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Aurélien
Aurélien

Hello, great article. Should I do the 3 days version on monday, wednesday, friday or on monday, tuesday, wednesday ?

Can I add accessory exercises after my work out ? (Such as triceps extension etc)

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Aurélien,

From above: “Spread your workouts out across the week and try to have no more than two sessions back to back. This is better for recovery. Example for the 4-day option: Train-train-rest-train-train-rest-rest, or, Train-train-rest-train-rest-train-rest.”

The same principle of spreading things across your week likely being better applies to the three-day program.

You can add anything you wish if you have good reason to believe that doing so will benefit your lifts (this is a powerlifting program, after all). If you don’t, then I’d leave things as they are.

Owen
Owen

Should I add weight every time to my 1rm for bench/squad/Deadlift. I don’t really get how to progressive overload because the reps and sets change the whole time.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Owen,
Did you see the “How To Progress with the Novice Powerlifting Program” section?

After the first session, ignore %1RM. It’s there just to help you choose a starting weight. After that, add a little weight each session. Make sure you treat each day’s loading independently. You’ll see it covered here: How to Keep Progressing as a Novice and Intermediate Trainee.

Neil Ferguson
Neil Ferguson

Hi Andy,

Sorry if I missed it, but what does it mean by “single-leg variant”? Does it mean like a split squat or leg accessory movements?

Thanks!
Neil

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Neil, sorry I should have added the note to the first time that occurs in the article.

Bulgarian Split Squats, Lunges, or Single-leg Squats with a Kettlebell or Dumbbell (also known as Pistol Squats).

Thierry
Thierry

Hi
For the Bench on day2, I understand that the load is lighter than on day 3 (80%vs85%) and there is less rep (3vs4). So for the Bench, day2 is “easyer” than day3. What’s the strategy behind this ?

Because instinctively, i would think that When you have fewer rep, you can go heavyer.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Thierry,

The second day is purposefully easier (the distance from failure is purposefully kept higher through the different RPEs used), as it’s a power day to train technique.

We can always do more load with lower reps, but hammering ourselves each session as hard as we can won’t lead to the fastest progress overall. We’ve written a little more about this in the “Why We Built It This Way” section.

Joey
Joey

Hi Andy,

I must say this program is working exceptionally well for me. Unfortunately my arms aren’t growing as nicely as the rest of my body is growing. My quadriceps are growing like cabbage, but my arms are lacking. Should I add bicep/triceps exercises? And if so, which days would be most suitable? At the moment I’m following the 3-day program.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Joey,

1. Possibly, but it’s more likely you’re just underestimating the time it takes for the arms to grow. Your legs carry a lot more muscle mass than your arms so the changes will be proportional. Plus, most people starting a program like this have historically under-trained legs compared with arms, so the gains will come easier.
2. On the upper-body days.

Edward Leung
Edward Leung

Hello,

The 4 days split can it be done on Mon to Thurs and then rest Friday to Sunday?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Better for recovery (and thus growth) to have them spread out, if possible.

Mark
Mark

Hi Andy
Firstly I would like to thank you for putting out this great content. I have been reading through the 2nd edition of the muscle and strength pyramid recently and I have a question regarding progression on the novice powerlifting program. After I have established an initial 1rm is there a need to reassess this max in the future after a few weeks/months, or do i just continue to add weight on a weekly basis? I think i may have got confused by the percentages on the sample program and recommendations from the progression rules (after the first training week).

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Mark, you’re right. The %1RM guideline is just a way to initially set load. There’s no need to assess it after.

Bartosz
Bartosz

Hi Andy
I am following this program for over 8 weeks it’s great. Recently I have a little problem with progression on BP on day 3 ( 3×4) but at the same time, I don’t have this problem on day 2 (3×3). Currently, I bench heavier on day 2 than day 3.
How should I react? My guess is that I should just decrease weight on day 2 to allow myself regenerate better.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Bartosz,
You’ll see progression guidelines here.

JUN
JUN

Hello Andy,
I been lifting for over a year with other lifting programs.Currently my best lift was 120kg for Deadlift,100kg for squat and 50kg for bench.Do you think that I would benefits from running this program?Is it okay that I add arms work at the end of each session?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Jun,
It’s not possible to look at someone’s lifting stats and tell them what kind of program would benefit them. However, I have a guide for choosing an appropriate program here which may be helpful for you.

Benny
Benny

Hello, did the routine change? I’ve been doing the novice that had day one Back Sq (2×8), Bench (3×8), Front Squat (2×5). I love it, crawled into, on week 21, definitely feel like i’m starting to top out, hope to head to int program soon.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Benny,
Yes. See the new section titled: “Is This Too Little Training Volume?”

Raphael
Raphael

Hi Andy,

Two question regarding deadlifts: Why is that volume rather low (3×3) compared to other compound movements? And would it be possible (or recommendable) to do 3×5 or 3×6 with a RPE 8 for example?

Thanks,
Raphael

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Due to the overlapping body parts with the other exercises, it’s necessary to keep this lower and maintain the balance of ~10 sets per body part.

I’ve stripped out the volume breakdown table which we have in the book from this article to keep it simple, but it’s similar to what you see in the intermediate program just will lower global volume.

Raphael
Raphael

Hi Andy
Just bought your books and have a question: I often read not to do powerlifting routines when dieting. Im now doing IF (16:8) and would like to start with your novice powerlifting program, however, Im just on a slight caloric deficit. What is your recommendation on dieting and powerlift routines?

Thx and best regards from Switzerland,
Raphael

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Raphael,

Training volume needs to be sufficient to drive adaptations, but not so high that you fail to recover and grow.

The difference between cutting or bulking is the amount of volume you can handle. You can more volume when bulking; less when cutting. So, as you switch from a cut to a bulk the addition of more sets to your current exercises or adding exercises (possibly one or two compound movements per session and an accessory movement or two), is a good idea.

When you switch to a cut, if you find yourself failing to recover, reducing sets or the number of exercises performed is a good idea.

This all depends on your personal needs, which depends on what you are currently adapted to. So it’s not possible to say that a routine is for cutting or bulking, because what might be an appropriate volume level while cutting for one person might be too much for another. Thus, I suggest you start with the training program templates above and the adjust from there as per your needs.

More on this here: How to Choose the Most Effective Training Program for YOU

Matt
Matt

Andy,

I just started this program… and am just wondering when would be the best time to do ab/core work, if I should be doing that at all?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Matt,
Unless there is an identified weakness, we don’t consider it necessary as they’ll get trained indirectly anyway. More on this in the last but one section here.

Matt
Matt

Thanks Andy! I’ve been doing this program for a few weeks already and love it… another question… what about cardio? Is it best to do cardio before the workout or after? Or on “off” days?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan
Filip
Filip

Hi! Program is awesome and I’m using 3-day option and it feels great when you finish session. Guess I didn’t know that powerlifting is something that works for me (being always scared of deadlifts). But I was wondering is there cycle (like 4 weeks, less or more) that has to be completed so I could move on to intermediate program? And second, could it be problematic if I do non-weight exercises(push-ups, abs, back), biceps and triceps with weights on rest days? Is it strange that my squat and bench press are equal by lifted weights ( around 80 kg) but 120 kg on deadlift?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Filip,

You’re keen to move to an intermediate program. Perhaps you’re under the impression that an intermediate program will get you to an intermediate level of muscle mass and strength? I get it, but that’s not how this works.

The purpose of training is to deliver enough of a training stimulus to tell your body to adapt. Once you have done that your job is to sleep well, eat adequately, and let those adaptations take place.

More is not better. More is not the goal. The goal is to get bigger and stronger. Thus, do the program as written for as long as you continue to progress. When you stop progressing, this article will help you choose the appropriate next step: How to Break Training Plateaus.

Zach
Zach

Hi – love the Pyramid Books and super excited 2.0 was just released. Comparing the novice powerlifting programs between 1.0 and 2.0 and had some questions:

1. The 2.0 book has SL Variant on both Days 2 and 3, but this page only has it on Day 3. Is the book incorrect?

2. The 1.0 book used 2×8 or 3×5 for accessories, while 2.0 uses 4×10. 15/16 reps to 40 seems like a huge increase, just curious why?

Thanks!

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Zach, thank you for the questions.

1) Yes, that was a typo which we missed. We have a full list of updates since the release here. If you’d like updated copies just email the support address and say Andy mentioned you could get them in a comment.
2) We’re no longer counting volume by total reps but ‘hard sets’, as this appears to be a better way to calculate volume. We’ve adjusted the rep ranges to keep within the new VIF guidelines we have developed. (See the VIF chapter.)

Ricardo
Ricardo

How long should one rest between working sets?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

2-3 minutes.

Mohammad Assad
Mohammad Assad

Hi Andy,

Thanks for putting this program out.

If I were to start with just the bar for squats and BP and lets say 40 kgs for Deadlift, would this program be better or the Big 3 routine?
I am starting low as I am coming back to regular training after several months off due to work/life issues and dont want to start heavy and get too sore that I end up quitting.

(For reference my earlier PRs were 110 kg squat, 130kg Deadlift and 70kg bench)

Thank you so much again for putting this out for free. I had another question about doing this while dieting, but it has already been answered in Q 10. above so thank you for that as well

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

The big 3 routine is for someone without barbell lifting experience (or confidence with those lifts), this routine is for someone who feels comfortable with them. So, if you feel comfortable, just get stuck in.

Start with whatever loads you need to start with in order to feel comfortable.

Most welcome.

Wes
Wes

Hi Andy,

Many thanks for these resources. I used to train with powerlifting program and bought into the CrossFit craze. After almost 2 years, I’ve realized it’s time reconsider. What’s your opinion on CrossFit? Like any theoretical reaosns to why or why not folks should train that way? Thanks.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

This is beyond the scope of the comments, Wes. If you have a question relating to any specifics in my articles however, I am happy to answer.

Sean
Sean

Hi Andy

How do you structure warm up sets?
Say for a 2×5 @ 220kg or a 3×3 squat @ 220

Many thanks

Sean

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Hi Sean, check out the FAQ section titled, WARM UP: What should I do?.

Sean Dunn
Sean Dunn

Cheers Andy I missed that article. Much appreciated!!!

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

Most welcome.

Vedang
Vedang

Does the order of the training days matter? For example can strength be day 1, power day 2, hypertrophy 3 and then accessory day 4. Also would this program be effective for teenagers, as I’m trying to gain muscle and strength simultaneously? Thanks in advance.

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

1. Yes, the order matters for recovery reasons, but you could do it that way because the power day (which is a relatively lighter day) comes between the two harder days.
2. Yes.

rick
rick

The amount of sets for each day, 3 and 4 a week, seem pretty small. Can we add lifts and sets to days or extra accessory workouts to these routines or would that defeat the purpose of following these routines?

Andy Morgan
Andy Morgan

The question is not whether you can do more, it’s whether you need to do more to progress. (The goal, after all, is progress; not doing the most volume you can). If yes, then try the Intermediate Program. If you’d like more exercise variety, then the powerlifting programs are probably not for you, but try the bodybuilding ones. (Just swap that word in the URLs.)