T Nation

Should I Stop Doing the Big 3 So Often?

Hey guys, first post here. I have a question about deadlift, squat, and bench frequency. So, I recently started weightlifting around October 20, 2013 (4 months). I learned much about powerlifting/bodybuilding from countless hours of looking up countless articles, Youtube videos, and forum posts.

So the thing I’m confused about is how often can I do the big 3? When I first started, I did Stronglifts 5x5. It was insanely taxing on me the first two months. It was so bad that I had to take 2 deload weeks off in that time interval.

However, I currently can squat heavy 3 times a week, bench heavy 3 times a week, and deadlift heavy twice a week with no problem. Since that I THINK I know what a fried CNS feels like, I’m wondering if it’s okay to continue lifting at this frequency.

I keep reading on various sources that people should/could only deadlift heavy 1 time a week, and squat around two times a week. Whereas I think I read somewhere (forgot where) that you can work out whatever you want as long as you feel like you can.

I’m still pretty weak. At a height of 5’7, and a bodyweight of 136, I currently bench 135x5, squat 245x5, and deadlift 315x5. I squat wide stance low bar. I deadlift sumo on my heavy sets, and I do conventional until it gets too heavy.

I take a complete week off around every two months (I do it whenever I don’t feel good enough to lift weights, and I always come back stronger). Lifting at my current frequency hasn’t made my lifts go down. I also eat at a caloric surplus of all clean foods and protein/creatine shakes (I don’t count my calories, I just eat as much as possible). I usually get 8+ hours of sleep a day.

If it matters, I have a couple of theories for why I don’t feel tired after my workout sessions. Maybe the weight I’m going at is not heavy enough for it to take a toll on my CNS? Or is it because my CNS is actually getting fucked up, and I just don’t know. Or I have naturally fast recovering CNS (family background: farmers oppressed under Mao Zedong)?

So given my current information, is it okay to continue squatting heavy 3x, benching heavy 3x, and deadlifting heavy 2x a week?

TL;DR ^

If it works, its totally fine. Im squatting 5x a week right now. My brother is an olympic weightlifter and squats 5x a week, usually also pulls 3,4x a week, and presses 2x on top of his olympic main lifts. He’s doing just fine after a couple years of that.

Bottom line is there is nothing wrong with frequency, just how you organize it or if it fits in your schedule

If you just started lifting 4 months ago, CNS fatigue really shouldn’t be a concern. You’re just not going to be moving enough weight for this to come into play.

Check out the “My Modified Bulgarian Program” thread on this forum (down on p. 6 right now). C4G, Aragorn and some others in that thread have seen great success with squatting/benching/pulling multiple times a week up to a daily max.

You should try eating more. 5’7" at 136lbs is underweight by most people’s standards, especially for a lifter. I bet these concerns are affecting your recovery more than anything.

[quote]theuofh wrote:
You should try eating more. 5’7" at 136lbs is underweight by most people’s standards, especially for a lifter. I bet these concerns are affecting your recovery more than anything. [/quote]

Yeah, no kidding. Eat some damn food!

Don’t buy into the idea that your CNS magically explodes if you “train too much”. Keep lifting the way you’re lifting, if you can’t take it, keep pushing and get used to the work. The powerlifters at my gym all bench 3 times a week, same with squats, usually deadlift 2 times a week. One guy did 180 kg on the bench raw and natural (around 400 lbs.) after a year of training, and he benches high volume 3 times a week.

[quote]Aragorn wrote:

[quote]theuofh wrote:
You should try eating more. 5’7" at 136lbs is underweight by most people’s standards, especially for a lifter. I bet these concerns are affecting your recovery more than anything. [/quote]

Yeah, no kidding. Eat some damn food![/quote]

yep. There’s the answer.

Everybody is different. Make sure what you are doing is actually optimal for YOU. I’ve tried squatting and deadlifting in the same week and it killed me. I have a very physically demanding job and recover slower.

For me I have a Squat/Deadlift day, and a Bench/press day with an assistance day. This works for me and allows me to recover. If you can handle the extra volume and are seeing results with your current program, stick with it. If not try to scale it back and see where that gets you.