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5x5 Clarification

I’m considering starting the infamous 5x5 program but the issue of how much weight to use is vague… Is it 5 sets of the same weight throughout or 5 sets (including warm up) progressing up to your 5 rep max? The 2nd way seems incredibly weak sauce.

Also, my chest is the equivalent of a board so I’d like to bulk it up this summer before school starts (especially upper chest), would a 5x5 program still work? Can I incorporate an extra day devoted to upper chest?

Dude, what “5x5 program”? I am going to guess that you are referring to Madcow’s interpretation of a basic Bill Starr 5x5. There’s two versions he wrote about. If it’s the “intermediate” one, then yes, you work up to a 5 rep max, taking 10-15% jumps in weight depending on how you feel.

I would recommend you make some modifications to the program, based on running this program and variations a few times, along with training others going through it. Do bicep work twice a week (monday and friday), following the same general rep scheme as the other lifts. Make sure you do chinups/pullups on wednesday, following the same general rep scheme (work up to a top set, which may mean doing lat pulldowns for the first few). And as far as calves, well, I personally grew large calves just from gaining body weight & squatting, as did my training partner. I’m not so sure it’s necessary if you’re squatting 3 times a week. As far as your “upper chest”, just do incline presses on wednesday.

Make sure you’re going to eat right (lots of food, and I mean stuff your face I can’t eat anymore amounts, and lots of protein), otherwise you’re just wasting your time.

Oh, and that “incredibly weak sauce” shit of working up to a top set got me all the way to a 495 squat.

Limiting yourself on straight sets because you’re ‘saving some’ for your last set = weak sauce

Working your way up to the heaviest you can handle and then crushing that shit = win.

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
Limiting yourself on straight sets because you’re ‘saving some’ for your last set = weak sauce

Working your way up to the heaviest you can handle and then crushing that shit = win.[/quote]

I just want to say that straight sets do have their place. Used correctly, they can work great. One variation of the 5x5 that madcow put up has you doing 5x5 straight sets one day, then working up to a 3rm the other. After 4 weeks of this, you deload, and switch to 3x3 straight sets one day, while still working up to a 3rm on the other. After doing straight set 5x5’s for a month (which WILL kick your ass), 3x3 with the same weight becomes easy to recover from and you can pile on the weight quickly.

I’d say just ramp up the damn weight, though, and when stalling bad either eat more or switch exercises. It’s easier. Guys get huge doing all kinds of shit, but when it comes down to it, it’s all about managing fatigue so you can recover, and working up to a top set of 4-8 (or whatever) is one (excellent) way to help do that.

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
Limiting yourself on straight sets because you’re ‘saving some’ for your last set = weak sauce

Working your way up to the heaviest you can handle and then crushing that shit = win.[/quote]

You keep stating in every thread that ramping sets is superior to straight sets. Where is your evidence to support your claim?

[quote]johnnytang24 wrote:

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
Limiting yourself on straight sets because you’re ‘saving some’ for your last set = weak sauce

Working your way up to the heaviest you can handle and then crushing that shit = win.[/quote]

You keep stating in every thread that ramping sets is superior to straight sets. Where is your evidence to support your claim?[/quote]

It comes from the following studies:

Prof X et al, 2003-2010. “WHY the fuck would you just jump into your heaviest sets? I need to get my body ready or I’ll injure myself” T-Nation, Bodybuilding.

Cephalic_Carnage, 2010. “It’s rare to see someone benching 400+ for reps after training under a decade if they’ve used straight sets the entire time. Ramping on the other hand, it can be accomplished much quicker.” T-Nation, Bodybuilding.

Bonez et al, 2010. “WHY are you recommending straight sets? Especially for legs? Come on, man.”

JayPierce, 2010. “Working your way up to the heaviest you can handle and then crushing that shit=win.”

:slight_smile: Lol sorry, the ‘where is your evidence to support your claim’ just made it sounds way too much like you were looking for scientific journals, instead of real evidence of results, although I’m sure that’s not really true.

How bout the fact that almost every huge guy ramps his sets?

(Sorry if I mis-quoted anyone, I just remember seeing you large fellers saying similar things to that)

[quote]Gmoore17 wrote:

[quote]johnnytang24 wrote:

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
Limiting yourself on straight sets because you’re ‘saving some’ for your last set = weak sauce

Working your way up to the heaviest you can handle and then crushing that shit = win.[/quote]

You keep stating in every thread that ramping sets is superior to straight sets. Where is your evidence to support your claim?[/quote]

It comes from the following studies:

Prof X et al, 2003-2010. “WHY the fuck would you just jump into your heaviest sets? I need to get my body ready or I’ll injure myself” T-Nation, Bodybuilding.

Cephalic_Carnage, 2010. “It’s rare to see someone benching 400+ for reps after training under a decade if they’ve used straight sets the entire time. Ramping on the other hand, it can be accomplished much quicker.” T-Nation, Bodybuilding.

Bonez et al, 2010. “WHY are you recommending straight sets? Especially for legs? Come on, man.”

JayPierce, 2010. “Working your way up to the heaviest you can handle and then crushing that shit=win.”

:slight_smile: Lol sorry, the ‘where is your evidence to support your claim’ just made it sounds way too much like you were looking for scientific journals, instead of real evidence of results, although I’m sure that’s not really true.

How bout the fact that almost every huge guy ramps his sets?

(Sorry if I mis-quoted anyone, I just remember seeing you large fellers saying similar things to that)[/quote]

There are huge guys that do straight sets as well. Also, those that ramp, they do that NOW. Did they do that their entire training career?

No one said to not warm up.

And yes, I am looking for scientific evidence. Or at least some kind of real-world data that shows ramping provides better results than straight sets. Right now, people are just spewing their dogma without proof.

I will, however, present Smolov squat cycle, with gains usually being 50+lbs in the squat in 16 weeks. Straight sets.

Sheiko powerlifting routine – by Boris Sheiko, Russian powerlifting team coach. Every day is a ramp up to multiple top sets at the same weight. All accessory work is straight sets.

Starting Strength (not personally a fan) – Mark Rippetoe, straight sets.

The results of any of the above programs can be researched on the internet. Am I saying straight sets are better? No. I personally ramp all my lifts. But it’s silly to suggest that that is the “best” way to train, and to tell people to switch for no apparent reason.

Solid points. However, most big guys have said they pretty much ramped from the start, or near the start (although obviously I have no evidence of this, it’s just what I’ve seen).

The Sheiko and Smolov routines are pretty much exclusively powerlifting routines, with much lower reps per set, not very conducive to bodybuilding. Although I suppose this is the beginner forum, not the bodybuilding forum, so we did not specify powerlifting/bodybuilding. And I believe even Starting Strength, once it goes up to intermediate level, something is recommended that includes ramping. Maybe I’m thinking of something else, but even if I am, starting strength is for pure beginners only.

I do agree that there is no BEST program for everyone, but it does seem like the majority of big strong guys ramp the weights. JayPierce might have been a bit absolute in THIS thread, but even in the past he seems to say ‘look into ramping’ or something of the like, because it is definitely something everyone should at least try.

[quote]johnnytang24 wrote:

[quote]Gmoore17 wrote:

[quote]johnnytang24 wrote:

[quote]JayPierce wrote:
Limiting yourself on straight sets because you’re ‘saving some’ for your last set = weak sauce

Working your way up to the heaviest you can handle and then crushing that shit = win.[/quote]

You keep stating in every thread that ramping sets is superior to straight sets. Where is your evidence to support your claim?[/quote]

It comes from the following studies:

Prof X et al, 2003-2010. “WHY the fuck would you just jump into your heaviest sets? I need to get my body ready or I’ll injure myself” T-Nation, Bodybuilding.

Cephalic_Carnage, 2010. “It’s rare to see someone benching 400+ for reps after training under a decade if they’ve used straight sets the entire time. Ramping on the other hand, it can be accomplished much quicker.” T-Nation, Bodybuilding.

Bonez et al, 2010. “WHY are you recommending straight sets? Especially for legs? Come on, man.”

JayPierce, 2010. “Working your way up to the heaviest you can handle and then crushing that shit=win.”

:slight_smile: Lol sorry, the ‘where is your evidence to support your claim’ just made it sounds way too much like you were looking for scientific journals, instead of real evidence of results, although I’m sure that’s not really true.

How bout the fact that almost every huge guy ramps his sets?

(Sorry if I mis-quoted anyone, I just remember seeing you large fellers saying similar things to that)[/quote]

There are huge guys that do straight sets as well. Also, those that ramp, they do that NOW. Did they do that their entire training career?

No one said to not warm up.

And yes, I am looking for scientific evidence. Or at least some kind of real-world data that shows ramping provides better results than straight sets. Right now, people are just spewing their dogma without proof.

I will, however, present Smolov squat cycle, with gains usually being 50+lbs in the squat in 16 weeks. Straight sets.

Sheiko powerlifting routine – by Boris Sheiko, Russian powerlifting team coach. Every day is a ramp up to multiple top sets at the same weight. All accessory work is straight sets.

Starting Strength (not personally a fan) – Mark Rippetoe, straight sets.

The results of any of the above programs can be researched on the internet. Am I saying straight sets are better? No. I personally ramp all my lifts. But it’s silly to suggest that that is the “best” way to train, and to tell people to switch for no apparent reason.[/quote]

I don’t really understand why people have made such a distinction anyway. What does it matter unless you’re doing something really stupid?

As long as you’re progressively overloading and not holding yourself back by doing too much, or doing too little, I don’t see any reason to make a fuss about “ramping vs. straight sets!”

[quote]mr popular wrote:

I don’t really understand why people have made such a distinction anyway. What does it matter unless you’re doing something really stupid?

As long as you’re progressively overloading and not holding yourself back by doing too much, or doing too little, I don’t see any reason to make a fuss about “ramping vs. straight sets!”

[/quote]

Agreed. My rota involves more than one Ramp/Pyramid, AND more than one Straight Set approach…

There are Drop Sets in there as well…

Works for ME…so far…

Obverse and Reverse Pyramid/Ramps, are heavily handed out here, because most people become stronger faster ( anecdotally speaking ) with one or the other Ramp/Pyramid approach…

Further, Pyramid/Ramps allow one to EVENTUALLY reach a load they could not jump into right away…

Potential injury aside, from jumping into a 650 lb DL, you just don’t eat a couple of FiNiBARS, and pull 650 x 8…Without shouting SHAZAM! first any ways…

Straight sets can be fine, at least with lower reps… Not exactly nice on the tendons and joints over time, but yeah. I did give an example of that in my first post of this thread (max-OT).
For higher or medium reps, I’d rather limit the amount of work sets to 2 or so… Unless I don’t care about strength gains (or the trainee is on a ton of gear), but I usually do.

A lot of powerlifters work/ramp up to a heavy triple, double or single or 2-3 sets of doubles or triples or so for Max-Effort work… Among other things.

Smolov/Sheiko is just one small part of the powerlifting -world…
Which works well, of course… By totally hammering certain movements/movement patterns often… With relatively little assistance work by comparison.

Not something I’d do long-term, I’m a little too fragile for that :slight_smile:

That being said… For the beginners here (this is the beginner forum after all)… Choosing some
intermediate/advanced routine with crazy volume and which really depends on your knowing exactly how to set up and execute movements properly, powerlifting style… Is not a smart idea.

Diet is almost never in order in the case of that demographic, and your recovery and strength gains depend on that for the most part.

The shitty setup is another issue… You also likely have weak-ass rotator cuffs and scapular retractors, so coupling extremely limited assistance work with lack of experience of how to perform movements in a way to hit the right musculature (rows etc especially) or prevent injury (all presses, squats, deads etc) is one nice recipe for disaster. We get threads about how people on here fucked up their shoulders benching peanuts all the time… Or how they have tendinitis all over…

And finally… I never understood why skinny little people try to do specialized relative-strength routines.
Your leverages suck because you’re way too small for your frame. If your flat-bench ROM is too great, it will bother your shoulder capsules some. No great problem if you work up to one or two top sets and then switch to a different movement… But it can quickly become an issue if you couple mediocre setup (or even good setup) with lots of straight sets and frequency (Sheiko) under heavy load and you are one skinny-ass 6+ feet tall guy with long arms, how will your body be able to repair the damage fast enough? You don’t even have to get much stronger to get injured, even a high volume of pushups can cause issues…
Besides… You’re weak as fuck and a beginner, so just about everything will work (including routines you can actually follow without dying or messing up too much)… And less extreme routines won’t result in spontaneous combustion if your diet isn’t too great yet…

Ever noticed how those of the vets here who don’t do a lot of work sets at the same weight have very few injuries compared to the other guys? And those we do have are from stupidity (not warming up properly before lifting heavy to show off, or bad exercise selection or something like that… As opposed to overuse injuries, tendinitis, shoulder instability and what-have-you).

Hell, Ronnie Coleman should have more and far more severe injuries than just about any other person on the planet, considering the weights he used to put up and his routine, plus his fairly jerky technique and somewhat mediocre setup…
But the only really serious thing he’s ever had was the atrophy of his left(or was it the right?) lat and tricep… Which had zilch to do with his training… It was a nerve issue from sleeping on the side for years… Plenty of smaller people have it to some degree…

Straight sets do have their place.

I was simply saying that you’re not going to lift your 5RM for five sets of five. You’re going to dial the weight back to somewhere around your 8RM so that you can finish all five sets.

If you’re looking to build strength, it’s better to work up to the heaviest load you can handle for the number of reps you’re gunning for. If you want or need more volume, use a back-off set after your top set.

Not to mention the injury prevention aspect, as C_C stated.

discussions like this help people like me learn stuff. good work

[quote]Cephalic_Carnage wrote:
Straight sets can be fine, at least with lower reps… Not exactly nice on the tendons and joints over time, but yeah. I did give an example of that in my first post of this thread (max-OT).
For higher or medium reps, I’d rather limit the amount of work sets to 2 or so… Unless I don’t care about strength gains (or the trainee is on a ton of gear), but I usually do.

A lot of powerlifters work/ramp up to a heavy triple, double or single or 2-3 sets of doubles or triples or so for Max-Effort work… Among other things.

Smolov/Sheiko is just one small part of the powerlifting -world…
Which works well, of course… By totally hammering certain movements/movement patterns often… With relatively little assistance work by comparison.

[/quote]

Right. I’m just throwing out routines that many have had success with using straight sets. I’ve done Smolov, not doing it again.

My theory is that there may be a ‘better’ way to train, given a particular trainee at a particular time. Unfortunately, this ‘better’ way of training can only really be seen in hindsight. So we use this hindsight, or experience, to help predict what will work in the future. That is why it makes no sense to tell anyone ‘you must do this’. It’s also why I think everyone should try everything (well, everything within common sense), and more importantly, learn to train by feel.

Sorry if that made no sense. I took a couple Oxy’s for this toothache…