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Please keep questions on topic, write clearly, concisely, and don't post diet calculations.

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Dan
Dan

Hi Andy,
I wanted to share a frustrating experience I had with a PT at my gym to get your thoughts on it. I recently participated in a complementary PT session only to be told everything wrong about the 5×5 big 3 routine program.

Basically, The PT believes that the 5×5 program is not designed for barbell beginners unless you are ripped or naturally strong, and as a beginner I should be focusing more on a high rep range to yield hypertrophy to enable heavy lifting and then transition across to the 5×5 program. He did also mention that I will need to eat a lot to enable 5×5 big 3 routine thrice a week which in many cases makes people skinny fat or fat. What do you think ?

Dan
Dan

Thanks for your reply Andy ! Keep up the good work.

Joe
Joe

Hey Andy,
A question regarding progression on the big 3. I am sticking on the bench press at 60kg for 5×5. I reduced weight by 10% and worked my up again but still got stuck at the same spot. I am only 150lbs eating 3000 calories at the moment. Is this a matter of increasing calories?

Dr. K
Dr. K

Hi Andy,
I’m a practising physician myself and have recommended your programs to many of my friends , as I can clearly see the science/logic behind them. My question is , for a beginner with a skinny fat physique around 22% body fat, a complete novice to the gym-eating at a slight deficit of ~200/300 cals, how fast do you think progression should be? cuz the person in question doesn’t want to bulk and become more fat.
and while we know the muscle can be built in a deficit [albeit slowly], esp in a newbie — how fast can we expect strength gains to keep pace??

Adam
Adam

What’s the recommended rest time after each set?

Adam
Adam

Thanks Andy, looks like a great program to get me started after a long hiatus.

Paul Harrison
Paul Harrison

Hi Andy,
I’m 65 and I’m returning to training after a break of many years. The Big 3 routine suits me because I used to train as a powerlifter though I didn’t compete, and I have no interest in fluff exercises. I want a total body workout. Do I need to modify the routine in any way to take into account my slower recovery at this age? For example reduce it to twice weekly, or reduce to 3 sets per exercise? I am also on a cut as I have belly fat to lose. Any advice most appreciated.
Regards
Paul

francois
francois

Hey Andy,

I’ve been out of the gym for a couple years now, and was looking for a simple to follow all around body workout so I chose this. Thank you so much for the time you put into this write up.

Question: I’m training to climb Mt Shasta and am following a mountaineering/cardio program. I’m removing the small weight portion of the mountaineering program, and doing the big 3.
I would do the cardio on Big 3 rest days including weekends. Would the cardio program affect my quality of rest/recovery, or is cardio easier on the muscle therefore OK?

Here is the link to it (Not sure if thats OK to post)
[Deleted]

Thanks

francois
francois

Hi Andy,
Thanks for your time and the high level response. I guess it will take time to understand how the big 3 + plus the cardio on rest days will affect me as a whole. I plan to do variations of cardio: running, biking, stair master, and weekend hike.
I know this question was not directed at the big 3 plan since you have done a great job explaining, but the affects of my other activity in conjunction with your plan.

I’m not sure what indicators will tell me whether progress in the big 3 is being hindered, especially when I just started with the initial soreness /tiredness. I will report back in a month.
Thanks

Jack
Jack

Hi Andy,

I’m a complete newbie. I have a squat rack and pull down machine gathering dust in the garage, so I can do this routine at home.

However, I have a desk job so sit pretty much all day. This has started giving me back pain which I’m hoping to reduce by strengthening my back/glutes with this routine.

Would you suggest to start this routine and work up slowly, or go to a gym (have one 2 min walk from work) where I would have access to other machines (leg press / leg extension / glute machines etc) where I can train legs/(back??) in isolation before then moving onto the Big 3 routine once I’ve built up a little strength?

Cheers,
Jack

Henrique
Henrique

Hi Andy, what assistance exercises can I add?

Ren
Ren

If I just do these 3 exercises will my lats get worked and is 5×5 deadlift too much? I know other programmes only suggest 1×5 it 1×5+ (amrap)? I’ve tried strong lifts and grey skull lip recently but wanted a dimly yet effective routine.

Andrew
Andrew

I’m interested in trying this. A bit about me. I have issues with both knees and both shoulders. I can train tho and have been since April. I do not use barbells however and try to stick to machines and assisted weights as much as possible. For shoulders, rows and chest press I use hammer strength machine, deadlifts (just started doing them) I use trap bar, for squats I use hack squat machine etc etc…

I’m interested in trying the big 3 or even strong strength 5×5 but unfortunately good or bad would have to stick to the equipment I am currently using due to injuries. I don’t know if I should give the big three a go or do the Strong Lifts routine instead?

Georg
Georg

So far I have been trying this program for a few weeks (around 6-7 weeks at the time of this comment) paired with a simple high-protein, low-carb, low-sugar diet and 15 minutes of light cardio on the elliptical trainer after each lifting session. I started at 35kgs which was a struggle and can now deadlift 5x5x90kg (200lbs?). I have tried doing a 100kg (220lbs) single rep successfully and I definitely feel that I got stronger, even if only for a little bit, compared to when I started. Until late 2019 my lifestyle was very sedentary with a poor diet, and I have lost 16kg just doing this program. How do I determine at which point do I have to simply eat more to be able to lift heavier? Thanks!

John S
John S

I’m not a beginner, but I usually can only make it to the gym 3 times a week and these 3 lifts are what I care about the most. I haven’t been working these exercises consistently enough to see the progression I’d like. I’ll make gains one month and then lose them the next month due to missed workouts. I’m only 3 workouts in but on my third workout my legs were sore on the squats, so I went conservative on the 1st three sets and heavier on the last 2. I also plays soccer twice a week, 1 hour and I’m 45. So, 2 questions. One, do you agree that although I’m not a beginner this could be a good program for me? 2, when my legs are sore should I skip squats or just go easier? Thx!

Adam
Adam

Hi Andrew, I was wondering if there was any value to doing a light (half weight of other sets) last set or drop set on last set of deadlifts for reps. So like half the weight and do the majority of the reps only going down slightly past the knee and back up to target the hamstrings and glutes. I’m relatively new to deadlifting, but feel like this gave me some extra activation today.

Andrew
Andrew

Hi Andy,

I’ve been running this program for a couple months and my lifts have increased a bit. How do I know when it’s time to move to a new program?

Bench: 205 lbs 5×5

OH Press (I started alternating with bench 5 weeks ago): 95 2×5, 90 3×5

Squat: 215 5×5

Deadlift: 250 5×5

I think I need to add other things to my training, cardio, conditioning etc. I

Kwency
Kwency

Hello, awesome article and very helpful… Quick question, would it make a difference if I worked out 3 days in a row, and take 4 days in a row off….for example, I would workout Saturday, sunday, and monday…then takes the rest of the week off… If I did that, would I still get the same results?

Sincerely,

Kwency

Kwency Norman
Kwency Norman

Cool thanks for the reply… I will adjust to every other day… Thanks again!

Erik
Erik

Andy;
Why are barbell rows not included in this program? Not suggesting they should be, just wondering why.

Perry
Perry

Hey I started this yesterday I know its stated do this 3 times a week do you reckon if I manage to do it 5 times a week would I do more damage than good or see faster results? As I have already done it twice in a row and I’m sticking to the 3 exercises but with 6 sets and 8 reps.

Terry D
Terry D

This routine is working out nicely for me, however, I do 3 sets of squats, 4 bench (incline), 4 pullups (alternate between chinups), and 3 sets of deadlifts. I do them this on Tuesday, and Thursday, and I row M-W-F, with some mountain bike rides mixed in there as well. I switch between strength 2 days, rowing 3 days, and strength 3 days rowing 2 days on occasion.

Mark
Mark

Thanks for this Article Andy. I’ve been on a different program (so far, its effective). I could give this a try (and remove some of my routine). Some questions though.

1. For Deadlifts, is it ok to start with an empty bar or would you recommend me to add some weights so that the bar doesn’t touch the floor?

2. For Bench Press, would you also recommend a closed-grip version aside from the normal one?

3. Would you recommend if I could add a 5-10 minute core exercises to finish The Big Three?

Kolarov
Kolarov

Hey there.

1. I’m 120kg if i do this with a proper diet would i be able to lose weight with this program.
2. Would i need to do cardio as well if i want lose weight with this work out.
3. if Yes(on the cardio) how much cardio should i aim to do.
4. Would it be good to do abs exercises to lose belly fat as well.

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