The normally-ironclad Athlean-X vault isn’t indestructible.
Unfortunate genetics and unresponsive muscles might leave you 90 days into the classic AX-1 program and wondering why your arms are still doughy, or your back is suddenly plateauing.
Or maybe you DIY your workouts and have a straggler — one muscle group that’s gone off the beaten path, stopped growing, and doesn’t seem to be coming back any time soon!
What you might need … is a little TNT.
Athlean-X’s TNT workout program gives a little TLC to an upper-body muscle that’s caught in a rut. But is this solo-muscle workout the secret to blasting plateaus and getting back on track?
Let’s find out.
About the Creator – Athlean-X (& Jeff Cavaliere)
To understand Athlean-X, you have to learn about its controversial architect: Jeff Cavaliere. In pursuit of the idyllic brains/brawn fusion, Cavaliere has become a fitness industry trailblazer.
His Bachelor’s Degree in pre-medicine and Master’s Degree in physical therapy paved the pathway to his later fitness accomplishments:
- Snagging the always-respectable CSCS from the NSCA
- Becoming a physical therapist (& trainer) for the championship-era New York Mets
- Coaching future MLB legends like Carlos Delgado & Billy Wagner
Cavaliere’s training and educational background spurred Athlean-X’s later framework. The goal is simple: Creating workout routines built around anatomy, biomechanics, and injury prevention.
Athlean-X caught on quick.
Today, Jeff Cavaliere and Athlean-X have collected over 11 million YouTube subscribers eagerly awaiting each new launch — “Sore in 6 Minutes,” weight loss tips, or common exercise mistakes.
The Athlean-X line-up is only growing by the day. With muscle-building, fat-shredding, and ab-sculpting programs, it’s a one-stop-shop for anyone looking to revive their inner athlete.
What is Athlean-X TNT?
Outside of the Athlean-X stratosphere, TNT stands for “trinitrotoluene.” But in true Jeff Cavaliere fashion, he took the bomb and military-esque reference and bolted.
That brings us here.
Athlean-X TNT steps in where the traditional AX-1 program might leave you stranded. Or when your current split (Athlean-X or not) leaves one muscle group’s gains falling off-track.
Its solo muscle format allows you to choose one lagging upper-body muscle group that needs some extra attention to bust out of that plateau and spark gains again!
The five TNT options include:
- Chest De-containment
- X-treme Biceps Blaster
- Call to Arms Triceps
- Deltoid Detonation
- “Bombs Away” Back
“So … it’s just a regular-old split workout?”
Yes and no. It’ll certainly put one muscle under the microscope … but it’ll do it in the standard yet non-conventional Athlean-X way (small adjustments, time under tension, or “secrets”).
Workout Program Details & Features
Before you gear up and head into battle, you need to put one TNT bomb into your crosshairs and pull the damn trigger. That means selecting which of the five muscles needs blasting.
(Note: We’re building this review around the “Chest de-containment” plan. The other four options might not follow the same guidelines exactly … but will generally be similar.)
How to Set TNT As Your “Active Program”
The TNT program doesn’t come with a calendar like AX-1 or the Inferno Series. It’s merely a workout plug-in that replaces a rest or conditioning day in your current Athlean-X program.
It’ll show up in your “Programs.” And you can even click “Make this your active program.” That only redirects you to the TNT crosshairs screen, where you’ll choose which muscle to detonate!
But it’ll also keep you on track with AX-1 without having to switch between two calendars constantly. There also is no technical “calendar” for TNT — it’s a single workout.
We repeat … it’s a single workout.
Home vs. Gym Workout
Once you select your TNT muscle group, you’ll see a small pop-up labeled “Home” or “Gym.”
Don’t panic! Unlike your TNT program selection, there’s no commitment one way or the other, and you’ll see this pop-up every time you return to the module.
In other words, you can choose a home workout this week and the gym version next week. And if you have a gym membership, that’s precisely what Jeff Cavaliere recommends!
What an Average TNT Workout Looks Like
Because the average TNT workout is relatively condensed (4-6 exercises), we can’t reveal too much about it. To give you a taste for what to expect, picture the classic Athlean-X style and:
- Supersets to failure at the beginning and end of each workout (gym)
- Various rep ranges (12, pyramiding, to failure, etc.)
- Short rest times (a 60-second cap … or until you catch your breath)
- Limited equipment for the home version (in the chest scenario: resistance bands)
The TNT gym workout is a little more run-of-the-mill Athlean-X. And by that, we mean barbells and benches, cable machines, and a few bodyweight exercises sprinkled in for good measure.
If you still have fuel left in the tank after 30-40 minutes of pure chest destruction, you can end your training with a Core4 or Six-Pack Shuffle workout.
Nothing complements sculpted pecs better than a six-pack, right?
The Athlean-X/TNT Integration Map
Those stalling upper-body gains can feel flat-out defeating. But saturating your routine with even more brutal workouts will undoubtedly lead to overtraining, injury, or even mental fatigue.
There’s a sweet spot for escaping plateaus.
That raises the question: How do you combine TNT and AX-1 without going overboard?
You use the Athlean-X/TNT integration map hidden at the bottom of the crosshairs screen. The PDF calendar will replace one workout (or rest day) a week with your chosen TNT workout.
Print it. Pin it. Or even schedule it in your phone’s calendar.
Because it won’t show up in your Athlean-X dashboard when that long-awaited day finally arrives (since it’s not technically your “active program”).
Note: Jeff Cavaliere does not recommend pairing AX-2 and TNT together.
5 Benefits of Athlean-X TNT
Fill in the Gaps & Revive Lagging Muscles
The AX-1 program is the most highly-respected in Athlean-X’s product line-up. But while some users pack on 10 pounds of evenly-distributed mass, it won’t account for genetic flaws (sorry).
Those once-thriving triceps and shoulders might fall behind.
TNT can take the reins and ignite growth without having to sideline your other muscle groups entirely. Weave TNT into your current Athlean-X program as your arms play “catch-up.”
Can Double as a Standalone Program (If Need Be)
The Athlean-X line-up won’t hook, line, and sinker all dedicated gains-chasers. But luckily, you don’t need the AX-1 or any other Athlean-X program to help TNT nuzzle into your lifestyle.
If you’re already running a five-day split where one (or two) muscle groups is stalling, swap in your TNT of choice without changing what’s working.
Unique Focuses for All Five TNTs
Cavaliere is the rare brains/brawn combo that we all strive to embody. With muscle-specific strategies like time under tension, TNT nurtures all five groups the way they respond best.
It’s not a randomized chest workout … but rather one that ignites mass.
Home or Gym Workout Option
Traditional Athlean-X programs are typically a mash-up of what seems like every machine in the standard gym (cables, benches, dumbbells, etc.), making gains out of reach for at-home lifters.
TNT’s home and gym workout options can nurture growth wherever you are.
It’s Short and Sweet
It seems like every specialization routine on the internet focuses on three things: More, more, and more. A chest-focus workout might last 90 minutes and slop 30+ sets onto your schedule.
TNT is quite tame, though the badass name suggests otherwise. With about 12 sets per workout and 60-second rests, it’ll likely be a 30-minute flyby at the gym.
5 Negatives of TNT
No Refund Policy
The “no refund” policy will always be Athlean-X’s steepest pitfall. Sure, TNT might be precisely what your concave chest or deflated biceps crave to return the gains in record speeds.
But if it’s not, or if it falls short of your expectations, oh well! Your options are to either make that TNT program work in whatever way possible or admit defeat and sacrifice your cash.
You Have to Purchase Per Muscle Group
The upper-body muscles are so interconnected that your biceps or triceps might not be your only hard-gainers. For example, if your chest is stalling, your triceps likely aren’t too far behind.
Yes, you can buy all five TNTs to shock your entire upper-body. But when you need two, three, or even four solo specializations, you’re essentially DIYing an Athlean-X split routine.
It’s Only One Workout (Not a Routine)
Athlean-X usually pushes out four to 12-week programs as you sculpt an aesthetic physique. But because TNT is a plug-in and supplemental, it defies Athlean-X’s standard calendar layout.
You’re literally buying one workout (two, if you count the home and gym versions as separate). It’s worth the investment if it shatters plateaus, but dollar for dollar, it’s miles short of AX-1.
No Leg TNTs (Shocker)
TNT might bring your lagging back or chest muscles up to speed without having to ditch your current workout routine. But let’s hope it’s not your leg muscles that need that crosshair focus.
Because those aren’t options. It might not be intentional, but neglecting a lower-body focus only reinforces the idea that leg day isn’t as important as sculpting those bulky glamour muscles.
Jeff Cavaliere is a stickler for supersets, and the TNT program is certainly no exception.
The downside is that you’re performing grueling supersets within the same muscle group, not bouncing back and forth between opposing or unrelated muscles (i.e., Triceps & biceps).
Studies show that same-muscle supersets are far more exhausting and trigger more exceptional tearing. With five days of suggested recovery, TNT can promote overtraining.
Wrapping Up This Athlean-X TNT Review
The Athlean-X TNT workout program goes where very few creators dare to venture: Admitting that their mass-building routines aren’t the end-all-be-all.
This program will revive those lagging gains when AX-1 fumbles at the 1-yard-line.
You can select your TNT of choice, use it outside of the Athlean-X echo chamber, and target your stalling muscles with no equipment at all (home).
But will it fill in every gap left behind by AX-1? Absolutely not.
The lack of refund policy, solo muscle focus, overtraining risk, and no leg TNTs might make you understandably skeptical.
If you’ve “tried everything” without success, what do you have to lose?
But if it’s your entire upper-body that’s lagging, the TNT program is like putting a Band-Aid on a bullet hole. A full-body routine is a better alternative.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10