T Nation

A 3-Exercise Program?

what do you guys think about doing this workout 2-3 times a week:

squat
bench
chin

i posted last week a routine almost the same as this… mine was bench, deadlifts and squats. they said it was crap

While your efforts to keep it simple are commendable, the problem with only doing three exercises is that
A.) you’re likely to miss lots of muscle with such a limited selection and
B.)most people need more variety than this to make good progress.

To the OP, you might look at including deadlifts as well, as squats really don’t hit your posterior chain enough to make it your only lower-body exercise. If you did this, you’d have a decent starting point. Upper body push-pull, lower-body hip and knee-dominant. That would certainly be fine to start out with, changing rep schemes as needed and cycling in different variations of these movements, such as front squat for squat, dips for bench, rows for chins, etc.

The thing to keep in mind is that if you do the big-daddy exercises heavy, often and first in your workout, you’ll make progress.

Everything would be underdeveloped but other than that it would work.

All the excercises are good but more is needed to get complete or even close to it, development for the muscles your trying to hit.

While I would generally agree with you, n3wb, and no disrespect intended to the OP, but if they’re asking for advice on a basic program like this, then they’re probably not close to complete development of their physique. They just need big, whole-body movements that put on a lot of muscle. Then they can fine-tune.

Well, you’ve got to add deads and rows to balance everything out. I’d buy Starting Strength by Rippentoe.

Read Dan John’s One Lift A Day program.

I did that for 12 weeks doing five days a week and one exercise each day. Weight gain was about the same as on all the other programs I’ve done, strength on the deadlift and squat really improved, work capacity probably got worse. But I think you can make good progress with limited exercises, at least for a month or three.

[quote]rmccart1 wrote:
While I would generally agree with you, n3wb, and no disrespect intended to the OP, but if they’re asking for advice on a basic program like this, then they’re probably not close to complete development of their physique. They just need big, whole-body movements that put on a lot of muscle. Then they can fine-tune.[/quote]

Very true, didnt consider this.

I would say to at least put in calves though, they arent something than you can just bring up once you have a decent amount of mass.

[quote]HoratioSandoval wrote:
Well, you’ve got to add deads and rows to balance everything out. I’d buy Starting Strength by Rippentoe.[/quote]

Yeah but you cant do squats then deads then rows then pullups all in one workout thats a little much. And if he is going to do 4 excercises per workout he could have a normal training split.

OP maybe alternate deads Military press and pullups then squats rows and bench.

heres a 5x5 calculator wich would keep you fresh and not burn you out. http://www.joeskopec.com/five.html

Alot of people will tell you 5x5 is a great training style alot of gains have came from it so realy consider it if you already havent.


n3wb

Before I comment, I’m curious what you’re trying to accomplish with this routine.

[quote]bart wrote:
what do you guys think about doing this workout 2-3 times a week:

squat
bench
chin[/quote]

It’s better than nothing, but it could be a lot better. If this is all you got, do it minimum four times a week and do sprints every off day.

How would you all rate the Bill Starr 5x5 for putting on mass. I have been doing it and it seems to be working for me, however, if there is a better way to get the job done I would like to know also. Just wondering because the OP’s workout looks similar.

For someone thats been lifting for around 6 months would this be a good choice if the goal is strength and size over all else?

would a push/pull or a upper/lower split be better? or what about tbt? am coming off a layoff and looking for a solid program toget back on track. thanks for the replies.

Abbreviated programs can work if the volume or intensity are applied. I would add deadlifts, powercleans and dips to your program.

[quote]blueknight wrote:
Abbreviated programs can work if the volume or intensity are applied. I would add deadlifts, powercleans and dips to your program.[/quote]

I second this sentiment. Perhaps a two day split would work.
Day 1:
bench
chins
squats

Day2:
deads
powercleans
dips

You still keep the simplicity but make it much more effective. Keep the volume and intesisty really high and it should be really effective at overall mass. Drink milk too.

3 exercise
day one
Squats, Rows, bench

day two
Deadlift, chin, military press

You could do worse.

is it possible to leave out deads and cleans? i have lower back problems. what would a sample workout look like without these exercises?

[quote]bart wrote:
is it possible to leave out deads and cleans? i have lower back problems. what would a sample workout look like without these exercises? [/quote]

You can squat with these lower back problems?

Chad Waterbury wrote a version of Starr’s 5x5 a while back:

Instead of squat/bench/clean, he chose deadlift walks, sternum chinups, and overhead press squats (essentially, do a military press and squat down as you push the bar up - similar to a press under?)

You’ve only got half the movements in there. Generally the minimum routine includes a vertical push/pull, a horizontal push/pull, and a legs push/pull. That still leaves out a bunch of stuff but it avoids most of the nasty imbalances you’d pick up otherwise. I’d suggest:

Chins
Military Press
Bench
Row
Squat
Deadlift

A two day push/pull split is probably the way to go.