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30-30-30 with Free Weights Only/Big Basic Lifts

Hi, I was wondering if the 30-30-30 protocol could be done on lifts like deadlifts and RDL’s. I have a garage gym and only have free weights, plus I like to stick with the big basic lifts.

I’ve already been lifting only once per week with 1 top set of 3-5, a protocol that Marty Gallagher recommends, and have had good success. To change things up for a few cycles I was interested in giving 30-30-30 a try, but still using the same lifts.

SSB squat, deadlifts, RDL, chins, Dips, OH Press or bench (I’ve been alternating these two each cycle), and throwing in some tricep extensions, EZ curls and Wendler rows.

I’ll also be dropping calories to 1800 for now and following the macros you laid out in body fat breakthrough. I can’t follow your exact diet protocol due to a screwy work schedule, but I’ll try to be close. Sleep is usually sufficient.

Thank you for any information you can give, I’m very intrigued by your ideas and “against the grain” knowledge.

It can be dangerous to expose the deep muscles of the low back with 30/30/30 deadlifts. With deadlifs just do smooth untimed reps.

I agree that there is danger in doing 30-30-30 deadlifts.

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Thank you for the replies. So would this apply to RDL as well? What would be good substitutions for deadlifts with this style of training? Barbell rows?

RDL is pretty similar to a deadlift; still have to hold your back stable, under tension, for a long time.

Deadlifts work hamstrings, glutes, and hip extension. So to do 30/30/30 safely, you have to pick movements that work those muscles with less low back tension. Without access to machines, you are somewhat limited.

If you want to emphasise the negative then for the RDL (not the regular deadlift) I think that the 10/10/10 protocol (10 second negative/10 regular reps/10 second negative) would be more appropriate .


@Ellington_Darden Does this routine seem ok?
As I said I would be following your nutrition principles from The body fat breakthrough as well.

@markh501 You seem to be very familiar with this protocol according to some of your posts. Would you also mind critiquing this routine?

One day a week

Safety squat bar 30-30-30
Deadlifts 1x5
RDL 1x5
Chinups 60 sec negative
Wendler row 30-30-30 (also called a rogue row)
OH Press 30-30-30
Lying tricep extensions 30-30-30
Dips. 60 sec negative
EZ bar curls 30-30-30

On the noted routine, I’d consider putting the OH Press after the Chinup . . . and the EZ bar curl before the Dip.

The new order allows you to alternate pulling and pushing movements and is more efficient.

The only things I would add is that you may struggle to do 30-30-30 on the Wendler rows due to the short range of movement.
Also your TUL in both deadlifts Deadlifts will be extremely low (probably around 10 -20 seconds depending on your lifting cadence) compared to the rest of your routine (60-90 seconds).
Finally your routine looks very taxing on the lower back.
Just a few things to consider. Otherwise it looks fine , especially with Dr Darden’s suggested changes.


Thank you both, I’ll make the noted changes.

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Sweet mother of Christ, this is the most brutal workout I’ve ever done. I’m fried and I’m only 2/3 of the way through!