‘The Big 3′ Routine

how_to_deadlift_moreYes, the deadlift works the biceps.

The core of building a strong body is the Squat, Deadlift, Bench and their variants. Anyone that tells you otherwise is simply ill-informed. As a look at weight category competition powerlifters will show you, you don’t need anything other than these three to get big, strong and ripped.

I neglected the Squat and Deadlift for years, not realizing their fantastic all over body training effects and I wish someone had told me years ago so that I didn’t waste so much time initially.

‘The Big 3′ Explained

What is it?

A deceptively simple yet brilliantly effective training program for putting slabs of muscle on a beginner trainee. It does this by focusing all the trainee’s energy and recovery efforts into the ‘big money’ exercises alone – the Squat, Deadlift and Bench.

Who is it for?

Anyone new to training, or anyone who has been spinning their wheels on ineffective workouts up until now. More advanced lifters will do these ‘big 3′ in a split-routine of some sort, but for those relatively new, you’ll make faster progress training all three in the same workout, 3 days a week.

An experienced lifter that is coming back after some time off may want to start out with this to get back in the groove of things.

When can it be used?

This can be used in a cut or bulk.


‘The Big 3′ – How to Guide

‘The Big 3′ In A Nutshell:

A fixed set-rep pattern is used. This means all working sets (not the warm-up sets) are done at the same weight. Every set is the same number of reps.

You’ll finish all your sets for the one exercise before moving onto the next.

What does it look like?

Here is the standard 5×5 big 3 routine.

Monday

  • Warm-up: Foam rolling, stretch out any tight places.

1. Squat

  • Warm-up sets
  • 5 sets of 5 reps (90-120seconds rest between sets)
  • 3mins rest (or however long it takes you to warm-up and be ready for the next exercise)

2. Bench

  • Warm-up sets
  • 5 sets of 5 reps (90-120seconds rest between sets)
  • 3mins rest (or however long it takes you to warm-up and be ready for the next exercise)

3. Deadlift

  • Warm-up sets
  • 5 sets of 5 reps (90-120seconds rest between sets)
  • 3mins rest (or however long it takes you to warm-up and be ready for the next exercise)
  • Cool-down: Foam rolling, stretch out any tight places.

Wednesday

As above


Friday

As above

How To Progress

How much should I lift?

For the first workout, choose the weight you believe you will be able to lift for all five sets. – Go conservative, you can always increase the weight next time.

Beginners will need to concentrate on getting their form right for the first month or so of working out. – You’re programming your brain and nervous system to remember a pattern, so don’t worry about lifting a lot of weight like you feel you should, and don’t worry about looking cool. Begin light. Slowly move up the weight as form improves. For the first few workouts I think it is a good idea to follow the advice of Rippetoe:

Do sets of 5 reps, gradually increasing the weight until it is a struggle to complete the 5 reps. Rack the bar, the workout for that exercise is done. Move onto the next exercise.

For the next workout do the same but challenge yourself to lift a slightly heavier weight for that single heavy set. From the third workout you can move onto the standard pattern above. Try starting with the same weight as you could lift the previous workout but this time try 5 sets as per the example above.

When should I increase the weight?

When you get all sets for target weight and reps increase the weight for the next session.

When should I decrease the weight?

When you miss 10% or more of your target reps in total, for two* consecutive sessions. (*Bad sessions happen.) With 5×5 this means if you get less than 22 reps total then decrease at the next session. The set you’re most likely to miss any reps on will be the last set due to cumulative fatigue.

Example Squat Progression based on the rules above (weight x reps):

  • Session 1: 130x5x5x5x5x5 clear – increase next.
  • Session 2: 140x5x5x5x5x5 clear – increase next.
  • Session 3: 150x5x5x5x5x3 missed 2 – same weight next.
  • Session 4: 150x5x5x5x5x5 clear – increase next.
  • ….
  • Session 22: 250x5x5x5x5x5 clear – increase next.
  • Session 23: 255x5x5x5x4x3 missed 3 - try same weight next.
  • Session 24: 255x5x5x5x5x5 clear – increase next.
  • Session 25: 260x5x5x5x4x3 missed 3 - try same weight next.
  • Session 26: 260x5x5x5x5x2 missed 3 - reduce weight next.
  • Session 27: 255x5x5x5x5x5 clear – increase next.
  • Session 28: 258x5x5x5x5x5 clear – increase next.
  • Session 29: 260x5x5x5x5x5 clear – increase next.

Golden rule: Lift only as heavy as you can for your target number of reps without any breakdown in form.

How much should I increase the weight by each session?

Increases need to be slow and incremental to allow your body to adapt to the load. (This is not just about muscle growth, but the connecting tissues, nervous system, & bone density changes).

There is no fixed rule for weight increases, however generally you’ll be able to make bigger increases in your Deadlift and Squat each session compared to the Bench because of the greater overall use of the body’s musculature in the former two.

A 10lb increase in the squat and deadlift, 5lb increase for the bench is common initially for each session. The increases you’ll be able to make to the lifts will gradually decrease over time. This is reflected in the progression example above.

How long can I continue to progress with this routine?

This is going to depend on several factors including genetics, starting muscle mass and recovery capacity. Recovery capacity itself will depend on:

  • Energy balance (surplus/ deficit/ maintenance energy needs)
  • Sleep
  • Stress
  • Quality of your diet.

At some point you’ll need to change things up to keep progressing. Recovery is an essential element of that and cutting back on the volume (number of sets or reps) or frequency (number of times per week) of an exercise can be just the trick.

Volume
This is the first thing to look at – reducing the number of sets from 5 to 3 for example. Many people will find that lower back soreness will become an issue first, so reducing the deadlift from 5 to 3 sets is a common progression.

Frequency
If the above reduction in volume allows you to keep increasing the weight each session then great. If not then you may need to reduce exercise frequency and look at some form of split routine – which is covered in the article, How to progress from ‘The Big 3′ to Split Routines

Don’t miss the obvious though:
Progressions can’t continue in a deficit forever, regardless of how clever the programming is. So if you’re cutting, don’t overlook the simplest answer – you may have to eat more to gain more strength, and that’ll mean you’ll need to make a choice between fat loss or muscle/strength gain. Beginners get spoiled initially as they can achieve simultaneous muscle gain and fat loss and forget this.


Pros, Cons and FAQs

What I like about The Big 3

  • Effective, simple, difficult to mess it up.
  • Volume gives the lifter plenty of form practice.
  • Cuts through the crap & focuses on the exercises that will give the trainee the most bang for your buck.

Drawbacks of The Big 3

  • Equipment availability – some gyms don’t have a squat rack (a smith machine doesn’t count). Some gyms don’t allow deadlifts (seems to be more of a problem in Asia). – Change gyms or build a home gym.
  • Knowledge – Can be tough to find a trainer who can show you proper form. – Use the videos and books (see below) as your guide. Change gyms if possible.

Big 3 Specific FAQ

Will this routine still give me abs?

Yes. The abs are worked in the isometric contraction in every lift. Taking the squat as an example (as it’s the easiest to visualise) the abs, combined with the obliques and lower back, perform the function of keeping your torso rigid/tight so that your spine does not bear the load and/or tilt forward and snap you in half. Further reading from Mark Rippetoe.

Do I have to stick to those exercises above?

Unless you have a good reason (injury, mobility issue, etc.) then I’d advise you stick to the exercises above.

Front Squats, The Overhead Press, Rack Pulls, Dips (weighted/assisted), Chin-ups, Row variations… basically any multi-joint/compound exercises that lend themselves well to incremental loading can be used with this routine.

Advice: If it’s tough to perform some of the exercises initially, just try working into them slowly, foam rolling, stretching and practicing. It’s normal for it to be tough or a little weird initially. Assume you don’t have a mobility issue or imbalance first and practice, rather than suffering special snowflake syndrome that modern society loves. Note also the correct height to start the deadlift from.

What is a good warm-up?

You’ll want to do the minimum that you can to get warm and ready for the top set, without tiring yourself for your main work sets. I’ve covered this in detail in the FAQ, WARM-UP: What should I do?

Can I add in…?

No.

Why no chin-ups?

Adding this fourth compound exercise to those big three on a single day would be too much for you to recover from and threatens progress.

Yes, your biceps are worked with those big three. It’s the isometric work through holding the bar with the deadlift.

Got any lifting videos/resources?

Best Book:Starting Strength 3rd Edition’ by Mark Rippetoe. It will teach you about form.
Best Videos: Rippetoe’s are here: Main Barbell Movements Other Lifts & Tips.
Other videos: Type any exercise you’re looking for into Youtube along with any of the following names and you can be sure it’ll be good: Mark Rippetoe / Eric Cressey / Tony Gentilcore / Bret Contreras / Jordan Syatt

Final words of advice?

  • Work yourself gradually into it. Think of training like a suntan, you don’t take all the sun at once, and you must not try to grind yourself into the ground on your first session either.
  • Use a stopwatch to keep your rest times constant and make a log to track progress.
  • If your gym’s atmosphere is lame, put on some music to get yourself in the mood.
  • Headphones are also a good tool to keep people who love to chat at a distance.
  • Keep your Facebook addiction out of the gym.
  • Get 8 hours sleep.
  • If you don’t have a trainer or friend who can check your form, using your phone to video yourself so that you check. – Compare with those videos linked to above and make adjustments.
  • Have fun!

Got it, now how do I put together a nutrition plan to go with this?

RippedBody Results CollageThat’s what I specialise in. Some people hire me to do it, but you can find everything you need to do this on this site. The level of depth and ease of use I believe is the main reason for the site’s popularity.

I’ve put all the diet guides in one place. This includes, How to Calculate Your Calories, How to Calculate Your Macros, Optimal Meal Timing, Calorie & Carb Cycling, Supplements, How to Track your Progress, basically everything you need.

Continue to -> Diet Guides


Principles | Programs | Cardio | FAQ

611 Comments on “‘The Big 3′ Routine”

  1. Martin

    How often do your recommend to take a full week off with this routine? It’s the most challenging routine I’ve ever tried. I’ve never been closer to fainting or throwing up during a workout, and it’s the fifth week I’m doing this. With this intensity I guess people should take breaks more often than every 12 weeks or so?

  2. ian

    I currently have no option but to use a gym with no squat rack, and to train alone. I’m keen to begin squatting seriously but I’m safety conscious. Which would you recommend: front, goblet or dumb-Bell squats?

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Ian.
      Front squats with a barbell are limited by what you can clean, so unless you’re good at cleaning the bar then that’s not a sensible option.
      Dumbbell squats are awkward to perform, the centre of mass is lowered, and just not a very good exercise compared to the alternative, which would be the Goblet squats with a dumbbell or kettlebell. – You’re still limited by what you can carry, but they have a better carry-over to the barbell squat and are your best bet for the time being I think.

      1. Ian

        Thanks very much, Andy. Decisive and clearly explained. Goblet squats for me, until I find somewhere with a squat rack. I’m looking forward to getting on this now!

  3. Ali Hamandi

    Hey, thanks for the post.
    I’m curious about the risks that compound movements such as squats bring about when it comes to osteoarthritis. As a teenager, am I putting myself at risk of overly-decreased joint quality decades down the road if I partake in strength training until I achieve my acquired physique? I obviously partake in correct technique when doing the exercies, but the joint-stress is still there noetheless. You never really see fifty and sixty year old body builders, so there isn’t much info on the subject, and your expertise will be appreciated.

  4. Justin

    Hey Andy,

    Been reading a lot about how squats can really mess up your back if you are a beginner and don’t know what you are doing. Would Goblet Squats for starting be an ok substitute for doing regular squats?

    Thanks

    Justin

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Justin. Here’s a scenario: It’s your 18th birthday. Your dad comes home from work, he’s had a big bonus, was feeling generous and he’s bought you a car. However you don’t have a license. Do you:

      a) Learn how to drive.
      b) Throw the keys back and say you’d prefer to keep riding your bicycle.

      If a skill is worth learning then you will spend time doing it. Squats are one of those skills. Goblet squats are a good exercise – a squat variation after all, but they will only get you so far, as you are limited by what you can carry. Unless you have mobility issues start practicing the squats, and if you do then start working on those issues.

    2. David

      Justin, i have learned that it’s not the squat or deadlift that are wrong. If my form, technique and body are all messed up, then I need to work on those and not blame the exercise if I get injured.

  5. Cat

    Oh, wow. Guess I’ll start lifting if that woman there on the right can pull that off. Thanks!

  6. Nick

    So we are selling our house and have to put weights and rack in storage. I have been doing big 3 for couple years progressing great. Question I have is I want to maintain strength for next 6 months and will only have access to weights 2x per week. I am planning on doing intervals or long distance running on treadmill 3x per week(ugh) and lift 2x per week on Monday and Friday. Do I still do big 3 twice per week or try something different? Also normally on non-lifting days I go low to no carb…do I continue that since it would be 3 low to no carb days in a row? Thanks for your thoughts…and yes this will be the longest 6 months ever!!!

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Nick. Get the same volume in across the week and you’ll be fine. If you can’t get the same volume in, then drop the volume and keep the same intensity. You might not cause enough stress to produce further adaptations, but you won’t likely regress to any significant extent.

  7. cat

    Hi Andy,
    Thanks for your reply. I do enjoy my workout, but I think I’ve stopped making progress. I’d been doing circuit training, HIIT and steady-state cardio at a calorie deficit and was at a weight-loss plateau. I introduced IF (only a week ago) thinking it would break me through it, but inexplicably have gained a bit of weight. It’s maddening. I thought that maybe weights and the big three would be the stimulus that can help break me through the plateau. Think it can?
    Thanks again,
    Cat

    1. Andy Morgan

      Your weight will fluctuate as the water balance in your body changes. This is affected by your menstrual cycle, spikes in salt intake as well as fluctuations in carb intake.
      That aside, let this picture tell you a valuable lesson.

  8. Anthony

    Hi Andy, thanks for the really interesting article. I’ve been training since I was 16 (I’m now 21) making relatively poor progress for 5 years of consistent lifting, so switching to this workout has been really refreshing.

    I’ve experienced some of my toughest workouts recently – my only question is because of the intensity of the workout I can never seem to recover with one or two days rest – is training over DOMS necessarily a bad thing? Hope you can help.

    Thanks again!

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Anthony.
      DOMS will be caused by your training inputs, but the speed you recover from it is affected by sleep quality, stress levels, calorie intake, and diet quality. So, if any of those things have been off recently then that’s likely your answer. Assuming not…

      “…is training over DOMS necessarily a bad thing?”
      No, it’s almost inevitable at times. However if it holds you back from progressing with your workouts then you need to change things up and allow yourself more recovery time between exercises.

      Which Routine Is For Me?
      How to Progress from ‘The Big 3′ to Split Routines

  9. Nicolas

    Hi Andy,

    You’ve really motivated me to get into the 3 big.
    I was about to begin tomorrow, since I realize that my new student’s planning couldn’t let me train on friday and it’s open from monday to friday.
    I found that 3 training a week is the best for me to progress, 2 is just ok to maintain…
    So I have to train to days in a row, and doing those 3 bigs twice to days in a row is too much…
    I could do the 3 on monday and a split on wednesday and thursday, or otherwise a split between the 3 days, or just training two days (so sad :( )
    What would you suggest?

    Thank you.

  10. Cat

    Hi Andy,
    I’m a 34-year-old fit chick looking to drop a final 5 or 6 pounds and considering starting to lift heavy with the Big 3. I do IF and I’ve had a pretty varied and fun exercise routine my whole life, I love a good run and HIIT a few times a week as well as regular body-resistance based strength training often with weights of about 10 pounds. I don’t really know what the right word is for what I do, but it includes lots of reps of compound exercises like squats or lunges with shoulder-presses, or push-ups with rotations deadlifts with dumbbells.

    It seems to work fine, but I feel I might be pushing limit of the benefit here. After being saturated by the pro heavy lifting propaganda on your site and leangains, thanks to my boyfriend, I think I might give it a try. Obviously I’m worried it’s not for me or for women in general because there is so much less information (regimens, before and after pics, discussion) out there for the ladies.

    Would you recommend I start with the big three? Is this really going to work all the same muscle groups I’ve been working or am I just doomed to disproportionately large quads and pecs with these exercises? Like most women, I’m looking to be thin and strong, maybe shredded, but not ripped, if you know what I mean.

    Thanks in advance,
    Cat

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Cat. Women and mens training doesn’t really need to differ. You’re not going to get big and bulky. (See the FAQ.)

      What you have been doing is called circuit training. But you might equally find it tagged under the Crossfit banner nowadays. Not bad, but at some point without careful planning it’ll fail to help you achieve progressive overload and thus you will cease to make progress.

      Two key questions for you:
      1. Are you currently making progress?
      2. Do you enjoy it?

      If yes and yes, then there isn’t a need to change. Something else to consider, would you be better off doing the style of training that you are currently doing because of the camaraderie and support at that gym will help you push yourself harder?

      “Best” depends on context. Hope that helps.

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Bogdan. Haven’t clicked the link. With more background and a proper conversation, that is something I could give you a suggestion on, within the greater context of a longer term vision. But this is not the function of the comments – opens pandoras box.

      This article series is my best effort to hep answer this question: Physique Goal Setting – The 9 Categories of Trainee: Their Mistakes, How to Avoid Them, and What You Can Achieve When You Get Things Right (Pt.1of3) I’m confident you’ll find your answer there. If you need clarification then hit me up in the comments there.

  11. joseph

    hi Andy
    I am just starting out with the big 3 workout and was wondering is it possible for me to replace the dead lifts with regular pullups or chinups and progress with weighted pullups or chinups as I only have limited weights and also I wanted to give more importance on improving my chinups as i am not very good at performing them
    thanks and regards
    joseph

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Joseph, thanks for the question. I wouldn’t consider them a replacement, but if you have limited equipment you have to make the most of what you have. To say that a beginner can’t make some great changes with just those three exercises would be a lie. However, if you have a barbell you can squat with, and one you can bench with, then if you put it on the floor you have one you can deadlift with.

  12. julius

    Hi Andy, I am a complete beginner on weightlifting, I’ve been doing the big 3 for a week now, I just want to ask how long should the workout last? Should it last an hour or more? I am just confused cause some people say it should be 30 – 45 minutes only. Thanks in advance.

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Julius. It lasts as long as it lasts and that will vary between people and personality types. If it takes you over an hour with warm-ups then that’s perfectly fine and not unusual.

  13. Yuri Andrade

    Hi, I have a back problem, kyphosis and I always heard that I cant do deadlifts and squats because it will hurt my back even more, is that true? if so, what training should I do (I’ve just started working out).

  14. Nuno

    Dear Andy,

    two questions regarding the “Big 3″ and RPT.

    I have recently been changing the 5 x 5 sets of bench press for 3 sets of bench pressing RPT-style and 2 sets of incline bench press to add some color to my training.

    At the moment, a typical session of the 3 sets of RPT looks like this: (yeah, I know, it’s not a lot)

    90 kg – 7 to 8 reps
    (3 mins rest)
    80 kg – 9 to 10 reps
    (2 mins rest)
    70 kg – 9 to 10 reps

    I am now wondering about the following two things since I seem to have hit a plateau:

    1) Since I read somewhere that the first set should be the most important one and I should aim for 6-8 reps: should I increase the weight in the first set already (even though I don’t always get 8 reps in the first set and even though I don’t always get in the target range in the last set) or should I wait? Is there a general rule when to increase weight?

    2) Should I increase the recovery period between sets 2 and 3 to get in the 10 -12 reps range in the 3rd set, should I decrease weight in that set or shouldn’t I care about that last set too much?

    Thanks a lot,

    Nuno

  15. joejoemrjoe

    Hi Andy

    I was doing the big 3 a couple of years ago, doing 5 set of 5 rep for each lift. I have had a break from all exercise for the last 2 years and have just finally got back into it.

    I just started with a personal trainer to help me with form, as last time when I was working on my own every month or two I would seem to get a minor injury. My PT seems to know his stuff and my form is improving, but we only do half hour sessions, and do 2 set of 8 reps for each exercise rather than 5×5. The sessions are way more intense than when I was training on my own. He pushes me to the point where he has to help me complete the last couple or reps.

    Do you think training this way will be as effective as the 5×5? I am concerned that the reduced number of reps means that I am not doing as much work, but the perhaps the increased intensity balances this out?

    I am cutting and have worked out my diet following your diet plan.

    Thanks for any advice!

    Joe

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Joe.
      This mainly comes down to whether you trust that your trainer knows what they are doing. It’s not really about whether 2×8 or 5×5 is better at this stage, people could argue that all day, it’s about how it’s implemented, and how appropriate it is for the person.

  16. Patrik

    Hi Andy.

    Quick question with regards to the progress overload when doing the big 3.

    To continue with the overloading all the time is 50% of 5RM a good starting weight so you can keep increase the weight during the 12 week cut?

    I’ve tried to get a hang of a good starting point when reading the section but feel if I start to high I will stall quite quick.

    // Patrik

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Patrik. In that case, you wouldn’t achieve progressive overload, it would just be a progressive increase over time, under the load that you can currently handle. The point of the training is to force your body to adapt, so you need to lift as much as you can to get that to happen.

      1. Patrik

        Hi Andy.

        Ok, perfect.

        So for example if during the first two “test” rounds with regards to Rippetoes suggestion I and up with a weight that is 100kg x 5rep for the Squat.

        That would mean that I on the third workout start with 100kg x 5rep in the squat and from that session try to add approx 5kg every session after if i hit the target.

        Is it normal during the cut that the increase of weight every session will stall as I’m on calorie defict?

        // Patrik

        1. Andy Morgan

          That’s right, but be flexible with the amount – it’s not 5kg or nothing, you can do less of course. As a beginner you’ll will experience strength gains for a time regardless of being in a calorie deficit.

          1. Patrik

            Then everything is under control. I think I have all the tools needed for the new start in weightlifting and nutrition thinking.

            Thank you so much for all the feedback and also for all the time and effort you have done to put up all the information on the site to share with us all.

            Have a really nice weekend.

  17. Stijn

    Hi Andy,

    Why do you choose for the Stronglifts 5×5 template instead of the 3×5 Starting Strength when doing the Big 3? You use SS and Rippetoe in this article but the program consists of 5 sets of 5 reps without the Power Clean and Press.

    Greetz,

    Stijn

    1. Andy Morgan

      Stijn, thanks for the question.
      Beginners need to practice their form, this usually especially true with the deadlift. As I’m not recommending power cleans, these is space to include more deadlifting work without affecting the recovery balance.

      I don’t recommend power cleans because it poses an unnecessary injury risk without proper coaching, which 99.99% of people will not have access to.

      The brain and body can only learn a limited number of movement patterns at any given time. I read somewhere on JTS.com that four is the realistic maximum (couldn’t find where I bookmarked this). Adding more in compromises the speed and efficiency of the learning process. So I purposefully suggest keeping the exercise selection to a minimum.

      Could you add the press in and alternate it every other day with the bench? Sure. If I were physically in a gym coaching someone I can see myself doing that in some cases – though I don’t think it’ll make a big difference to the outcome, controlled variety can be mentally beneficial.

      However, I know I have to be careful when writing recommendations online. People always want to tinker with things regardless of what you say. You give an inch, people take a mile (I talked about this phenomenon in the latest article where people get themselves in the skinny trap). Unless you’re physically there to stop people from doing this (or getting them to e-mail you confirming what they have been doing), you suggest one small customization option in an article and you find that it’s turned into 4 additional exercises, super-sets and a split, that cost them months of progress when they simply needed to stick to the program.

      It’s amusing. A little sad. But as I said in the first part of the new Physique Goal Setting Guide, often people just need to learn the hard way.

      1. Stijn

        Andy,

        Thanks for the reply. Very clear answer.
        But what about the set-rep range, why do you prefer the 5×5 (SL) over 3×5 (SS)? Isn’t 5×5 to taxing while in a deficit and does someone reach his plateau sooner in a 5×5 program?

          1. Stijn

            I read your site trough and through…it’s a world of awesome information. But your answer makes sense :-) My bad!

  18. Bruno

    Andy,

    I have been doing some things wrong with my workout routine..i have always done the 3 big movements, but nowadays i find myself doing from 6-7 types of exercices,4-5 sets and 3 day split wich is chest and tris, Back and shoulder, legs.
    I was doing 6 days a week, performing 3 heavy days(RPT on the main lifts) and 3 hypertrophy days( more reps and less weight).
    Even though the others exercices i do are compounds movements( stiff deadlift, front squats, pull ups, dips, rows, O.H.P.) i think i am doing to much, for sure..
    I was doing that during a cut and now i will reverse 2 weeks and then maintain 2 weeks, i want to get in a 4 days per week routine with low volumes workouts.
    The thing is i don´t know how to do that, because i have been doing crazy amount of volume even in a 700 calorie deficit, and now is so difficult(my mindset i think) figuring out what would be the best approach to achieve that and make gains.

    Even though i never tried 1RM, i can bench 35kg 5×6, squat 55kg 5×7 and sumo deadlift 55kg 5×7(without counting the barbell)
    the question is..i spent the hole day reading your posts and came out with this..doing the ”big 3 routine”, with 2 extra days, to do triceps and calves, and from that reducing to 4 days..i dont know perhaps throwing 2 more exercices in these 3 days.

    What do you think about that?

    It would be a challenge for me because now im used to high volume, and i read in your post ”What To Do When You’re Done With Your Beginner Strength Training Program” some topics about being use to high volume and after that do less but with more weight..

    Well this is my experience so far, i hope you can give me some advice on that, but im willing to do these new routine and take easy with weights during this month with reverse dieting and then maintanance, to finally slow bulk.

    1. Andy Morgan

      Bruno, here’s the deal: Objectively speaking you’re weak. You need to get stronger. The variety and unnecessary additions may well be the reason for you staying weak. For now, the less variety the better. The principles discussed in Greg’s post are completely irrelevant to you at this current time. You will get there though, if you don’t deviate from the advice in the plans here.

      Have a read of my latest post, What To Expect | Physique Goal Setting (pt2). In terms of your lifting career it could very well be transformative, cause at the moment it looks to me like you’re set to take the long and hard road to nowhere like I did for so many years.

  19. Sean

    Hi Andy. I am doing the Big Three. When I train I do the 5 reps and rack the weight in every exercise. In some videos I see people putting down the bar in the floor and then lifting it back up and repeating this 5 times. Are we supposed to drop it and lift it again or should the bar not be racked between reps?

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