One of the best tests of pure strength is how you stack up on compound exercises. In an age of machines and concentration curls, there’s still nothing more impressive or satisfying than slapping plate after plate onto a barbell and cranking out set after set. But getting to the point where you stop pretendin’ and the bar starts bendin’, you have to start training more specifically for those lifts – you have to specialize. And when it comes to enhancing one’s strength in the “big three” – the squat, bench press and deadlift – there’s no surprise we’re going to keep things simple to get results.

To boost your numbers in the big three, we have to do the big three. No exceptions. It will also benefit us to do ancillary/auxiliary exercises that match the same movement pattern as well as the same muscle groups, so we can increase our strength numbers like never before.

So are you ready to take your squats, deads and bench into new territory? Good. Let’s begin!

First you need to figure out just where you’re at – and that means finding out your 1RM. We’ll call this “benchmark day.”

Benchmark Day:

*Find your 1RM (repetition maximum) for:

  • Squat
  • Bench Press
  • Deadlift

You have three attempts (once properly warmed up) to discover your 1RM for each exercise. Ensure you have a spotter!

Once you have this figured out, you can head right into the program. This program will have you training three days a week – Monday, Wednesday and Friday – and you’ll be focusing on each lift for one of those days. To ensure peak performance, take a serving of VaporX5 Next Gen before training and a serving of CELL-TECH HYPER-BUILD after.

Follow this plan for three months, and then at the 12- to 13-week point, re-benchmark by performing the 1RM test as above. You should see significant improvements on all three lifts. Don’t forget about nutrition! Ensure you’re following a high-protein diet with macros that are conducive to building muscle and strength (around 50% carbs, 30% protein, 20% fat).

Month 1:

Day 1: Squat

Barbell Back Squat: 5 x 5 @ 85% of 1RM
*Drop weight by 5-10 lbs. each subsequent set if necessary*

Ancillary/Auxiliary:

  • Barbell Hip Thrust: 3 x 10
  • 1 ½ Goblet Squat: 3 x 10
  • Forward Walking Lunge: 2 x 20 steps

Superset

  • Leg Extension, 60 sec
  • Lying Leg Curl, 60 sec

Day 2: Bench

Bench Press: 5 x 5 @ 85% of 1RM
*Drop weight by 5-10 lbs. each subsequent set if necessary*

Ancillary/Auxiliary:

  • Floor Press: 5 x 5
  • Single-Arm Dumbbell Chest Press, 3 x 12

Superset – 3 sets:

  • Weighted Push-Ups (Plate on upper back): max reps
  • Push-Ups: max reps

Day 3: Deadlift

Deadlift: 5 x 5 @ 85% of 1RM
*Drop weight by 5-10 lbs. each subsequent set if necessary*

Ancillary/Auxiliary:

  • Barbell Good Mornings: 3 x 10
  • Nordic Hamstring Curls: 3 x 10
  • Dumbbell Step-Ups: 3 x 8 per leg
  • Hex Bar Farmer’s Carry: 3 x 25yd distance

*Week 2: 6 x 3 @ 90% of 1RM for Bench, Squat & Deadlift
*Week 3: 3 x 5 @ 85% of 1RM for Bench, Squat & Deadlift
*Week 4: 7 x 3 @ 50% of 1RM for Bench, Squat & Deadlift (Every minute on the minute)

Month 2:

Day 1: Squat

Barbell Box Squat (box height just below knee height): Find 5RM; 1 x max reps at 80% of 5RM

Ancillary/Auxiliary:

  • Barbell Hip Thrust: 3 x 10
  • Pull-Ups: 3 x Max Reps
  • Prowler Push to Sled Drag: 4 x 15yds+15yds

Superset

  • Leg Extension, 60 sec
  • Lying Leg Curl, 60 sec

Day 2: Bench

Bench Press: Find 5RM; 1 x max reps at 80% of 5RM

Ancillary/Auxiliary:

  • Floor Press: 5 x 3
  • Alternating Arm Dumbbell Incline Chest Press, 3 x 12
  • Standing Barbell Shoulder Press: 4 x 8

Superset – 3 sets:

  • Banded Push-Ups: max reps
  • Push-Ups: max reps

Day 3: Deadlift

Deadlift: Find 5RM; 1 x max reps at 80% of 5RM

Ancillary/Auxiliary:

  • Barbell Good Mornings: 3 x 10
  • Nordic Hamstring Curls: 3 x 10
  • Barbell Pendlay Row: 4 x 8
  • Barbell Step-Ups: 3 x 8 per leg
  • Plate Carry: 3 x 25yd distance

*Week 2: Find 3RM; 1 x max reps at 80% of 3RM for Bench, Squat & Deadlift
*Week 3: Find 7RM; 1 x max reps at 80% of 7RM for Bench, Squat & Deadlift
*Week 4: Find 2RM; 1 x max reps at 80% of 2RM for Bench, Squat & Deadlift

Month 3:

Day 1: Squat

Squat: Find 7RM; 1 x max reps at 80% of 7RM

Ancillary/Auxiliary:

  • Barbell Hip Thrust: 3 x 10
  • Chin-Ups: 3 x Max Reps
  • Barbell Good Mornings: 4 x 15yds+15yds
  • Sissy Squats: 3 x 12

Day 2: Bench

Bench Press: Find 7RM; 1 x max reps at 80% of 7RM

Ancillary/Auxiliary:

  • Close-Grip Bench Press (with bands connected to bar and anchored): 4 x 10
  • Lying French Press: 3 x 12
  • Single-Arm Cable Row: 4 x 8 per arm
  • Dumbbell Arnold Press: 3 x 12

Day 3: Deadlift

Deadlift: Find 7RM; 1 x max reps at 80% of 7RM

Ancillary/Auxiliary:

  • Dumbbell Romanian Deadlifts: 3 x 10
  • Standing Hamstring Curls: 3 x 10 per leg
  • Bent-Over Underhand Grip Row: 4 x 8
  • Dumbbell Step-Ups: 3 x 8 per leg

*Week 2: Find 5RM; 1 x max reps at 80% of 5RM for Bench, Squat & Deadlift
*Week 3: Find 7RM; 1 x max reps at 80% of 7RM for Bench, Squat & Deadlift
*Week 4: Find 3RM; 1 x max reps at 80% of 3RM for Bench, Squat & Deadlift

*Re-Bench mark*

  • By John Porter Jr.
    By John Porter Jr. MuscleTech Ambassador
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