T Nation

3D/Week program to maintain


So during the winter I will be skiing 4/5 days/week. Combine this with going to school part time and working and the time and energy I have to put towards lifting will be small. Last winter I had major losses on my bench press/squat/dead

This is what happened over 5 months of NO lifting while skiing 5days/week.

Bench- 265- 190
Squat- 350- 300
Dead- 405- 360

So the goal this winter is to lift 3/days/week doing a full body routine and hopefully maintain my strength levels.

This is a preliminary idea, Would like some input, and perhaps some links towards 3D/week full-body programming.


Squat 5x5
DB Bench 5x5
DB Row 5X5


Front squat 4x10-12
Overhead BB Press 4x10-12
Chin ups 4x10-12


BB Bench x5,x5,x5,x1,x1,x1
Deadlift x5,x5,x5,x1,x1,x1
Single arm DB Snatch 3x5

The idea on Friday is this - the 3 sets of 5 are done light, I can't say a specific percentage but somewhere around an 8-10 rep max. The 3 sets of 1 aren't actual maxes either, they are around 2/3 rep maxes. This prevents me from burning out and keeps me fresh for skiing.


  • Does this program have any glaring flaws, How could it be improved ?
  • Will it provide enough volume and heavy training to maintain strength ?
  • How does the balance look between upper/lower, pushing/pulling etc?


I know this doesn't answer your questions to which I apologize, but personally I would do 5/3/1 and do either the 3/week or 2/week and do either the bodyweight only template, or unilateral exercises, or the I'm not doing shit for those times where you feel really drained.

Oh, and regardless of program, you're going to have to eat like a ravenous wolf that hasn't eaten in month that just killed an elk.


I actually have been following 5/3/1 for the last 6 months and had some good gains, I wasn't aware there were 3 and 2 day a week versions.... Care to quickly explain or link. Thanks.

Regardless, I still think I want to try a full body program just to change things up. I also think it would be best when trying to maintain a high level of athletic performance as the specific muscles are hit less hard but more often as oppose to an upper/lower split where my legs would be really fatigued the next day.


This will give you a good bw template.
If you don't have access to a ghr, I'd do bw leg curls on a swiss ball or hang from a smith machine with your feet on a bench in front of you.

If you do 2/week, you don't need back off weeks. 3/week, I think you still back off every 4th micro-cycle.


Do 531 2 days a week. Pair MP with DL and BP with SQ. If skiing is your main focus, you dont have to go all out on the last set every time.


All you have to do to make it only 3 days a week is just rotate your training days.

Monday- Press
Wednesday- Deadlift
Friday- Bench
Monday- Squat
Wednesday- Press
Friday- Deadlift
Monday- Bench
and so on...

One wave will take 5 weeks instead of 4. During the deload week only do 3 sessions and don't worry about carrying the deload into another week.


Unless you are taking performance/recuperative enhancing drugs ( which I hope you dont ) 2-3 days a week is suffice training to realise gain in the natural athlete.

On reading some of the posts on this forum I am astounded at the amount of training ( both in terms of volume and frequency ) that some are using & advocating , and TBH the advocation of huge quantities of food/calories ( mostly in the form of protein ) in order to seemingly progress.

Once one has the learned technique/skill in any lift , Progress thereafter is simply dependent on stimulus and the FULL recuperation thereof. & No amount of excess calories or protein slightly above ones maintenance level ( approx 500 cals more) will realise any more muscle growth or strength gain above that which ones recuperative/genetic capability will allow.

The majority of aspiring lifters can no doubt stimulate an adaptive response/strength gain with their training ( thats simple , in fact most overtrain ) but few allow such adaptation to manifest as strength gain by shortcircuiting their recuperation and training too frequently.



A routine that I employed ( & still do with a variation of the exercises listed )

Sun; Heavy Squat / close grip bench

Thurs; ( Assistance work ) pulldowns /rows / powercleans or high pulls ( deadlifts every 2nd assistance work day )

Tues; Light squat / comp style bench

Sun ; Assistance work

Thurs ; heavy squat / close grip bench

And so on .....

The above allows for FULL recuperation between heavy days & the implementation of a lighter form of each lift on alternate days keeps technique/skill training on par.



Well said .