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


Welcome to the EliteFitness.com Bodybuilding Site! Please join this discussion about Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up now! within the Weight Training & Weight Lifting category.

Excerpt: Content by Madcow2 Last Revised 1/11/2006 UPDATE - I have updated program descriptions, template downloads, and an updated Table of Contents on my Geocities site (i.e. lots more topics and better organization). This will be the final update of this TOC in the thread (and it's an incomplete one because there's just too much) but the one on that site essentially links all the topics below and more, many of which come to this very thread. This is easier on me and the better descriptions with

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  1. #121
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    Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up now!

    One thing that is important though is that if the weights are set correctly, you are making records in weeks 3/4 and 8/9. This means bettering your previous best - which was an all out maximum effort - as early as week 3. Being new to this you want to err on the side of caution because setting the weights too high initially ruins it but once you know what you are doing they should be set at this level. If you are well trained and have very relevant and accurate previous records in these lifts, exceeding these records at this workload is very hard. Weeks 3/8 are meant to be very very challenging. Weeks 4/9 are an increment above and failure during the record weeks will happen at times. Under this type of true record scheme the volume loading is much more intense as you need to build to all out maximal efforts in just 2 weeks. This is much more demanding on recovery during the deload/intensity period as you will be absolutely wasted and right on the brink of major overtraining.

    blut wump - You might try the idea of further decreasing volume at the end of the intensity phase under the 3x deloading scheme. Those with the desire to push out their heavy triples (1x3 which is not present under the standard 2x) might be able to come up with a hybrid variation which under lower volume/frequency would mitigate the recovery inroads that the 3x program makes on someone especially in the record weeks.

  2. #122
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    Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up now!

    Quote Quote posted by Madcow2
    One thing that is important though is that if the weights are set correctly, you are making records in weeks 3/4 and 8/9. This means bettering your previous best - which was an all out maximum effort - as early as week 3. Being new to this you want to err on the side of caution because setting the weights too high initially ruins it but once you know what you are doing they should be set at this level. If you are well trained and have very relevant and accurate previous records in these lifts, exceeding these records at this workload is very hard. Weeks 3/8 are meant to be very very challenging. Weeks 4/9 are an increment above and failure during the record weeks will happen at times. Under this type of true record scheme the volume loading is much more intense as you need to build to all out maximal efforts in just 2 weeks. This is much more demanding on recovery during the deload/intensity period as you will be absolutely wasted and right on the brink of major overtraining.

    blut wump - You might try the idea of further decreasing volume at the end of the intensity phase under the 3x deloading scheme. Those with the desire to push out their heavy triples (1x3 which is not present under the standard 2x) might be able to come up with a hybrid variation which under lower volume/frequency would mitigate the recovery inroads that the 3x program makes on someone especially in the record weeks.
    I hear what you're saying: that the effort of this week should have gone into last week too and I'd really be struggling now if I had similarly extended myself with this current 3x per scheme.

    The choice of weight becomes very difficult at this stage, though. I thought I knew exactly where I stood in the bench, for example, when I started the program and I did set gratifying PRs in weeks 3 and 4. In fact I thought I'd erred on the side of going too heavy on the bench as I had failed in week 2 on the 5x5.

    Similarly, when week 8 came around I was uncertain whether I'd make my 1x3 which was another PR and made it not easily but comfortably. I didn't anticipate getting what extrapolates to a 9% strength increase over the nine weeks.

    How does one judge one's weights in this circumstance?

  3. #123
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    Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up now!

    Well, it's a good circumstance to be in I'll say that as you are getting stronger. One of the issues with setting weights is that if one isn't really accustomed to this type of set/rep scheme they will make progress along the way and what they set as records when laying out the weight progression will be outdated a bit. There's not that much you can do other than adjust on the fly in this scenario. The more one works with this style program, set/rep scheme, and the given exercises the more one can peg it accurately. For instance, if you repeat the program again right away - you will have very accurate estimates although progress from the intensity phase and deloading may push them out a bit but as long as you are exeeding a recent and relevant previous best on week 3 you should be able to peg week 4 straight off.

  4. #124
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    Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up now!

    I think I had a strength spurt between weeks 7 and 8. I recall sleeping an uncommon amount that weekend. I have a couple of posts in here from my week 8 which, to me at least, remind me of the astonishment I'd felt at not only making the weights in that week after experiencing week 7 but lifting them with less effort and strain than I could have anticipated.

    For me this is fantastic testament to the program if my only concern is that I've come through it with a greater strength gain than expected. If I understand you correctly, though, a lot of this was probably just my body adjusting to its first experience of the dual-factor system and probably also from its first brush with deadlifts and it's unlikely that I'll repeat this. I did run my first ever PH cycle over the first three weeks and that doubtless contributed.

    As you recommend, I'll ease off to ensure I don't crash.

  5. #125
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    Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up now!

    I finished the program today so here are my results for the nine weeks. I've given the bare numbers first followed by notes and commentary on the nine weeks.

    First some preamble: I started this program as the next step in my back rehab. I've been lifting regularly and consistently for two years after the latest of many long layoffs over the past 25 years. I've been able to bench without pain but had to be careful with seated rows and only started back on squats about the middle of last year. I'd not done bent rows for years and never done deadlifts. I might have done occasional SLDL in the past and I had done hack squats but never deadlifts. I was looking towards the deads and the bent rowing as being the mainstay in strengthening my core and I decided not to use my lifting belt at all to encourage proper form and core conditioning. I broke that rule on the last day for the squats.

    Regarding squats, I could probably have used higher weights throughout but the gym has limited resources and I couldn't have gotten any more than 190Kg onto the bar so I knew that was to be my final squat. I just tried to concentrate on getting low enough and feeling the movement. Another part of my rehab.

    I decided that doing Military Press would be pushing my luck too far. I did a preliminary week to get used to the bent rowing and the deadlifts and decided that throwing in MP would be too much and so did Smith shoulder press instead. Note that in one of his posts Madcow expressly suggests this is a bad idea. I hadn't read that when I started. I could probably have switched to MP at the halfway stage but didn't want to change up what I was doing. I added in reverse pec deck as penance and to ensure that I worked more of the shoulder than just the Smith press. I also somehow missed that I was supposed to be doing pullups. I substituted cable pulldowns from the halfway stage since I'm too feeble to do pullups for reps. If you include the preliminary week, it could be argued that I did 5 weeks of volume loading.

    Deadlifts were the scariest part of this program. Every week except the deloading week was a PR in deadlift and I don't think I really got the hang of them until week 8 when I finally switched to a mixed grip. They've done their job, though: my back feels so much better than it has at any other time over the past three years.

    I definitely pitched the bench weights too high at the start but seemed to recover by repeating one each of the 5x5 and 1x5 days.


    Supplements over the period: I take glutamine daily. 5g morning and night and 5g PWO. I take multi-vits daily and protein shakes whenever I feel like it. I eat whenever the urge takes me and eat at least three meals a day. I think more about getting at least 200-250g protein than any aspect of calories or meal composition. I couldn't be described as a bodybuilder.

    I ran my first ever prohormone cycle from weeks 1-3 of 1-AD and 4-AD. Pretty much minimum dose of each (300mg/150mg). I've never done any other AAS.

    I ran creatine from weeks 1-4 and from weeks 7-9. Maybe the creatine accounted for unexpected strength in week 8.

    I'm aged 47 and low 20s BF.


    All weights in Kg. To get pounds, double the number and add 10%. 100Kg = 220 pounds.

    Weeks 1 - 4

    Monday
    Squats 5x5
    Bench 1x5
    Bar Row 1x5

    Wednesday
    Light Squats 5x5
    Deadlift 5x5
    Smith Seated Shoulder Press 5x5

    Friday
    Squats 1x5
    Bench 5x5
    Bar Row 5x5

    Squats
    5x5 150 155 160 ---
    5x5 --- 120 130 140
    1x5 160 165 170 172.5

    Bench
    5x5 110 112.5 112.5 115
    1x5 115 120 122.5 122.5

    Bent Barbell Row
    5x5 100 110 112.5 115
    1x5 110 115 120 122.5

    Deadlift
    5x5 110 110* 130 135

    Smith Seated Shoulder Press
    5x5 80 85 87.5 90


    Weeks 5 - 9

    Monday
    Squats 3x3
    Bench 1x3
    Bar Row 1x3

    Wednesday
    Deadlift 3x3
    Smith Seated Shoulder Press 3x3
    Pulldown 3x3
    Reverse Pec Deck 3x3

    Friday
    Squats 1x3
    Bench 3x3
    Bar Row 3x3

    Squats
    3x3 160 165 170 175 180
    1x3 172.5 175 180 185 190

    Bench
    3x3 115 117.5 120 122.5 125
    1x3 122.5 125 127.5 130 135

    Bent Barbell Row
    3x3 115 117.5 100* 120 122.5
    1x3 122.5 125 127.5 130 132.5

    Deadlift
    3x3 135 140 145 150 160

    Smith Seated Shoulder Press
    3x3 90 92.5 95 97.5 100

    Cable Pulldown (in Plates, which I think are 10 lbs)
    3x3 16 17 18 19 20

    Reverse Pec Deck (in Plates, probably 10 lbs)
    3x3 16 17 18 19 20

    Notes:

    Week 1 - Body Weight 120, 120.5, 121
    Monday bench tried for 6 reps and failed last rep.
    Weds couldn't get access to do squats so did hack squats from floor. Deadlift in Normal style. Also threw in some reverse pec deck and machine upright rows. Back aches/pumps during deads
    Friday bench quite hard

    Week 2 - BW 120, 120.5, 120.5
    Monday: threw in some DB curls 25Kg x 7 for two sets
    Wednesday: Struggled with deadlift. Attempted 110Kg with Normal style mixed grip and failed to lift. Did 110x5 for 3 sets in Sumo style and couldn't lift the bar for a fourth set. Switched to Normal style with double overhand grip and did 110x5, 120x5, 130x5. Back pumps bad.
    Friday: bench attempted 112.5x5x5 and failed on last rep of last set

    Week 3 - BW 121.5, 121.5, 122.5
    Monday: bench failed on last rep of 122.5x5 so only 122.5x4
    Wednesday: Deadlift went ok in Normal style, added a single at 140Kg. Still using double-overhand. Back pumps not so bad this week.
    Friday: Had to repeat last weeks bench weight and got it.

    Week 4 - BW 121.5, 121.5, 121.5
    Monday: Felt weak during squat warmups. On final warmup got a bad twinge in right leg so aborted squats. Not good for a record-setting day. Bench had to repeat last week's weight and got it.
    Weds: Grip failed after 3 sets of deadlift so had to use straps for last two. Attempted and got a single at 150Kg. Finished off with some machine upright rows.
    Friday: bench was hard work but ok.

    Week 5 - BW 121, 121.5, 122
    Wednesday: added pulldowns to Wednesday workout. Should have been doing them from the start. Also decided to make reverse pec deck a Wednesday addition from now on to compensate for doing Smith instead of Military Press. Very easy week. Did some grip work on Friday, pinched 20Kg plates for 60s

    Week 6 - BW 121.5, 121.5, 122
    Workouts still felt easy this week. Switched grip on pulldowns to mixed grip from now onwards. Added some grip work on Weds. and on Friday: 20Kg plate pinched for 60s, rest 90s, pinch again for 60s.

    Week 7 - BW 121.5, 122.5, 121.5
    Monday went ok
    Wednesay: deadlifts were a struggle. Almost dropped the bar on second set and did drop it on finishing third set. Came away with my back aching.
    Friday: Back still hurting. Was ok on squats but couldn't handle bent row. Did 100x5 for 3 sets instead. Grip 25Kg for 60s.

    Week 8 - BW 122, 122, 122
    Monday: bench went well. half expected to fail but didn't. Struggling on rows but squeezed them out at the expense of lifting body maybe a bit too much.
    Wednesday: Finally switched to mixed grip on deadlift. Nailed the 150Kg. Hard work but a big surprise after last week.
    Friday: Bent row stayed with the weight I should have done last week. Grip work: managed to get a 100Kg barbell off the floor with each hand. Only just with left. Failed at 110. Grip 20Kg x 60s, rest 90s repeat.

    Week 9 - BW 121.5, 122.5, 122
    Monday: Went for what was my 1RM on bench at beginning of Jan and got it for three reps. Bent row was very sloppy but kind of squeezed them out. I'd have to mark that as a fail. Squat was an effort but fine.
    Wednesday: After last week's deadlift I added 10Kg and it was very hard. Took long rests between sets. Shoulder press was hard, brought bar down to about nose level. Not bad for a weight I'd never even singled before.
    Friday: Finally put my belt on for squat. Not particularly hard but that's all the weight there is. Only just got last rep of bench. Almost stalled about half-way up but kept it going. Very pleased. Bent row was of acceptable form.

  6. #126
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    Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up now!

    I should add that in the 1x5 exercises I did do the required ramping up to five but only took note of the target final set. I always do warmup sets to get to my working sets but rarely make more than a fleeting mental note of them.

    When I mentioned that squats could have been heavier throughout, I meant throughout the intensity phase.

    If anyone really wants more info on my warmups, I can provide it, mostly.

  7. #127
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    Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up now!

    Just curious, but did you lose bodyfat? I noticed your weight remained relatively the same all the way through so either you
    A) gained mass and loss bodyfat at the same time or...
    B) weren't eating enough and didn't grow much

    That's not meant to knock you in any way though. Good job going through the whole damn thing. I just started, so we'll see how I fare!

  8. #128
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    Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up now!

    Quote Quote posted by Tom Treutlein
    Just curious, but did you lose bodyfat? I noticed your weight remained relatively the same all the way through so either you
    A) gained mass and loss bodyfat at the same time or...
    B) weren't eating enough and didn't grow much

    That's not meant to knock you in any way though. Good job going through the whole damn thing. I just started, so we'll see how I fare!
    Maybe, I'm not sure since I didn't get BF measured. Obviously, I'd noticed that my weight didn't change much. My spouse did at one stage mention I looked slimmer but I can't really say I've felt slimmer. Sorry, can't really help more than that. Growth, as such, wasn't a goal of mine.

    It is generally reckoned that if someone doesn't keep track of their calories then they probably don't get enough and I was only keeping an eye on the protein.

    That said, I did gain 4.5 to 5 pounds over the nine weeks. If I kept that up for a year then that'd be around 25-30 pounds on the year.

  9. #129
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    Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up now!

    Gentlemen,

    I think this program reads extremely well. Madcow's just...well, just the man!

    I am still reading over all of the relevant threads but, if someone has the time, something that'd help me immeasurably would be to see a detailed lay-out of someone's old cycle, or an example of a "perfect" cycle based on my numbers. For instance:

    Assume top end weights of the following: squat 450x5, incline 275x9, military press 220x5 (? probably lower than my seated press?), SLDL 335x11, and BB row (loose, almost Ronnie-style) 305x7. Chin's probably bw for 7-8.

    What kind of weights would I be lifting in each phase? Would the fact that I'm not used to many work sets of one movement give me a lot of trouble in any of those phases? And what kind of weight jump should I aim for in 10 weeks?

    I know all that has probably been covered 10 times over and I'm just being lazy right now. My apologies for that. Even after reading some of this material, I'm having trouble imagining where I might start and what my goal might be.

    Thanks--

  10. #130
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    Re: Bill Starr's 5 x 5 program... Variation per Madcow2 (thanx) So here it is! K up n

    Personally, I think 75% of your 5 rep maxes is a good starting point. In other words, your 450 lb squat would begin the cycle at 335-340 lbs, and you'd probably want to progress at about 20-25 lbs (around 5%) each session.

    This is essentially HST's way of cycling, so maddog might have a different philosophy.

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