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Default Korte 3x3 - 4 part series
by BendtheBar 08-27-2013, 12:52 AM

By Stephan Korte

The deadlift can and will be trained in the same manner as the squat and bench press. Oh yes - three times per week! The deadlift works almost every muscle of the back, along with the hamstrings, quadriceps, glutes, hip flexors and forearms. To achieve the fullest potential in the deadlift, a powerlifter has to develop all these muscles. And what is the most effective exercise to work all these muscles? Right, the deadlift. If you train the deadlift three times per week there is no room for assistance exercises. There is simply no need to do exercises like hyperextensions, reverse leg raises, pull-downs, or shrugs. These exercises are great in the off-season since they may help you to prevent or recover from injuries, but as a powerlifter you must deadlift to pull some heavy iron in competition. Ask Ed Coan or Gary Heisey how they got so damn strong in the deadlift. I bet they didn’t get it by doing hyperextensions or other “sissy exercises”.
The training cycle is the same as for the squat and the bench press. It is an eight week cycle consisting of a high volume phase (I) and a competition phase (II).

Preparations
Before you can start with the 3x3 system you have to find out your current maximum in the deadlift. You can refer back to the squat or bench press article on how to do this. If you plan to use a formula the Epley is simple and it works well.
Once you have found out your current deadlift maximum increase it by 15 lbs. This is your projected maximum - the calculation basis for your training weights for the next eight weeks. You will use weights between 58-64 percent of this projected maximum during phase I and 60-95 percent in phase II.

Phase I: Week 1-4
High Volume Phase: The high volume during phase I will be reached through multiple sets (5-8), moderate reps (5) and moderate percentages of your projected maximum (week 1-58%, week 2-60%, week 3-62% and week 4-64%). Each of the four training weeks consists of three workouts. That is 12 workouts altogether. Make sure to get enough rest between the workouts. I would recommend one day off between the workouts and two days off after the completion of each training week. Important: Don’t use equipment. No belt and especially no straps! Don’t bounce the bar off the floor. Let the weight rest for a moment and then pull again.
Using the “energy saving method” (ESM-method) (see part 2 of this series for detailed information) for the deadlift is of major importance. Just put in as much energy as you need to complete each rep and set. The moderate percentages between 58 and 64 percent can be handled with less than maximum effort. Concentrate on using perfect technique. The ESM-method will build your confidence for the heavier weights. Using only half of your energy and power for a set with 64 percent of your maximum will build a “mental reserve” which will lead to higher confidence for the weights in the 80-95 percent range. You just have to put in more energy.
Special tip on grip strength:
This advice comes from Rudolf Kuester of Germany. Kuester was one of the strongest deadlifters in the world in the late eighties. His personal record in the deadlift is 880 lbs. at superheavyweight. Partial reps with weights above 100% or just holding a very heavy weight for 10 seconds does not help the lifter to strengthen his grip. In order to improve your grip strength you have to extend the pulling phase by standing on a platform. This will force your hands to work harder. Example: The time you need to pull 700 lbs. standing on the floor to a lockedout position is definitely shorter than pulling 700 lbs. standing on a five inch platform. Pulling 700 pounds while standing on that platform will extend the pulling phase. This will make ‘your hands stronger.” You can incorporate this approach in your routine during the high volume phase by using different platforms. I recommend three different heights: 3, 6 and 10 inches.

Phase 1: Week 1-4
High Volume Phase: (current maximum: 600 lbs./projected maximum: 615 lbs.)

Week 1
Day 1: deadlift 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 58% of 615 lbs. =355 lbs.
Day 2: deadlift 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 58% of 615 lbs. = 355 lbs.
Day 3: deadlift 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 58% of 615 lbs. = 355 lbs.
Week 2
Day 1: deadlift 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 60% of 615 lbs. = 370 lbs.
Day 2: deadlift 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 60% of 615 lbs. = 370 lbs.
Day 3: deadlift 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 60% of 615 lbs. = 370 lbs.
Week 3
Day 1: deadlift 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 62% of 615 lbs. = 380 lbs.
Day 2: deadlift 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 62% of 615 lbs. = 380 lbs.
Day 3: deadlift 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 62% of 615 lbs. = 380 lbs.
Week 4
Day 1: deadlift 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 64% of 615 lbs. = 395 lbs.
Day 2: deadlift 5-8 sets of 5 reps wIth 64% of 615 lbs. = 395 lbs.
Day 3: deadllft 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 64% of 615 lbs. = 395 lbs.

Phase II: Week 5-8
Competition Phase: During the competition phase the volume will be reduced dramatically and the intensity will be increased moderately week by week. This will help the lifter to get used to the heavier weights. Use your powerlifting equipment (suit, belt, and wraps) only for the heavy singles.
The number of workouts and the off days are the same as in phase I. The sets and reps for phase II are as follows:
1. Technique and power-training: You will perform three sets of three reps with 60% of your projected maximum. This will be done twice a week. The percentage will be constant during the phase.
2. Maximum strength training:
One workout each week is reserved for the maximum strength training. You will use 80-95 percent of your projected maximum for one to two sets of one rep for each exercise. I used to max out in the deadlift on Monday.

Phase II: Week 5-8
Competition Phase: (current maximum: 600 lbs., projected maximum: 615 lbs.)
While the percentage for the technique training will be constant the percentage for the maximum strength training will be increased weekly by five percent.

Week 1
Day 1: deadlift 1-2 sets of 1 rep with 80% of 615 lbs. = 495 lbs.
Day 2: deadlift 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 615 lbs. = 370 lbs.
Day 3: deadlift 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 615 lbs. = 370 lbs.
Week 2
Day 1: deadlift 1-2 sets of 1 rep with 85% of 615 lbs. = 525 lbs.
Day 2: deadlift 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 615 lbs. = 370 lbs.
Day 3: deadlift 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 615 lbs. = 370 lbs.
Week 3
Day 1: deadlift 1 set of 1 rep with 90% of 615 lbs. = 555 lbs.
Day 2: deadlift 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 615 lbs. = 370 lbs.
Day 3: deadlift 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 615 lbs. = 370 lbs.
Week 4
Day 1: deadlift 1 set of 1 rep with 95% of 615 lbs. 585 lbs.
Day 2: deadllft 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 615 lbs. = 370 lbs.
Day 3: deadlift 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 615 lbs. = 370 lbs.
__________________
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Last edited by BendtheBar; 08-27-2013 at 12:56 AM.
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:53 AM   #2
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3 x 3- Part 2- Squat: High Volume & Competition

By Stephan Korte

I have already mentioned in part 1 of this series, the best way to train all the muscles you need for a big squat is to squat. It is an effective exercise for working the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors and, of course, the lower back. It also works the abs in an isometric fashion. The powerlifter needs to develop these muscles to achieve his or her greatest potential squat in a powerlifting competition.


With the 3x3 system you squat three times a week. This may seem excessive. Keep in mind, however, that Olympic, world and national weightlifters squat up to six times a week. To train only the competition lifts is a training approach that has been used by the Eastern Bloc and Western European Olympic lifters for over 40 years now. It is a very effective training system that has produced many Olympic, World and European champions.


This training approach doesn't contain any assistance exercises for powerlifters. Assistance exercises are only done by Olympic lifters and these are modified competition lifts like high pulls and low pulls that are not performed through the full range of motion. These partial movements are done to overload the muscles, a very effective technique to gain maximum strength. Many power-lifters misunderstand this training technique. They do exercises like leg extensions, leg curls, leg presses, lunges and some even walk across a football field pulling a weight in order to increase their leg strength. Some of these exercises may help you to prevent or recover from injuries, but a powerlifter must constantly squat to achieve his competitive potential.
The following training program is a part of the 3x3 system. It is an eight week cycle for the squat. During the eight weeks you go through two different phases. A high volume phase (phase I) and a competition phase (phase II).


Preparations:
In order to calculate your training weights for the next cycle you have to find out your current squat maximum first. There are different ways to do this. You can take the weight of your last competition lift, but make sure that the competition is not too long ago (max. 4 weeks). You can also go for a maximum single in the gym (important: use all the equipment you usually wear in competition), or you can estimate your current squat maximum.

Increase your current squat maximum by 25 lbs., and you get your “projected maximum”. This is the basis for the calculation of your training weights for the next eight weeks. During Phase I you will use 58-64 percent of this calculated maximum. In Phase II the percentages will range from 60-95 percent.
The Author Performing 100 reps with 100 kilos at FIBO (Photo Korte)
Stephan Korte Performing 100 reps with 100 Kilos at Fibo '98

Phase I: Week 1-4
High Volume Phase: The main goal of Phase I is to increase your muscle mass, strength and to improve your coordination and technique of the squat. This is reached by a high volume. Make sure to use no equipment except a powerlifting belt and always squat below parallel.


Phase I consists of 12 workouts (three workouts per week). You should rest one day between the workouts and rest two days after the completion of one training week. You can work out on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday and take the weekend off. You can also work out on any other day, but make sure to get that extra day rest after one training week.


The set and rep scheme is the same for every workout of each training week. Five to eight sets of five reps for the squat. There are four different percentages for phase I: 58%, 60%, 62% and 64%. You stay with each percentage for one week (three training sessions) and increase it for the next week. That way the training weight increases every week.


I recommend what I call it the “energy saving method” (ESM) for squatting. It simply means that you should only put in as much energy for a particular lift as you need to. Ed Coan is a perfect example of that method. I have seen him in several competitions over the last five years and his warm-ups look always the same: they look almost as heavy as his biggest squat in competition. He seems to only put in as much power and strength as he needs for each weight. Many lifters waste a lot of energy during their warm ups.


The ESM method is essential to the success of the 3x3 system. Considering that the training weights will be between 58 and 64 percent of your projected maximum squat, it is important that you don't put maximum effort in each rep and set. Just put in as much energy as you need to complete each set and concentrate on the perfect technique and the flow. With weights around 58-64 percent of your maximum there is no reason to psyche up. If you follow this method you will save enough energy for the next two exercises of your workout (bench press and deadlift) and it will also build your confidence for the heavier weights. Knowing that you put only half of your energy and power into a set with 64 percent of your maximum generates confi-dence for the weights in the 80-95 percent range. It is simply a matter of applying more energy.


Phase I - Week 1-4
High Volume Phase (current maximum: 700 lbs. / projected maximum: 725 lbs.)

Week 1
Day 1: squat 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 58% of 725 lbs. = 420 lbs.
Day 2: squat 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 58% of 725 lbs. = 420 lbs.
Day 3: squat 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 58% of 725 lbs. = 420 lbs.
Week 2
Day 1: squat 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 60% of 725 lbs. = 435 lbs.
Day 2: squat 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 60% of 725 lbs. = 435 lbs.
Day 3: squat 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 60% of 725 lbs. = 435 lbs.
Week 3
Day 1: squat 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 62% of 725 lbs. = 450 lbs.
Day 2: squat 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 62% of 725 lbs. = 450 lbs.
Day 3: squat 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 62% of 725 lbs. = 450 lbs.
Week 4
Day 1: squat 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 64% of 725 lbs. = 465 lbs.
Day 2: squat 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 64% of 725 lbs. = 465 lbs.
Day 3: squat 5-8 sets of 5 reps with 64% of 725 lbs. = 465 lbs.


Phase II: Week 5-8
Competition Phase: The goal of phase II is to increase your maximum strength, power and to further improve your technique. Therefore the volume is reduced dramatically and the intensity will be increased week by week. That way you will get used to the heavy weights. Use your powerlifting equipment (suit, belt and wraps) for every heavy lift (1-2 reps) and al-ways squat below parallel.

Phase II also consists of 12 workouts. That is three squat workouts per week. Make sure to get plenty of rest between the workouts. Rest one day between the workouts and rest two days after the completion of one training week. The sets and reps are as follows:

Technique and power training is done twice per week with three sets of three reps. The training weight is 60 percent of your projected maximum and it will be constant for the next four weeks.
Maximum strength training is done once per week for one or two sets of one rep. The training weight starts at 80 percent of your projected maximum. It will be increased weekly by five percent up to 95 percent. I used to squat heavy on my third and last workout of each training week, but you can also do it on any other day.
Always use the “energy saving method” (ESM method) for the technique training as well as for the maximum strength training. Just put in as much power and strength as you need to complete each rep and concentrate on the perfect technique.

Phase II: Week 5-8
Competition Phase (current maximum: 700 lbs. / projected maximum: 725 lbs.)

Week 1
Day 1: squat 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 725 lbs. = 435 lbs.
Day 2: squat 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 725 lbs. = 435 lbs.
Day 3: squat 1-2 sets of 1 rep with 80% of 725 lbs. = 580 lbs.
Week 2
Day 1: squat 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 725 lbs. = 435 lbs.
Day 2: squat 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 725 lbs. = 435 lbs.
Day 3: squat 1-2 sets of 1 rep with 85% of 725 lbs. = 615 lbs.
Week 3
Day 1: squat 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 725 lbs. = 435 lbs.
Day 2: squat 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 725 lbs. = 435 lbs.
Day 3: squat 1 set of 1 rep with 90% of 725 lbs. = 650 lbs.
Week 4
Day 1: squat 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 725 lbs. = 435 lbs.
Day 2: squat 3 sets of 3 reps with 60% of 725 lbs. = 435 lbs.
Day 3: squat 1 set of 1 rep with 95% of 725 lbs. = 690 lbs.
__________________
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A Revolutionary Approach to Powerlifting
3 x 3- Part 1- Basic Information

By Stephan Korte


The training program presented here has been used by some of the strongest German powerlifters including IPF Junior World Champions Ralf Gierz and Michael Bruegger. Gierz totaled close to 2200 lbs. at superheavyweight and Bruegger was the first German powerlifter to break the 2200 lb. barrier at a bodyweight of 26O lbs. Bruegger was also the first German to bench over 600 lbs. in an IPF competition (paused and no bench shirt). The basic concepts of this program have been used by almost every Olympic lifter, including many world champions over the last 40 years.
The 3x3 system is an eight week training cycle that consists of two phases. Phase I is a high volume phase, while Phase II is the competition phase. It shares some similarities with the Louie Simmons style of training program. The similarities include no off-season, training percentages in the 58-64 percent range and the main focus of the 3x3 is its high volume phase. Another similarity is very few of the 3x3 training lifts are in the percentage range of 80-95 percent.
The one thing making the 3x3 unique when compared to Simmons and other current powerlifting training is that the only training exercises used are the competition lifts. There is no assistance work! Why is that? The answer is very simple. In order to get strong in the squat you need to train the quadriceps, hamstrings, glutes, hip flexors and the lower back. In other programs there are different ways in which to train all these muscles. You can perform a variety of assistance exercises or you can combine the squat with these same assistance exercises. The other option is to train the squat and only the squat. We already know this exercise works all the muscles mentioned above. The major advantage of this option is the squat works the muscles exactly the way they are needed for the competition.
As I mentioned earlier this type of training approach has been used for decades by the Eastern Bloc and Western European Olympic lifters and it works. During the last 10 years I have had the opportunity to talk to and train with many Olympic lifters. In 1992 1 was stationed at the Olympic Training Center while doing my assignment with the German Army. I observed that their training consists of only the competition lifts, the snatch and clean and jerk. Some of you might say that Olympic lifters do a variety of pulls including pulls from a block, high pulls from the hang position, etc. If you take a closer look at these exercises you will see that they are biomechanically identical to a certain portion of the competition lifts. The only difference is that they are not performed through the full range of motion of the competition lift. This will definitely overload the muscles. This is a technique that is very effective if you do it right. Unfortunately I see many powerlifters doing it wrong. They do hack squats, leg presses and leg extensions - exercises that have no bio-mechanical relationship to the competition lift. Leg pressing a 1000 lbs. does not mean that you can squat that weight. Do you see the difference? These exercises do have their place in a training program, but only to rehabilitate from injuries or to create variety once in a while, but not in a serious training cycle.
The 3x3 system works so well because your muscles will be stimulated much more than with other routines. Let’s take the squat again to explain this fact. For example, if your squat maximum is 700 pounds and your training schedule calls for 5 sets of 5 reps once a week you will achieve a fairly high volume com-pared to other training programs. When 75% of 700 pounds (525 pounds) is done for 25 reps (5 x 5) you end up with a total squat tonnage of 13125 pounds per week. This tonnage is determined by the work sets only and not the warm up sets (this is the standard approach in the 3x3 program). Now take a look at the total squat tonnage of the 3x3 system. In week four you use 64% of 700 lbs. which is 448 pounds for a maximum of 40 reps (8 sets of 5 reps). The total tonnage of only one workout is 17920 pounds. You repeat this workout twice and you end up with a total squat tonnage of 35840 pounds per week. That is over two and a half times the volume of the other program. The 3x3 system creates a workload stimulus that forces the muscles to work much harder and therefore to grow faster and get stronger.
Preparations: Before you start with the 3x3 system you need to find your current maximum in each of the three lifts. There are many ways to find this out and it’s up to you which one you choose. You can use your last competition lifts if the competition was recent (within the last 4 weeks). You can also go for a maximum single in the gym (important: use all the equipment you usually wear in competition). If you estimate your max based on reps you can use a variety of equations. A simple one is the Epley equation. In the Epley, you multiply the reps achieved by .033 and multiply the product of this times the weight used. Add the resulting product to the weight used and you have your max. Remember it does not make sense to choose weights that you cannot handle.
Once you have found your current maximum you can calcu-late your training weights for the next eight weeks. I will give you a more detailed explanation of this in future articles. However, before your start the program you will be asked to increase your current maximum in the squat by 25 lbs., the bench press by 10 lbs. and the deadlift by 15 lbs. This will be your new projected maximum and it will be this number that you will base your training. The training weights will be 58-64 percent of this projected maximum in phase I and 60-95 percent in phase II.
Phase I- Weeks 1-4 - High Volume Phase: By doing a lot of sets and reps you will reach a high volume during phase I. This set and rep scheme builds muscle mass, strength and helps to improve your coordination and technique on each of the competition lifts.


Summary: Phase I
Day l
squat: 5-8x5
bench: 6-8x6
deadlift: 5-8x5
Day 2
squat: 5-8x5
bench: 6-8x6
deadlift: 5-8x5
Day 3
squat: 5-8x5
bench: 6-8x6
deadlift: 5-8x5
The total number of workouts in phase I is 12. This is three workouts per week. Make sure to rest one day between the workouts and rest two days after the completion of one training week. I used to work out on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. With this approach I had two days off on the weekend which really helped me to recuperate.

You will squat, bench and deadlift in every workout. Yes - you squat, bench and deadlift three times a week. That’s too much? How do you know? Have you ever tried it? You will not be doing any assistance work, which means that you have all your energy available for the three competition lifts. By the way, I’ve worked with Olympic lifters and they train the squat six times a week. They break it down to four front squat sessions and two back squat sessions. In these workouts they used some heavy poundages. If these lifters were overtrained it is of no consequence because they won a bronze and a silver medal in the superheavyweight category at the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul.
The sets and reps are the same in every workout. Five to eight sets of five reps for the squat and deadlift and six to eight sets of six reps for the bench press.

You work with four different percentages during phase I, but you stay with one percentage for each training week. This means you will use a particular weight for each exercise and work with it for three workouts or one training week. The next week of training will have you using a higher percentage and therefore a higher weight. That way you increase the weights every week. Make sure to use no equipment, except a power-lifting belt.
Phase II - Week 5-8 - Competition Phase: During phase II you will reduce the volume dramatically and increase the intensity week by week. This helps you to adapt to the heavier weights. You will use powerlifting equipment (suit, belt, wraps, and bench shirt) for every heavy lift (1-2 reps). The intention of phase II is to build power, maximum strength and improve your technique with heavy weight.
As in phase I, the total number of workouts in phase Ills 12. There are also three workouts per week. Make sure to get plenty of rest between the workouts. You will still squat, bench and deadlift in every workout. The sets and reps in the daily workouts will vary. Each exercise is divided in two parts:

Technique and power training. You will be performing three sets of three reps for the squat and deadlift and five sets of four reps for the bench press. The training weight is 60 percent of your projected maximum and it and it will be con-stant for the next four weeks.

Maximum strength training. You will use 80-95 percent of your calculated maximum for one to two sets of one rep for each exercise. Train maximum strength on only one exercise per day. I used to max out as follows: deadlift on Monday (day 1), bench press on Wednesday (day 2) and squat on Friday (day 3).
Summary: Phase II
Day l
squat: 3x3
bench: 5x4
deadlift: 1-2x1
Day 2
squat: 3x3
bench: 1-2x1
deadlift: 3x3
Day 3
squat: 1-2x1
bench: 5x4
deadlift: 3x3


While the percentages for the technique training will be constant, the percentages for the maximum strength training will be increased weekly by five percent.
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A Revolutionary Approach to Powerlifting
3 x 3- Part 3- Bench Press: High Volume & Competition

By Stephan Korte

The training system for the bench press is the same as the squat, which I explained in part 2 of this series. Do you want to bench big? This is no problem; all you have to do is bench press. Since the bench press is the most effective way to train the muscles you need for a big bench it will be the only exercise you use in your training. It incorporates the pectoralis muscles, the deltoids, triceps and even the lats. Remember only the bench press works these muscles exactly the way they are needed for the competition. With the 3x3 system you will bench press three times a week. There’s no need for side delt raises, one arm triceps extensions, incline presses or other assistance exercises.
The 3x3 system for the bench press is structured the same as the 3x3 for the squat. The program is set up on an 8-week cycle that is divided into two phases. Phase I: The high volume phase. Phase II: The competition phase. Each individual phase will last four weeks.

Preparations:

The 3x3 system utilizes percentages of a projected 1 rep max. In order to calculate your lifting weights you will need to determine a projected maximum for the eight week cycle. The first step is to find your current maximum in the bench press. In past articles I have mentioned several ways in which you could do this. You can use a gym max or your best bench from a recent contest. It is important that your max is done in similar fashion (from an equipment standpoint) as your new goal bench will be performed. If you prefer to estimate your max you can use the Epley formula mentioned in the first article of this series.
After determining your current maximum, increase the weight by 10 lbs. This is your "projected maximum" and is one of the factors you will use in the calculation of your training weights. In Phase I you will use weights from 58-64 percent of your projected max. In phase II the intensity range will be larger, rang-ing from 60-95 % of the projected maximum.

Phase I: Week 1-4

High Volume Phase
The intent of phase I is to develop a foundation of strength by using a high training volume. The multiple set approach is an excellent way of achieving this. The use of so many reps will also improve your neuromuscular coordination and therefore your bench press technique. During this phase you will only use wrist wraps and a powerlifting belt. Always pause your bench reps in a competition fashion.
As with the rest of the 3x3 system you will train three times per week. Make sure to rest one day between the training sessions and two days after the completion of each training week. That extra day off will aid in your recovery.
In the bench press you will train a higher volume than for the squat and deadlift. Each workout consists of six to eight sets of six reps. The percentages for phase I are:


Week 1 - 58%
Week 2 - 60%
Week 3 - 62%
Week 4 - 64%
You will stay with each percentage for three workouts and increase it week by week.
I recommend that you use the “energy saving method” (ESM--method) (see part 2 of this series for detailed information) for the bench press. Use only the minimal amount of energy or effort you need to complete each rep and set. With the percentages between 58 and 64 percent of your projected maximum bench press, there is no need to press the weight through the ceiling. Concentrate on perfect bench press technique. The ESM method will allow you to save enough energy for the last exercise of your workout (the deadlift) and it will also build your confidence for the heavier weights. By using only half of your energy and power for a set with 64 percent of your maximum you will be building a “mental reserve”. This “mental reserve” will lead to developing higher confidence for the weights in the 80-95 percent range.
When I worked with the 3x3 training system in 1992 the bench press shirt was still illegal in the IPF. Today it is allowed in most organizations and this will require some modifications to the way you will bench in this system. Tricep strength is paramount in getting the most out of the bench press shirt. In order to work your triceps functionally I decided to combine one of Louie Simmons Ideas with the 3x3 training system. The use of different grips helps you to train the triceps more intensely. I suggest the use of three different grips during the high volume phase: wide (1-2” wider than your normal bench grip), shoulder wide, and close (1-2” closer than your shoulder width bench grip). You will alternate these grips during the eight training sets. You can start with any grip but make sure to use your weakest grip most often. Here is an example for an athlete whose weakest grip is the shoulder wide grip:


1. set: wide grip
2. set: shoulder wide grip
3. set: close grip
4. set: shoulder wide grip
5. set: wide grip
6. set: shoulder wide grip
7. set: close grip
8. set: shoulder wide grip
Phase 1: Week 1-4

High Volume Phase: current maximum: 400 lbs., projected maximum: 410 lbs.

Week 1:

Day 1 - bench press 6-8 sets of 6 reps with 58% of 410 lbs. = 235 lbs.
Day 2 - bench press 6-8 sets of 6 reps with 58% of 410 lbs. = 235 lbs.
Day 3 - bench press 6-8 sets of 6 reps with 58% of 410 lbs. = 235 lbs.
Week 2:
Day 1 - bench press 6-8 sets of 6 reps with 60% of 410 lbs. = 245 lbs.
Day 2 - bench press 6-8 sets of 6 reps with 60% of 410 lbs. = 245 lbs.
Day 3 - bench press 6-8 sets of 6 reps with 60% of 4l0 lbs. = 245 lbs.

Week 3:

Day 1 - bench press 6-8 sets of 6 reps with 62% of 410 lbs. = 255 lbs.
Day 2 - bench press 6-8 sets of 6 reps with 62% of 410 lbs. = 255 lbs.
Day 3 - bench press 6-8 sets of 6 reps with 62% of 410 lbs. = 255 lbs.

Week 4:

Day 1 - bench press 6-8 sets of 6 reps with 64% of 410 lbs. = 265 lbs.
Day 2 - bench press 6-8 sets of 6 reps with 64% of 410 lbs. = 265 lbs.
Day 3 - bench press 6-8 sets of 6 reps with 64% of 410 lbs. = 265 lbs.

Phase II: Week 5-8

Competition Phase:
The higher percentages of phase II will lead to an increased intensity and a decreased volume. You will consequently increase your maximum strength and power week by week and you will also improve your technique. You will get used to the heavy weights slowly but steadily. Use your bench shirt for every heavy lift (1-2 reps) but not for the power training. I recommend a loose shirt for week 1 and 2 and your tight competition shirt for week 3 and 4.
The number of workouts and the off days are the same as in Phase I. The sets and reps for phase II are as follows:

1. The technique and power training is done twice each week. You do five sets of four reps with 60 percent of your projected maximum. The percentage and therefore the weight for the power and technique training will be constant during the whole phase.
2. The maximum strength workout is done once per week. In the first two weeks you do one or two sets of one rep using 80 per-cent of your projected maximum in week one and 85 percent in week two. In the last two weeks you do only one set of one rep -90 percent of your projected maximum in week three and 95 percent in week four. I used to bench heavy on my second workout (Wednesday) of each training week, but you can also do it on any other day.
Make sure to use the “energy saving method” (ESM method) in every workout. Put in as much power and strength as you need to complete each rep and concentrate on the perfect technique. Never go higher than 95 percent in training. The “real 100 percent attempts” should be saved for competition.

Phase II: Week 5-8

Competition Phase: Current maximum: 400 lbs., projected max. 410 lbs.

Week 1:

Day 1 - bench 5 sets of 4 reps with 60% of 410 lbs. = 245 lbs.
Day 2 - bench 1-2 sets of 1 rep with 80% of 410 lbs. = 330 lbs.
Day 3 - bench 5 sets of 4 reps with 60% of 410 lbs. = 245 lbs.
Week 2:
Day 1 - bench 5 sets of 4 reps with 60% of 410 lbs. = 245 lbs.
Day 2 - bench 1-2 sets of 1 rep with 85% of 410 lbs. = 350 lbs.
Day 3 - bench 5 sets of 4 reps with 60% of 410 lbs. = 245 lbs.

Week 3:

Day 1 - bench 5 sets of 4 reps with 60% of 410 lbs. = 245 lbs.
Day 2 - bench 1 set of 1 rep with 90% of 410 lbs. = 370 lbs.
Day 3 - bench 5 sets of 4 reps with 60% of 410 lbs. = 245 lbs.

Week 4:

Day 1 - bench 5 sets of 4 reps with 60% of 410 lbs. = 245 lbs.
Day 2 - bench 1 set of 1 rep with 95% of 410 lbs. = 390 lbs.
Day 3 - bench 5 sets of 4 reps with 60% of 410 lbs. = 245 lbs.

This series will be continued in the next issue of Strength Online. Look for Part 4-The deadlift: High volume and competition phase. Until then: Train smart and get strong!
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Old 08-27-2013, 11:18 AM   #5
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not going to lie, thats intense!
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Old 08-27-2013, 03:07 PM   #6
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Definitely will do this in the future.
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