This article was written by MikeM from the Muscle and Brawn Forum.
Big is a 10-12 week strength and size program designed by Jonathan Byrd, a nationally ranked powerlifter, that I have used for the past three months and I can tell you it works. I am physically bigger and have raised my powerlifting total close to 80 pounds in that time. I have done a number of different programs in the past two years since I started lifting seriously and nothing has worked as quickly and efficiently as this program has done for me. I will discuss the generalities of the program in this review but don’t want to give the program away. So do yourself a favor and get the e-book if you want a good method for getting big and strong.
I did the program four days a week program as it was laid out, but there is a three day a week option included if that works better for your schedule. Essentially you are doing a maximum effort squat day, a maximum effort bench day, a deadlift or back day as deadlift variations are used to cycle that lift, and an auxillary bench day each week. If you were doing three day, you’d split up the auxillary day and some assistance stuff and do them on the other days.
The main idea behind the program is just smart old school type lifting. You do basic barbell movements every session. No fancy equipment, special bars, bands or chains needed, and this is a program designed for raw lifters. A lot of programs you see out there are written by geared guys and for geared or raw lifters, but this program is by a big strong geared guy telling you how he got really strong raw before he ever got into gear.
It is also basic old school linear periodization too. You go from high volume, lower intensity to low volume, higher intensity until you peak at the end of the program. And I used to think five rep sets were high volume, so let me tell you, starting the first two weeks with sets of eight is humbling. But I realized at the end it was crucial to conditioning yourself to handle the bigger weights you will be handling later.
An important aspect of the program is that aside from working the main lift, you also work the typical weak point of that lift in the assistance movements, both to strengthen that weak point and to encourage blood flow into that area to promote growth and strength. So, you bench and you hammer your triceps afterwards, squat and then hammer your quads and abs, deadlift or variation and then hammer your hamstrings and abs, etc.
The lifts, percentages, sets, and reps you need to do are all laid exactly out for you, and aside from the main lift of the day, substitutions for assistance lifts that hit the same part of the body are just fine, and like I said all you need is basic stuff to do this routine. I did it in my garage.
One crucial thing that sets this program aside from a typical cookie cutter program out there though, is that you play with your percentages based on how you are doing week to week. You start with your real max single, maybe down five pounds to be safe, but your real max and base percentages off that for the first week. However, if you hit all your reps (as you should in the first week!), then you raise your max by five pounds and recalculate for week two. Same for every lift every week. Keep raising it five pounds if you make all the reps. If you miss a bench rep, but make all the others, keep bench the same but raise the others. If you’re struggling all over, take a deload and come back fresher and probably stronger. You’re always upping the ante as appropriate so you’re always moving forward.
I don’t know if this will work for you if you are a bodybuilder or a strongman, but I can tell you it will make you bigger and raise your powerlift total no question about it.