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The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
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Post: #1
The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
What do you guys think of this routine?

http://rippedbody.jp/the-big-3-routine/

Basically it's like Stronglifts minus Rows and Overheadpresses. Deadlifts, Bench and Squats only, three times a week.

I've been on Stronglifts for some months now but I struggle to improve my Bench as I have hit a plateau and I wonder if this could help.
03-06-2016 04:58 PM
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Post: #2
RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
If you've plateaued on Stronglifts the next step in that progression is Madcow.

It took my squat to 365 and bench to 225+.
03-06-2016 05:07 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
The question, as ever, is: what are your goals? It looks like a potentially good program if you are trying to be a competitive powerlifter, and a shitty program if you are trying to be anything else.

Your bench may improve my adding muscle to your chest and back - ie by doing more bodybuilding type work.

Your bench may improve by doing one arm pushups - mine went up by more than 30lbs after learning to do one arm pushups, because (I presume) they require such complete coordination (and tightness) of your entire body through the whole pressing movement.

Your bench may improve by just benching more or at different angles. At some point, you have to try all these things and see what works for you.
03-06-2016 05:13 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
sounds like a variation of a dup, people see a lot of progression on dup programs especially naturals. I prefer a dup program to this one as it allows for some lighter lifts and some better recovery as well as accounts for accessory lifts. If you lift respectable poundages you'll be breaking down quickly on this program, even dup gets tough once you're throwing around big weights but this is a little less forgiving. I know a lot of physique competitors who use dup and look awesome so i'd suggest starting there if you like the look of this.
(This post was last modified: 03-06-2016 05:44 PM by mikeymike.)
03-06-2016 05:29 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
(03-06-2016 05:29 PM)mikeymike Wrote:  sounds like a variation of a dup, people see a lot of progression on dup programs especially naturals. I prefer a dup program to this one as it allows for some lighter lifts and some better recovery as well as accounts for accessory lifts. If you lift respectable poundages you'll be breaking down quickly on this program, even dup gets tough once you're throwing around big weights but this is a little less forgiving. I know a lot of physique competitors who use dup and look awesome so i'd suggest starting there if you like the look of this.

I thought you got banned! Glad to see you posting again. You always drop great training info.

About DUP, I read this link: http://www.jmaxfitness.com/blog/daily-un...odization/

Is that pretty good breakdown of it?


It seems pretty similar to what Chad Waterbury recommends.

What do you think about these?
http://chadwaterbury.com/full-body-training-part-1/
http://chadwaterbury.com/fbtraining-for-mass/

My goals are more mass and strength while staying lean.

For reference, I'm cutting now, but most recently was 193lbs with 240 bench, 365 squat and 425 deadlift.

Does DUP or the Waterbury programs seem like a good next step after I finish my cut?
03-07-2016 01:12 PM
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Post: #6
RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
I've had good results with something similar over the last few months. I've been thinking of starting a thread on it.

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03-07-2016 02:06 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
(03-07-2016 01:12 PM)RioNomad Wrote:  
(03-06-2016 05:29 PM)mikeymike Wrote:  sounds like a variation of a dup, people see a lot of progression on dup programs especially naturals. I prefer a dup program to this one as it allows for some lighter lifts and some better recovery as well as accounts for accessory lifts. If you lift respectable poundages you'll be breaking down quickly on this program, even dup gets tough once you're throwing around big weights but this is a little less forgiving. I know a lot of physique competitors who use dup and look awesome so i'd suggest starting there if you like the look of this.

I thought you got banned! Glad to see you posting again. You always drop great training info.

About DUP, I read this link: http://www.jmaxfitness.com/blog/daily-un...odization/

Is that pretty good breakdown of it?


It seems pretty similar to what Chad Waterbury recommends.

What do you think about these?
http://chadwaterbury.com/full-body-training-part-1/
http://chadwaterbury.com/fbtraining-for-mass/

My goals are more mass and strength while staying lean.

For reference, I'm cutting now, but most recently was 193lbs with 240 bench, 365 squat and 425 deadlift.

Does DUP or the Waterbury programs seem like a good next step after I finish my cut?

haha nope never banned just got busy with a new business venture and life, slacked on posting for a bit but checked in when I could but glad to have some time to post again.

Yes that would be a classic dup style program.

Waterburys program seems similar but he changes up the lifts each workout, which ultimately gets the same desired goal of working a muscle group multiple times a week but I personally like being able to see progression in lifts. That comes with not only strength progression but with efficiency in doing an exercise, which comes with practice so I think there is upside in doing the same lifts multiple times each week. If you're the type that gets bored in the gym doing the same lifts each time then dup could get a little stale and the Waterbury program a better fit but for 12 weeks it's not an issue for me, if it were the year of the same i'd go nuts lol

I think either program would be exactly what you're looking for post cut. Not having done Waterburys program I can't speak for results but having done run dup I made bigger strides in my incline bench and squat in the 3 month period that I was running dup than I did the 9 months prior, it made me a believer. My deadlift I've got some lower back pain so I had to lay off really pushing there but if I was able I know I would've seen progression there as well but still I was able to increase reps across the board just didn't attempt any pb. Layne Norton did a vid about his dup experience and he experienced the same thing. These programs I was skeptical but the science behind them is sound so I made the switch and they're no joke, they're brutal, but the strength gains are legit. If you're moving big weights around on the big lifts it just takes proper diet to gain mass so this will absolutely work for your goals.
03-07-2016 04:05 PM
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Post: #8
RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
Hasn't this posted many times before?

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03-07-2016 04:51 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
(03-07-2016 04:05 PM)mikeymike Wrote:  haha nope never banned just got busy with a new business venture and life, slacked on posting for a bit but checked in when I could but glad to have some time to post again.

Yes that would be a classic dup style program.

Waterburys program seems similar but he changes up the lifts each workout, which ultimately gets the same desired goal of working a muscle group multiple times a week but I personally like being able to see progression in lifts. That comes with not only strength progression but with efficiency in doing an exercise, which comes with practice so I think there is upside in doing the same lifts multiple times each week. If you're the type that gets bored in the gym doing the same lifts each time then dup could get a little stale and the Waterbury program a better fit but for 12 weeks it's not an issue for me, if it were the year of the same i'd go nuts lol

I think either program would be exactly what you're looking for post cut. Not having done Waterburys program I can't speak for results but having done run dup I made bigger strides in my incline bench and squat in the 3 month period that I was running dup than I did the 9 months prior, it made me a believer. My deadlift I've got some lower back pain so I had to lay off really pushing there but if I was able I know I would've seen progression there as well but still I was able to increase reps across the board just didn't attempt any pb. Layne Norton did a vid about his dup experience and he experienced the same thing. These programs I was skeptical but the science behind them is sound so I made the switch and they're no joke, they're brutal, but the strength gains are legit. If you're moving big weights around on the big lifts it just takes proper diet to gain mass so this will absolutely work for your goals.

Great info. Thanks Mike.

Couple more questions if you have time.

1. How long should I rest between sets? I didn't see this written anywhere. On Waterbury's he has you resting only 45-60 seconds between each set.

2. I stopped deadlifting due to back pain. I need to work on my mobility, I think that is the cause. What would you substitute instead of deadlifts? I've been doing bent over rows as of now. What would you suggest? Rack pulls? rows? chins?
(This post was last modified: 03-07-2016 07:33 PM by WanderingSoul.)
03-07-2016 07:33 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
(03-07-2016 07:33 PM)RioNomad Wrote:  
(03-07-2016 04:05 PM)mikeymike Wrote:  haha nope never banned just got busy with a new business venture and life, slacked on posting for a bit but checked in when I could but glad to have some time to post again.

Yes that would be a classic dup style program.

Waterburys program seems similar but he changes up the lifts each workout, which ultimately gets the same desired goal of working a muscle group multiple times a week but I personally like being able to see progression in lifts. That comes with not only strength progression but with efficiency in doing an exercise, which comes with practice so I think there is upside in doing the same lifts multiple times each week. If you're the type that gets bored in the gym doing the same lifts each time then dup could get a little stale and the Waterbury program a better fit but for 12 weeks it's not an issue for me, if it were the year of the same i'd go nuts lol

I think either program would be exactly what you're looking for post cut. Not having done Waterburys program I can't speak for results but having done run dup I made bigger strides in my incline bench and squat in the 3 month period that I was running dup than I did the 9 months prior, it made me a believer. My deadlift I've got some lower back pain so I had to lay off really pushing there but if I was able I know I would've seen progression there as well but still I was able to increase reps across the board just didn't attempt any pb. Layne Norton did a vid about his dup experience and he experienced the same thing. These programs I was skeptical but the science behind them is sound so I made the switch and they're no joke, they're brutal, but the strength gains are legit. If you're moving big weights around on the big lifts it just takes proper diet to gain mass so this will absolutely work for your goals.

Great info. Thanks Mike.

Couple more questions if you have time.

1. How long should I rest between sets? I didn't see this written anywhere. On Waterbury's he has you resting only 45-60 seconds between each set.

2. I stopped deadlifting due to back pain. I need to work on my mobility, I think that is the cause. What would you substitute instead of deadlifts? I've been doing bent over rows as of now. What would you suggest? Rack pulls? rows? chins?

You vary your rest, during your heavy sets you can go 2-3 minutes whatever you need as you are going max effort for 3 reps and going for anywhere between 5 and 7 sets so rest is crucial. During the strength and hypertrophy sets you can go to your more traditional rest ranges, I would still aim towards the higher end, 60 seconds upto 90 seconds as needed... you're working muscles that are going to be somewhat fatigued from your first set in most days so better to be prepared for the set than half ass a set.

Any of the options you mentioned would be appropriate. No exercise is so important that you have to do it to the detriment of your health. If your back can take it, either rack pulls or bent over rows are where i'd start as they'll allow you to add weight and progress easier than a pull up where you'd have to wear a dip belt to increase weight which alters the mechanics of the movement. I prefer to leave pull ups/chins to when im doing accessory work.
03-07-2016 08:03 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
This isn't even a particularly good powerlifting program. The deadlift does not provide enough work for the upper back to balance out the bench press' effects.

If you added in power cleans/power snatches/bent over rows/some other form of upper back work, it might be okay.

"For you yourselves are aware that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night" (1 Thess. 5:2)
03-07-2016 08:45 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
I have been doing a routine similar to that: http://deadliftworkouts.com/big-3-workou...5-5-style/

I plateaued as well and have been looking to possibly deload or switch to a different program. I have made some significant strength gains using the 5x5 protocol.
03-07-2016 08:47 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
(03-07-2016 07:33 PM)RioNomad Wrote:  I stopped deadlifting due to back pain. I need to work on my mobility, I think that is the cause. What would you substitute instead of deadlifts? I've been doing bent over rows as of now. What would you suggest? Rack pulls? rows? chins?

In Olympic lifting, we tend to use the RDL (Romanian deadlift) or the stiff-legged deadlift in place of the deadlift. The RDL has a shorter range of motion and is a tremendous grip exercise as well.

Of course, if your back can't take those, you can use bent over rows, or, if you can do them, power cleans. I strongly advise against the Rippetoe "jump and shrug" power clean; it takes forever to fix the problems it causes.

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03-07-2016 08:47 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
(03-07-2016 08:47 PM)Truth Teller Wrote:  
(03-07-2016 07:33 PM)RioNomad Wrote:  I stopped deadlifting due to back pain. I need to work on my mobility, I think that is the cause. What would you substitute instead of deadlifts? I've been doing bent over rows as of now. What would you suggest? Rack pulls? rows? chins?

In Olympic lifting, we tend to use the RDL (Romanian deadlift) or the stiff-legged deadlift in place of the deadlift. The RDL has a shorter range of motion and is a tremendous grip exercise as well.

RDL is another great exercise but one that on a dup program I would again use as an accessory workout movement vs one of the 3 core movements. Only because it activates your hamstrings so intensly that your squat progress would be hampered doing this and squats together every workout. Also because if you are doing RDLs properly you don't wanna do leg anything for days after lol
03-08-2016 01:24 AM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
What about the over head press?
03-08-2016 12:03 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
(03-08-2016 12:03 PM)The Beast1 Wrote:  What about the over head press?

I'm pretty sure OHP is a standard lift for DUP, from what I've read.

Maybe cycle one you do bench, squat, deadlifts. Cycle two you do OHP, front squat, sumo deadlifts, etc.

Is that right Mike?
03-08-2016 01:17 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
(03-08-2016 01:24 AM)mikeymike Wrote:  RDL is another great exercise but one that on a dup program I would again use as an accessory workout movement vs one of the 3 core movements. Only because it activates your hamstrings so intensly that your squat progress would be hampered doing this and squats together every workout. Also because if you are doing RDLs properly you don't wanna do leg anything for days after lol

RDLs with front squats actually work out pretty well, largely because front squats don't give the hamstrings nearly as much work as normal squats.

"For you yourselves are aware that the Day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night" (1 Thess. 5:2)
03-08-2016 01:33 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
(03-08-2016 01:17 PM)RioNomad Wrote:  
(03-08-2016 12:03 PM)The Beast1 Wrote:  What about the over head press?

I'm pretty sure OHP is a standard lift for DUP, from what I've read.

Maybe cycle one you do bench, squat, deadlifts. Cycle two you do OHP, front squat, sumo deadlifts, etc.

Is that right Mike?

yes exactly.
03-08-2016 02:23 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
(03-08-2016 01:33 PM)Truth Teller Wrote:  
(03-08-2016 01:24 AM)mikeymike Wrote:  RDL is another great exercise but one that on a dup program I would again use as an accessory workout movement vs one of the 3 core movements. Only because it activates your hamstrings so intensly that your squat progress would be hampered doing this and squats together every workout. Also because if you are doing RDLs properly you don't wanna do leg anything for days after lol

RDLs with front squats actually work out pretty well, largely because front squats don't give the hamstrings nearly as much work as normal squats.

Fair point, if one wanted to include RDLs as a core movement this is the way to make it work.
03-08-2016 02:26 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
I did the big 3 for years (probably 15 years consistently) great muscle building workout, however recently in the last 3 years or so, I have switched up my training and now dropped all 3 of them completely.

My reasons?

Knees + Elbows + Rotator Cuffs + Lower Back + Sciatic Nerve was always feeling really beat up.

Thighs were so large they were chaffing, making it extremely difficult to purchase pants that fit right/made me look good.
Chest started looking over-sized, making it difficult to wear shirts that fit right/made me look good.

Plus I love/live to train! Training hard and intense is pure joy for me. Without the big 3 I can now workout 6-7 days a week. The big 3 sapped too much of my energy and made it impossible for me to train more than 3 to 4 days a week.

You might hate hearing this but I have noticed massive improvements in my physique since ditching them.
Maintaining lower body fat %, more vascularity, more definition, less sheer muscle size but more freaky muscular look (veiny/defined/peaks).

If pure size is your goal, then the big 3 is for you but I have been lifting consistently for 18 years (I'm 31 now been lifting since 13) and I no longer am chasing that blown-up look.

To me I much rather enjoy being able to maintain a 6 pack/vascular/defined look year-round.
(This post was last modified: 03-09-2016 10:38 AM by ScrapperTL.)
03-09-2016 10:35 AM
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Post: #21
RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
@ ScrapperTL

Your decision sounds reasonable to me. Yet I only started lifting about a year ago and though I gained some muscles I'm still a scrawny bastard, so for now I'm looking for pure size.

In all those 15 years did you really do nothing else than the three exercises? No regular chinups, dips, curls for the arms?

Right now, I'm also considering to ditch bench presses for a while and do weighted dips and chinups instead. Plus, I wanna add biceps curls twice a week.
(This post was last modified: 03-09-2016 11:12 AM by Flint.)
03-09-2016 11:07 AM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
(03-09-2016 11:07 AM)Flint Wrote:  @ ScrapperTL

Your decision sounds reasonable to me. Yet I only started lifting about a year ago and though I gained some muscles I'm still a scrawny bastard, so for now I'm looking for pure size.

In all those 15 years did you really do nothing else than the three exercises? No regular chinups, dips, curls for the arms?

Right now, I'm also considering to ditch bench presses for a while and do weighted dips and chinups instead. Plus, I wanna add biceps curls twice a week.

My mistake, I didn't mean to imply I did "only" big 3, for my first 15 years of lifting. They were an on/off again "staple" of mine.

Not trying to knock the big 3 at all, they are the BEST exercises PERIOD for gaining overall muscular size.

Pure muscular size is no longer my goal, is all I meant.

My goals now are: Year round six pack/vascularity/freaky definition and joint/sciatica health.
(This post was last modified: 03-09-2016 11:31 AM by ScrapperTL.)
03-09-2016 11:29 AM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
(03-09-2016 10:35 AM)ScrapperTL Wrote:  I did the big 3 for years (probably 15 years consistently) great muscle building workout, however recently in the last 3 years or so, I have switched up my training and now dropped all 3 of them completely.

My reasons?

Knees + Elbows + Rotator Cuffs + Lower Back + Sciatic Nerve was always feeling really beat up.

Thighs were so large they were chaffing, making it extremely difficult to purchase pants that fit right/made me look good.
Chest started looking over-sized, making it difficult to wear shirts that fit right/made me look good.

Plus I love/live to train! Training hard and intense is pure joy for me. Without the big 3 I can now workout 6-7 days a week. The big 3 sapped too much of my energy and made it impossible for me to train more than 3 to 4 days a week.

You might hate hearing this but I have noticed massive improvements in my physique since ditching them.
Maintaining lower body fat %, more vascularity, more definition, less sheer muscle size but more freaky muscular look (veiny/defined/peaks).

If pure size is your goal, then the big 3 is for you but I have been lifting consistently for 18 years (I'm 31 now been lifting since 13) and I no longer am chasing that blown-up look.

To me I much rather enjoy being able to maintain a 6 pack/vascular/defined look year-round.

Thanks for the input, but all of those things are a result of your bodyfat, which is much more a result of diet than the lifts or program you choose to do.

The injury aspect I can see. Squats have been bothering my knees now also. But as far as vascularity and a low bodyfat, I don't see why you couldn't have that while doing DUP training.
03-09-2016 01:30 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
Looks excellent if you can pull it off.

I found long ago that I cannot deadlift and squat in the same routine. I end up shattered, and have injured myself. So I do squats leg day and deadlifts along with upper body.

I also wouldn't want to give up my vanity (bicep) curls. I know they aren't compound, but I do like them.
03-09-2016 01:36 PM
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RE: The Big 3 Routine (Squat, Deadlift, Bench Press Only Workout)
(03-09-2016 01:36 PM)DannyAlberta Wrote:  Looks excellent if you can pull it off.

I found long ago that I cannot deadlift and squat in the same routine. I end up shattered, and have injured myself. So I do squats leg day and deadlifts along with upper body.

I also wouldn't want to give up my vanity (bicep) curls. I know they aren't compound, but I do like them.

I can squat and deadlift in the same session, but I usually hit 3 works sets of squats and only one of deadlifts. And it's only once per week.

I think squatting and deadlifting 3x per week would take a while to adapt to, but since you vary sets/reps it wouldn't always be heavy deadlifts.

You also don't give up your bicep curls in DUP, you have an accessory day where you can hit curls, calves, tricep pushdowns, chins, etc. I haven't done DUP yet, but I'd think hitting curls after your workout a couple times a week wouldn't be a problem.
03-09-2016 02:13 PM
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