This was created by Andy Galpin as an easy protocol for building strength and power.
Pick 3-5 exercises for 3-5 reps, 3-5 sets, take 3-5 mins of rest in between sets, and repeat this 3-5 times a week.
If you want to build strength and power you want to lift heavier weights for smaller amounts of reps. You can’t choose 10 different exercises because your output is going to decrease over time as you put forth a lot of energy into lifting the heavy weight.
That is why it is important to keep the reps and sets smaller. You can definitely add sets and vary the rep range depending on your goal and how much volume your body can handle.
The 3×5 concept is a good place to start, and it makes exercise very simple.
The rest times become larger when you are lifting heavier weights due to the tax on the nervous system as you are going through these heavy reps. For pure power and strength exercises, you are using explosiveness to get through them. This is an anaerobic exercise as it does not rely on oxygen to be performed. You might not feel very tired after the reps/sets, but your nervous system and muscles need to replenish their ability to perform the heavy reps within the 3-5 minute timeframe. You might not get a “pump” like you would with higher rep ranges as well as this protocol is not designed for muscle building. This is different than a body building split where you can have only 20-30 seconds of rest due to the higher amount of reps you are doing and the lower amount of taxing on the nervous system.
3-5 times a week is important for both skill acquisition and building volume.
If you are newer to lifting, especially barbells you want to learn how to properly perform the movements safely and effectively. Giving yourself 3-5 days of practice is great for learning and muscle memory. Now, if you are doing 3-5 days of the same exercise you shouldn’t go excessively heavy, otherwise you are risking overtraining and injury. Vary the intensity per day to decrease the overall load being taken through your body. This could look like a low, medium, heavy split throughout the week or having low, medium, and heavier weeks as you go through the month.
You can take this concept and split it into body parts or full body each day. I would recommend more of a full body approach due to it being done 3-5 times a week. This would gain you strength in each movement throughout the whole body without overloading one area too much. This can be bench, row, deadlift, barbell squat, dumbbell overhead press if you are doing 5 exercises. If you are doing 3 exercises, then push (bench), pull (row), squat (barbell or kettle) would be a great way to work your whole body.
There are many ways to modify the reps, sets, and exercises within this concept to push for different results. If doing lower amounts of exercise, do more reps and sets. See how much you can do without overworking yourself, and try to build from 3 exercises to 5, 3 reps to 5, 3 sets to 5, and 3x a week to 5.
Try this concept and out and see how it works for you!
About the author:
Dennis was born and raised in Cincinnati and went to the University of Cincinnati for health promotion and education, focusing on fitness for his undergraduate degree. Following completion of his undergraduate studies, he then went on to the University of Dayton and received his Doctorate of Physical Therapy.
Dr. Mirosh has been practicing in outpatient orthopedics since graduating from UD treating a variety of physical ailments from musculoskeletal injuries to strokes and deconditioning. He has a true passion for working with any client that has the drive to better themselves but has a special interest in working with athletes. In particular, he enjoys working with weight lifters and martial artists
He has always loved the medical field and was directed towards physical therapy from the time he was in middle school. He has been around sports his whole life and had a high appreciation for rehabilitative medicine.
He loves being able to go in every day and help people in his community better their lives and allow them to return to the activities that they hold dear. He enjoys educating clients on proper movement and how to optimize their performance in their everyday life and hobbies. He was also is very blessed to be able to use his hands to alleviate pain and allow people to get back to doing the things they love.