IF YOU WANT TO KNOW…
- Get in some strength-building exercises. Perform 5 sets of 10 reps with a lighter weight on the squat, press, bench press, or deadlift. Your strength will increase over time. This is the first benificeiry of the Big 3-Month Challenge.
- This program aims to increase muscle size, but unlike other hypertrophy programs, it will also make you stronger.
- As a foundation, use 5/3/1. The last set should be completed with the required reps, followed by five sets of 10 for assistance work.
- Work your abdominals, arms, and delts more slowly as your assistance work.
- Eat to grow and recover. Avoid doing this program while dieting. Take supplements, exercise, and get enough rest.
- Push the Prowler twice a week, and walk two miles every day for conditioning.
EFFECTIVE AND BRUTAL
My first edition of 5/3/1: The Simplest and Most Effective Training System for Building Raw Strength was released in 2009, and I received many inquiries about assistance work.
I came up with a plan I called Boring But Big that’s effective, easy to implement, and brutal.
It is easy to apply for assistance through Boring But Big. As part of your strength training, complete 5 sets of 10 repetitions with a lighter weight after the basic exercise (squat, press, bench press, etc.). The gains in strength and hypertrophy will be apparent over time. This is one of the primary gains of the Big 3-Month Challenge.
Lifters often have a problem understanding what weight to use with the five sets of the Boring but Big program. For the first cycle of the program, I recommend using 50% of your maximum training capacity.
However, the second and third months of the program should push the envelope even further, leading to some bigger and better gains.
A BASICS-BASED APPROACH IS ALWAYS BEST
Matt Kroczaleski, a friend of mine, recently inspired me with a workout. In the squat, he did 5 sets of 20 reps with 415 pounds, which is beyond good taste. At 415, one set of 20 repetitions is not bad, but five? That’s disgusting.
My friend whose father played professional football in the ’70s and 80’s also told me a story about his father. In his weight room, his father believed squats, benches, cleans, presses, and deadlifts were the best exercises.
In a small weight room hidden from coaches, he and a few of his teammates trained together.
It was difficult for one of their crew members to train, but he knew that it was necessary to be the best. Therefore, he only worked out a couple of times a week, while the others trained heavy and hard:
Set and rep squats at 315 for ten repetitions
Featuring a super-sized sofa
10 sets at 315 reps on the bench press
Considering the person did not care about training and lifting, not a bad workout. The story may not even be true, but retelling it is fun. It’s always better to stick to the basics.
DILEMMA OF STRENGTH
A problem with many hypertrophy programs is that they ignore strength training. In my book, a chump is someone who gains considerable size but does not significantly increase their strength.
That’s right, no matter how big you are, if you don’t have the strength you are a fake. It is equivalent to wearing a strap-on if you have big muscles with no strength. It looks good but does not work. That’s it. This dilemma will be cleared in this Big 3-Month Challenge.
This challenge consists of performing the squat, bench press, and deadlift with a 5/3/1 set and rep scheme. On the last set, you won’t add any more repetitions. Following the required reps, you will do 5 sets of 10 reps.
Three things will happen as a result of this Big 3-Month Challenge:
- This program’s goal is hypertrophy, so it leaves you fresher so that you can do the five sets of 10 repetitions and eventually do these exercises with a heavier weight.
- Your strength levels will at least remain the same – you’re still using heavy weights that will keep your body accustomed to them.
- When weightlifters dial back their last set, they tend to get stronger. Those with limited knowledge or experience often believe you always need to fail to succeed – but this isn’t true.
GETTING ASSISTANCE LIFTS
In the second part of the challenge, you’ll perform five sets of ten repetitions each. Those who have done this know that this is nothing to sneeze at (unless you’re allergic to hard work and soreness). If you do it right, it’s a brutal method to gain weight. Specifically:
- Start the program with 50 percent of your training maximum during the first month.
- Perform the sets at 60% of your training maximum the second month of the program.
- In the third month of the program, you should perform the sets at 70% of your maximum.
Afterwards, perform five sets of 10 deadlifts after your 5/3/1 workout. Repeat the same exercise on the following days. The exercise example below shows the exercise of the big 3-month challenge.
- Before you lift your 5 x 10 weight, you may need to do a few warm-up sets. No problem. Do 1-2 sets of 5 reps and then get started. Warm-up sets are not part of the workout.
- If you need assistance, we can superset it. Your workout time will be shortened and you won’t have to sit on your ass between sets.
THE ASSISTANCE WORK AFTER THE ASSISTANCE WORK
The information is important, but I wouldn’t keep track of it.
The upper bodywork should be paired with a pulling movement. Rows or chin-ups are good choices. Try different grips for chin-ups: supinated, pronated, close, wide, narrow, rope/towel, and medium. Tugging is more difficult when you don’t have enough strength.
Likewise, let’s put kipping where it belongs – in the trash.
It’s been said a million times but does lat pull-downs instead of chin-ups if you don’t feel comfortable doing 10 reps. any other lat/upper back movement that you want to do is fine. The lats and upper back are better developed with these two exercises.
As extra assistance work, I only recommend abdominal exercises for the lower body. You already exert a great deal of effort on your lower back, hamstrings, quads, and gluts.
Don’t change your abs exercises. I know they can get boring, so you might benefit from some variety. If possible, remove the belt for all 5 x 10 sets.
When you train in the upper body, you should work your biceps, triceps, and upper back a bit harder.
I recommend the following exercises:
- Curls with barbells, dumbbells, or barbells EZ
- Pushdowns on the triceps
- Face pull/delt flye