Iron Giant Program Spreadsheet
Iron Giant Program Overview
Here’s what you get in Iron Giant:
- 5 training days per week
- 12 week program
- 1x weekly squats (Dark Horse interpretation, not endorsed by Brian Alsruhe)
- 3x weekly bench press (Greg Nuckols 3x Intermediate)
- 1x weekly deadlift (Embrace the Pain)
- 2x weekly secondary upper body movement
- CGBP is currently in there by default, but you can switch this to overhead press, incline bench press, or whatever you’d like.
“Dark Horse” squats call for the lifter to work up to a 3RM on week 1, a 1RM on week 2, and a 5RM on week 3. These rep maxes are then performed for multiple sets: 5 sets of the 3RM, 6 sets of the 1RM, and 4 sets of the 5RM. So, since multiple sets are performed, these rep maxes shouldn’t be RPE10, but probably more like RPE 7 or 8. A true 3RM is difficult to perform for multiple sets without moving the weight down for later sets.
I’d check out Brian Alsruhe’s video about Dark Horse to better understand the squatting portion of this program.
Greg Nuckols’ 3x Intermediate Medium load bench program (part of his 28 Programs spreadsheet) is extremely popular and well respected. It is up there with the Candito 6 Week Program for squats in terms of lift-specific reverence.
It runs in 4 week cycles and uses AMRAPs to gauge progress and determine if weight should be added from week to week. In this way it is somewhat autoregulated, but it does still rely upon a percentage of your 1RM for weight calculations. It has three days: a volume day, a volume/intensity day, and the AMRAP day, which allows for some recovery and, as I mentioned above, gauges progress in the program.
I’ve personally ran Nuckols 3x Int Med with great success and still incorporate aspects of it in my own bench press training.
Deadlifts here are following the “Embrace the Pain” deadlift cycle, which was written about on the Juggernaut Training Systems blog (it’s the 3rd program listed in the post) by Chad Wesley Smith.
In addition to primary stance deadlifts (whether that is conventional or sumo), the programs calls for compensatory acceleration training (CAT) deadlifts (explained by CWS here), deficit deadlifts, and a ton of accessories.
Additional Upper Body Exercise
On cell R3 on the ‘Master’ sheet you can select a secondary upper body exercise to train after bench. This can be whatever you’d like: overhead press, incline press, spoto press, or any other compound upper body movement that targets a personal weak point.