The 3-5 Training Plan
OT - Training

What does this have to do with nutrition?

Nada, nothing, not a bean. 

BUT - I do know a little about training. Along with being a qualified trainer and having previously worked as a strength-coach for over a decade, I also won a few All-Round Weightlifting World Champs and set a few world strength records back in the day...

Nowadays I don't have the time to do much strength coaching at all, and hell, even my own training can suffer due to demands of writing, researching, speaking, and eating cookies with milk... 

This program is a 'go to' for me. I hate (strong word I know) complicated, long training programs. Whenever I start adding too much to a plan, I lose interest, and find myself heading back to simplified, reduced volume plans. Sometimes I'd feel a bit guilty for that but at our recent HPN Conference our buddy 'The Glute Guy' Bret Contreras PhD  gave a great keynote presentation on training program design, and one of the key 'take home' messages for me, was, do what you dig doing!

So, what's the 3-5 plan?

If you have a short attention span, or have trouble remembering things, this is the plan for you  😂  

The plan is quite simply:

Do 3-5 exercises, 3-5 times per week, for 3-5 sets, of 3-5 reps. 


Key points:

  • Choose big compound movements
  • Train the entire body each session
  • Make sure you include balance in your plan (i.e. push/pull movements)


This is my exact plan. 

Day 1. 

Bench Press 3 x 5

Deadlift 3 x 5

Pullups 3 x 5

Day 2. 

Front Squat 3 x 5

Military Press 3 x 5

Chinups 3 x 5


For strength only: Increase the frequency, reduce the reps and sets. For example, train 5 x per week and do 3 sets of 3-5 per exercise

For size: Moderate your frequency and increase reps and sets. For example, train 3 x per week and do 5 sets of 5. Note: this will allow you to achieve sufficient volume to encourage hypertrophy. 

I also work to increase my overall volume per exercise over time. I do this using the FitNotes app which allows me to easily compare the tonnage lifted per workout. 

Other considerations

Don't train to complete muscular failure. Keep a few reps in reserve. 

Become a patron to

Unlock 56 exclusive posts
Listen anywhere
Connect via private message