- The primary goal of this module is strength.
- The secondary goals of this module are hypertrophy and muscular endurance.
- Reps should be kept between 1 and 5.
- Sets should be kept between 1 and 5 per exercise.
- Weights should be as high as possible while still completing each rep. Try to increase working weights each week, by as little as necessary.
- Do no more than three main exercises per workout unless you have a ton of time.
- Try to keep workouts under 75 minutes unless you have a ton of time.
- Incorporate regular deloading weeks with reduced volume and/or weight.
- Rotate exercises with similar functions to break past plateaus. Rotate rep schemes as well.
- Advanced lifters can sub in any routine that suits them as long as it’s workable within the program.
- These are compound lifts, mainly barbell.
- Don’t be paranoid about it, but avoid going to failure.
- Belts are acceptable but discouraged.
- If using weights that exceed your grip on rows or similar exercises, you may use straps.
- Wear Olympic weightlifting shoes if you have them. If not, try Chuck Taylor All-Stars, boots, or anything solid and flat.
- The preferred back squat is the low-bar style, rather than the Olympic or powerlifting styles. Always squat past parallel.
- Box squats are a good sub for back squats.
- Chalk is recommended.
- If working with weights that make deadlifting difficult to recover from, use variations: rack pulls, halting deadlifts, deficit or snatch-grip deadlifts, etc.
- For basic lifting form, follow Starting Strength by Rippetoe and Kilgore.
- Deadlift with an overhand grip, a hook grip if necessary, and a mixed grip only when you have to.
- Reverse hypers (or the unweighted hug a twinkie/gag a giant) are a nice assistance lift to settle out your lower back. Find some time to throw them in; it needn’t be today.
- Pay attention to pains and deal with them.
- You will progress much better on the smaller lifts (such as presses) if you have small plates such as 1.5lb and below for micro-increases. These are available online or can be built from washers and glue, magnets, or the like.
All lifts are 3×5 (three sets of five) except deadlifts. Progression is linear; increase lifts each week, for three weeks. Every fourth week, reduce lifts to 3×3 (same weights), and optionally reduce weight by 15%. This is required every fourth week, but can also be done anytime the volume is becoming onerous.
If a lift stalls out at any point, try cutting it to 3×3 at the same weight; if that fails, reduce weight by around 10% and work back up.
When more variety is desired, you may mix in other rep schemes, such as singles, doubles, triples, or sets of 8.
This is the longest of the recommended programs. If it takes too long, try shortening rest periods (you’ll get used to it). If it still takes too long, try one of the other programs.
- Back squat: 3×5
- Weighted pullup: 3×5 or Bent-over barbell row: 3×5. Alternate each week.
- Bench press: 3×5
- Front squat: 3×5
- Shoulder press: 3×5
- Deadlift: 1×5 or Deadlift variation: 3×5 (or rep scheme appropriate for variation)
» Source: Based on ideas from Joshua Davis
Same general principles as the base program.
- Back squat or Front squat: 3×5 or 5×5
- Bench press or Shoulder press: 3×5 or 5×5
- Deadlift or Deadlift variant: any rep scheme
- Bent-over barbell row or weighted pullup: 3×5 or 5×5
Under this program, combine strength training workouts with the weightlifting workouts to create 4 days of both slow and fast lifts. Make sure you squat, press, pull, deadlift, and perform at least one Olympic lift every week.
There is no specific recommendation; if you try something that works well, pass it along.