My Favorite ‘Go To’ Workout

The big three….

When I’m not doing pull ups, (believe it or not, I don’t do them all the live long day…) I like do the three basic lifts: squats, bench press and dead lifts. You can’t go wrong with these basics when it comes to strength and making your physique look great.

Girls, did you hear that? Move away from the inner/outer thigh machine!

Some would argue that these lifts could get boring. And it’s sometimes hard to train with intensity when you don’t have a spot, especially on the bench.

I usually train alone at the local gym, or (more) alone when I’m in my home gym. When I’m in the gym, I have my head down, ear buds in. I’m a gym snob in that I don’t talk to anyone; I just get in and get out.

God forbid you steal my equipment too; you’ll get the stink eye from me. As well, I tend to hog things, I often do giant sets (a post for another day) and I’ll have three pieces of equipment going. The up side is that I go when it’s very quiet.

My advance apologies to you if you ever see me in the gym and I’m in my own world. It’s nothing personal; it’s just that when I train, I train. Chitchat is for later.

Back to the workout…

I do this workout on all three lifts. In fact, surprisingly, the weight I do on all three lifts is quite similar too.

The workout is a ‘down the rack’ format.

I’ll load up a bar with ‘change’, that is, I won’t put on a full 45 lb plate on the Olympic bar. I’ll put on 25 lbs and two 10’s for example. I’ll get a set range in mind, say 10 reps, I’ll do 10 reps with 135 lbs, rack the bar, take off 10 lbs per side, do another 10 reps, rack it, and take off the second 10 lb plate. That leaves 95 lbs for the final 10 reps. The entire set is 30 reps with minimal rest between each drop. It gets really ugly if you have someone else strip the bar for you, then you get NO rest.

What I enjoy about this workout is the first set pushes me to lift close to my max for 8-10 reps. Just when it’d be time for a spotter to help me out, I drop the weight and push equally hard. The weight doesn’t feel a lick different, but since it’s actually about 20 lbs lighter (depending on what I choose for my drops), I can keep going. By the third set, I’m sucking wind as well as being close to failure.

I don’t get as winded on the bench as I do on the squat and deadlift, but I get close to failure. My pet peeve with the benches at most gyms is that my arms are a little short and I have a heck of a time racking the bar when I have a heavy weight on. (Darn if I’m gonna ask for help though, I just have to rack the bar one rep shy of failure unless I want the bar resting on my chest 😉


Here’s a video explanation of this workout format if you got bored reading and skipped to the video:


Give this workout a try on a day when you’re not doing pull ups.

And don’t ignore the pull up bar. Pull ups paired with the big three will give you a rock hard body that’s as strong as it is good looking 😉

(Let me help you with your pull ups HERE.)