T Nation

5x5 Ramped Sets


To all strong bears,

My question regards programming-especially the 5x5 stuff.

The longer i have hit a plateau now.So i tried the 5x5 intermediate version by madcow first.
I followed exactly the template but i was not able to hit Prs. I also had the feeling,that it was too less work somehow and the weights always felt quite heavy,even the first 4 weeks although I took 5 weeks to ramp up and started as recommended.
Remember that this template includes only ramped sets.

So I tried 5x5 advanced by madcow next.
Here I was abel to hit Prs regarding the 5x5 on monday (straight sets!) but not on friday.(ramped sets)

Any suggestions what to do? Do I need more workload?
Ramped sets don´t work for me.

BTW I consider myself not THAT advanced although training for 10 years.
My best bench is 90kg 5x5RPM(straight sets) press:60kg 5x5RPM at BW 90kg
Squat and deadlift is in line with a novice programm (started squatting and deads quite late in my carrer-i know my fault)

help is appreciated!



Your overshooting your 1rm most likely, hence why your missing the prs.

Personally, both programs work very well, but general straight set 5x5 is good to get used to certain weights if your having trouble breaking your plateaus.

As with anything, find something to break the chain. Wherever you are weak, strengthen that portion up and your lifts will go up.


getting a gay vibe from you lifting for 10 years to bench 90kgx5x5 and then calling people strong bears.

pick better assistance exercises for your bench. wheres the sticking point?

Add more volume if you think you need it. Remember tho volume isnt a substitute for hard work with heavy weight.


ok thanks man


? Don´t get that one with the vibe.
And i don´t call me a strong bear but asked from help from those who are-so where is the sense of this sentence?

On T-Nation there is always the tendency that people get catty out of no reason.thats funny-me and my training pals like these dump and wannabe -tough comments really and we find even a lot of them!So to ALL:please keep posting them,they spice up the threads indeed.thats not ironic at all,they really entertain us =)

Sticking point is 10cm over the chest. I thought of working with boards,but i think if i really need those fancy stuff when still not being that advanced in the weight.

In my eyes the most important thing is,that stimulus and recovery is in line and fit togehter,no matter if you follow the linear or dual factor theory.
I thought of working 5x5 once each week for my exercises i want to bring up and then switching to 3x3.At least it worked for the monday session on madcows 5x5.

MO: bench row squat
wed:press pull up deads
frid:dips curl front squat

I train movments (horiz,vert.pull push) I don´t competete.
I think gettin stronger in these movments balance my body cause of the antagonistic pairings and cover all important muscles to work with.They are the exercises which you can use the most weight.
Remember i am not a PL,I am more the guy who wants to follow a Hardgainer philosophy at the moment (brawn by mc robert,john christy if you will)for perhaps slow but steady gains.


Many of the power programs recommend a short high rep routine once you've hit a plateau or every few months to keep from hitting one. You also have to look at how much you are lifting vs. bodyweight. Once you start to reach 2-3x bw on exercises a strict standard 5x5 is not for you.

This is when you should've learned somethinga nd be able to look at your weaknesses. Sometimes thats difficult so you need a friend, partner or trainer to do it for you.


I never understood how someone could squat 3 times a week and make progress. Similarly you are working the benching muscles 3 times a week as well.

I suggest you go onto a more classical powerlifting split where you can do some assistance work and figure out what your weak points are and how to bring them up.

Mo: Bench + assistance (heavy tri work)
Wed: Deadlift + pullups/biceps whatever
Fri: Bench weak point training (since you don't really know what yours is I suggest you do some heavy shoulder work here and lighter tri work)
Sat: Squats + quads/hams

You say you are not a powerlifter but 5x5 is a powerlifting program. IF you are just bodybuilding/powerbuilding then I think a push/pull/legs split or a conventional bodypart split would work better than the three day one you posted. I think there is too much overlap if you do bench one day and then the day after the next you do shoulder presses and then the day after the next you are doing dips.

Also don't label yourself as a hardgainer. McRoberts is a knowledgeable guy but he seems to believe that everyone in the world has the same shitty recovery abilities as he does, and the people making any faster progress are on steroids.

Just pick something that you KNOW you can recover from (it looks like hitting a muscle 3x a week is not for you) and hammer it. Actually the above powerlifting split would work very well if you are simply looking to get very strong all over (and not necessarily compete in PLing).


ok thats interesting,but don´t bother, if i reach 2-3x bw i will have reached my goals anyway!


good and helpful post.

To look it that way-I did AOWaterbury and also hit even each group 3x the week (so 3xshoulders,3xchest...) and was able to make really good progress.thats the last programm i really came further with-but thats ´sadly longer ago and ran out.
So i tried to take a similar template,thats why i had the idea.(think chad wrote also a 5x5 article which included 3 sessions the week and on each session one push and pull for UB and one push or pull for LB)

But also your suggestion sounds nice.
So i can just switch my exercises around:

Mo: Bench + assistance (heavy tri work)
Bench 5x5 ,dips 5x5 (good tri builder)

Wed: Deadlift + pullups/biceps whatever
Deads 5x5 row,chin up,curl 5x5
(i want to keep rowin AND chinning cause they are the antagonistic exercises of press and bench)

Fri: Bench weak point training (since you don't really know what yours is I suggest you do some heavy shoulder work here and lighter tri work)
5x5 shoulders (press) 3x10 nosebreaker

Sat: Squats + quads/hams




Basically, that looks good.

For the squat day, it could look like this for you:

Squats 5x5, Leg press 3x10, something for your hamstrings 3x10, and calves.

If you dont like that set up you can go with something like Push/Pull/Legs

on push days you could do bench 5x5, dips, and shoulder work (and maybe tri extensions too)

Pull days deadlifts 5x5, pullups, rows and curls

Leg day is exactly what it sounds and the same as what i showed on 'squat day'.

If you have good recovery you can rotate this mon/wed/fri/sun and each muscle group gets about4-5 days rest. It works very well.

The reason i am giving this option is because it sounds like you really dont give a shit about powerlifting after all and are more into bodybuilding. Which is ok, it would just be weird if you dont care about board work and sticking point training etc to end up doing a split like that.

So really, pick what you think you would enjoy and progress best on. They would both work.

Hope this made sense.


Thanks der Candy- seldom people give good replies-i like the one of yours.

Thanks man.one question left:

Like mentioned I want to ramp the weight for my 5x5´s up-so start lighter.loading phase. like common to 5x5 programms.so i take 10%off my 5x5RPM and try to reach new 5x5RPM Prs in week 5 and 6 (when possible than longer of course)

Should I apply that for the higher reps too? (sounds logical to me that they should be cycled too)

If I stall on the 5x5-would you advice to switch to 3x3,or drop the sets from 5x5 slowly if i can´t get all the reps and maintain the weight increase?

BTW,the reason why i organized the schedule the mentioned way,is time effeciency.
The only point with bother is ,that on push pull routines when resting long enough-it really takes long to finish.

instead when pairing and alternating antagonistic exercises you need half of the time.


Oh damn you got me. I was trying to act tough. Lord knows I wouldnt say that to you in person because Im afraid of you.

When a small guy calls a big guy who lifts, a "bear", it just seems gay to me.

Thats me typing in muscle bear in youtube.

That seem gay to you? Na thats just good clean fun between two guys right?


10cm's off your chest is to close for boards. I think you could solve this problem by getting a arch and working on your shoulder press/chest. I can easily take 4" off the bottom of the range of motion by just arching.

And if I really arch hard I can get more than that. You may already have a arch but you can definitley get it bigger Im sure.

You keep your shoulder blades pulled together correct? That also takes some ROM off the bottom and gives you a better base to push off of.