‘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.

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’ Routine: How-To Guide


‘The Big 3’ Routine 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 It Looks Like:

Standard 5×5 Big 3 routine


  • 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.


As above


As above

How To Progress With ‘The Big 3’ Routine

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, reduce the intensity by 10% while using the same number of reps and sets. The 10% lighter load should feel easy and will allow recovery. Then, the next session you return to the load you used in the session prior to the deload and attempt to pick up the progression once again.

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.

Bear in mind that sometimes bad sessions just happen, hence the reason I suggest waiting for two bad sessions consecutively before taking the deload.

Example Big 3 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 10% next.
  • Session 27: 235x5x5x5x5x5 clear – increase next.
  • Session 28: 260x5x5x5x5x5 clear – increase next.
  • Session 29: 265x5x5x5x5x5 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.

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.

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.

The Pros and Cons of The Big 3 Routine

What I like about The Big 3 Routine:

  • 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 Routine:

  • 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 Routine-Specific FAQ

Will this routine still give me abs?

Greater muscular development in the whole body and a low body fat is what is necessary to have a visible (and decent looking) six-pack.

In these exercises 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 upright and rigid so that your spine does not bear the load and/or tilt forward and snap you in half. While the barbell lifts are not the most effective abdominal exercises, putting focus on that now would be to put the cart before the horse.

Do I have to stick to those exercises above?

No. Front Squats, The Overhead Press, Rack Pulls, Chin-ups, Row variations… basically any multi-joint/compound exercises that lend themselves well to incremental loading can be used with this routine.

However, unless you are comfortable doing your own programming, or have a good reason (injury, mobility issue, etc.), then consider sticking to the exercises above.

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. Keep with the three chosen exercises for now.

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?

Yes, recommendations are covered made in my article, The Core Principles of Effective Training. If you haven’t read that yet I’d highly recommend that you do.

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 and do professionally, and you’ll find everything you need to do this on this site.

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 (which I’m not a fan of), and How To Track Your Progress. – Basically, everything you need:

 The Complete Guide To Setting Up Your Diet 


Thanks for reading. Questions welcomed in the comments as always. – Andy.

Next: How to Progress from ‘The Big 3′ to a Split Routine →

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About the Author

Andy Morgan

I'm an online nutritional coach and trainer. After seeing one too many people get ripped off by supplement and training industry lies I decided to try and do something about it. The site you see here is the result of a lot of Starbucks-fuelled, two-fingered typing. It's had a lot of love poured into it, and I hope you find the guides to the diet and training methods I use on this site useful. When I'm not helping clients you'll likely find me crashing down a mountain on a snowboard, riding a motorbike, or staring at watches I can't afford.

739 Comments on “‘The Big 3’ Routine”

  1. joejoemrjoe

    Hey Andy,

    I’ve spent a lot of time in the past, first on my own then with a PT trying to perfect my form for squat and deadlift. When I am with my PT he thinks my form is good. I was only doing one or 2 sessions a week most of the year, but for the past 3 months I have been doing the full 3 days a week routine.

    3 times in that last 3 months, when I have been training on my own, I have injured my upper back on the left. Nothing major, but enough that I have to take 7-10 days off to heal. It seems to be due to deadlifts, but whenever I get my PT to check he says my form is good. I am confident he knows his stuff, having used several PTs in the past who were far less knowledgeable than him.

    My guess is that since I do deadlifts last, I am fatigued and so my form deteriorates. Either way I think I need to stop deadlift and replace it with something else that won’t lead to me injuring myself. Can you suggest a replacement?

    Thanks for any help.


    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Joe. Sounds like you’re simply failing to recover sufficiently between sessions of the deadlift. Consider rotating the exercise so that you do it every other session, with chins or a rowing movement as a replacement for the days you don’t do it. More details on this in the article linked at the bottom on progressing from the big 3 routine.

  2. Henri

    Hey there Andy, thank you for all of this, I truly appreciate it! I am a bit of a gym rat myself, have been for about 15 years. I guess one of the main questions I have is in regards to reps. Every I go or just about every thing I read tells me that 8-10 reps is the best range to stimulate hypertrophy and that a 5X5 is not enough stimulus. I am guessing the rationale here is the large fasting window which deviates from this conventional wisdom, correct?

    1. Andy Morgan

      Henri, thanks for the comment and sorry for being late coming back to you. I wanted to dig out the relevant part from the upcoming training book with Eric Helms:

      Intensity Recommendations
      Intensity is specific to your goal. Lift heavy for strength, and use loads that let you efficiently accumulate volume for size. Remember progressive overload.

      For Hypertrophy:
      If hypertrophy is the goal, the weight just needs to be heavy enough. It is often said that the 8-12 rep range is the ideal rep range for hypertrophy but in fact there’s nothing magical about this range. It’s just a convenient range to accumulate volume.

      Lower intensity work (12-15 rep range) will also induce hypertrophy although it is less efficient on a set by set basis. However, it is still beneficial to use lighter loads to theoretically give fibers with a high endurance capacity more stimulation, and there is certainly an argument to be made that training with lighter loads at points is good for connective tissue health, offering a break while still providing a training stimulus.

      It’s important to not forget the usefulness of high intensity (1-6 rep range) strength work even if the main goal is hypertrophy. Getting stronger is important for progressive overload. When you’re stronger, you can use heavier weights which allows you to do more volume more easily, so it is a good idea to include some heavy work as well.

      Put this all together and here are practical recommendations for intensity for hypertrophy:
      Perform 2/3-3/4 of your volume in the 6-12 RM range, and the other 1/4-1/3 in the lower rep higher intensity (1-6 RM) and higher rep lower intensity ranges (12-15RM)


      Here’s the site with info on the book’s if you’re interested in more:

  3. Brian

    So do you just forget shoulder press all together? or is there a way to incorporate it into the routine no longer making it the big 3, rather the “big 4” and let’s say you can incorporate it into the routine, is it too much of a workload for you to maximize effective lifts without getting to gassed out by the end of your workout?

      1. brian

        1 last question, so would you recomend implenting bench, squat, deadlift, and shoulder press all on the same day mondays, wendsdays, and fridays? i really wanna target all those compound exerscies.i feel although bench and shoulder press are both pressing movements, they tax totally different muscle groups and i wouldnt want to have any muscle imbalances and leave anything out, or do you think that would be overkill? i think the big 3 routine is great and so simplified it almost seems perfect. but to just have bench, squat, and deadlift and leave out shoulder press doesnt make sense to me since its also a compound exersise…whats is your reasoning to only doing those 3?

        1. Andy Morgan

          1. The bench, or the overhead press, but not both.
          2. No imbalances will be developed as you won’t be performing just these three exercises long enough to develop them. See the “progressing from” article linked at the end.
          3. The novice needs time to practice and learn these complicated lifts. Four, arguably, could be too much to learn.

          It the end of the day, if you really want to throw the OHP in there, just do it. Happiness with a program > higher motivation > more effort > better results. Within reason of course.

  4. Jon

    Hi Andy,

    I am interesting in starting the ‘Big 3’ routine and wanted to ask:

    1) in the past I have done a 5-day split routine for a couple of months. I’m still relatively new to lifting but comfortable with it (about 12 months of non-consecutive lifting under my belt). I notice most of your novice-advanced routines are 3 day full body/split. Not sure if I am missing where you may have talked about this but is there an advantage to 3 days vs 5-6 days… specifically with split routines?
    2) I’m thinking I should start with ‘The Big 3’ beginner routine. So on rest days no exercise is necessary according to your recommendations?
    3) besides self experimentation of how I feel, it’s ok (in regards to allowing for recovery time) to practice handstands/balance exercises on rest days?

    Thank you for your time and help. Keep up the awesome work bro!

  5. Phil

    Hi Andy,
    Beginner looking at your Big 3 program. Very happy to take your advice and start with this but just one question; was watching Mark Rippetoe’s video on the bench press and he says if he had to choose between doing one of the bench press and the press he would choose the press. What’s the reason you put the bench press in your Big 3 rather than the press?
    Thanks for providing this excellent site.

    1. Andy Morgan

      Phil, thanks for the question. Couple of reasons:

      1. It won’t make a lot of difference which is performed and I don’t feel strongly about one over the other when someone starts out. Putting the bench as the recommendation in there is easier – less arguments from young men.

      2. The scenario constructed, bench press OR overhead press is an artificial one. In reality people will have both (some form of horizontal pressing and some form of overhead pressing) in their programs once they graduate from being able to progress/recovery with just three exercises.

      Make sense?

      1. Phil

        Yep that makes sense, thanks a lot Andy, my question was just out of curiosity. Later this week I restart training for the first time in almost 20 years, and I shall be doing the Big 3 as you describe.

        1. Andy Morgan

          Sure no worries Phil. You have the advantage of maturity that the young ones lack. Instead of starting out with the mentality of, “GOTTA POUND SOME HEAVY WEIGHT!” take it slow and work into it. See it all as practicing a skill and you’ll do well.

  6. Cjon

    Hi Andy,

    I really would like to start the Big 3 routine since I am cutting at the time but I cannot do deadlifts and squats for the meanwhile since I am rehabilitating both of my knees from previous injuries. Would I still benefit if I did bench press, chin ups and maybe one other exercise in the meantime and come back to doing the big 3 when my knees are ready? Or would it only be beneficial for me to be able to do all three together??

    Thank you

  7. Grayson

    Hi Andy, thanks for writing. I don’t have a spotter and so prefer to do dumbbell bench press instead of barbell. However, the dumbbells go up in increments of 5, so I can only add 10 pounds per session. What’s the best way to keep a linear progression while dealing with this issue? Should I add reps at the lower weight first, or just add the weight and fail until I can successfully do all 25 reps?

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Grayson, thanks for the question.

      Just double the length of time you take between progressions. Obviously, that’s hard to judge but I’d just do this – if one session it’s tough to get the targeted number of sets and reps, but you do it, keep the weight the same the next time – you’ll probably find it a lot easier as you’ll have grown/adapted. Then just increase the weight the next time.

      Going to failure each time is a bad move in my opinion. I’d ditch the spotter and forget about it as it isn’t going to serve you at this point – it will hamper recovery, and thus reduce the frequency of the work you can handle, all while engraining poor motor patterns. See this work as practice.

      Make sense?

  8. Michael Smith

    Hey Andy, I have a question. What about your other muscles that you aren’t working on like your traps? Should you add on shrugs or something? And also what about your triceps? How do you build up those muscles you aren’t working on. Thanks

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Michael, thanks for the question.
      The bench works the triceps, the deadlift works the traps. Put these three exercises together and they’ll cover the vast majority of the body’s musculature. None are specialized, but at this stage when people are starting out, that’s kind of the point.

  9. Jason


    I’m just starting off on this path you’ve laid out for us all. The bad thing is, I currently have a shoulder injury. Deadlifts and Squats are no problem; however, I am limited to doing only narrow width pushups (think arms tight and parallel to body, with heavy triceps involvement).

    My question is this: Will doing push ups allow me to move forward in this regiment with some success or am I going to be severely hampered in progressing with my body fat loss goals? My intent was to do 5×5 pushups starting with a rep count, and upon completing 5×5 with good from, adding one rep. All reps are down slow and controlled.

    I know you are not a doctor, so I’m not looking for an “is it safe” answer – I’m moving forward based on how my body is responding. I’m just looking for your advice on whether this – if it isn’t exacerbating the injury – would be a viable way forward.

    Also, considering I will not be doing the big muscle movement of bench press, should I consider altering my percent calories on workout/non-workout days? (I’m currently going off of your recommended program on the diet guide section).

    Thanks in advance for your time, and I appreciate what you’ve put together here.

    Very respectfully,

  10. Levi

    Alright so this may be stupid but is a “session” a different day like session 2 is Wednesday? And also what weight do You start at because my max is- Bench 205- squat 315- deadlift 410

  11. Khaled Hussain

    So how much should i be increasing the weights each session, currently i am adding 5kg per session once i complete all 5 sets of 5 reps on the squat and deadlift, I was doing the same for bench but it became hard so i now add 2.5kg each session. Is this ok?

  12. Khaled Hussain

    One more question Andy, do I have to do this routine only 3 days a week or can I do it day on and day off continuously e.g. monday on tuesday off wednesday on thursday off friday on saturday off sunday on etc… ???

  13. Khaled Hussain

    Hi there again Andy, I have another question relating to the workout above. Is it ok if I do squat, deadlift and then bench rather than squat, bench then deadlift?

  14. Max Lovell - PT

    Hey Andy, I have just began a bulk for the first time and I am currently following the BIG 3 routine. I have been increasing my lifts in nearly every session and progress is going well. I am wondering at what point I could add in some extra movements, for example: weighted chins to hit lats and biceps more as well as possibly some volume work on accessory movements?

    I feel that I recover fairly quick in between sessions which may be due to normally training intense 6 days a week in sport.

    My main goals are too be strong and also aesthetics, but not a bodybuilding physique more of a fitness model type of look.

    What are your thoughts?

    Much appreciated.

  15. Khalid

    Hi Andy, I wanted to clear something up, i guess you can call me a beginner, I started an RPT 3 day split program for almost 3 months, took a break for almost a year and now started again and almost 3 months in. I should mention i am obese and i saw your guidelines for importance levels of training for the beginner, intermediate and advanced and obese, on the obese side of things you drew circles through all training programs, does that mean if you are obese any training will do? Or do you still recommend i drop what i am doing now (3 Day Split RPT) and go ahead and do The Big 3? And if so since i am obese i have difficulty maintaining proper form on the squat (cannot go too low) so do you recommend i do the leg press instead or do you have any other suggestions/alternatives? Thank you, much appreciated.

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Khalid, thanks for the questions. As you’re familiar with the barbell movements from your training before but detrained, I’d go with the Big 3 and work from there. Swap out the squats with the leg press, 3 sets of 10, and after your main exercises work on your squat mobility. Consider some light goblet squats, progressing to back squats. If you google around I’m sure that Eric Cressey, Tony Gentilcore or Dean Somerset have something on this up on their sites.

  16. Mike

    Hi Andy. I was wondering if you could help me with a change I need to make to my workout routine. Currently I’m doing the ‘Big 3″ routine (have been doing it for around 6 months) three days a week. I’m doing three warm up sets and then 3×5 of squats (250 lbs) , bench (175 lbs) and deadlift (225 lbs). I feel like in my last work out my form may be getting a little sloppy. However, I’m getting ready to start a Krav Maga class once a week (first time I’ve ever tried a martial art). Ideally I’d also like to start jogging once a week (not to lose weight but rather for better cardio health). My question is how to a modify my weight lifting to incorporate these two activities? Maybe just lift two days a week instead of three? A couple of other facts about me……1. I’m a 40 year old male. 2. I’m probably around 25% body fat so need to lose some weight. Ideally I’d like to at least maintain the muscle I’ve gained over the past six months. 3. I struggle with diet so am trying again to track calorie. 4. I have a family (two kids), a full time job, and am working on starting my own business so time is extremely valuable. Thanks in advance!

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Mike, I don’t really see the need to change up your training routine to accommodate this. Once a week jogging and a Krav Maga class isn’t a big deal and you’ll soon get used to it.

  17. Joe

    First of all, thank you so much for all the amazing, straight forward information available on this site. It is much appreciated!

    You mentioned that other exercises should not be added, does this include cardio? I enjoy a morning jog for about 20-30 minutes. Right now I do this 5 days a week, which might need to be changed? I would then do the lift later in the day. My primary goal is fat loss.

    Thank you!

    1. Andy Morgan

      Hi Joe, thanks for the question.
      Do you run for fun or are you doing this for fat loss?
      Have you been doing this for a while or is it a recent thing?

      1. Joe

        It is a pretty recent thing. I started doing it about 2 months ago for fat loss purposes. However, after a bit, I started to really enjoy it. So yes I do it for fun, but fat loss is in the back of my mind. I consider the fat loss an added benefit at this point.

        1. Andy Morgan

          Fair enough then. The running is a good and healthy habit and so don’t ditch it given that you enjoy it. However, you know to develop your entire body you’re going to need some strength training. Now, that’s a considerable additional stress you’ll be adding on your body. So, if you find yourself struggling to recover from the workouts, cut the running down a little (either distance or frequency) so that you can keep progressing with your workouts.

          Two related articles that you’ll find useful, comments above notwithstanding:
          On Cardio for the Physique-Focused Trainee
          Stress: In The Gym, Out of The Gym, and How it Affects Your Program and Progress

  18. Chris

    Hi Andy, I dont know what the average time frame is to reach the A/B split progression. I advocate a rowing/external rotation exercise right from the start anyway. Why build up a dysbalance and risk health and future progression only because “Big 3” sounds much cooler than “Big 4?” :)
    Additionally, since Rippetoe we know about the importance of overhead pressing in points of shoulder health and sports performance whereas the bench is a lesser tool in the arsenal for athletes. I get that your audience is more interested in BB/optical goals, but that would be another reason 3 exercises just dont cut it in my opinion. There also is just no need for “exercise avoidance”: If you alternate bench and press, there is no problem for too much overlap anyway and youll end up with 4 exercises instead of 3 every session: Cable or one arm-dumbbell rows at the end would perfectly match with the heavy barbell work before.

  19. Chris

    Hi! Id like to stress the importance of an external rotation/rowing exercise, be it rows, reverse butterflys or face pulls. I acknowledge your intention of “keeping it simple, most bang for the buck”, but 3 exercises in total just doesnt cut it. Maybe it doesnt matter for a beginner to leave out such an important movement regarding maximum effectiveness of muscle hypertrophy, but it does for health.

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