Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Big Lifts LP The: Program to Getting Strong Fast

There's a million and one cookie cutter programs out there for getting stronger. I've written about plenty of them myself on this blog already, but I thought I'd give my take on how to get the biggest lifts before having to switch to a slower progression scheme. Enter Big Lifts LP. A simple 5x3 program to get you strong and quickly. You use the biggest lifts that allow for the largest amount of weight to be moved, with enough volume and work to get stronger. One of the major keys to getting stronger, at least for me, has always been volume, but not doing high rep sets, from doing a lot of lower rep sets. The reason for this is that you get more practice without being fatigued. This doesn't help your hypertrophy goals as much at least right away, but it will build a base, quickly, that will serve you well for years to come. That will allow you to branch out into getting faster, bigger, in better shape in general, or leaner, whichever is your ultimate goal. There's not a lot to talk about here on the Big Lifts LP so I'll just dive in:

First we'll talk about Work Out A:

You start with the Squat, which has been talked about at length, it's the king of lower body movements, and the key to getting stronger. You put a barbell on your back sit down until your knee and hip are parallel to the ground, and stand back up. There's many variations here but for this program it's definitely best to use the back squat because you can use the most weight. If you lack the mobility to squat down as described then squat to a box, gradually lower the box height until you can squat down to the requisite depth. Keep the box if you wish, but it's important to note that if you do choose to use a box, make sure you touch the box softly.

You then move to the Bench Press, the king of upper body movements. This movement will allow you to move the most weight with your upper body. You lay down on a bench lift the loaded bar out from the bench then lower it to your chest and then press it back up. The key here is to find your groove, find the spot where it feels natural and stay there.

You then move on to the Barbell Row, which is a pulling exercise meant to strengthen your upper back and hamstrings. This movement is easy to butcher so you need to be sure to do it controlled so that you can get the most out of it. You bend down to reach a loaded bar, from here while keeping your back in the same place you bring the bar to your stomach. The key to this movement is to try to minimize movement in your back while making all of the movement in your elbows. Think bringing your elbows up to your side.

Work Out B:

Deadlift 5x3
Press 5x3
Chin Up/Lat Pull down 5-8x3-8

The Deadlift, you've heard of it, it's one of the most well known exercises in the planet. It works just about every major muscle in the body and allows for the most weight of almost any exercise. It's deceptively complicated even though the goal is to load up a bar, bend down and pick it up. There's tons of ways to go about it, legs out wide or in close, grips in all kinds of positions, and you can you plenty of different bars. For this program you have two options, legs out wide (Sumo) or in close, (Conventional) either way your hands should be in relatively the same place. If you have better mobility or longer arms then use conventional, if you lack mobility or have shorter arms, sumo may be a better fit for you.

The Press, also known as the military press, is a standing vertical push. You start with a loaded bar at your shoulders and you push it over your head, being careful to push your head forward once the bar clears your head. It's not going to allow you to use as much weight as the bench press, but it will build all of the muscles you use for the bench press as well as make your shoulders grow.

The only complicated option, the Chin Up/Lat Pull Down. The chin up is a vertical pull where you hang from a bar that's overhead and you bring yourself up to where your chin is over the bar. If you have the ability to do chin ups then you have the option to pick how you want to do the sets and reps. If you're aiming for maximum weight then use 8x3, if you're trying to add muscle then use 3-5x8. If you do not have the strength necessary to do chin ups then you're using Lat Pull Downs, use 5x8, make sure to be slow and controlled while getting a bit of a stretch at the top. This will help you gain the strength necessary to do chin ups.

How To Warm Up
First you do a general warm up, this can be however you like to warm up, but I prefer to warm up with movements that either mimic the movements for the day, or by getting some volume in on movements that you need to get practice in, or muscle groups that are weak. Then you warm up for the exercise: (Taking Squats for an example)
Bar x5
180x3 for 5 sets.

Try to make sure that you're making small (2-5%) jumps, this will allow you to get more sets in which will give you more practice with the "first" rep. This also allows you to get more volume to drive progress, without undue fatigue.

 You can do this program 2-3 times per week. It works best when you do it three times though. You start with work out A and then the next work out you do work out B, then back to A. Make sure to rest at least one day between these workouts so that you can be rested and recovered for the next work out.


Start at a weight that's around your 10-12 Rep Maximum. This will give you enough space to get stronger and get practice before the weights get hard and you have to start straining and struggling. At first you'll feel like you're not working hard enough, but after 2-3 weeks we'll be on the same page and you'll be glad you listened.

Every time you successfully manage to get the reps necessary you add 5 lbs. to the exercise during the next workout. You get three tries to get 5x3, if you fail to do so after the third workout drop 10% off of the weight you are at, and instead of doing 5x3 do 5x3+, which means that on the last set instead of just doing three reps try for more, this will help you progress for longer.


Why 5x3?
When it comes to getting good at anything you need practice. The best time to do practice when you want to actually get better at something is doing it when rest, so by doing 5 sets of 3 instead of 3x5 or 5x5 or even 3x3 is that it allows you to go heavier than with 5x5 or 3x5, while giving you enough volume, and more practice with less acquired fatigue. This is what drives progress.

What if I want to do isolation work?
I don't see why you can't add in isolation work, a lot of programs will say you can't add on, but there's not so much volume that you couldn't add in more if you wanted. Just make sure that you don't lose focus on the program because you added in too much extra. Try to tailor your isolation work to things that you think will help you get stronger/bigger, so that you can get jacked and strong at the same time.

What kind of equipment will I need for this?
You will need a barbell, weight plates, a power/squat rack or stand, and a pull up bar. You can also use your squat rack/stand as a pull up bar if need be.

Why only squatting 1-2 times per week?
This allows for you to have more overall recovery for all of your lifts. You would think that this would affect your ability to improve your squat, but if you squat 2-3 times a week you're taxing your whole body to a point you'll hit your wall sooner. This will affect the overall poundage gains at first for the squat, but over the course of the program you'll make it up and then more when you're still able to improve your squat long after the spot where you'd have to switch on other programs.

Can I use Front Squats instead of Back Squats?
You could, but you won't be able to go as heavy before stalling out, so that decision is in your hands.

Why use this instead of another program?
This will get you further before having to switch to an intermediate progression style program because of the way it's setup. There isn't enough volume to beat you up nearly as much as a 5x5 program would, so you can consequently push for longer before having your recovery become a major problem. I'm not going to pretend that this is way different than every other program you could try out, but I can say that it works and that it's my creation and I'm proud of the fact that it works.

In Closing
The Big Lifts LP is my take on LP training to get your lifts up as much as possible. Following this will most certainly get you stronger quickly, which if that's your goal you should be set. Try it out for 12-24 weeks and let me know what the Big Lifts LP has done for you.

Programming For Intermediates


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