I was asked how to improve strength on the barbell lifts, and if there were alternatives to conventional methods like 3x5 or 5x5 training. The following is a year long example of starting with your current maxes and gradually increasing them over one years time. This can be applied the squat, bench press, and the deadlift. 

Sinister singles-I just like the alliteration. This one is simple, you take your 3RM, and you do multiple singles with it, singles meaning 1 rep of course. So rather than hit your 3RM on a main lift, you do a rep, rest, do a rep, rest, do a rep, rest. Progression would look like this
3 singles
4 singles
5 single
6 singles
7 singles
8 singles
9 singles
10 singles

That is over as many weeks. When you hit 10x1, you’d then add weight and restart with 3 singles, or you could move on to the double up method. 

The Double-up method (a bastardization of speed doubles from conjugate training) 

So youve taken a 3RM, and at this point you like added some poundage to it the past 10 weeks. Retest your 3Rm and see where it is at. It should have gone up. Using your new 3RM, follow the following scheme


And then retest your 3RM again. It should have gone up. Using your PRIOR 3RM though, try the following for 1 month


At the end of this, see where your 3RM is at, AND your 8RM. A 3RM will elevate your other maxes up to about 8 reps. Now you can move onto the next method

The triple 666 Devil Method-
This works phenomenally well for building both low end and moderate rep strength, and is a great size builder. The setup is simple. You select your 8RM. You perform a set of 6 with it, pause and take a very short rest period, do another set going for 6, pause and take a very short rest, and then take one last set. 

The goal is 6,6,6 for all 3 sets. 

When you start, it may be 6, 4, 2, or 6, 5, 1

Aim for 18 reps. 

When you can REPLICATE doing 666, increase the weight. 

Follow this method for 6 weeks, and then test your 10RM. 

The Topset of 10-This one works excellent for the primary lifts you are using to build muscle. The concept is simple, you warmup, and then perform one all out set of 10 reps. So a 10RM basically. Each week, you aim to make this feel easier, and over time turn that 10RM into 11, 12, 15, 20RM. You can use this method almost forever with any lift. I used it to get my incline press over 185 believe it or not. In the beginning I use the Sinister singles method, and then I moved to the 666 method. And then when I could do 10 reps, I used the topset method to get my 20RM to 185. 

While I still did “work up maxes” to handle heavier weights, my 1RM on incline went from 185 to 245 in a year. That’s great progress. Although to put that into perspective, it was still only 5lbs a month, so dont think it felt fast at all. 

If you follow the above timeframe, and its rough I know, 

You will spend about 5-6 months of the year focusing on lower end strength, 

And 6 months of the year focusing on hypertrophy and size building. 

And at the end, 

You are stronger, you are more muscular, 

And you never once “maxed” out truly.


The above is not an entire training program, your workouts will require more than just the one lift. But it is a method for improving almost any barbell powerlift, and if you are doing appropriate musclebuilding work on top of it, you can get very strong following the above.