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5RM and Weights Used for 5x5


#1

Once you find you 5RM on your exercises, how much do you decrease the weight for your first workout? I think I read between 10% and 15%. Is this right?


#2

It depends on your level of conditioning. You may need to lower it by more, say 25% and work up even slower. The 5x5 is killer if you aren’t conditioned for it.


#3

I have had more success with 3x3 or 3x5 than 5x5.


#4

[quote]TheDudeAbides wrote:
I have had more success with 3x3 or 3x5 than 5x5.[/quote]

X2


#5

[quote]luigisacs wrote:
It depends on your level of conditioning. You may need to lower it by more, say 25% and work up even slower. [/quote]

well then what’s the value of this type of training plan if you already know your 5RM and aren’t a beginner? It seems like you aren’t even maximally stressing the muscles until you get to the heaviest weeks.

And it’s not like a volume program ala Sheiko right? And the most common 5x5 linear progression programs I’ve seen have very little or nothing at all for assistance work for additional strength carryover. I guess I just don’t get it, it’s very different from any way I’ve ever trained apart from when I was a pure beginner just experimenting, learning movements and adding more weight.


#6

[quote]actionjeff wrote:
luigisacs wrote:
It depends on your level of conditioning. You may need to lower it by more, say 25% and work up even slower.

well then what’s the value of this type of training plan if you already know your 5RM and aren’t a beginner? It seems like you aren’t even maximally stressing the muscles until you get to the heaviest weeks.

And it’s not like a volume program ala Sheiko right? And the most common 5x5 linear progression programs I’ve seen have very little or nothing at all for assistance work for additional strength carryover. I guess I just don’t get it, it’s very different from any way I’ve ever trained apart from when I was a pure beginner just experimenting, learning movements and adding more weight.
[/quote]

Cumulative fatigue. It works REALLY well.


#7

so I guess it is an effect of the volume and intensity overloading you then.

What do you think of the Starting Strength type stuff?

I am constantly harassed on another forum by what is essentially a group of Starting Strength/Rippetoe elitists and it’s really getting on my nerves. They basically call you retarded if you use anything other than full body linear periodization no matter what your goals are. Most of the time anyone posts anything related to training, the common response is, don’t worry about any details and just do Starting Strength for 2-3 years. I kid you not. This is like the entire forum.

They have a guy on there deadlifting 405x5 who has hit a plateau for 3+ months and is just told to keep doing starting strength and resetting… he finally started something new recently, but it is also linear periodization.

I get the Sheiko stuff and usually have made my best gains with similar approaches of overloading by volume, and following it up with higher intensity or peaking with less volume. I plan on running the full cycle into next year. I just don’t get only working with 5 reps on everything and trying to add more weight for an extended period of time. I could tell you my 5RM in the squat right now, and there’s absolutely no way I could add 10 pounds a week to that for two weeks by just doing sets of 5 with no assistance or anything for even two weeks if back squatting for sets of 5 reps was consistently my only lower body lift. Plus one set of conventional deadlifts? Doesn’t sound right. From what I’ve read of Boris Sheikos translation on elite FTS, he thinks that fluctuating the number of bar lifts and intensity to force adaptation is pretty much critical.

I have no problem employing a 5RM in my training and increasing the weight on a weekly basis, but I also have a ton of other work and volume that will contribute and carry over.

got a little long winded and off topic there, sorry! This has been bugging me for a while though.


#8

good post jeff

You bring up a lot of good points. I would guess by your analysis that a 5x5 or 3x5 is not for you. You seem to be at a point in your endeavor that you need to customize and tweak to fit your needs. SS and others are a very basic template.

I’m just finishing my second or third time on SS. I use it to build my strength back up from extended periods of time off. After 4-6 my progression begins to slow. [I should say that the first time through I was able to add 5 lbs per exercise each workout. This time, not so much. Maybe 10 lbs weekly or bi-weekly.]

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you no longer need to do a basic, full body, linear periodization routine when you can intelligently critique and make personalized changes.

I’m either going to do a Westside template or Wendler’s 5/3/1 starting in a couple of weeks.


#9

[quote]actionjeff wrote:
so I guess it is an effect of the volume and intensity overloading you then.

What do you think of the Starting Strength type stuff?

I am constantly harassed on another forum by what is essentially a group of Starting Strength/Rippetoe elitists and it’s really getting on my nerves.

They basically call you retarded if you use anything other than full body linear periodization no matter what your goals are. Most of the time anyone posts anything related to training, the common response is, don’t worry about any details and just do Starting Strength for 2-3 years. I kid you not. This is like the entire forum.

They have a guy on there deadlifting 405x5 who has hit a plateau for 3+ months and is just told to keep doing starting strength and resetting… he finally started something new recently, but it is also linear periodization.

[/quote]

Then they are idiots and should read Rippletoe’s other book Practical Programming. You do NOT stay on the same program forever … especially the starting strength one which is for STARTING OUT ie beginners. Cripes I think the book even says you will probably be on it for 6-12 months, NOT for 2-3 years.

5x5 I have never found hard, not even when using my 5RM on EVERY set. I kid you not. In my stupid youth before I realised you were not meant to use your rep maximum on every set (before internet, before books, when there were only dodgy crap magazines full of lies, and I could hardly afford them anyway).

So if I don’t find 5x5 hard and other people do what does that tell you? It tells you everyone is different and suited to different things, and also, this changes over time.

The rule usually is

  • do what is hard, but not too hard
  • keep doing it until it is easy, or you’re exhausted
  • do something else (harder, or take a rest)

#10

[quote]actionjeff wrote:
so I guess it is an effect of the volume and intensity overloading you then.

What do you think of the Starting Strength type stuff?

I am constantly harassed on another forum by what is essentially a group of Starting Strength/Rippetoe elitists and it’s really getting on my nerves.

They basically call you retarded if you use anything other than full body linear periodization no matter what your goals are. Most of the time anyone posts anything related to training, the common response is, don’t worry about any details and just do Starting Strength for 2-3 years. I kid you not. This is like the entire forum.

They have a guy on there deadlifting 405x5 who has hit a plateau for 3+ months and is just told to keep doing starting strength and resetting… he finally started something new recently, but it is also linear periodization.

[/quote]

Then they are idiots and should read Rippletoe’s other book Practical Programming. You do NOT stay on the same program forever … especially the starting strength one which is for STARTING OUT ie beginners. Cripes I think the book even says you will probably be on it for 6-12 months, NOT for 2-3 years.

5x5 I have never found hard, not even when using my 5RM on EVERY set. I kid you not. In my stupid youth before I realised you were not meant to use your rep maximum on every set (before internet, before books, when there were only dodgy crap magazines full of lies, and I could hardly afford them anyway).

So if I don’t find 5x5 hard and other people do what does that tell you? It tells you everyone is different and suited to different things, and also, this changes over time.

The rule usually is

  • do what is hard, but not too hard
  • keep doing it until it is easy, or you’re exhausted
  • do something else (harder, or take a rest)

I am currently using 5x5 as part of my RE work in a westside template (that I made) …

Week one: 5x5 with weight X
Week two: 5x6 with weight X (same weight - but one more rep per set)
Week three: 5x5 with weight X + 5% (or 10% or whatever)
Week four: 5x6 with weight X + 5%

Adding one extra rep per set with same weight is really really fatiguing those fibers nicely. Rather than adding weight, which I am doing on the ME day.

Similarly I am doing the same with 3x8 and then 3x10 (adding 2 reps to that set).


#11

I’m currently doing madcow’s intermediate 5x5 and it seems to be working pretty well for me. I’m on the week where I match my old PRs and I have at least 1 rep in the tank at the end of every set.

To the OP, if you are doing this, just download the spreadsheet from his website and input your maxes. The first week should be 92.5% of your 5-rep max.


#12

[quote]actionjeff wrote:

… I just don’t get only working with 5 reps on everything and trying to add more weight for an extended period of time.

I could tell you my 5RM in the squat right now, and there’s absolutely no way I could add 10 pounds a week to that for two weeks by just doing sets of 5 with no assistance or anything for even two weeks if back squatting for sets of 5 reps was consistently my only lower body lift.

Plus one set of conventional deadlifts? Doesn’t sound right…

I have no problem employing a 5RM in my training and increasing the weight on a weekly basis, but I also have a ton of other work and volume that will contribute and carry over.
[/quote]

It only works well for people who are “intermediate” (whatever that means) and below and it certainly doesn’t work forever. But for relatively inexperienced lifters who can still make linear progress doing the basic lifts why overcomplicate things?


#13

no disagreement there!

what is defined as intermediate?

If it’s 3 years of training or less like these other people indicate then that’s a bit much for me.

I mean I feel like once you know what works best for you, legitimately have a good idea anyway…

TheDudeAbides:

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you no longer need to do a basic, full body, linear periodization routine when you can intelligently critique and make personalized changes.

I like this quote a lot!


#14

[quote]actionjeff wrote:

If it’s 3 years of training or less like these other people indicate then that’s a bit much for me.

I mean I feel like once you know what works best for you, legitimately have a good idea anyway…

[/quote]

That is a pretty good description of a non-beginner. To a certain extent, I don’t think time under the bar is relevant.

[edit - time under the bar is not a relevant indicator of “training level” or whatever that even means.]


#15

Loosely grouped into novice, intermediate, advanced

novice: you exercise monday, by weds you are fully recovered and have had your fitness increased and muscles grown. ie in 24-48 hrs you are fully recovered and ready to go. starting strength routine is totally for the novice.

intermediate: 24-48 hrs is not enough to fully recover and grow. this is because you can do so much lifting, that to do enough to get a growth response in a single workout, you will be too stuffed to workout again in 48 hrs at the same level. Therefore you can only make progress over a weeks time. you might do 3 workouts a week, and each one accumulates on the others, so that over the week you have done enough to stimulate the muscles and then with 2 days off on weekend you can recover. something like that. madcow 5x5 is a good bridge from beginner to intermediate, and bill starrs’ is more of an intermediate level.

advanced: you are so advanced, every workout will make you more fatigued, to get progress, even a 10 lbs increase on a lift, is going to take maybe 4 weeks of strategic exercises and recovery. any sophisticated periodisation routine is for advanced people.

Buy the book Practical Programming and READ IT.

http://www.aasgaardco.com/store/store.php?action=show_detail&crn=199&rn=304

These are the only definitions that matter - because they are useful. It is always based on the combination of your ability to recover vs the amount of effort you need to stimulate growth.


#16

[quote]actionjeff wrote:
no disagreement there!

what is defined as intermediate?

If it’s 3 years of training or less like these other people indicate then that’s a bit much for me.

I mean I feel like once you know what works best for you, legitimately have a good idea anyway…

TheDudeAbides:

I guess what I’m trying to say is that you no longer need to do a basic, full body, linear periodization routine when you can intelligently critique and make personalized changes.

I like this quote a lot![/quote]

I’m sure many people would have different definitions of “intermediate” but a good one may be when you stop making linear progress (as in the 5x5) and start having to incorporate some periodization, then you are no longer intermediate.

Similarly, when you can stop makeing progress practically every workout, you are no longer a novice.

Obviously by these definitions, which have nothing to do with knowledge but only with your body’s responses, it is a good thing to stay in a lower classification as long as possible.


#17

[quote]Magarhe wrote:

what is defined as intermediate?

Loosely grouped into novice, intermediate, advanced

novice: you exercise monday, by weds you are fully recovered and have had your fitness increased and muscles grown. ie in 24-48 hrs you are fully recovered and ready to go. starting strength routine is totally for the novice.

intermediate: 24-48 hrs is not enough to fully recover and grow. this is because you can do so much lifting, that to do enough to get a growth response in a single workout, you will be too stuffed to workout again in 48 hrs at the same level. Therefore you can only make progress over a weeks time. you might do 3 workouts a week, and each one accumulates on the others, so that over the week you have done enough to stimulate the muscles and then with 2 days off on weekend you can recover. something like that. madcow 5x5 is a good bridge from beginner to intermediate, and bill starrs’ is more of an intermediate level.

advanced: you are so advanced, every workout will make you more fatigued, to get progress, even a 10 lbs increase on a lift, is going to take maybe 4 weeks of strategic exercises and recovery. any sophisticated periodisation routine is for advanced people.

Buy the book Practical Programming and READ IT.

http://www.aasgaardco.com/store/store.php?action=show_detail&crn=199&rn=304

These are the only definitions that matter - because they are useful. It is always based on the combination of your ability to recover vs the amount of effort you need to stimulate growth.

[/quote]

This is what I was trying to say, only your wording is much better.