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The Big Three, Three Times/Wk. Full Body Program Help?

I love the big three and love to do them all in the same workout, but I would like some help with how to make it work volume-wise if I wanted to Bench, squat and deadlift x3 week… Monday, wednesday and friday (I cant go to gym on weekends)+ accessory work.
Main lifts are done at 80% - 90% 1RM, accessory lifts at 70%

Is 5 sets per exercise on the main lifts too much volume when done every other day?
Also if I wanted to use pendulum style periodization, should I use wave loading or straight sets?
(if wave loading isnt too much volume when done x3 week)

Another thing, should I use medium, light, heavy day split on my weekly workouts?

I’m natural lifter, so the volume thing is a big consideration of mine and I would like to transition from 2 days a week to 3 days a week lifting schedule.

Any help would be greatly appreciated <3


would be of interest to you. Swap front squat for back squat. Maybe reduce load a bit initially to not crash.

If you opt for 80% on the three rep sets and 70% on the six rep sets that hopefully leaves you with enough reps in the tank to progress and provide lee-way for a bad day.

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Thank you alot man! I been searching for a somekind of program or template for x3 days a week big three, but they not easy to find or the ones that I did were so overcomplicated that I they turned me off.

So does that mean that I would first do 3x3@80% and then another 3x6@70% , 6 sets in total?
Also should I use medium, light and heavy days for each lift or split them per workout? Heavy for the first lift of the day, medium for 2nd and light for 3rd?

Again, thank you so much for this program template!


I think you’ll find that you have to.

I haven’t run this program myself so I can’t tell you how much you’d need to adjust the lifts following the first one.

My thinking, if I was to run this is that, one night equate heavy as 80%, medium as 75% and light as 70% but if I’ve used done back squats and deadlifts then 70% of my bench RM might be too heavy so I’d err for underestimating my own abilities to not plateau immediately. That might result in a few sessions being “too light” initially but I don’t see a huge downside to that while I see a greater drawback from not being able to complete my reps.

Personally, if I benched first I’d do deadlifts at 70-75 (Day 2). But squats after deadlifts (Day 3) 65-70%.

Try and leave 1-2 reps in the tank. I’d try to remember that I’m doing the lifts often and wouldn’t want to ruin my next training session by being overzealous during the one I’m currently doing.

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Allthough I’m little vary of the volume of this. In Thibs “best damn strength plan for natural” he stated that volume should be low and frequency high and it’s mostly 1-set excerises with one 5-set strengh-skill set and even that’s only everyother day.

So that 6-sets on big lifts on every other day, coupled with high volume accessories got me little doubtful if the overal volume is too high in a longer period of time.
But I suppose I can migitate this by having heavy, medium and light days for each big lift and maybe cutting sets and reps from accesories?

What do you think?

With athletes that’s the set-up I use. We train the three big lifts (sometimes I use a power snatch or power clean instead of a deadlift) 3x a week.

You can get an idea of how I work by reading the following article:

Also, on my own Thibarmy website, most of the programs use that type of set-up.

I personally prefer to focus only on the big lifts during the 3 main workouts (we normally do 4 exercises. A squat, a press, a hinge and a pull) and the assistance work is done on a 4th workout, done on saturday. I call this fourth session the “gap workout” where we use lower stress exercises and loading scheme for lagging/weaker muscle groups.

Since you can only train 3x a week I see 3 solutions:

  1. Add 1-2 minor assistance exercises per workout for 2-3 sets. For example on Monday you could do one pectoral and one ticeps exercise, on Wednesday one biceps and one back movement and on Friday a hamstrings/glutes and one quads movement.

  2. Use the 3 whole body sessions + 1 gap workout and roll the workouts… for example:

Monday: Whole body 1
Wednesday: Whole body 2
Friday: Whole body 3

Monday: Gap
Wednesday: Whole body 1
Friday: Whole body 2

Monday: Whole body 3
Wednesday: Gap
Friday: Whole body 1


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Thank you so much for the reply!

I have read your article on new 5x5 and I think I understood the methods behind it.

Questions of course arised, if I would use this style to build base strength and maximal strength, should I use a cycle of 6-weeks of 5x5 (75%-85%) and then 4 weeks of 5/4/3/2/1 (85%-95%)
if so, should I test new PR with 5/4/3/2/1 on week 10 or take week 11 as semi-deload and test new PR on week 12?

Can or should wave loading be used here at any phase? 7/5/3, 5/4/3 , 3/2/1?

I’d recommend checking out his “jacked 31” article on his website. It gives some pretty deep explanation that would probably help with these questions, and even lays out a full template

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I will do that! Thank you!

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