Jacked and Tan 2.0: You NEED to Know Who Cody Lefever Is

Last Update: 19 August 2021

Jacked and Tan 2.0 (JnT 2.0) is a 12-week program designed by Marine and powerlifter Cody Lefever to maximize size and strength, resulting in a body that is jacked and (hopefully) tan. 

Origins of Jacked and Tan 2.0

After getting jacked and tan while an active duty Marine in Afghanistan in 2014, Cody Lefever, shared his newly established Jacked and Tan training program [1]. Despite being largely experimental in nature, Cody picked up “a whole mountain of personal records” in just 15 weeks.

After sharing this protocol, people quickly began implementing Jacked and Tan into their own training with excellent results. But as Cody admits, this program was not without flaws.

Following more experimentation and planning, Cody released the revised edition, Jacked and Tan 2.0 (JnT 2.0), in 2016 [2]. Since then, this program has quickly become one of the most beloved training programs among powerlifters, bodybuilders, and fitness enthusiasts.

Figure 1. Cody Lefever’s impersonation of Sylvester Stallone’s Jacked and Tan physique [2].

Who is Cody Lefever?

A long time Marine, competitive powerlifter, and highly-regarded founder of the GZCL Method, Cody Lefever has established a massive following for his training programs, coaching, and extensiveness of free resources [3].

Acknowledging his powerlifting accomplishments, Cody put up impressive totals in the 2014 IPL Worlds and the 2015 USPA American Cup, at 1,432lbs and 1,466lbs, respectively [4, 5]. He has shared his programs on his blog, Swole at Every Height, in addition to the Reddit community. 

Why You Should Try Jacked and Tan 2.0

Do you want to be jacked and tan? If so, then this program could be perfect for you. Although, to be fair, it may not help much with your tan.

First and foremost, you need to consider your training goals. This program was not designed specifically for powerlifting or bodybuilding. While it may benefit both powerlifters and bodybuilders, it is a hybridized approach with a greater emphasis on hypertrophy and work capacity than peak strength development [2].

Therefore, if you are looking for a highly specific program as competition prep, this is probably not for you. Otherwise, this offers a great way to incorporate more variety and make serious progress.

Jacked and Tan 2.0: Resources

Before explaining the programming in detail, here are some of the most important resources that you will want to review and understand to implement JnT 2.0 into your own training program.

Swole at Every Height

Cody’s blog, Swole at Every Height, is the most comprehensive resource of everything related to JnT 2.0. Much of the methodology and terminology is derived from the GZCL Method, so reviewing it may help with your understanding. 

Here are top resources you need from his website [1-3]:

Reddit Guide

The most widely used resource for JnT 2.0 and the GZCL Method, Reddit offers countless resources. Further, Cody is very active on the platform, adding new content and responding to questions and criticisms.

To explore the program and learn more from Cody, check out these links [6-10]:

Jacked and Tan 2.0 Spreadsheets

To save you time and energy, we have included the best JnT 2.0 spreadsheets. The Compendium, created by Cody Lefever, includes example exercises and workout days for the entire 12 weeks of programming.

The second spreadsheet serves as a comprehensive JnT 2.0 template that allows you to input your weights from every single set. Together, these two resources offer you the tools needed to plan and track your workouts [11, 12]:

Jacked and Tan 2.0: Methodology

To understand how to properly execute the JnT 2.0 program, it is important to understand some core concepts and nomenclature within Cody Lefever’s GZCL Method.

The GZCL Pyramid

The GZCL Method utilizes a pyramid format, dividing exercises into three categories of lifts [3]:

  • T1: Main Movements
  • T2: Primary Accessories
  • T3: Secondary Accessories

T1 Exercises

T1 exercises are primary movements. Since JnT 2.0 follows an upper/lower split, these are commonly squat, deadlift, bench, and overhead press. However, other variations may be used such as a front squat, deficit deadlift, slingshot bench, or push press.

While performing JnT 2.0, your priority will always be on performing your T1 lifts as programmed. In the beginning, this features high volume and intensity. As such, rest times between sets should be 3-5 minutes to optimize performance.

T1 exercises are always programmed off an established Training Max (TM) and each workout will work towards a designated Rep Max (RM). For example, a 5RM is the maximum weight that can be lifted for five reps [9].

T2 Exercises

Traditionally in the GZCL Method, T2 exercises are also compound movements, however their intention is to complement the T1 exercises. In other words, it’s the strategic use of exercise variations to support the primary lift. 

Additionally, due to the lack of back-specific training in this program, it is very common to incorporate back exercises. However, some people will use an optional fifth day to focus primarily on the back.

The program calls for 2-3 different T2 exercises, becoming your T2a, T2b, and T2c. The T2a exercise is programmed very similar to your T1 exercise; it will also follow specific programming variables based on an established TM, with rest times typically ranging from 2-3 minutes [3].

However, the T2b and T2c exercises will be programmed differently, with the ultimate intention being maximum volume and hypertrophy. These implement Max Rep Sets (MRS), which are AMRAP (as many reps as possible) sets at a prescribed weight.

What is unique about these MRS sets in the JnT 2.0 program is that MRS sets must be performed with 30-60 seconds of rest between all sets [2].

T3 Exercises

Similar to T2 exercises, T3 exercises will begin by establishing a RM and then performing MRS sets to maximize total volume. This will result in four total sets performed at the peak weight for each exercise (same as T2b and T2c).

The first set is done while establishing the appropriate RM. The following three sets are MRS sets that must follow rest guidelines (30-60s between all sets).

Each workout typically contains four T3 exercises, although 3-5 exercises are acceptable. This allows for further flexibility in programming.

The key difference with T3 exercises is the intention. Since they are (typically) not primary, compound lifts, they are excellent for accessory work. This is the perfect opportunity to address weaknesses or target specific muscles as desired.

Guides for T2 and T3s

This is highly variable and dependent on your goals. However, if you need help determining what exercises may best meet your goals, review this Reddit guide for selecting exercises to overcome weak points [13].

Further, examples of T2 and T3 exercises include the following:

T2: 2″ Deficit Deadlift, Single Leg Press, Chest Supported Row, Close Grip Bench, Incline Bench, DB Shoulder Press, Back Step Lunge, V Grip Lat Pull Down, Push Press

T3: V Grip Cable Row, Leg Curl, Leg Extension, DB Hammer Curl, Machine Lateral Raise, Rear Delt Fly, Pec Fly, Cable Tricep Push Down, Wide Grip Lat Pulldown, EZ Bar Curl

Linear Progression

A core component of the GZCL Method, Linear Progression (LP) plays an important role in JnT 2.0. All T1 and T2a movements will follow LP throughout each 6-week block [2]. In fact, each 6-week block will end with a 1RM attempt.

However, secondary T2 exercises (T2b, T2c) and T3 exercises do not follow the standard LP protocol. Because they are focused on volume using MRS, constant progression of weight is not the objective.

Further, due to the sheer volume of the program and the lack of deload weeks, the T3 reps will be reduced linearly throughout the entire program. While this may coincide with increased weight, that is not a requirement.

Therefore, while T1 and T2a exercises are programmed very specifically following the principles of LP, secondary exercises are much more flexible. 

Programming Cycles

JnT 2.0 divides the 12-week program into two 6-week blocks. Within each block is a 3-week mesocycle. 

T1 Programming

In every workout, you will establish a RM and then perform prescribed drop sets according to your TM. The volume is very high in Mesocycle A (weeks 1-3), but decreases as weight and intensity increase. Both Week 6 and Week 12 offer the opportunity to work up to a 1RM.

From Cody’s blog, this is how the 12 weeks will look for T1 exercises [2]:

Mesocycle A:

Week 1: Work up to a 10RM then perform 70% of (TM) x 6 reps x 3+ sets

Week 2: Work up to an 8RM then perform 75% of  (TM) x 5 reps x 3+ sets

Week 3: Work up to a 6RM then perform 80% of (TM) x 4 reps x 3+ sets

Mesocycle B:

Week 4: Work up to a 4RM then perform 82.5% of (TM) x 3 reps x 3+ sets

Week 5: Work up to an 2RM then perform 85% of (TM) x 2 reps x 4+ sets

Week 6: Work up to a 1RM that you can confidently double if you wanted

Mesocycle C: 

Week 7: Work up to a 6RM then perform 85% of the RM x 3 reps x 5+ sets

Week 8: Work up to an 4RM then perform 85% of the RM x 2 reps x 5+ sets

Week 9: Work up to a 2RM then perform 85% of the the RM x 1 reps x 5+ sets

Mesocycle D: 

Week 10: Work up to a 5RM then perform 90% of the (RM) x 2 reps x 3+ sets

Week 11: Work up to an 3RM then perform 90% of the (RM) x 1 reps x 3+ sets

Week 12: Work up to a 1RM then rest

T2 and T3 Programming

The first T2 exercise (T2a) will always be programmed based on an established TM. Although not the same as the T1 exercises, it may be very similar. To see this in practice, it is recommended to consult the spreadsheet in the Compendium [11].

However, all other T2 and T3 exercises will follow a prescribed structure. Each week has a designated number of reps required to establish a RM. 

Once the RM has been determined, three additional sets will be completed at this weight. These must be AMRAP sets with only 30-60s between each set. This is your opportunity to maximize volume and hypertrophy.

The following table displays the number of reps required for each exercise in each week of the 12-week program:

Deload Weeks

There are no deload weeks in the JnT 2.0 program. As seen above, there are rest weeks for T2 and T3 exercises, as well as a decrease in total volume, which are intended to help manage fatigue.

However, it is an extremely taxing program that requires a full commitment to recovery modalities, namely sleep and nutrition. Without a complete commitment to recovery, performance may be limited and your body may not be able to adapt to the demands.

In a review of the JnT 2.0 program, one Reddit user discussed the struggles in reaching target rep ranges and the overwhelming fatigue [14]. In the comment thread, fellow Reddit users with experience completing JnT 2.0 were quick to point out that recovery must be prioritized to sustain the program.

One Reddit user also commented that this program requires a lot of autoregulation to manage the intensity [15]. It is important to understand that this framework is flexible and can be adapted as necessary. Understanding your limitations is important to train optimally and sustain it for an entire program. 

Reviews and Criticisms of JnT 2.0

Reddit Reviews

Among the many people who found great gains, one Reddit user shared a comprehensive review of the program along with some fantastic strength increases [16]. In addition to lifetime PRs, the flexibility and exercise variety were huge bonuses. 

One key criticism, however, was that the linear progression of T3 RMs made it very difficult to advance in weight. This is because the volume was already so high, that reducing reps from 14 to 12, for example, did not significantly reduce exercise difficulty, and therefore prevented advancement in weight.

Another lifter commented on the difficulty of the program, especially during the first three weeks, but found it to be largely beneficial [17]. They also stressed the importance of understanding programming, as they made the mistake of omitting an MRS set in T2 and T3 exercises from each exercise.

As evidence of the adaptability, a “former moderate level Olympic lifter” adapted JnT 2.0 into a 7-days per week program, using periodization to manage fatigue [18]. For inspiration on adapting the JnT 2.0 program into a general program, this offers a great example.

Suggested Programming Considerations

Due to the high volume of training, featuring rep ranges frequently greater than 10 (for three or more AMRAP sets), this program creates considerable fatigue. This even holds true for many experienced lifters who can effectively utilize autoregulation.

Therefore, programming with greater periodization may be very advantageous to prevent excessive fatigue. Bi-weekly periodization that sees drops in training volume in either primary lifts (T1 and T2a) or secondary exercises (T2 and T3) could be hugely beneficial.

Likewise, reducing the total number of exercises or sets may be desired. For those who are unable to commit significant time to 4-5 days of intense training, an alternative 3-day program could also be designed.

Currently, the Upper/Lower split makes this program unsuitable for compound movements such as the clean or snatch. Switching to a 3-day program guarantees a day off after each training day, opening the door for greater variety and full-body training. 

Concluding Thoughts

A fun program with excellent opportunities for adaptation and variety, this program is sure to help you build size and strength. Following the resources included in this article, you will be able to create your customized JnT 2.0 program.

All that is left is to get in the gym, get in the sun, and you’ll be jacked and tan in no time!

References

[1] http://swoleateveryheight.blogspot.com/2014/06/15-weeks-of-jacked-tan-results.html

[2] http://swoleateveryheight.blogspot.com/2016/07/jacked-tan-20.html

[3] Lefever, C. (2016, February 5). GZCL Applications & Adaptations. Swole at Every Height. Retrieved from https://swoleateveryheight.blogspot.com/2016/02/gzcl-applications-adaptations.html

[4] Lefever, C. [gzcl]. (2014, November 10). [Meet Report] IPL World Championship, Las Vegas, Nevada. 75kg/165 lb. class. 649kg/1432 total. 465 Raw Wilks [Online Forum Post]. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/weightroom/comments/2lx6xb/meet_report_ipl_world_championship_las_vegas/

[5] Lefever, C. [gzcl]. (2015, February 10). [Meet Report] USPA American Cup at the LA FitExpo 1,466 lb. @ 166.6 [email protected],5) [Online Forum Post]. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/weightroom/comments/2vhiq1/meet_report_uspa_american_cup_at_the_la_fitexpo/

[6] GainzHub. (2021). Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/gzcl/

[7] User: u/gzcl. (2021). Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/user/gzcl/

[8] Index. (2021). Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/gzcl/wiki/index

[9] [GFa7mY]. (2018, May 3). [Guide] The GZCL Glossary. [Online Forum Post]. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/gzcl/comments/8gpuwh/guide_the_gzcl_glossary/

[10] JnT. (2021). Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/gzcl/wiki/JnT

[11] GZCL Free Compendium November 27th Update. (n.d.). Google Spreadsheets.  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/19qc-ACGR3ZfoqptHlSfHmboCKAqYmYw8XW516DX2Fl8/edit#gid=836055453

[12] https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1I6p5zqrIIop8qFz2QibQd82IqocAeMLmLKNsKEAcNhU/edit#gid=0

[13] [TheAesir]. (2018, February 7). Compendium to overcoming weak points. [Online Forum Post]. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/weightroom/comments/7vwodf/compendium_to_overcoming_weak_points/

[14] [skiller1nc]. (2021, January 2). Jacked & Tan 2.0 review. [Online Forum Post]. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/weightroom/comments/kp2c85/jacked_tan_20_review/

[15] [Killagina]. (2021, January 2). Jacked & Tan 2.0 review. [Online Forum Post]. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/weightroom/comments/kp2c85/jacked_tan_20_review/ghupdl5?utm_source=share&utm_medium=web2x&context=3

[16] [andgiveayeLL]. (2018, April 23). [Program Review] Jacked and Tan 2.0. [Online Forum Post]. Reddit. https://www.reddit.com/r/xxfitness/comments/8ecna1/program_review_jacked_and_tan_20/

[17] [jakeisalwaysright]. (2018, January 3). [Program Review] Jacked & Tan 2.0. [Online Forum Post]. Reddit.https://www.reddit.com/r/powerlifting/comments/7nxfzy/program_review_jacked_tan_20/

[18] [just-another-scrub]. (2019, December, 26). 200 Day – A Review of General Jacked and Tan. [Online Forum Post]. Reddit.https://www.reddit.com/r/weightroom/comments/efxm9k/200_day_a_review_of_general_jacked_and_tan/

 

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