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Stephan Korte's 3x3 Program

I’ve been seriously considering a radical change in my training and Powerlifting intrigues me a great deal. At my age, strength is much more appealing than aesthetics.

This program interests me because it’s based on the Big 3, Squat, Deadlift, and Bench performed 3 times a week with high volume.

Some information about me:

38 years old
6’2", 216 lbs
training for almost 8 years now

Current workout routine is a 4-day split:

M: Legs & Abs
T: Chest & Triceps
W: off
TH: Back & Biceps
F: Shoulders & Traps

Current unassisted Max lifts:

Squat: 315 lbs (I know, not too good)
Deadlift: 415 lbs
Bench: 275 lbs

Has anyone tried Stephan Korte’s 3x3 program?

I’m really interested in some feedback from current Powerlifters on this routine or any others that would make sense for a true beginner.

Thanks in advance for your help…

I’ve never done it, but it makes sense to do as many reps on those three exercises as possible to develop consistent technique. Try it out, and report back!

Do it. simple as that. i am an eighteen year old football player and strength is also more important than aesthetics for me as well. my split, which i call “Program A” (i know), consists of the big four, but with an athletic twist, with power cleans instead of deadlifts.

Monday
Power clean, then squat, then bent row, then bench press.
rep scheme 10, 8, 6

wednesday
Power clean, then squat, then bent row, then bench press.
rep scheme 5, 5, 5

friday
Power clean, then squat, then bent row, then bench press.
rep scheme 3, 3, 3

because my goal is to maximize athleticism and use the body that i have now to my fullest potential, i use this program. it is rare that i am sore after my sessions which means that i do not gain much size, but simply train my nervous system to handle heavier loads.

as a middle aged man i can see that you would maybe appreciate the same thing but for different reasons.

i also do bodyweight exercises on tuesday, thursday and saturday. pullups, pistol squats, dips and stuff like that. but just one set to failure.

so far i have lost eight pounds on this system but my bench has shot up about 25 pounds in four weeks. power clean hasn’t been tested, and i did 405 6 times this monday on squat. not sure what i could do before that but i sure as hell have gotten stronger.

[quote]draperdontplay wrote:
Do it. simple as that. i am an eighteen year old football player and strength is also more important than aesthetics for me as well. my split, which i call “Program A” (i know), consists of the big four, but with an athletic twist, with power cleans instead of deadlifts.

Monday
Power clean, then squat, then bent row, then bench press.
rep scheme 10, 8, 6

wednesday
Power clean, then squat, then bent row, then bench press.
rep scheme 5, 5, 5

friday
Power clean, then squat, then bent row, then bench press.
rep scheme 3, 3, 3

because my goal is to maximize athleticism and use the body that i have now to my fullest potential, i use this program. it is rare that i am sore after my sessions which means that i do not gain much size, but simply train my nervous system to handle heavier loads.

as a middle aged man i can see that you would maybe appreciate the same thing but for different reasons.

i also do bodyweight exercises on tuesday, thursday and saturday. pullups, pistol squats, dips and stuff like that. but just one set to failure.

so far i have lost eight pounds on this system but my bench has shot up about 25 pounds in four weeks. power clean hasn’t been tested, and i did 405 6 times this monday on squat. not sure what i could do before that but i sure as hell have gotten stronger.

[/quote]

Draper,

I’m impressed. You’re 18 years old and you obviously have a greater understanding of what your body needs than most guys twice your age. Well done.

Thanks for the response. I definitely plan on switching to a Powerlifting routine within the next month. Responses like yours will only help my motivation.

Thanks bud.

The 3x3 works. Your squat will skyrocket. Your first time through, do it exactly as he lays it out in his articles.

You might find that in subseqeunt exposures to it, you’ll want to play with the competition phase. Some people will do well to make adjustments there.

Don’t add anything to it your first time through. I’ve found that a low volume of ab work at the end of the session can help.

[quote]Ramo wrote:
The 3x3 works. Your squat will skyrocket. Your first time through, do it exactly as he lays it out in his articles.

You might find that in subseqeunt exposures to it, you’ll want to play with the competition phase. Some people will do well to make adjustments there.

Don’t add anything to it your first time through. I’ve found that a low volume of ab work at the end of the session can help.[/quote]

Thanks Ramo,

I noticed in your profile that one of your “likes” listed is Stephan Korte.

I will plan on following the workouts exactly as he lays it out.

Any advice on supplementation? I’m imagining a healthy lineup of BCAA’s, Fish Oil, Creatine, and lots of rest.

Thanks again.

dude, we have the same maxes!

[quote]bignate wrote:
dude, we have the same maxes![/quote]

For real? You also have my late brother’s name…

This program seems intriguing.
Is it just the big three for 3x3 three times a week? lol…lots of threes.

[quote]Blaze_108 wrote:
This program seems intriguing.
Is it just the big three for 3x3 three times a week? lol…lots of threes. [/quote]

With extremely high volumes at lower percentages of your Max.

Here’s some info:

http://www.deepsquatter.com/strength/archives/index.htm

His articles are in the upper left corner of the page.

[quote]Polish Rifle wrote:

Thanks Ramo,

I noticed in your profile that one of your “likes” listed is Stephan Korte.

I will plan on following the workouts exactly as he lays it out.

Any advice on supplementation? I’m imagining a healthy lineup of BCAA’s, Fish Oil, Creatine, and lots of rest.

Thanks again.

[/quote]

The supplements you listed should probably be staples for most people no matter how they’re training. How you eat should be dictated by whether you need to gain, maintain, or lose weight for competitive purposes.

If there’s no competition on the horizon and you’re doing the program for other reasons, I think you should err on the side of overeating because of the potential this program has to radically increase your leg mass. I’ve never seen anything come close in terms of adding mass and strength to the thighs. So eat and sleep to maximize this effect, as it will be most pronounced your first time through the program.

Also understand it will get boring, you will feel VERY beat up, you will feel like you are getting weaker, and your joints will creak. Your IT band might flare up, your shoulders might flare up, etc… Warm up sufficiently and WORK THROUGH IT. You need the full 8 weeks to realize the gains. At the end of the cycle you will be much stronger, even if at week 5 you feel very weak. So don’t jump ship too soon.

Please let me know how it works for you.

I’ve been doing Jim Wendlers 5/3/1 powerlifting program for the last month and am very happy with it. Its 3 days a week as well. But this 3x3 looks real good. I’m 38 as well and just started powerlifting. The over 35 lifters forum is fun to read for us old guys.

[quote]Ramo wrote:
The supplements you listed should probably be staples for most people no matter how they’re training. How you eat should be dictated by whether you need to gain, maintain, or lose weight for competitive purposes.

If there’s no competition on the horizon and you’re doing the program for other reasons, I think you should err on the side of overeating because of the potential this program has to radically increase your leg mass. I’ve never seen anything come close in terms of adding mass and strength to the thighs. So eat and sleep to maximize this effect, as it will be most pronounced your first time through the program.

Also understand it will get boring, you will feel VERY beat up, you will feel like you are getting weaker, and your joints will creak. Your IT band might flare up, your shoulders might flare up, etc… Warm up sufficiently and WORK THROUGH IT. You need the full 8 weeks to realize the gains. At the end of the cycle you will be much stronger, even if at week 5 you feel very weak. So don’t jump ship too soon.

Please let me know how it works for you.[/quote]

Great information Ramo.

No competition on the horizon, but I want to transition to Powerlifting. This seems like a great way to start down that path.

I intend on upping my calorie intake significantly, and adequate rest is duly noted.

I truly expect to feel like a train hit me for the 1st few weeks, so sleep should come easy.

My plan is to start this in September, as I have some significant travel coming up this month. I will keep you posted on my developments once I begin the program.

Thanks again bud.

You can’t go wrong with this program. I’ve used this program a number of times over the last 8-10 years. It really works for new lifters who need technique practice. As Ramo said, don’t go adding a bunch of stuff to it, otherwise it becomes something else.

David

[quote]Polish Rifle wrote:
bignate wrote:
dude, we have the same maxes!

For real? You also have my late brother’s name…[/quote]

haha word, only im 6’4’’ and 250 and 22 years younger lol
but yeh both of our squats are so disproportioned

[quote]Polish Rifle wrote:
I’ve been seriously considering a radical change in my training and Powerlifting intrigues me a great deal. At my age, strength is much more appealing than aesthetics.

This program interests me because it’s based on the Big 3, Squat, Deadlift, and Bench performed 3 times a week with high volume.

Some information about me:

38 years old
6’2", 216 lbs
training for almost 8 years now

Current workout routine is a 4-day split:

M: Legs & Abs
T: Chest & Triceps
W: off
TH: Back & Biceps
F: Shoulders & Traps

Current unassisted Max lifts:

Squat: 315 lbs (I know, not too good)
Deadlift: 415 lbs
Bench: 275 lbs

Has anyone tried Stephan Korte’s 3x3 program?

I’m really interested in some feedback from current Powerlifters on this routine or any others that would make sense for a true beginner.

Thanks in advance for your help…
[/quote]

The only way is to try it and see… I tried CTs Canadian Powerlifting program which has similarities, 3 lifts done 3 times per week…

when I’m out of inspiration what to do as far as exercises, sets, reps or whatever how to setup my program, I take something as simple as this, training only the competition lifts…

gavra

I did the program a few times in a row with great success. I like it because it’s simple and I was able to really lock in good form on my lifts. You should try it. Its only eight weeks so you have nothing to lose. I would suggest that you do the program as written. You will be tempted to do more work, at least in the first week or so, but try not to. It gets more and more challenging as time goes on. Best of luck.

[quote]gavra wrote:
The only way is to try it and see… I tried CTs Canadian Powerlifting program which has similarities, 3 lifts done 3 times per week…

when I’m out of inspiration what to do as far as exercises, sets, reps or whatever how to setup my program, I take something as simple as this, training only the competition lifts…

gavra
[/quote]

Thanks gavra, I too feel a tad uninspired at the moment in the gym, hence my desire to switch gears.

Off topic, is that you in your avatar? If so, your back is insane… Nice work.

[quote]frodolives wrote:
I did the program a few times in a row with great success. I like it because it’s simple and I was able to really lock in good form on my lifts. You should try it. Its only eight weeks so you have nothing to lose. I would suggest that you do the program as written. You will be tempted to do more work, at least in the first week or so, but try not to. It gets more and more challenging as time goes on. Best of luck.
[/quote]

Thanks frodo,

I’m all in starting in September. I will stick to the routine as written, although I can see the desire to add more ancillary work.

I’m sure that attitude will change after the 11st week or so…

I started this training program this week and quickly realized how effective it can be.

I feel more tired and sore than I have in quite some time, but it’s a GOOD feeling. I’m freakin’ gassed when I leave the gym and drenched with sweat…

Question for the experts:

Korte calls for 5-8 sets of each lift. I cranked out 8 sets of the bench and squat all 3 days but only managed to get 5 sets of deads on day 1 & 2, 6 sets on day 3.

Is there an optimal set range? Should I be satisfied with anything over 5, or must I shoot for 8?

Thoughts?