Joe Rodonis Discusses His ‘House of Volume’

TSS 57 | House Of Volume


  • Don’t forget about Tonal’s Labor Day Promotion.
  • Tons of new content:
    • House of Volume
    • Strength Training 101
    • Full Body Deep Stretch
    • Legendary Leg Day
    • Pickleball Power
    • Core Control
    • Compound Clinic
    • Muscle Activation Warmup
  • How to speed up your recovery so you can crush your next workout.

All this plus we talk to Coach Joe Rodonis about ‘House of Volume.’

Watch the episode here


Listen to the podcast here


Joe Rodonis Discusses His ‘House of Volume’

Welcome to episode 57.

We have a big episode. We’re talking to Joe Rodonis again. You might’ve seen the notifications when you checked out the app or logged onto your machine that House of Volume has arrived. They’re claiming it’s the toughest Tonal workout ever.

Are you going to do any plugs before we get in? I wanted to see if you are going to do any other of your little talks before we get into this because I have questions for you. You started this so I want to know when I can talk about House of Volume.

We’re going to talk about it later in the show so maybe we’ll talk about it there. Let’s do that.

We’ll wait. I’ll be patient.

Before we get to everything, we want to remind people, especially if you are a person who’s following the show and hasn’t pulled the trigger on a Tonal yet, you’re on the fence. They have a Labor Day Promotion going on. For a limited time, you can get $250 off your Tonal.

It’s the best sale you’re going to have. This is a limited time so make sure that you take advantage if you are on the fence. This is getting you all of the things that come with Tonal. That’s your personalized weight recommendations based on your strength. That’s your unlimited content option so you hit any goal that’s real-time progress tracking. You can track your performance metrics and that will keep you motivated. There is much more. All of the awesome things that Tonal brings are what we are saying.

They remove the thinking so all you have to do is the lifting. All lifting, no thinking.

Let’s say you do miss the Labor Day Promotion. Tom, what should they do?

There’s still the Friends and Family Discount. You can refer somebody to Tonal. They’ll save $125 and you get $59 off. You get a month free.

What if you were a person who doesn’t have a friend or family to recommend you? Do you know what you do then? You use the discount code THECLIPOUT at checkout. You won’t get the $59 but if you have it, then you are the friend. You’re on the fence. You don’t have a friend recommending it to you. Labor Day is over. Use THECLIPOUT at checkout.

We’ve got you covered in three different ways. What’s coming up?

We’ve got lots of new content to discuss. I want to get into this House of Volume discussion. It’s going to be weird because we’re going to talk about it before the interview with Joe Rodonis. We’re going to hear your thoughts on it.

We’ll hear it straight from the house’s mouth.

We have all about recovery we’re going to hit. We’re giving you all of the details as well.

Before we get to all that, shameless plugs, don’t forget we’re available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, and Google. Wherever you find a podcast, you can find us. While you’re there, be sure to follow so you never miss an episode. Maybe leave us a review. It’s always super helpful. You can also find us on Facebook at You can watch these episodes on YouTube so swing on by, the name of our other show. There’s all that. Let’s dig in, shall we?

Let’s do it.

Joe’s House of Volume has begun. It is Tonal’s toughest program yet.

This is to recap muscle building and they are saying it is the most difficult because of the number of reps and short rest periods. You’re going to know all about why it’s so difficult, who should be doing it, why they should be doing it, when they should be doing it, and all of that from Joe later on. Tom, I want to hear from you what your thoughts are. You did your first one. You hopped right in there.

I’ve done day one.

How did it go?

It was fine. It was the upper body. I ended up lifting 17,000 to 18,000 pounds.

It was a lot.

On the high end of what I’ve been at, I finished Pyramid Pump. Before that, I did Extreme Accumulation so I’ve been doing things with heavy lifting. That’s about where my upper body stuff has been living. It wasn’t appreciably more yet than those other things. It’s about in the same zone and then it’s leg day.

You’re a little scared.

There’s a lot going on there. Normally on a leg day, even on the intense things like Extreme Accumulation, Go Big or Go Home, or stuff like that, you have that first set that’s intense and then the other two sets are not as bad. This looked to me more like three first sets.

We’re going to have it from Joe directly later but it seemed to me that the whole idea was you are trying to use this program to break through a plateau and get to the next level. You want to hit not only the heavyweights but also want to have larger rep ranges with short rests. That’s going to add up to a lot of movement and pounds. I liked the fact that it didn’t seem like it was overly long, at least the first one. It was right in line with the rest of the ones that I’ve been doing.

I was down there for 1 hour and 20 minutes or something. It was like 48 to 50 minutes or something like that. Looking at day two, I’m wondering, “Is he roping us in? Is he doing the old rope-a-dope?” Day one is like, “This isn’t so bad.” He doesn’t want you to bail on day one or not even start so it’s like, “I’ll make the day one tough enough.” It’s to feel like you’re doing something tough but not so tough that you’re like, “Absolutely not.” All of a sudden, it’s day four and you’re like, “Sweet baby snow peas.” You’re a week in and you don’t want to stop. It seems like the thing he’d pull.

It also could be that the first week is tough but not over-the-top tough because they’re the same thing. They want to have you build up to it, not because they’re trying to rope-a-dope but because they’re trying to pull you and get you to build up to it.

Having done Pyramid Pump, it did that. By the end of some of those sets, it was twenty reps, which is the most I’ve ever had to do on Tonal.

That’s going to be this one too. I remember him saying that it was going to be in the 12 to 20 rep range and a very short amount of rest. Did you stick to the amount of rest that they had listed or did you take extra? There’s no judgment here. It’s a judgment-free zone. I’m just asking.

I don’t feel like that’s true but I shortened the rest. He was doing an intro and I was like, “I got it. Let’s get moving along.” I hit the Skip on the intro. Sorry, Joe.

I’m sure Joe can handle it.

We had to do an interview and I was trying to get things moving along. I skipped the intros into the different segments. I did the appropriate amount of rest except for when I made it shorter. I don’t know what the opposite of judgment is but that’s what you should have for me. I will say the number of reps I had on day 1 was 16.

You might hate day three because that one’s going to be an emphasis on shoulders. Good luck to you. I’m very curious. We’ll talk about this during the next episode. We’ll check in with Tom again but since it was day one, I wanted to get your feel for it. It seemed like you didn’t struggle any more on this one than you did on the Pyramid Pump. The reason I say that is because I don’t want people to be like, “It’s the hardest workout ever.” They’re then scared.

I get that there are people out there who want something super challenging but you also don’t want to scare people off of these things. If I hadn’t already been doing it for a while and done other things, hearing that, I would hard pass.

Coach Joe goes into this but this is not for beginners. This is an advanced workout. This is not something you should do if you are a beginner. This is something you do if you’re maybe going from intermediate to advanced or solidly in advanced, not as a beginner.

You will know all about this in-depth with the man himself, Joe Rodonis in the interview for this episode. If you’re intrigued but, on the fence, he will answer all of what we hope are your questions in the interview so you want to stick around for that. Under a new content, we have Strength Training 101.

This is a combo workout between Coach Tim and Coach Kristina. This is all about mastering quality movement patterns because that leads to efficient muscle building. This is a full-body workout. You’re going to practice squatting, pressing, and vertical pulling movements. You’re going to work through moderate reps and manageable sets to carve out your muscles while improving your form.

If you’re new and you’re intrigued by something like House of Volume, this is a great place to start, hence the 101. Muscle Activation Warmup is also available for people.

This is great for not only new folks but people who need a warmup before they jump right into a big workout. This would be good to do before you do House of Volume. Preparing for a big strength workout with a full body warmup, you’re going to feel primed and ready to tackle the big lifts. That’s with Coach Kristina.

Think of it like starter House of Volume or Apartment of Volume. We have to keep the volume down because there are neighbors on the side of the wall. There will be volume but we’re going to cap it. Full Body Deep Stretch.

This is going to release the tension in your hips, shoulders, back, and calves with deep restorative stretches. This is an advanced session. That means you’re going to hold each stretch for longer durations and that’s going to help relax your muscles while improving flexibility. That’s going to help you increase your range of motion, which regardless of what your goals are, should be one of them. Whether your goals are to get stronger or faster, that’s going to help you. Flexibility is going to help with all of these things. It’s also by Coach Kristina.

Legendary Leg Day. Judgment-free zone, let’s say you’re a sociopath. You’re like, “I want to do leg day all the time. It’s all I want to do.”

Coach T or Coach Tanysha got you. This is a lower-body workout that’s epic. Hinges, squats, and lunges. It’s all going to give you stronger legs starting with a giant circuit of 4 exercises repeated 4 times. That’s going to give you lots of volumes and build muscle. Your glutes and quads are going to be on fire.

Pickleball is a sport that came out of nowhere that people seem to be obsessed with like jai alai in the ‘70s.

Pickleball Power Conditioning might not sound like something you need in your life. You’re like, “I’m not doing pickleball. It can’t be that hard. You’re just conditioning.” Let me tell you. That class will sneak up and bite you on the ass in the best way. I took this live because I went to do a class. I didn’t have anything in mind. I was just like, “I’ll do a class.” I walked up to the machine and Coach Woody was doing a class live. I was like, “I’ll try it.” It kicked my ass. There are so many plyometric intervals in this but it’s moving so fast the whole time. You’re going to sweat and you will be conditioned. This is great for people who are wanting to be better at sports. It doesn’t have to be pickleball, I’m telling you.

On the bill is Core Control.

This is ten minutes in and out. It’s going to crush your core. You can’t get better than that. That is with Coach Ackeem.

Compound Clinic Deadlift and Bench Press.

This is a perfect class to learn to lift like a pro. Maybe you don’t know the foundation for the deadlift or the bench press. Start here. This is with Coach Tim. It’s going to teach you all of the things you need to know to do it and it’s going to do some accessories in another block that’s going to help you get all of the stabilizing muscles ready to go as well.

If none of that is good enough for you and you are impossible to please, there’s always Custom By Tonal.

Don’t forget, you can share your custom workouts. You can create them and share them with anybody. For all of you, personal trainers out there, or people who like and know their stuff, you can share your workouts. It’s super easy. You go into the app. You tap, explore, filter, format, Custom By Tonal. It’s easy to do.

I wanted to point out the Tonal blog, How To Speed Up Muscle Recovery So You Can Crush Your Next Workout. It is super important. If you had a rough day but you don’t want to feel like you’re letting yourself off the hook, you got to get it together quickly. You want to be safe.

Sometimes, you’re sore. Maybe after your first day of House of Volume, you might be super sore.

This is day one. I might be talking about a good game like, “Day one, I guess it was okay.” The next morning, I woke up and was like, “Bring me dry shampoo and spray it all over my body. I can’t move to the shower.”

I had my little incident in 2023 when I was hit by a car walking along. When I came back to doing Tonal, because I hadn’t been lifting any weight, it was humbling. I was sore for several days. That can happen. As long as you’ve been working out, and you lift and lift, you’re not sore anymore even if you’re doing big heavy lifts. When you are back in that place of being at the beginning, it can catch up with you. The important thing to do is start with your nutrition. I know it seems counterintuitive.

You need to eat well to lose weight but if your goal is to get stronger, you may not be as concerned about that. If you have good protein and carbohydrates, make sure that you have them after a workout. You’re going to be able to recover faster by ingesting that. It’s not just protein. Protein will help build your muscles but in recovery, you have to have the carbohydrates. Please do not avoid the carbohydrates. It’s super important. A combination of the two, that’s where the magic happens after a workout.

Here’s the next step that I’m a big fan of. Sleep.

That’s important too. You can’t get four hours of sleep and think that the next day you’re going to feel better. Your body has to have deep sleep to have tissue repair.

What’s the first thing I did after my very first Tonal?

You slept on the ground right in front of Tonal. He was like, “I’m tired.” I was seriously worried about you. It was hard to do my Tonal. I had to step around you to do it.

You’re advanced.

Not then.

It was an advanced movement for you. You could also practice Active Recovery.

This seems counterintuitive movement will help you feel better but it does because it gets the blood flowing in the muscles, which helps flush out the waist that’s in your muscles from being torn up. When I say Active Recovery, I’m not saying go hard. It’s a recovery that happens to be active. That could be yoga, maybe some cycling, walking, and even bodyweight exercises. Heck, you could even do a full-on Tonal workout in recovery mode.

Here’s the thing too. Tonal is always recommending your next workout. If you’re in between days, at least for me, it’s almost always offering some de-load or active recovery thing. Do that thing. You got the machine so you don’t have to overthink it. What is step four?

It’s myofascial release. In other words, foam rolling. This works so well. Whenever I am super sore and I usually get sorer from running on a regular basis, using a Theragun, some kind of percussion gun, or using foam rolling, all of those things help so much. There are a ton of great suggestions on the Tonal. They’ll pop right up after your workout.

There are tons of stuff for you. Coming up next, we’re going to talk to Joe Rodonis. He’s going to go in-depth about House of Volume, their newest program. They’re saying it’s the toughest. He will let you be scared of it but just the right amount so you will not do it. Here we go.

In this episode, joining us from Tonal instructor extraordinaire is Joe Rodonis. Joe, how’s it going?

What’s up? It’s good to be back.

It’s good to have you back. I heard you were going to start with some burpees. Is that right?

I already did 30 so if you could join in together as a team, I’ll do this to get the call off.

Before we started the interview, Joe was like, “You’re not going to make me work out, are you?” I was like, “The audacity of you to get mad if we made you. How many people have you made work out in your life? You’re on Tonal so it’s increased exponentially.”

I’m going to have to stand up for Joe. He makes suggestions. We make decisions. That’s on us.

Thank you. It’s an idea to get the blood flowing but we can have this conversation too for that as well.

We stick with that but I do want to talk to you specifically. I’ve heard some real stories about this next program called House of Volume. I heard that this is the toughest program ever on Tonal.

Based on the grin he got.

I saw that.

That’s what they’re saying. I didn’t say it. I don’t know who said it but it’s probably true. I tested it. I’ve done it. I’ve had Troy do it. People are going to enjoy this one a lot.

They’ll enjoy the fact that they’re not enjoying it.

Those are usually my kind of people. They like the craziness. This is going to bring the pain.

What is what are we talking about here when we say tough? What is happening?

I heard it’s so tough that at one point, there’s algebra. Is that true?

I don’t know. If there was, I couldn’t pass my program.

He’s like, “Some burpees and then some trigonometry, go.”

The only math I know is sets and reps.

That’s my kind of people.

I’m curious what you folks have heard about it. Have you folks seen the program?

We’ve not.

We just heard, “Watch out. Proceed with caution.”

We’re told to be afraid.

Are you folks going to do it before I talk about it?

I’m not going to commit to doing it until I know what it is. It’s like Tinder.

We at least got to see a picture.

Give us some idea of what we’re in for. I did Extreme Accumulation. How worse is it than that?

That’s awesome. It’s fairly similar but a bit of a different style. House of Volume is also an accumulation program so it’s going to be high volume. His name implies. You’re working in that set range of usually about 12 and up to 20, which is going to be our sweet spot for things. It’s a little bit more going back to my wheelhouse, which is strength training and performance training. A lot of this template is what I have done for years.

I was getting serious about weightlifting. This was during COVID. We’re building a gym out in my previous gym and we were messing around with this style of training. It’s a very sports-specific football style. It’s heavy compound lifts. That’s the difference. We’re going to be following a format of focusing on your compound movements, first and foremost. It’s a heavy emphasis on bench presses, squats, deadlifts, and overhead presses. You’re going to have these supersets within the first block which makes it very challenging.

You’re going to hit muscle failure in some of these things. The sequences are going to be very demanding. We then go into blocks 2 and 3. They’re going to be very focused on the accessory work that feeds in through that main compound lift. The idea is that you are going to build strength and muscle but it’s also going to improve functionality, speed and power, and work capacity.

I never want to train just to train. I want to train to improve people’s performance. This sets you up and builds such a solid foundation in all of your compound movements that you’re going to develop such confidence. Going into whatever program you do after this should almost be like a cakewalk. It should allow you to hit another level to dig a little bit deeper and get more gas in the tank. That’s pretty much the general format.

Who would this program be for? Is this not necessarily a good beginner program or is this something for somebody focused on weight loss versus hypertrophy? Are different goals the goal?

This is a truly advanced program so I would not be touching this if you’re a beginner or even an intermediate. I’ll clarify it. Usually, training capacity as an intermediate or beginner user, you’re probably training weightlifting 2 to 3 days a week. That’s usually a good sweet spot for people because you’re trying to build up your tolerance for weightlifting. You need about 48 hours to recover between sessions and muscle groups that you’re heading.

You get full recovery in. You’re still working on your body getting used to the squad, the deadlift, and these movements. As you build a tolerance and increase your volume and frequency, this is a program to build up to but this is truly an advanced user. What you’re trying to do with this and where I would use it is once again this is an accumulation program. To clarify that, you usually have two types that are pretty common like the accumulation phase and the intensification phase.

Accumulation is about building volume. You’re going lower weight or high reps. That’s your 12 to 20. Intensification is where you’re working 6 to 12 reps. That’s way heavier weight and lower rep. This sets you up for an intensification program. Where I would be using this is if you hit a plateau in your weight lifting, your bench press is stalled out, and your weights have stalled out, you’re not gaining any momentum or traction yet, you’ve been doing too much of the same thing, it’s a great thing to do.

This happened to me. I was training for hypertrophy for months. I was putting on muscle size and isolating muscle. That’s a great way to build muscle but when you think about hypertrophy, you’re taking two-minute rest periods. The downside to true hypertrophy training is that you get a little bit slower. You lose explosiveness and work capacity. If I asked you after a hypertrophy program to go into 20 reps with 30-second breaks in between, you’d be dying and losing your mind. You’d be like, “This is terrible.”

I would be dying at the beginning, for the record.

It’s a tough thing. I face that. I was doing hypertrophy and going back to strength training. I was like, “I am gassed on these sets.” I remember one of our clients was saying, “I’m noticing that at set 4 or 5 on a front squat, I’m losing energy. I’m not able to recover quickly enough in between sets. I got 90 seconds in between but I can’t catch my breath. I got to hit the pause button.”

This is a great program to use to get your work capacity back up so that when you go back into an intensification program, you’re going to be recovering like that. You’re going to be doing 20 reps and 15 reps sets. When you go back to eight, you’re going to be like, “This is a walk in the park. This is easy.” This gets you through that plateau. It sets you up for these next phases of the program. It’s like a catalyst to get you to a higher level.

If you find yourself at the intro segments going, “Come on,” you’re ready.

You jazz up.

You’re like, “Stop the talking, get to the next thing.” I had a question you were talking about if you feel like your weights have plateaued. I don’t know how other people are. I pay no attention to my weight. That’s why I got the Tonal. I’m paying you, folks. You folks keep track of what weight I’m lifting. I don’t pay attention. If you aren’t paying attention your way, I can’t think I’m the only guy out there or person who doesn’t pay attention. If you feel like your strength score hasn’t been moving, is that another good metric if you’re at a plateau?

In Tonal, it’s always tracking. You can go back retroactively and see workouts and each lift, and how it’s performing, especially in a program. You can see like, “My bench has been this way. It’s been at this power output.” You can see your small PRs. If you’ve been plateauing or you have to reduce your weight, it’s usually a sign of overtraining. We call it the law of diminishing returns. You’ve been doing something for too long so your body is so used to it. It’s gotten so adapted to the stimulus that there’s no longer any improvement.

You see a downslope happen, especially for seasoned and advanced lifters. The incremental improvements that take place are incredibly subtle, small, and difficult to get. When you’re brand new to training, you’re going to see progress. You’re going to be climbing that ladder and moving in weight. You’re going to be like, “I’m shredding. I’m getting nasty with these numbers. Everything’s working.”

Training has a way of humbling you the longer you do something. You see it in pro athletes and professional weightlifters or powerlifters. They will spend an entire year working on small adjustments to gain 5 pounds on their squat. They’re already tapping out and maxing out to their potential and then you’re doing all this work to get incremental improvements. You have to have these periods of adaptation. It’s something I did want to talk about.

When you're an advanced lifter, think about training in phases. And the more you lift, the more specific they should get. Share on X

What’s important to remember, and this is what I look at, is the training phases. When you’re an advanced lifter, think about training in phases. The more you lift, the more specific they should get. That’s why I talk about accumulation and intensification. You go into something like extreme accumulation or House of Volume. You build up work capacity and volume but if you did only accumulation programs for five months, all that you’re going to do is increase global fatigue in the body.

At some point, you are maxing out. I’m from a 20,000-pound workout to 30,000, 40,000, or 50,000. Where does it stop? We’re doing 100 rep sets. It becomes ineffective. You have to get to a spot where you have built work capacity. Let’s go down in reps but up in intensity. You’re going to see results start to compound again. You’d like to reset yourself up into a new cycle.

In a perfect world, when you’ve completed House of Volume, where do you go? What do you do next? Using your logic, you’re saying you probably shouldn’t go into another accumulation thing.

You can. Two months is what I recommend if you’re doing accumulation, depending on where you are. I would do it for 1 month with 2 tops. I then would move into something like a power-build one. It’s a great example of intensification. We’re working 6 to 8 reps. I’m asking you to go for pure power and raw strength. You’re lifting as heavy as you can with 1 minute or 2 rest in between. That’s a performance program that would complement this beautifully.

Many questions come up from that. I don’t know that it’s even easy enough to answer in this kind of setting because I realize there’s no straight line for everyone across the board. When you talk about training in phases, that’s what people get so confused about because they just want to do a thing. Tom talks about it all the time. He doesn’t want to think. He just wants to show up to the machine and pick a program.

To your point, if you’re always doing the same thing over and over again, regardless if you’re lifting heavier every time, you need to switch things up. You talked about intensification and accumulation. This is for a person who is trying to build strength. That’s the direction you’re talking about. That’s who this is for.

This is building muscle and strength.

The reason I specify that is that I like to do those things but I have to balance it. I’m always trying to get lean. You have to balance those two things if that’s your goal. Not that you’re saying this but some people think there’s a one-size-fits-all and there isn’t because it depends on what your goals are. Your whole point is you need to be looking at that.

It’s so true. When I speak about this stuff, I want people to be very conscious of the decisions that they’re making. What I’ve noticed through my years of training is people get frustrated when they’re like, “I’ve been doing this work and I want this result. I’ve been putting in the time.” I’m like, “Yes, but your work doesn’t match the result that you want.” That creates frustration.

If you’re doing a HIIT program and it gets lean but you’re telling me that you want to develop tons of muscle in size, 1 plus 1 doesn’t equal 2 there. You want to match it up. It’s like, “I’m on the right path. I’m working towards something that’s going to get me a desired result that I’m deciding.” What you say is true. This is what I tell people.

I’ve looked at training almost on a spectrum. Never lifted in your life from a beginner to a pro athlete that’s serious and Mr. Olympia. They’re at the highest level of their field, doing the craziest stuff in the biggest niche that you can imagine. It’s so specific and dialed in. That’s your pro CrossFitter, Mr. Olympia, or NFL running back. They’re so locked in with their style. You then have the general population. That’s in here. Where are you on that scale?

You could be the person who says, “I like to do different programs because variety gets me jazzed up. I like the variety and that’s what keeps me moving.” Amen. You keep on doing what you love to do because, at the end of the day, it’s about movement and activity. If that’s what’s getting you going and gets you excited, do that all day.

There’s a thing that I like to talk about with this stuff where this person that’s been doing it is like, “I’ve been having fun. I’ve been doing a lot of programs. I go HIIT, hypertrophy, strength, and then boot camp.” There comes a point where that person in their journey, and maybe they’ve been doing that for years, go, “I want to focus on my deadlift. I want to take it to another level or get a plyo push-up.” The more specific you get with an outcome that you want, the more you have to stay in that lane. You got to get like, “I am going to hone in on strength training.”

I’ve been doing hypertrophy for eight months to develop a certain area. Mr. Olympia does it for a year to develop something. That’s why you think about training and phases where you’re like, “I’m going to hit these core compound lifts all year.” You get so good at it but you change the style, where you’re going into high rep to intensity. You change the set patterns and variations but you’re still staying within a wheelhouse. That’s where you get the greatest specific result.

This program specifically is personal to you. What is your favorite element about it and why?

It’s a very true story. This was a big moment for me, to be honest. This was during COVID in 2020. You folks remember it was a dark time. A part of me enjoyed it because New York was so quiet. I was going for runs in Manhattan. Nobody was out. I love that element but at the beginning of COVID, when we heard that we were on lockdown, I was in my studio apartment in New York. There was one day when I had the bathtub going because I had no laundry.

It was two weeks in. I had no laundry so I had to wash a pair of shorts. I fill up my bathtub and I’m going to wash these shorts in the bathtub. I forget that it’s on. The bathtub runs over and the water starts to go down. I sprint. I’m like, “I’m going.” The water already started to spill so my feet went out. I land right on my side. I fractured or broke my rib. I’ll never know but it’s the side of my rib. I couldn’t go to the doctor because everything with COVID was going on.

I called some friends of mine who happened to be doctors and they were like, “If it’s fractured or broken, it’s all the same. If you can breathe, it’s not serious in that way. You’re going to have to wait it out.” We’re talking about 1.5 months or 2 months of zero activity. I couldn’t run, jump, bodyweight, squat, or raise my arm. I couldn’t do anything. I lost a bunch of weight and everything I was working on.

When I started to get healthy again, the gym that I was at started to build this weight room during COVID. Since nothing was open, we were like, “We’re going to build a weight room in here.” I had my coaches and mentors at the time. A good friend of mine is still Alonzo Wilson. He’s a football-based coach. He was like, “We’re going to weightlift and throw some stuff around.” I had never run deadlifting, honestly, to that point. I was shying away from it. He was like, “We’re going to do this stuff.”

He introduced me to deadlift to bench press. We would do this every single week. It was as simple as that. His style was super simple. It was like compound movement, a 315-pound deadlift. You’re going to do 15 reps and a 1-minute break. You’re going to go right to the bench press. You’re going to do 205 pounds for 10 reps. We’re going to go back for 30 to 40 minutes.

I did that style of training and what’s in this program for three months. I put on probably 30 pounds of muscle within that time. From there, it set me up for the rest of the year. It got me from 195 pounds up to 215 to 220 pounds. I was putting on muscle, getting faster, and lifting better. The performance went through the roof. I felt unstoppable training this way.

It got me pumped up. I want to try it.

Not the breaking the rib part.

It lights a fire under your belly though when you can’t move.

I do know that. Although I bet you had to sit longer than I did. When you’re injured and you can’t do the things you’re used to being able to do, it is an awful feeling. I don’t like it.

It’s not great but it made me so much that I stood in it for two months. I was like, “When I get back, I am going to destroy everything and take it all.” I went nuts.

It would have to be demoralizing to sit there and watch yourself lose ground like that.

It was terrible. I should pull up some old videos. I did a video of myself at that time when I was getting back into it. I look like skin and bone. I was starting over.

You could have done one of those scam internet things like before and after. It’s like the after because you started with the knowledge and the base of being very in shape. You weren’t like me and you did it for three weeks.

You had a foundation built.

Do you have any suggestions for people who are approaching this program?

How do they do it?

If you did Extreme Accumulation, I always recommend this with four-week programs. In general, take a week off or at least de-load where you’re lifting and recovering. Do things like yoga and meditation. Refuel and get yourself ready 100%. When you go into this program, you have to follow it to a tee because it’s very intense. You’re doing four days a week on this and that is all that you need. I would not add much to it other than mobility units in between.

Format-wise, it goes up or lower, upper total body. You need time to recover. I would go a Monday upper, Tuesday lower, Wednesday rest, Thursday back, and then Friday total body. What I like to do with that total body is give myself a day’s allowance. If I’m not feeling good on Friday, I feel still a little fatigued, which is possible, push it to Saturday. Give yourself a grace period. I do that for myself. I try to be very diligent with the schedule but if your body’s not responding, take a day.

Always take a day if you haven’t slept or stuff like that. Recovery from this is going to be crucial. To get the benefits of this, you have to perform and fuel at your best. You have to be mentally clear and sleep right. That’s the thing about programs like this. When I’ve worked with clients, there’s so much more to this than just the physical.

What I like about this and with difficult training is that if you think about it, this is going to be a consistent variable. This is what you should do. I’m disciplined with my schedule. Monday, I’m lifting. Tuesday, I’m lifting. Thursday, I’m lifting. Friday, I’m lifting. It’s a non-negotiable. Knowing that gives you a chance to check in with all your other habits that are away from your training because this workout is going to be tough.

It’s going to expose everything. If you slept poorly, you’re going to feel it. If you had a couple of margaritas and celebrated a birthday, you’re going to feel it. If you do not eat right and you are under-fueled, you’re going to feel it. If you ate the wrong thing, fried foods or fast food, you’re going to feel every single bit of that. I love to do this to allow myself to check in with that stuff.

You can make adjustments. It makes you want to make adjustments because if you’re sticking to this program, you’re being disciplined with it. Who wants to go into a workout knowing they’re going to feel like garbage by doing these things to yourself? It forces you to lock in on these other areas and pay attention. You get dialed in and get an excellent understanding of how those things can impact performance.

When you talk about how you are performing at your best, is that related to the fact that you’re going to be lifting to exhaustion? You’re going to go to failure whenever you do this program. Is that the idea?

You are going to be lifting to failure. You also want to lift at your best potential. What I mean by that is to get the benefits of building muscle, you have to hit progressive overload and push your max weight. A mentor of mine said, “If you want to get better at a sprint, you have to sprint it 100%. We can’t sprint at 70%. We’re not going to break through. You have to train a full force. Otherwise, we’re going to stay here.”

To do that, you have to be dialed in with your food, nutrition, mentality, and everything. Get yourself calm so you can go in with a good state because it is that demanding. If we’re not doing that and we’re training when we’re under-fueled, we’re not going to be able to lift the same weight that we’re capable of. We’re not going to hit progress. You’re going to stall out and it might do you a disservice. That’s why all this stuff is so important to be locked into.

I’m curious how you approach lifting heavy on Tonal. I’m not one of those people because I’m not even remotely close. I know there are naysayers out there who give side eye to the 200 pounds of weight on Tonal. I was wondering if you would like to take this moment to slap them down verbally.

I wish that everybody could feel what this feels like. Before I got into Tonal and before I touched it, I was like, “There’s no way.” I’m in this gym deadlifting and at the time, hitting 500. I’m like, “What the hell’s that going to be?” I warm up at 225. I touched that weight the first time and I was like, “This is not 200 pounds. It feels heavier than 200 pounds.” I had a friend of mine that I used to coach with. He’s never used it and I had him bench on Tonal. He’s a seasoned weightlifter. He’s been doing this for decades.

He was like, “Let’s max out 200 pounds on the bench.” He couldn’t get a single rep up. He wraps 225 for 5 reps. He could not get a single rep up. He does CrossFit daily. This man knows how to lift. I’m like, “There is a difference with how this weight feels.” The other component is this. The big compound was a deadlift that hit thrust and already yelled. It’s close on the bench. You can get so many benefits based on how you sequence.

There are two things that I tell people. One is power generation, for example, on the deadlift. You would not be lifting at your heaviest weight to generate power. You do that at a much lower percentage so you can drive the way up as quickly as you can. To generate power like a power build program, you’re not lifting your heaviest. That’s not how you generate power. We’re looking for velocity so it’s quick. It’s like how you would do a sprint. It’s fifteen seconds. You can get that with 200 pounds. It’s more than you need.

TSS 57 | House Of Volume


The other thing is sequencing. This program does that. The late day on this is intense. You are hitting the same muscle groups back-to-back. It’s like hip thrust to RDL. It’s like a squat to a Bulgarian split squat. You fatigue the muscle in the same way while lifting heavy with minimal rest so you’re building muscle in that way. That’s a super challenging way to do it.  Are you folks looking forward to this? I can see it in your faces.

You said squat into a Bulgarian split squat.

It’s nasty. I’m trying to tell you people what’s up. This is real. We’re going barbell deadlift to barbell hip thrust, RDL to Bulgarian to pull-over crunch.

That’s going to be effective, for sure. There’s no way you do those moves back-to-back and there’s not a thing happening.

We’re trying to build superheroes over here. That’s my business.

Crying is happening.

I have heard you say before in your classes that training needs to be harder than the game. I feel like based on what you said, I understand that but what does that mean to you?

Where I first heard that is it was two places. Alonzo Wilson, my mentor, used to say that all the time. He was like, “I want this training to be more difficult than the activity that you’re about to do outside of it.” Think about the general population. I sometimes think about my mom. This is an intense program, I get that but in general, the principal holds.

My mom is a recreational fitness user. If she wants to go hike somewhere that she’s never been to and it’s a 10-mile hike, I’m going to train her in a way so that a 10-mile hike is a walk in the park. Don’t you want to enjoy that hike? Don’t you want to not be thinking about your lungs and legs giving out and all this stuff? You have to train at a higher level and more demanding level so that when you go on that hike and the activity at your training, it’s like, “This is a breeze. I’ve done this a million times.” I can enjoy the experience.

That’s the practicality. You can take it higher and higher. I also heard it in my favorite book called Legacy. It’s about the New Zealand All Blacks. I’ve talked about this book before. Do you know who the All Blacks are? No? They are the rugby team in New Zealand. They have dominated the sport for decades. Pure dominance.

This book is about their culture and how they train. They train from a youth level up to their professional team. They’re training the same methodology. When you’re a kid in their intramural programs like at age eight, they’re grooming you to go to that pro level. The pros are what they’re talking about there. They’re grooming these kids and that’s their philosophy. The training has to be harder than the game. It’s as simple as that.

I take and extrapolate it from a life perspective of, “I want this to be one of the more difficult things that I do in my day.” I want a reference point. When you go into a meeting that is a little intimidating, you’re like, “This is a big meeting to me. I’m going into this interview and I’m a little bit nervous about this.” I want a reference point like, “I know that this is tough but I have felt this feeling before in my session. I did some stuff I didn’t think that I could do but I proved to myself that I could do that.”

The more that you can repeat that, you can pull references out on a dime. You’d be like, “I’ve been doing this for years. I’ve been doing difficult things for years. I’ve been doing things that I didn’t think I could do for a long time. This is no different than that. This is the same feeling that I’ve had in there. This is just a different discipline and atmosphere but the logic is the same.”

We go into it one step at a time but you have the confidence. That’s all that it is. Whatever you do and however you like to train, I want people to do this type of program so that whatever they do after this, they can crush it. I want them to take their stuff to a different level so that it’s a little bit easier and you can experience things in a different way. That’s what that’s all about.

That’s inspiring. There’s a lot to be said for that. A lot of kids need to hear that. One of our kids is leaving for college and it’s been a rough time. They need to hear that it’s okay to do hard things because that’s what makes hard things easier in the future. It’s like any other muscle. You have to do hard things to get better at doing hard things. Everybody needs to hear that.

It always grounds me. If you do things that you’re good at, where are you going from there? You do things that are easy. You see it all the time in training where people are like, “I’m comfortable here.” I’m like, “Sometimes.” We train at different levels of intensity. You’re not going to get your butt kicked every day. I don’t do that. You shouldn’t do that but there’s a sweet spot where you have to raise the game a little bit. It’s a competition within yourself.

I view it as, “I want to get better. I want to prove to myself that I can do things.” To me, that’s the point of life. I’m in no race other than the race by myself. I’m looking at it like, “I’m here. I want to get here the next day. If I take a step back, that’s cool but I want to keep climbing the mountain a little bit.” Doing tough things like this reminds you of who you are and what you’re capable of doing. That translates into every aspect of your life.

You’ve talked a lot about hard work. What do you do to take it easy on yourself?

To chill? I go crazy in the gym and training. I’m honestly relaxed outside of it, which is funny. You folks don’t see a psychopath on the Tonal. That’s what you see. I do so much. My self-care routine has gotten more on-point and deliberate. I’ve been focusing more on things like meditation and my mental health as I’ve gotten older, even more than the physical. I have been noticing that environmental stressors play a larger role in how my impacts are performed than anything else. Every 3 to 4 weeks, I book a float tank session. Are you familiar with it?

I am.

I may have.

I love it. I highly recommend it. Sensory deprivation is what it is. It guides you into deep meditation and allows you to hit theta state, which is a half-awake and half-dream state. You get to this point. You’re in there for an hour. By the time you get out, you feel so recharged and relaxed. I noticed that I go so long without taking care of something from a meditative place that my mentality gets a bit negative. My self-talk is a little bit down, dark, and negative. The second that I do that, it becomes much more optimistic.

Problems that I was maybe creating in my head or stress that I was creating are solved right there. It wasn’t an issue with self-inflicted. That’s a big thing for me. Honestly, a lot of quality time for me with my fiancé and the dogs. We do a lot of things where we going for walks around Central Park, hiking, escaping into the mountains, watching movies, and doing a lot of cooking. These are things that I love to do, a lot of food and silence. I cannot stress that enough. I live in New York City and I’m like, “Stop with the noise.”

Do you notice that when you’re stressed out, the noise is more grading? I feel that way.

Can you still hear it in the sensory deprivation tank in New York? Are they pretty sealed?

It’s sealed.

I didn’t know if anything could seal out the sound of New York City. That’s a lot to ask.

It was so tall when they did it. It’s so deep into the building.

His tank is inside another tank. It’s like the turducken of sensory deprivation tanks.

All I know is you talked about how you’re building superheroes and this building where there’s the sensory deprivation tank. I feel like you’ve got a layer somewhere in New York City.

I’m trying to build one.

The mental health part is very important because otherwise, he’s building supervillains. What makes you feel more inspired in this moment?

Honestly, I’ve been getting older. I just got engaged.


Thank you. That’s the answer. It’s family to me. What I do is truly inspired by Tina and this family. I want to spend as much quality time together and give them the best life possible. It’s not about me. When I was in my twenties, it was about I wanted to do what I needed to do. I was like, “I want to get this PR and lift this much.” I do not care anymore. I see myself as a vessel. I want to do things to help other people. The community has been inspiring the hell out of me.

I’ve been getting so many messages from people and seeing what they’ve been doing and the progress that they’ve been making. That in and of itself fires me up to a level that I can hardly explain. It makes me want to level up my game as a coach to deliver you folks even better experiences to help you even more. It’s a back-and-forth relationship big time.

It’s nice to hear that the people doing your programs can give back to you. It’s that symbiotic relationship instead of a parasocial relationship.

No question. That’s what always got me inspired by this. I was in healthcare for a long time. I was like, “I want to help people on the front. Let’s get proactive with taking care of people’s health and taking control.” To see people grabbing onto this stuff like listening and being coachable, improving their lists, and in turn, improving the quality of their lives is amazing.

You said you were in healthcare. I’m like, “You still are.”

In a more helpful practice aid, I like to think.

Preventive. That’s important too.

You moved up in the assembly line.

Front center.

You mentioned that you enjoy your silence but what songs do you listen to when you work out? What’s your go-to?

Do you know who NF is?

You keep on doing what you love to do. Because at the end of the day, it's about movement and activity. Share on X

No, I feel so old.

I would highly recommend NF. It fires me up every day. Careful by NF is a song I got on loop. It’s rap. It’s hip-hop but it’s a different style. I relate to this guy because he’s an introvert. He’s very authentic with how he raps. It’s a little bit more about the hard work and the silent battles that you’re winning. Listening to that stuff, I get amped up about it. Do you know who else it goes to? Korn or Incubus. It’s heavy stuff. Also, All Time Low, Fall Out Boy, Big Sean, Jay-Z, and Lil Wayne. From there, it’s everything you can imagine. It’s a wide range.

Is there one particular type of food or food item that you feel is your go-to?

People who know me know this answer. It’s two things, burritos daily. It’s nature’s perfect food.

I don’t think nature produces a burrito. There’s not a burrito tree.

Can you imagine how wonderful that would be?

That would be a pretty cool tree, though.

I’d save so much money.

What was that movie where the food came out of the sky?

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. That’s a good movie. Don’t steer clear because it’s a kid’s movie. It’s funny.

I think you’d like it.

I like those types of movies. I saw Super Mario.

It’s way better than Super Mario. It’s way funnier and smarter.

We’ll dive into it. I love that kind of stuff. Anything Pixar-like style, I’m fully here. The answer is burritos and turkey burgers. That’s my die.

Here’s the question. Do you ever make a turkey burrito?

Yes, Tom.

A tukito.

A turkerrito. All the time. I cannot tell you how simple I am with food. It’s so funny when people ask about my meal plan and stuff. They’re like, “You must weigh your food. You’re so calculated.” “I’m not.” I take ground turkey or beef and sizzle it up in a frying pan. I package it all up and store it. I get rice and store it. I get broccoli or Brussels sprouts, green beans, and lettuce. You grab that stuff, put it in a wrap, and make a burrito bowl and rice. You’re good to go.

Are you making turkey and beef or are you mixing the turkey and the beef?

They’re separate but sometimes I do mix them.

Sometimes, on a very special day, they get together.

I don’t know if there was a way to mix the lean with the other.

Honestly, there’s no rules here. You can do whatever you want.

It’s madness over there.

You have to understand, Joe, that Tom does not allow his food to touch.

You can’t have burritos.

No. I love burritos but Tom cannot have burritos.

As long it has got two things in it. If it’s meat and cheese, I’m good but beyond that, no.

He likes the chicken quesadilla.

Tom orders sides.

I order off the kid’s menu, not in terms of quantity but in terms of selection.

I feel like you’re missing out on a whole world of food combinations.

I am.

He knows. He’s got a weird texture thing. In all sincerity, it’s something that he hates that he doesn’t like more food. He’s not one of those people that won’t eat it. He just can’t eat it.

It legit grosses me out.

That’s fair. For me is seafood with a lot of vegetables. There are some things that I cannot do.

I’m with that with every vegetable ever.

A lot of guys are like that. A lot of men do not even eat vegetables.

I can’t get them down. I wish I could.

He does eat a lot of Ragu though. That’s how he gets his vegetables.

That’s like pizzas of vegetables. It has tomatoes in it.

It’s the closest I’m going to get. I eat way better than I used to. It’s like if you go to an AA meeting. You don’t yell at them for smoking. You’re like, “We won the big battle. We’re going to let him.”

Choose your battles. What are three things that you do before you start your day? How do you start your day?

Honestly, it’s pretty simple. I start a pot of coffee every morning. Nothing’s getting done without this coffee. I feed Dumpling who’s our little Maltese because he begs for food and won’t leave me alone. I have to feed him. I then train Lena. We’ll take her to the park and play fetch. It’s like clockwork. I scoop the food, feed Dumpling, tie up Lena, put a backpack on, and grab the coffee. We’re out. I slam a protein shake and we are moving on with our day. In fifteen minutes, we’re ready to roll.

Is the one dog getting jealous that the other dog is getting the training? The other dog gets to go on a trip every day.

You start to understand that everybody does stuff different. But there's some drivers that are very consistent that you can't break. Share on X

Our dog would be sad about that.

Dumpling is 8 pounds. That dude wants to be inside. He wants to eat his food and be left alone. He’s a grumpy old man.

We had one of those.

How do you wrap your day up? How do you shut down when the day has come to a close?

Usually, it’s a couple of ways. Honestly, we cook at home. Tina and I are big with cooking. As soon as she gets done with her day, we cook together and then enjoy dinner together. We usually watch a movie or end the day going for a walk with the dogs around the park but it’s always been quality time with us. Let’s slow down. We disconnect from technology and we don’t think about work. We talked about our days. It’s as simple as that. We might read a book, go to bed, and get ready for the next day. It’s simple.

What’s one thing that you want to leave the fans of Joe Rodonis with?

This is front of mind. I’ve been paying attention to clients that I’ve worked with through the years that have seen a great deal of progress from performance to aesthetics to locking in like, “I got my nutrition right.” They’re dialed in. I noticed it didn’t start that way. There was a starting point for these people. How did they get here? I’ve seen it for years.

If I have to tell people one thing that I recognized as a coach that’s the differentiator between people who are recreational and exercising, playing around with it, versus the people who get dialed in and see dramatic results for the long-term, it’s coachability. They listen. There is humility in these people where they ask questions all the time and then absorb them.

They make adjustments immediately. They’re taking feedback in real time. There’s not an ego about it. They’re not too scared to ask. They don’t think that they know everything. They come up and they’re like, “I’m paying attention to this. I don’t know if this moves right.” They’re getting feedback and an answer. They then apply it right away.

That’s how you grow. That’s how I’ve done it. You are a sponge and that’s truly how I’ve learned in training. I want to look at all the best people that I found. I would pick their brains and be like, “How do you do it? How do you eat, sleep, and train?” You would find these commonalities between all of them and then you start to understand key principles.

Everybody does stuff differently but there are some drivers that are very consistent that you can’t break. As soon as you dial that down, if you can lift with a sense of humility, get rid of the ego, and be a student, you’re going to fly. The people with a fixed mindset are not going anywhere. They’re staying right there and I see it all the time. They’re like, “No, I don’t need that. I got it. I know what I do.” You stay where you are. I’ve been doing this for many years.

The most important thing to know how to say is I don’t know. Everybody starts not knowing. You have to have the strength to say, “I don’t know. Let’s find out.” As a supposed to, “I’m going to make something up so I sound in the moment like I know what I’m talking about.” That is a path to destruction.

It’s dangerous stuff.

You approach every conversation like there’s something for me to learn. I don’t care who the person is, honestly. Here’s a crude example. I remember being in business and we were talking to the CEO. He was like, “If I talk to the janitor of the company, there’s something to be learned from that janitor. There’s something that he or she does that I do not do well and vice versa.” That’s what you have to do. Continue to be a student.

Joe, thank you so much for spending time with us. Before we let you go, let everybody know where they can find you in all the places.

You know I’m in Tonal. That’s where we’re doing all the program and crazy lifting. Instagram is where I’m doing most of my activities. It’s @JoeRodonis.

Joe, Tom never answered your question if he was going to do the program though.

Let’s revisit that time. Are we doing it or not?

I’m doing the Pyramid 1.

It’s the Accumulation.

Is he deflecting, Crystal?

He is.

I did Extreme Accumulation and then I’m doing the Pyramid Pump. I thought there would be more pharaohs involved so I felt a little misled.

You haven’t answered the question though.

Can I roll right in there or have I done too much if I do those back-to-back? I went right from Extreme Accumulation and Pyramid.

That’s perfect because you’re doing power. Power into the accumulation is good.

Are you doing Pyramid Pump 1?

Yes. I didn’t want to go straight into 2 because I was afraid I wouldn’t understand all the plot points.

It’s fair. That was designed as a progression. That was one of the first programs we did. There was 1 so it’s from intermediate to advanced. We guide people’s progression. If you’re doing Pyramid Pump 1, you should be fine because that’s three days a week. You’ve had time to recover after Extreme Accumulation.

Is it three? I thought it had me doing four.

Pyramid Pump 1 is three. Pyramid Pump 2 is four.

Maybe I’m doing the second one. I did it backward.

He doesn’t know what he’s doing. With this re-center, eat some burritos or quesadillas.

I’m going to have a nice cup of burrito.

Meditate, have your coffee, take a week, and then let’s jump into this bad boy.

I will give it a shot.

There we go. We got the yes.

If I did Pyramid 1, I would be able to accomplish anything because of girl power.

I appreciate that.

Honestly, let me say this so that people understand. Women are the strongest people on this planet.

Thank you, Joe. That is true.

I’m not kidding.

I’m not either. We deal with a lot. I don’t know if you mean physical strength or mental strength but I’m going to take it.

I mean all the above. I’ve been in a room of 100 people and every time, women outperformed the men. They don’t complain. They listen and do things perfectly. Men are like, “I’m doing push-ups.” It’s a half-rep. I’m like, “You did nothing. You did zero.” You know what it’s like.

I’ve been in rooms with those people.

Let's get proactive with taking care of people's health and taking control. And to see people grab onto this stuff into listening and being coachable and improve their lists and in turn improve the quality of their life. Share on X

I will try the House of Volume. I keep wanting to say House of Pain because of my ’90s alt-rock.

You might be in a little pain.

We will report back to see how that goes.

I’ll look forward to this.

Joe, thank you again so much for your time.

It was a pleasure.

There you go. Joe answers all the things you need to know about House of Volume. You can check in with us on the next episode to see if I’m still alive or if I’ve passed out, which I’ve been known to do.

You’re too much of an “I must finish” guy.

I’m stubborn about that stuff. If I push it now, I won’t do it at all but once I start it, I’m going to finish it. Until next time. where can people find you?

People can find me on Facebook at They can find me on all socials and the Tonal leaderboard, @ClipOutCrystal.

You can find me on Twitter @RogerQBert or Facebook at You can find the show online at Don’t forget, you can watch these episodes and their entirety on YouTube. That’s it for this one. Thanks for reading. Until next time. Keep lifting.


Important Links


Love the show? Subscribe, rate, review, and share!

Join The Superset community today: