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3 Prong Strong Program Overview

Make some serious strength gains on your bench, squat and deadlift (and every other exercise too) with this 6-week training plan.

3 Prong Strong Program Overview

While building muscle mass can be a complicated endeavor involving numerous intensity techniques and a variety of training cycles, building muscle strength is much more straight forward: Just lift more weight!

Of course, achieving that goal may not be so simple – unless you know what you're doing, as I do. If you follow my 3 Prong Strong program, getting stronger can actually be easy and simple.

In a nutshell, 3 Prong Strong is a step-wise progression from lighter weight and higher reps to very heavy weight and very low reps over a six-week period. The emphasis is on maximizing your one-rep max (1RM for short) in the three big lifts: bench press (the true measure of upper body strength), the squat (the true measure of lower body strength) and the deadlift (the ultimate test of overall body strength). Of course, you'll also get stronger on just about every other exercise you do, from shoulder presses to leg press to barbell curls to close-grip bench press and even calf raises.

Three Prong Strong Breakdown

The program starts with sets of eight reps done with a weight that’s about 80% of your 1RM (80% RM) on each of the three major exercises (bench press, squat, deadlift). On exercises for which you don’t test your 1RM, you’ll simply find a weight you can do for eight reps. You’ll follow this load and rep scheme for the first two weeks of the program.

In weeks three and four, the reps drop down to five reps per set while the weight increases to around 85% of 1RM. Then, in the final two weeks, the weight increases to 95% RM as reps drop down to only two per set. You’ll retest your 1RM on all three big lifts the week following.

Although the training program is a six-week plan, it will actually take you eight weeks, taking into account 1RM testing on bench press, squat and deadlift the week before and the week after.

Power Element

Getting stronger isn’t just about lifting heavier weight. Sure, that's a big part of it, but you also need to develop power. The more power you have, the better you can explode out of the bottom of a squat or bench press. That starting power can make all the difference in lifting an extra 20 pounds on a particular lift. So in addition to the stepwise progression of lifting heavier weight for fewer reps, you’ll also spend one workout each week lifting fairly light weight for fewer reps.

The key here is that you’ll be performing these reps as fast and explosively as possible, which is the key to building the kind of power that will carry over to more strength. When...

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