Greyskull LP: The Best Hypertrophy Strength Program for Beginners

by Nader Qudimat
Updated June 11, 2023
Hypertrophy and strength
Experience Level
Follows a conjugate periodization.
8 weeks
Simple and follows linear progression
Made for beginners
Uses only basic exercises 

Bottom Line

GreySkull is created by John Sheaffer, also goes by Johnny Pain.

It's a 3 day beginner powerlifting program that stands out from other programs because it uses linear progression.

John created this program with weight progression from workout to workout, like how other linear progression programs would. 

It stands out as it allows for more volume by using AMRAP sets.

Make sure you make a copy of the spreadsheet. For how to save spreadsheet instructions on mobile, click here, or desktop, here. 

Click  Here For Spreadsheet 

When you're just starting out, it can be overwhelming to choose a program. 

But John Sheaffer has made it easy for you. 

He created the GreySkull LP program, aka GSLP, for beginners. 

It's designed with linear progression so weight is progressed from workout to workout.

It incorpartes higher volume by using AMRAP sets, allowing it to have more volume than programs like StrongLifts or Starting strength. 

This is why the GSLP program is growing in popularity, because it improves on what the other popular strength programs fall short on. 

GSLP Program Overview

The GreySkull program starts where programs similar to Starting Strength and StrongLifts have, but finishes with more volume. 

The weight progression increases from workout to workout, and allows for high volume since it uses AMRAP sets. 

It's the perfect program for beginners but if you want to see what Johnny thinks the difference is between beginners and intermediate, see this archived post 

It uses a straightforward 3 days per week plan but the volume and intensity are varied weekly to help maximize muscle growth and strength. 

The difference between GSLP and the traditional strength training programs like Starting Strength is that it tries maximize aesthetics without leading to fat gain. 

And the program can be customized and tweaked for lifters and athletes with any goal. 

GreySkull Spreadsheet Setup

Using the “Setup” tab, input your starting weight and do this for each of the main lifts. 

Use 5 for pounds and 2.5 for kilograms.

You'll find your starting weight with either a weight you can get for 8-10 reps or use the tab with the starting weight calculator.

Start light as you'll progress fairly quickly in this program. 

How many reps must be achieved will be found in the “rep target” value in order to add weight to your working sets. 

It can be adjusted but it can be left as it is. 

How much weight you add after each workout is in the “increment” value, which happens when you achieve your rep target. 

This can also be adjusted if you like. 

Input the reps that you achieve in the green cells, which are your working sets. You'll see that you have less working sets for deadlifts. 

Make a copy of this spreadsheet to run the program more than once.

Put the date in the title for easier record keeping and put in your new maxes. 

GreySkull LP Program Spreadsheet: Phrak's Variation

This 6 week variation can be used indefinitely. 

It includes chin ups or rows in each workout.

Check out Johnny Pain's GreySkull LP book to make the best out of his program. 

This spreadsheet is edited and improved by Lift Vault. 

GreySkull LP Spreadsheet

Warm Up

You should use 5-10 minutes to walk or perform any light activity until you feel warm. 

Once you do that, perform a few light sets of the muscles you're about to workout. 

You should do at least 3-4 warm up sets before your actual workout, and then follow the program's workouts. 

You can do 1-2 warm up sets before a specific exercise. 

Warm up sets do not count towards the working sets, unless the program specifies it. 

GreySkull LP FAQ
What Is GreySkull LP?

GreySkull LP is a beginners strength training program designed by John Sheaffer.

It uses principles and the foundation of popular strength training programs but adds more volume to maximize muscular size and development. 

It uses linear progression and it uses more volume than the traditional strength training program. 

The additional volume will help prevent fat gain and increase muscle growth, while allowing it to be used by any lifter or athlete with any goal. 


Who Is GreySkull LP For?

GreySkull LP is designed for beginners who are just starting out but want to gain as much muscle as possible while increasing their strength. 

It can be used for any goal, whether it's losing weight, gaining muscle, or conditioning.

What About The Neck Training?

Johnny is a big fan of neck training. 

In the original program, he had sets for neck training to be done for every workout. 

He would have 4 sets of 25 reps to be done, and he would never go under 100 reps. 

You can still do direct neck training with the new program but if you don't have a harness then you can use a very light plate (like 1-3lbs to start with) and do neck extensions. 

Check out the video below for neck exercises:

Is GreySkull For Me?

If you're trying to increase the big 4 compound exercises, increase strength, lose fat and / or increase mass then this is the program for you. 

Signs of Burnout?

It's possible to overtrain with any program, especially if you're not eating or recovering properly.

Here are some overtraining signs to look out for:

  • Pain at joints like knees, elbows, shoulders, etc.
  • Soreness at distal portion of muscle.
  • Like feeling sore near joints.
  • Lack of proper sleep
  • Suddenly feeling sick or a cold coming on- immune system is compromised.
  • Loss of libido
  • Depression

Ignoring these signs will eventually lead to a plateau and will increase chance of injury.

If you're already experiencing these symptoms, take it easy and avoid pushing yourself for at least a week or two.

As a beginner though you're unlikely to overtrain yourself with a simple program like this. 

GreySkull LP: Johnny's Proper Strength Training Program

The GreySkull program is the perfect strength / hypertrophy program for beginners.

It uses the basic exercises while maximizing on volume to help with mass and strength. 

Use this program whether you're trying to make the most out of your compound exercises or maximize aesthetics and get strong. 

by Nader Qudimat

Forged by iron and cold steel, I'm Nader, a mid-30s natural bodybuilder. Once a 100lb skinny guy, I've transformed into a 200lb muscular athlete with over 15 years of lifting experience. Today, I leverage my transformation and extensive experience to guide countless individuals on their fitness journeys.

Click here to check out my 12 year transformation: Natural 12 Year Transformation

Search This Site

About FitFrek

FitFrek operates as an independent platform, offering comprehensive workouts, programs, routines, guides, and unbiased reviews to accelerate your progress. We pride ourselves on our honesty, delivering straightforward and candid insights. FitFrek does not offer medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment services.

FitFrek © 2013 – 2024 All Rights Reserved
Exclusive Site of Nader Qudimat
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram