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Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up now!

Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up n

Anthrax said:
How close to failure to you go on this routine ?

Failure is not an explicit part of this progrm. You may run into it but it's not a specified variable nor should it be in any program when used the way BBers typically arrange (or disarrange) their training. Weeks 3/4 and 8/9 should be very challenging and may result in failure in some of your lifts. That's fine - keep the weight the same and push on it next week if you have another week. Weeks 1/2/5/6/7 are all below record lifts, weeks 1/5 specifically might be fairly easy for you - that's fine too. You set the weights to scale to records in each phase so unless you misset them or have an off day you typically won't fail. If you do, just carry the weight forward. The stimulus is in the training block (4 weeks) not in a single workout.

BionicBC is correct in regard to the volume phase. You need to keep the schedule and get all the sets and reps. If you fail on the 3rd set of a 5x5, drop back and the next two sets with a bit lighter weight. In the intensity phase, extra days and slashed volume are okay and should be taken as needed (everyone is different and most people will absolutely need it in this phase unless they use the 2x per week which is what everyone should be doing since no one has yet actually cut volume or added days of rest so this tends to reload the athlete even if it's started fairly light - and if it is started fairly heavy it won't provide for adequate deloading and you won't see max gains). The key to the intensity phase is to only worry about pushing the weight up - the schedule and volume don't mean nearly as much here.
Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up n

Madcow2 said:
I think you might have a technique issue. Doing a movement explosively is not jerking the bar from the floor or anything. It's applying a steady increase in acceleration throughout the movement so that the bar starts slow but continues to move faster and faster.

Look at the pics below. Your lower back should not be compromised even when pulling from the floor. The first move is to arch and it is done under control.

Look at cleans and snatches. Very fast but they are all done slow and smooth from the floor and there is never a jerkiness just smooth maximal acceleration of the bar.

If you have all of this covered we are left with a weak lower back in relation to the muscles around which caused injury. Not a good thing which is one of the reasons everyone stresses core work.

Either way, it's a setback. Heating pad for now. Advil for the gym. Take it easy for a bit and see what happens. Don't screw with a back injury. Make sure it's nothing bad first. Sorry to hear this man, I know you were pumped up as hell. Regular rows (still 90 degrees though) will work fine. Accelerating the bar is best. You don't have to put it on the floor each rep. Not as good but if this lets you train around it, it's better than not rowing (if this proves a wash and still puts you in pain, you can use a machine - that's why they are there).

Thanks mc2! I had to skip on the deadlift today, but still did SOHP, weighted chins, and some bb curls. All the lifts I did were solid. Some guy saw me doing the weighted chins and thought I was a mountain climber LoL! I was pretty pumped off that.

I will tinker around with your form method. I think I may have put a bit too much weight on and things weren't smooth enough. I'd rather not have to revert to a machine.
It sounds like it's not too bad if you were doing some of the other stuff. It will likely cost you a week. A lot of people who aren't used to doing core work and haven't done a lot of 90 degree rowing tend to have imbalances and a weaker lower back relative to the muscle groups around it. This is not a good thing and can result in injury. Just take it slow with the rows and focus a bit more on form than weight. I'd also throw in hyperextensions (no weight for now, just reps, but you want to bend all the way over and slowly lift back out). This is very theraputic for the back and strengthens it in it's most vulnerable areas.

Obviously it's a setback but it doesn't sound like a huge one. Just warm up adequately and devote some time to rehabing/strengthening that area for now.
Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up n


Week 8, Workout/Day 3

330x3, 3 sets
-no problem here, previously never done 330 for 3 sets of 3, happy with this-

---got 1st rep solo, 2nd rep needed help not on lift, but balancing out (left hand higher than right, pain in right elbow...)- failed on 3rd rep [needed a spotter]---

--new record. felt my body rise up a lil bit from parallell, but majority of emphasis still on lats. Very happy with this---

I did 3 sets of tricep cable pushdowns also:
260x10 (stack goes to 200, added a 35lb plate on 1 side and 25 on other side) Believe ot or not great form on these even with 260lbs, it pisses me off that i can do tri extentions for 10 reps with the same weight i can bench only twice. Something is wrong there. I guess i cant complain, all my lifts have gone up a good deal, but i still feel my bench is one of my weakest lifts. I think its partly mental. Im workin on it though.
I honestly don't know. What I find beneficial is really how the hips shift and the lower back opens at the bottom. The whole exercise is decent but it's this hip/back action that I've really found to be theraputic and beneficial. I have a limited home setup too and this is certainly something I wish I had here along with a few other pieces.
Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up n

madcow, whats your opinion, or have you ever used, this machine i keep hearing about in Westside training articles called a "Reverse Hyper." They really "hype" that thing (no pun intended), is it that good? And what purpose mainly does it serve?
The reverse hyper and the glute-ham raise both kick ass (and yeah, I'm not a proponent of machines but these are exceptional and are less a machine than a body position manipulator to enable better recruitment and utilization). Unfortunately I don't have access to either but when I said just above "along with a few other pieces", those are what I had in mind.
Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up n

The Power Shrug

Okay, so I've said before that regular shrugs are a piss waste of time. These are the best version out there and the best trap developer around. No one who has ever done these has ever once gone back to a regular shrug (at least I can't think of anyone and certainly no one that I've trained). Visible results in the mirror are guaranteed in 2-3 weeks. This exercise is very result producing as are all the olympic lift variations when it comes to back/trap development - the back was made for dynamic pulling. You'll need straps and you should start light and build up over a period of a few weeks. Higher rep ranges are fine (8-15) for these and I really think they lower weight for higher reps make these a good bit less taxing on the CNS than working down to 5s and 3s.

A bit on technique - first, the traditional starting position is high on the thighs with the knees flexed slightly and the torso also slightly forward with shoulders over the bar. My descriptions kind of alternate between this version and a variation done from a lower position (hang) just above the knees. Less weight can be used in the lower variation but for athletes not training the traditional olympic lifts and looking to accrue some benefits to explosion and longer range dynamic pulling similar to the clean this is a good variation for training. It's basically a heavy clean pull from the hang. So depending upon what you are looking for give these a shot.

The first quote is from JS182 at Meso - it's actually a cut/paste from an original post:
Source Thread:

The next 3 quotes are from a discussion at Fortified Iron regarding PSU and their use of HIT. The topic of the powershrug comes in as a way to accrue explosive benefits for athletics without a lot of time spent on technique work first (or as most HIT pundits would put it "the overly dangerous nature of the viscious exercise known as the clean" which is coincidentally statistically less dangerous than the much maligned and deadly sport of soccer).
Source Thread:

The bottom 2 quotes are from a discussion here that convinced me of the need to put it all in one place:
Source Thread:

Date: 01/23/02 03:04 PM
Author: AnimalMass
Subject: TOPIC 13: SHRUGS

shrugs/traps best exercise for big traps are power shrugs. take a barbell, hold it in front of you, SLIGHTLY bend knees and bend VERY SLIGHTLY at the hip. now violently extend the whole body and shrug. its basically a cheat shrug. try to hold for a split second at the top... you wont be able to but try. this exercise should be done with heavy weight. personally, ive used 800+ lbs for 10 reps. use as heavy a weight as you possibly can and still get a full shrug at the top. dont load up the bar all the way the first few sessions, or youll likely die. give yourself 3 or 4 sessions to work up to max weight.

Actually the former strength coach for FSU was a fan of the power shrug (heavy high pull from the hang position). I think a lot of the positive non-technique effects of the full and even power versions of the olympic lifts transfer very nicely with this movement. Plus, almost no time goes into teaching it since it is very easy from a technique standpoint (in addition, it works very well as a developer for explosion and power in the second portion of the pull).

As far as there not being any advantage to the the olympic lifts in sports - one can likely make a nice written defense to argue but anyone who has trained them for a period will strongly disagree. I'm of the opinion that the sport improvement stems from the CNS learning to generate maximal power in as short a duration as possible, sort of like torque on a car. Non-ballistic movements teach you to be strong over a period of several seconds rather than 1 second or less (2nd pull is where it's at). Sort of like a dragster vs. a road racer. The ability to generate maximal force as quickly as possible is the difference between a great lineman, running back, or puncher. Rarely is anyone called upon to exert strong force against a consistent object over a period of multiple seconds (even clashing linemen are constantly moving and adjusting) whereas the need for immediate maximal power is prevalent in just about every strength/power sport.

Yeah, elbows locked. When warming up the bar will obviously fly up with the explosion and force the elbows to flex but once sufficient weight is reached that won't be an issue. I generally prefer starting them with the bar just a bit above the knees. Some people like a higher hang but depending upon what you are going for starting from just above the knees allows you to hit just about everything in the second pull phase of the clean - nothing is in stone so one can experiment and augment according to their preferences and goals. I've also found this exercise very condusive and result producing higher rep ranges (8-15 is what I mean by this but low reps work very well too). Keep in mind anything over 5 is high reps for me so when I say something works well in the 8-15 range you can bet myself and others have had surprising results with it (higher rep range allows lighter weight which won't overload your lower back too much and potentially take away recovery from other exercises as a bonus). Obviously reps and lots of weight = straps. I don't know many who try to maintain a hookgrip for this but it is generally unsuccessful and a waste of effort and skin.

Overall effectiveness is very good for both sports, Olifting and even bodybuilding. I don't know of any exercise that can compare for upper back and trap stimulus. Even natural bodybuilders will see significant physique changes in about 4 weeks if they've never done this exercise. For sports, it is in my opinion the easiest as well as being one of the most effective ways to develop explosive power. For OLifting it helps dramatically strengthen the second pull and particularly helps full extension.

<Just another huge wordy post by me but to be honest the powershrug is a fantastic exercise and well worth it>.

As far as starting position, the closer you get to the floor the more like a high pull (or high-shrug) you get and the more taxing it is on recovery. Depending upon your own natural strength curve you may find that you can use much more weight in this exercise than in a clean or standard high pull (JohnSmith182 on Meso has apparently gone well over 700lbs. and may have done 800 - BTW search his posts there sometime, he is very sharp and also posts under just Johnsmith). The issue with increasing the range of motion beyond the top of the knees is that the movement becomes unbelievably taxing and not only hits your recovery but can make serious inroads into overloading your lower back and hams if you don't account for the drastically increased workload.

Given the purpose of the exercise (sports power/speed, upper back/trap development, and targeted assistance for an OLifter), the only reason to go below the knee would likely be to work through the midpoint of the pull and increase your ability to smoothly transition heavy weight from the first to the second pull and then full extension. Some people may get something out of it but I doubt the hit to recovery would be worth it and the longer range would no doubt lower the weight many could use so there may be some goal cannibilization.

When I start above the knees (I take the bar from the rack incidentally), I'm basically in an identical position to the point in the clean after I complete the knee rebend. A lot of people will use a higher position starting from the top, some bend in the knees,and a slight forward tilt to the upper torso. I've done them both, I think for teaching explosion they are both equal. From a weight standpoint you can likely use more from the higher and less bent position. From a general exercise standpoint you are able to recruit a lot more of your pulling muscles from the lower position so it makes for a better all around exercise if one isn't focusing on a lot of pulling from the floor (i.e. most athletes that aren't competing in power or olympic lifting).

So for volume, it's going to depend a lot on the weight you use and what else you do in your workouts. If you are accustomed to a lot of pulling (I see you post in the Olifting forum so I assume that's a given) you can likely be up and running fairly fast. For other lifters who are strong but are not be used to pulling heavy weight dynamically, building them up slowly over 4 weeks would be appropriate (you can use a lot of weight so someone not used to doing this may find a weak link and hurt himself). Once accustomed to the exercise, with lighter weight pulling from the high hang, 4x10 worksets could be done twice a week depending on what else you are doing. If you are pulling fairly heavy weight and working hard you might find 4x10 twice a week too much so a single session may be more appropriate (this assumes you are not specifically focusing on this exercise over the period of time - since you could always make room). This is really hard to say, since every lifter is different with respect to their work capacity, general recovery, current worklevel, and amount of overlap other exercises are causing. I would experiment with the exercise for a period of at least 6 weeks to give yourself a basis on how you think it will impact you. A snatch grip can also be used but taking a bar from the rack can be hard unless you have narrow stands or a narrow grip. It's still worthwhile to potentially lighten the load and pull the first from the floor (if bumpers just drop the last one).

wallcrawler said:
1. When you say rows, do you mean bent over BB rows?

2. Don't you deadlift the bar into the hang position before you shrug it? So you can basically combine these 2 exercises?

1) Yes - this is a key exercise for development

2) Absolutely Not - each rep in the PShrug is performed from either just above the knees or middle of the upper thigh. Range of motion is short and explosive the bar travels from here upward being accelerated as quickly as possible as you straighten your body and pull your traps upward at full extension (arms are always straight). With lighter weights the bar will float upward a bit. With heavy weight the bar will become weightless at the top. Either way the weight will then settle downward and you will return it to the hang position. It makes sense to setup a rack with pins or take the bar from a rack - just don't reset the bar on pins every rep, use them only to set it down and pick it up.

This exercise would be far too taxing to perform the full dead with each rep. That's basically a clean pull and most people clean pull quite a bit less than their best dead while some power shrug with more than their best dead for reps. This exercise is a killer so start smooth and light, get the form and work up over a period of weeks (if you start heavy and have a weak link somewhere, 1) you will likely die if you aren't used to it 2) that weak link may give under weight/momentum and injury you).

view said:
do you have a video of what a proper power shrug should look like? I don't really get the gist of them.

The video I was using to help people had the site go down a while back. Funny, when I searched for technique descriptions I found posts of mine here back from 2001 too.

If anyone has a subscription to Milo - Bill Starr has a bunch of articles that have appeared including the powershrug:

Anyway, I did locate this video which may help serve a purpose:

1) Go here:
2) Download "Clean Pull Low" - left column under Power heading
3) Forget everything from the ground to the knees and look at the top. That's the finishing position. Just start the bar from above the knees or the more traditional variation high on thighs with torso only slightly tilted forward.

Be absolutely sure to read that link I provided above as to technique. Granted you need to read forward over a page or so in the discussion to get all the info but it's very complete. A 10 minute time investment - don't waste the effort in the gym without it because this movement is fast and the video simply can't reveal everything that's going on.
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Thanks for posting these.

I tried to find some more info on powershrugs but your summary pretty much covers it. The links to videos are real helpful too.

I tried these today and looks like I was doing it right (wasn't sure if I should try to hold it up top or not, sounds like I should).

I'd like to incorporate these - my question now is: I just finished wk 3 of the 5 x 5.

Can these powershrugs be incorporated at this time or should I wait for my 2nd run through. If so, what day would be best, Wed when I deadlift? or M/F after BB rows?