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Sheesh ... another 5x5 question :) how much progress is actually progress ?


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Excerpt: Ok, sorry if that has been asked and answered before ... it probably has, oh well ... In a 5x5 programm you should keep on progressing the weight from week to week. OK. But how much progression is enough for the body to notice it ? Or, in other words, wouldnt it spoil the program if the increases were very low and you end up at week 4 with nearly the same weight as on week 1 ? Is there any numbers on that ? I read that some guys got themselves 1 lbs plates ... would that be a valid

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  1. #1
    Good Broly Maks's Avatar
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    Sheesh ... another 5x5 question :) how much progress is actually progress ?

    Ok, sorry if that has been asked and answered before ... it probably has, oh well ...

    In a 5x5 programm you should keep on progressing the weight from week to week. OK. But how much progression is enough for the body to notice it ? Or, in other words, wouldnt it spoil the program if the increases were very low and you end up at week 4 with nearly the same weight as on week 1 ?
    Is there any numbers on that ? I read that some guys got themselves 1 lbs plates ... would that be a valid increase of weight for a heavy lift ? Maybe someone has heard about a percentage of increase that would be the minimum ? Or a good range ? Like 2-5 % ?

    So - on my 2nd cycle of a DF 5x5 i will have a pretty good idea about my 5x5/ 1x5 max weights. So i could calculate down to the starting weight in order to end up with my max in week 3. Question is, how much % of weight should i intend to increase per week, appr. ? So that i dont build a ramp that is neither too steep nor too flat ?

    Sorry if that question sounds too theoretical. But my GF and my daughter are at the greatgrandma's and i dont have to work today, so thats too much idle time on my hands right now ...

  2. #2
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    Re: Sheesh ... another 5x5 question :) how much progress is actually progress ?

    After a bit of experience it's kind of by feel. You use what you think is good to get you to the week 3 weight in a couple of jumps in the DualFactor version. If you want a figure to work with then try 10% or 12.5% each week so you'd begin with 75% or 80% of your week 3 target. 80% is probably a good choice for week 1. A better conditioned lifter might take it flatter.

    In the SingleFactor version you are looking to make new PRs every week and those small plates enable you to do it and still make the volume. Most gyms go down to 2.5 lb plates or 1.25Kg. One of those on each end is 5lbs or more which can be a lot even for those lifting two or three hundred pounds. They can also be useful when moving from week3 to week4 or week8 to week9 if running the 3x per week Intensity phase.

    Breaking PRs is often very hard by its nature and getting even an extra pound indicates a increase. They're not stricly necessary, though. If you don't have them you can hammer away repeating a weight until you get it but I think that puts a little more strain on the CNS compared with making your reps.

  3. #3
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    Re: Sheesh ... another 5x5 question :) how much progress is actually progress ?

    Ah ok, thanks.

    I havent really thought about the differences between SF and DF, but what you say makes absolutely sense. Of course, if you have to keep on increasing every week and dont deload after 4-5, then very small increases are certainly the way to go otherwise it would be too fast.

    around 80 % of the max on week one for the DF - thats a figure i can work with. Oh boy oh boy oh boy i cant wait for the second cycle to start .... )))

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    Re: Sheesh ... another 5x5 question :) how much progress is actually progress ?

    The benefit of small plates isn't about 1lbs increases. It's about working with specific numbers and percents. With 5lbs (2 x 2.5lbs) you wind up rounding a lot and typically get odd larger jumps at intervals when the rounding is forced up. Small plates allow you to be precise and consistent. In addition 5lbs is 2.5% of a 200lbs lift. Assuming someone is doing 200lbs for 5 reps on all lifts is probably a bit aggressive for novice lifters so that's 2.5% right there which makes for very significant jumps week to week and at the margin where you are looking for some extra progession on really tough top sets from the previous week, that jump can be too big.

    Anyway, for the DF version - you just have to be hitting PRs in weeks 3/4. If you've run it before and typically make the majority of your lifts, you should probably consider trying to make both week 3 and 4 a PR attempt rather than just equaling in week 3 and exceeding once in week 4. There's too much variation in people using this program to guage what the jumps should be - you just need to be able to handle the weights by week 3 and 4. If you are getting a lot stronger in the volume phase, you'll have to have flexible targets or timelines to put you at proper weight.

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    Re: Sheesh ... another 5x5 question :) how much progress is actually progress ?

    I'll just toss in that I'm running the single factor version and the 1.25 lb. plates that I picked up from Paragon online -- http://www.paragonsports.com -- have really helped me on my upper body lifts (esp. bench), which are under 200.

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    Re: Sheesh ... another 5x5 question :) how much progress is actually progress ?

    Well ... ok ... the boss said PRs in week 3 and 4 ... right !!!

    I will try that on my next cycle, with 2,5 kg jumps between the weeks. (thats the lowest my gym has to offer) Looks pretty intense from the start, beginning with -2,5 kg from your max in the first week ...

    If that doesnt work out, i will go and get some of them lighter plates although i know that i will get odd looks from the other guys. But i already get that now so what the hell.
    But shouldnt be the jump from the first to the second week a little bit higher then ? To allow a little bit of deloading after the heavy 3x3s ?

    Thanks again !

    Darn i have to eat more ...

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    Re: Sheesh ... another 5x5 question :) how much progress is actually progress ?

    Records in weeks 3 and 4 does not mean equaling a PR in week 2 and starting 2.5kg below those records in week 1. That's basically 4 weeks of pretty heavy workload that's all but equivalent. You need to make bigger jumps, week 2 doesn't need to equal PRs, it just needs to put you in line for a PR attempt in week 3. Tiny jumps increase the density and you lose significant scaling. Start lighter, take more weeks if you need it to get your lifts ready. When I screwed around with this program in my overtraining experiments, I basically held off on records but made very small jumps week to week with near record weight. You won't last a long time doing that - I think I made somewhere around 8 weeks before I almost dropped dead (i.e. well beyond overreaching and into overtraining, had to take time off and around 4 weeks to recover decently - just burned up). The advantage of small plates is that people typically train by percents so 80%1RM and then increasing all lifts 5% the next week can be handled precisely regardless of the lift or his capacity (i.e. rounding 5lbs is only a small fudge on a 400x5 squatter but if that same guy's strict military is only 185x5, that's a big percentage jump and rounding can screw it up hugely).

  8. #8
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    Re: Sheesh ... another 5x5 question :) how much progress is actually progress ?

    Oh .. ok !

    So thats the reason why i asked, actually. Ok, so you say that 2,5 kg jumps between all of the weeks is too little - the ramp would be too flat. (depending on the individual skills of the lifter, of course)

    So - ok, with a PR in week 3 i probably can raise the weight only a little in week 4, 2,5 kg would be already quite high for most of my lifts. But the raises from week 1 to 2 to 3 should be higher, right ? To make a proper ramp ? Which doesnt have to be necessarily a straight line, but can be a kind of curve ? Like, around 15% from week 1 to 2, 10 % from week 2 to 3 with an attempt of PR, and then a 2,5-5% raise to week 4 with PR again (depending on the exercise) ?

    Thanks again !

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    Re: Sheesh ... another 5x5 question :) how much progress is actually progress ?

    Percentages are very individual. If you PR in week 3 then your week 4 increase is likely not going to be anywhere near the magnitude of your week 1 to 2 increase. For very strong lifters who aren't on top of all their lifts it might take a lot longer to ramp up to PR range. 10% might be an okay jump for some or crush others. This is programming, it requires tailoring to the individual and deliberate thought. It's not rocket science but it does require thought and application. This is why the 5x5 is a good layout, it's easy to understand and very intuitive - it allows people to see the periods clearly and see how workload is changes and leaves them only the task of setting weights in a simple but very effective environment.

  10. #10
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    Re: Sheesh ... another 5x5 question :) how much progress is actually progress ?

    Erm .. ok. I think i will shut up now, go to the gym, and make up the weights as i go along.

    thanks again !

    Hehe if that fails i will blame you all, i ASKED, after all

    happy lifting !

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