Been a while since I have posted in here. Well I have my reveiw finished up, and thought I would post it here. Rather long, but I think I have all my thoughts and opinions out.
My review of
What is the 3x3 program?
I will give you a quick overview of the 3x3. If your interest is peaked you can read the entire breakdown here
. The 3x3 is the 3 big lifts (bench, squat, and deadlift) 3 days a week. No assistance work. The program is 8 weeks long and broke down into 2 phases. Phase one is a high volume phase that really makes your body adapt quickly. Phase two is the competition phase where you get to test the strength you gained in the first phase. The emphasis is placed upon the first 4 weeks.
Why did I chose the 3x3?
A good friend of mine was doing the 3x3 and loved it. He recommended I give it a try as I was finishing up a great 12 week program. I took a look and the increases for each lift fit with my year end goals. The program will ask you to increase your current maximum in the squat by 25 lbs., the bench press by 10 lbs. and the deadlift by 15 lbs.
After a 1 week deload, I was ready to start. The recommended sets are from 5-8 with the reps being stationary at 5 (6 for bench). The first week I started with the minimum sets. My body was not use to doing all 3 lifts in a workout and I remember being very sore my first week. You really have to check your ego at the door here. There aren’t any PR’s to chase after, and the weight feels like nothing at first. After that week I constantly upped my sets by one every week. My goal was to be at 8 sets for all the lifts on the last week. This proved to be rather difficult, and on the last week I was ready to give up, and stayed at 7 sets as my workouts had grown fairly long.
Volume is the goal, but too much volume will make you want to miss workouts toward the end of the phase. This is where you really see why there is no assistance work. Your body is taking a beating. Your form will really become second nature. As I exhausted on the last sets my form would break down, but because the weights weren’t very heavy I could tell where I was failing at and tweak my form.
This is where the fun begins. Lifting heavy with low reps/sets. Testing your new strength while priming your CNS to handle heavy weights is the focus of this phase. You only focus on one lift per workout, so you lift heavy on that prescribed lift, but maintain your other lifts that day with a light workout. The prescribed amount, for the heavy lift, was for 2 sets of 1, but as the weights were light in the first couple of weeks I was hitting triples. I felt this portion of the program could use some tweaking, but I didn’t change anything with that small exception.
Who should use this program?
Anybody who has a competition coming up in 9 weeks or so would benefit from this program. Or maybe you are stuck on a lift and need something to break through that plateau. The volume phase will kick your butt as long as you keep it interesting for your body. Adding 20 lbs. on your squat and deadlift, and 10 lbs on your bench in 8 weeks is tempting to anybody.
How I feel about this program:
This is a great program. It could use some very, very minor tweaks to make it into an even better program for me though. I really struggled these 8 weeks. This wasn’t exactly a walk in the park. The volume phase was killer; and the peaking phase, although was fun, it was rather boring at times. Would I ever do this again? No. I would like it for contest prep, but I wouldn’t do this program for fun. I really like chasing PR’s to keep me motivated, and my assistance work, even though I proved you don’t need it.
I never test my one rep max, because I train alone, and cannot do it safely, so when I was calculating my one rep maxes I went fairly light. The final numbers hit my goals I set, so it wasn’t a big deal. I suggest going lighter than your 1RM for your first time on this program as well. I went up on sets every week, but I suggest just starting low, and getting use to it, and then moving up and sticking with it. As the weights went up the volume went up, and that really took it’s toll on me. I used a spreadsheet
to calculate everything. I just changed the formulas around to round up to the nearest 5 or 0. I learned a lot about myself during these last two months. I had to fight with myself mentally to get through some weeks. I improved my form, and I found where I was weak. This was a great experience and I suggest everyone try this program at least once.