that you can cycle on a weekly basis, such as a 5/3/1-based routine, Candito’s program may appear somewhat idiosyncratic and complicated. However, using periodization helps prevent weakness and will help you maximize strength as efficiently as possible. Read on for a detailed guide on the program itself, and how to best execute it with the help of the Boostcamp app!
The breakdown of the weeks makes Jonnie Candito’s program a periodization routine, meaning the program changes from week-to-week to tackle a specific goal. While many view periodization as unnecessary until you reach advanced levels of lifting, Candito sees its value for late novices and intermediates wanting to overcome plateaus and progress further. Each phase is designed to follow the next, priming you to lift with maximum efficiency while making strong gains in both the strength and mass aspects of training. Escaping the dichotomy of either powerlifting or isolated hypertrophy training helps create an integrated and comprehensive program that will help you take your training to the next level.
Candito makes the keen observation that something resembling a 5 day bodybuilding split is not optimal for building strength, and as such sets up the weekly structure of his program based on an upper/lower body split. This allows for a greater focus on compound movements that provide superior overall stimulation compared to a series of isolation exercises. The upper/split will prioritize the quality of execution over sheer volume; the benefits of this are twofold: reduced likelihood of injury, and a more succinct and focused routine.
Additionally, the benefits of periodization are also evident when it comes to your mindset. Varying weights and rep ranges not only helps keep hitting the gym interesting, it also tackles psychological barriers that may form due to mental fatigue or excessive comparison of your performance on consecutive workouts. By constantly altering the types of lifts and the weights at which you lift, you are encouraged to just lift the weights that are prescribed without misguided worries concerning your strength. Continued motivation and active engagement with your workout progress is just as important as the lifts themselves when it comes to designing a program that is effective, fun, and sustainable in the long run.
Make no mistake, Candito’s program is intense. As such, it is recommended for people with a considerable amount of experience in weightlifting. We recommend Candito’s program for those who have been consistently engaged in proper weight training for at least a full year. The intensity of the routine will likely prove to be too much if you are a beginner, and we would recommend something a little less complicated to start with. For some brilliant entry-level programs, be sure to check out 5/3/1 for Beginners and the Greg Nuckols programs, both free on Boostcamp!
Ready? Find a detailed guide below on how to use Boostcamp to best execute the Candito Strength Program!
Boostcamp download & onboarding
Customize your schedule
The Boostcamp 5/3/1 for Beginners workout is designed to help you perform the routine correctly while tracking your progress conveniently. Use the interface to select the days you will hit the gym. The Candito Strength Program has a daily routine, so you should be ideally hitting the gym everyday!
Calculate and Input your weight parameters
As the Candito program is anchored on the three major power lifts, you will be asked to enter your 1 Rep Max (1RM) for each of the lifts. This is the weight you are able to perform 1 rep of the bench press, squat, and deadlift respectively. The name suggests that this is synonymous with the absolute maximum weight you are able to perform a single rep of the movement - while this is technically true, make sure the 1RM you enter is measured when doing the lift with proper form.
In the lower half of the screen you will see a 1RM calculator and outputs an approximate 1RM for you based on your current routine. To get a more accurate idea of your personal figures, simply go to the gym to find out the 1RM you are comfortable with. Overestimating your 1RM will more than likely make the workout too difficult, risking overtraining and hampering your progress in the long term. Be patient, start slow, and gradually build your way up! We suggest starting with a fairly conservative 1RM weight to help your body adapt to the volume and intensity of the routine.
Begin your journey, and reap the rewards
After the onboarding steps, simply select the corresponding day and week you are working out and follow the listed exercises. Don’t forget to record your weight and reps after each set on the rightmost column of each row! Workout notes can be added to each day, and you may also customize by adding your own exercises using the “Add Exercise” function at the end of the list. Simply select “Complete Workout” when you are done, and all of your progress will be recorded.
Proper form is paramount to getting the most out of your workout, while minimizing your risk of injury. Click on each exercise for videos to help you maintain proper form and posture through each movement.
Jonnie Candito FAQ
Properly preparing your body for the physical intensity of the workout is extremely important in order to get the most of our work exercise and reduce the risk of injury. Prior to beginning the workout of the day, make sure you do some lighter sets to prime your body and mind for the exercise, lowering the chances of pre-exhausting your muscles. We recommend the use of a reverse pyramid warmup scheme, with lower weights and higher reps to start and then gradually increasing weights and while lowering the rep count.
Candito pays particular attention to the psychological factors that come into play when one is engaged in an intensive program to gain strength and mass. Many phases of the 6-week routine are designed for volume, which are a little less strength intensive and should provide the opportunity for you to recover from the more demanding sections of the program. Also note that the optional 6th week of the program is designated as a deloading week, so we would definitely recommend incorporating that 6th week if overtraining is a concern for you.
Needless to say that as a whole, Candito’s program is very demanding - adding any extraneous exercises or workouts outside of the core routine and the optional accessory lifts would be unnecessary, and put you at greater risk of injury or fatigue.
Through his own experience, Candito has come to the conclusion that the upper body can take more training frequency than the lower body. Squats and deadlifts are compound movements that activate a large group of muscles over an extensive range of motion, resulting in routines that are physically and psychologically challenging. On the contentious tradeoff between intensity and frequency, it is Candito’s view that more effective training for the lower body comes from work at a higher intensity compared to higher volume at an inadequate level of intensity. As such, the program is designed to incorporate 1-2 lower body days in any given week.
That certainly isn’t to say that one can go to town on upper body lifts and not expect a fair amount of fatigue. While the smaller range of motion of these lifts do often result in a more expeditious recovery period, the intensity and frequency trade off applies nonetheless. A greater number of upper body workouts per week will necessarily mean that you will have to modulate the intensity accordingly, or you risk overtraining and hampering your progress!
Consume a meal with plenty of protein and carbohydrates a few hours prior to training, and ensure that you have a high-protein meal within hours after your workout to kickstart recovery and growth. Make sure you get sufficient sleep to help with muscle recovery, which is especially important if you want to see progress on an intense routine such as the Candito workout split.