5 x 5 and the Texas Method - wish Id done this from the start !



  • Just thought Id share something with everyone here, hopefully someone finds it useful

    Id been a regular gym goer for 3 years and had mixed results. Id tried alternating days of weights and cardio with 2/3/4 day splits, Id used low reps high sets, diminishing sets, pyramids, super sets, high reps low sets, standard 3x10, mixture of free weights and machines and whilst I was in great shape, I wasnt getting any stronger.

    About a year ago i started doing 5 x 5 as per the stronglifts.com site. Its based on Mark Rippetoes Starting Strength programme (if you havent read his Starting Strength book, I highly recommend it. For me, its more significant than Arnies Encyclopadeia which I havent picked up in over a year).
    The basic premise is extremely simple.

    • Squats everyday in a 2 day split programme
    • Compound Exercises only (say goodbye to curls / tri extensions / calf raises etc - they have no place in this programme)
    • Increase weights by 2kg every time you visit the gym.
    • When you have 3 consecutive failed attempts, you deload by 10% and tackle it again
    • Strict form (when I say strict, I mean strict as Rippetoe suggests. His book has approx 60 pages on squatting technique alone and has been a fantastic source of information. He also has alot of vids up on youtube).

    When I started 5x5, i deloaded weights right back to novice and focused on form. After 2 months, I was getting new PBs and after 9 months, started to plateau. I didnt know what to do so I went back to my old routine and 2bh, it sucked. I never got anywhere near the intensity of 5x5, some days Id walkout after doing squats feeling like my body was going to explode but the routines where I had isolation exercises just never did fk all for me. After 2 weeks , I switched to the Texas Method (stronglifts.com again, based on Mark Rippetoes writings in Practical Programming, another fantastic book) .

    The Texas Method can be thought of as a 2 day split over a 3 day variable intensity routine...
    Day 1 = Volume - 5 x 5
    Day 2 = Intensity - (this is the day to get 1RMs)
    Day 3 = Recovery (approx 80-90% of day 1 weights)

    The idea is to get new PBs on days 1 and 2 only on a weekly basis rather than making gains every day.

    Since following this routine, I have blasted through my plateau and have made steady progress on all my exercises. I've made considerably more progress in the past year than I had done over the previous 3 years.

    A growing number of guys who Ive never spoken to at my gym have approached me and asked about my routine and I've got them all following this - everyone loves it. [B]Everyone [/B]constantly gets results, and even on the days where you dread hitting the squats, you some how manage to get through it and claim a new PB. Its incredibly motivating.
    Oh another thing - if you dont have a workout partner, get one. You cant do this programme safely without one.
    Being a stickler for form, I find it best to give my iPhone to someone to record me doing my exercises so I can critique myself afterwards (I find most people are either too nice to give constructive advice OR they just dont know what to look for).
    Something to motivate you all for when those squats get really heavy :
    [url]http://www.wannabebig.com/forums/showthread.php?64545-how-much-should-i-squat&p=1085648&viewfull=1#post1085648[/url]

    Anyhoo to summarise - if I could turn back time, Id have done this right from the start. I hope someone finds this useful !



  • sounds wicked - I love this sort of training. that increasing your weights by 2kg a day,m and reducing if you don't make it 3 times in a row etc reminds me of a time when Prop Cyrul and I were going hard out on the bench doing much the same thing - great gains.

    And the training partner is essential when you are moving big chunks of tin.



  • [quote name='BartMan']sounds wicked - I love this sort of training. that increasing your weights by 2kg a day,m and reducing if you don't make it 3 times in a row etc reminds me of a time when Prop Cyrul and I were going hard out on the bench doing much the same thing - great gains.

    And the training partner is essential when you are moving big chunks of tin.[/QUOTE]

    Sounds very similar to what I'm doing at the moment. Funny how even a 2kg increase in weight ( remember this is basically 4 and a half pounds of butter, in other words relatively fuck all ) can rapidly have you pinned to the weight bench on that last rep in no time !



  • yeah, it cracks me and Prop Cyril up (or used to), be pressing 140, add 2.5kg ( 2 x 1.25 plates - washers we call them), and you can't move the freaking bar. Now and then with Cyril I would sneak the weights on and he'd do it, and be past the sticking point!!



  • Sound's like good old fashioned power training, especially with the focus on compound movements rather than isolation exercises. It will definitely help you increase power. It's worked for me in the past. Good luck. Definitely focus on form, and the weight will take care of itself.



  • [quote name='davidav']Sound's like good old fashioned power training, especially with the focus on compound movements rather than isolation exercises. It will definitely help you increase power. It's worked for me in the past. Good luck. Definitely focus on form, and the weight will take care of itself.[/QUOTE]

    Yeah too right, you do get to a stage where you do completely stall and have to do a deload as described above. I'm doing this at the moment as my bench, push press and bicep curl have all come to a standstill basically ( and during a couple of workouts actually got worse ie I missed one more rep than last time ! ). 10% off makes a whole heap of difference and I'm looking forward to "blasting" ( weight lifting wank talk ! ) past my sticking point. Deadlifts and Power cleans still going strong which is cool.

    I had a look at the stronglifts site and as I can't do squats at home I modified it a bit ( with some proper advice ) and have curls and calf raises in there.



  • MN5 - if you can't squat heavy, try squatting LOTS. With my hernia op last week I have dropped the weight waaaaay back, and am using the Smith machine, but going sloooow, and doing sets of 20. This morning on our walk it was killing me. Also try one legged squats - one leg foes back on bench behind you, and you squat down, the rear leg knee almost touching the ground. This will KILL your quads.. I hold onto the smith machine bar when I do this for balance.



  • oh, and good old fashioned lunges are good too - try walking lunges. ten minutes worth. you will look stupid walking up the road though!!!

    I used to hate lunges, never did them. now I do them more, and really really hate them!!



  • [quote name='BartMan']MN5 - if you can't squat heavy, try squatting LOTS. With my hernia op last week I have dropped the weight waaaaay back, and am using the Smith machine, but going sloooow, and doing sets of 20. This morning on our walk it was killing me. Also try one legged squats - one leg foes back on bench behind you, and you squat down, the rear leg knee almost touching the ground. This will KILL your quads.. I hold onto the smith machine bar when I do this for balance.[/QUOTE]

    Funny you should mention that Bart. I've just started something similar with the aim of increasing my vertical leap so I can dominate even more in the annual in laws Xmas Volleyball games. ( Granted most of the opponents are pretty short but leaping higher would be cool ! )

    Slow squats as you mentioned whilst holding a 20kg plate ( aim is to increase this each time ). Sounds like a piece of piss but going super slow it isn't and then doing sets of full jumps afterwards. Legs aren't thanking me today.



  • speaking of 20 kilo plates... Legs at right angles as if you are sitting down, leaning on the wall - sets of 1 minute, and then dumbell squats superset - my Mrs is doing that in her leg workout.



  • Obviously as long as you don't kill them with squats you can work legs a couple of three times a week can't ya ? Thats the plan at any rate....



  • no more than twice - and if you do the high rep thing, that should be all you need!!!



  • Nice work phonetia. I was doing a 4x4, 8x8, 1x20 routine a little while back to do something different. Combined with the way I was eating, was getting results and quickly.

    I stopped doing it because my chest and legs were getting big and my clothes were not fitting right. Each round was increasing weight and really felt for the first time in a long time I was actually getting stronger.

    My latest little routine for lifts like bench press, incline BB press and BB squats is a 3 reps/10sec rest. Its not meant to be at failure, but doing a weight that will test you enough for 3 reps. For bench press I will do that for 7 minutes in total. Its full on to say the least. It keeps the mind alert and the heart rate going. I have increased weights over the past 2 weeks of doing this which is great.



  • [quote name='BartMan']MN5 - if you can't squat heavy, try squatting LOTS. With my hernia op last week I have dropped the weight waaaaay back, and am using the Smith machine, but going sloooow, and doing sets of 20. This morning on our walk it was killing me. Also try one legged squats - one leg foes back on bench behind you, and you squat down, the rear leg knee almost touching the ground. This will KILL your quads.. I hold onto the smith machine bar when I do this for balance.[/QUOTE]

    20s on squats are brutal and yes, awesome Bart. I trained for a couple of years using Arthur Jones (inventor of Nautilus) principles, which he used to train Casey Viator, one of the youngest men to win the Mr. America bodybuilding contest.

    It was very basic, easy to follow, very brutal but very effective for building both strength and size. The program was total body workouts focusing on large compound movements. 1-2 exercises per body part, 15 exercises in total, 3 times a week, sets of 20 on everything with the last reps close to failure--so a spotter is mandatory.

    If you're interested in learning more about Casey, some info and pics:

    [url]http://www.schwarzenegger.it/mro/viator.html[/url]

    This was one of many programs I've followed over the years. I still stick to the core principles today because I believe they make a lot more sense than most of the crap you read in the muscle mags. Also, you have a lot more time for actual life when you're training 3 x per week as opposed to 6 or 7 times per week.



  • yes, got to love the upping reps - kills you.

    I have taken the plunge back to the athletic class - weight for heright. So need to drop a couple of kilos from my current comp weight. Anyway, now means I am into the high rep range for good.

    Anyway anyway, went one step further with the one legged squats, loaded up the smith machine with what I thought was a paltry 20 kilos, and into it. Managed ten reps per leg. This morning butt and quads singing to their own tune! That was after 20s leg extensions, squats and hanstring curls, and ten minuntes devils walk (walking lunges) to kick start.

    I think I have found a new way to cripple myself...

    Casey Viator - now there's a blast from the past.



  • You're an animal Bart. One legged squats--now that's what I call sucking diesel. I probably couldn't do one in my current, reasonably fit 42 year old state. That's hard training. Just getting the balance isn't easy.



  • ahhh davidav - that is why the smith machine!! to get the balance, and the back leg balanced on a bench too...



  • Not a big fan of machines in general Bart, but the Smith machine is the exception to the rule. It is ideal for certain things.



  • Here's a link to The Arthur Jones Way, sounds brutal
    [url]http://www.enotalone.com/article/4848.html[/url]



  • yeah, machines suck, but there is a time and a place for them.