T Nation

Adding Size while Powerlifting/BJJ?

Hi guys,

I started powerlifting around 4 months ago and did “Starting Strength” (edit:Meant Strong Lifts) (5x5)
Very happy with my improvements and the program, but due to my injury being healed i am picking up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu again training Bjj 3-6 times a week. This isnt working together.
A strength workout usually already takes me 2.5 hours, sometimes longer if i socialize a little.
And i dont think it would be a good idea to go and train Bjj a couple hours later on the same day. Also these workouts are taking too much out of me to combine with Bjj.
Today i tried a 3x5 version, basically i took the weight i used to do 5 sets and only did it for 3 sets. Afterwards i trained Bjj and it was very doable.

Now my problem is i currently weigh 72.7 kilo’s and i would like to weigh 74.5 asap, with a clean bulk and as little added fat as possible. As i understand it and please correct me if im wrong with 5x5 its normal to gain some mass which i did, but this will be much harder on a 3x5 because of the lack of volume.

So summarized: Currently doing 5x5, want to switch to 3x5, but worrying about not being able to gain a little muscle mass on 3x5.
Current estimated maxes in kgs:

  • squat 113
  • deadlift 150
  • press 65
  • bench 100

All advice welcome.

powerlifting and bjj dont go together. Pick one.

"The problem with the increase in assistance work is that everyone wants to have their cake and eat it too. It doesnâ??t work like that â?? you canâ??t be strong like a powerlifter, fast as sprinter, and as big as a linebacker. Well, you can, but these people are so rare that teams pay them millions of dollars and television stations have billion dollar contracts to broadcast them to you. Theyâ??re called professional football players, and if youâ??re one of them, you arenâ??t reading this, as youâ??re too busy counting your money and cracking skulls."JW

Firstly, if you were doing 5x5 you weren’t doing Starting Strength.

5x5 programmes (from coaches who know what they’re doing; Pendlay, Starr etc.) generally start with ramping up to a single top set of 5. 5x5 with sets across is generally reserved for more advanced trainees and used sparingly (either once per week or in a periodised programme).

Ramping up to just one top set of 5 three times per week has put plenty of muscle on countless people way more advanced than you. 3 sets of 5 is plenty enough volume at your level!

Don’t worry about volume or anything like that, if you’re in calorific excess and adding more weight each session, you’ll grow plenty on 3x5.

I dont know why i wrote Starting Strength, i meant Strong Lifts…

“Don’t worry about volume or anything like that, if you’re in calorific excess and adding more weight each session, you’ll grow plenty on 3x5”

Nice.

Look into doing 531 BBB and maybe do 3 day per week template. Simple system and workouts won’t take that long to complete. Will give slow steady progress.

I don’t know anything about Starting Strength or 5x5, do those workouts usually have you in the gym for 2.5 hours+? The only reason I ask is a full squat workout for me only takes 90 minutes or so…just curious is all.

[quote]Chicksan wrote:
I don’t know anything about Starting Strength or 5x5, do those workouts usually have you in the gym for 2.5 hours+? The only reason I ask is a full squat workout for me only takes 90 minutes or so…just curious is all. [/quote]

I haven’t done 5x5 but have done SS and initially with the lighter loads I was out in 30 minutes, even when the loads started getting heavier, I wasn’t there past an hour. If ends up taking you 2.5 hours to do 9 sets (plus warm up) then you have serious conditioning problems.

I do a lot of warm up sets, because i have a long history of injuries. Also do 10 min cardio warming up and need 5 minutes rest between every set to be able to do 5 sets with my working weight on all exercises. I’m not doing 9 sets i’m doing 3 exercises of 5 sets and usually add some sets of pullups or triceps work in the end, so say 4 exercises of 5 sets = 20 sets.+ warm up+ lots of warmup sets.= 2.5 hours.
I know its alot ( too much) and its a big attack on my nervous system so i’m very much considering switching to 3x5.

I prefer a 3x5 over a 5/3/1 and i want to do 2 lifting sessions, 3 will be too much.

[quote]Respeezy wrote:
I do a lot of warm up sets, because i have a long history of injuries. Also do 10 min cardio warming up and need 5 minutes rest between every set to be able to do 5 sets with my working weight on all exercises. I’m not doing 9 sets i’m doing 3 exercises of 5 sets and usually add some sets of pullups or triceps work in the end, so say 4 exercises of 5 sets = 20 sets.+ warm up+ lots of warmup sets.= 2.5 hours.
I know its alot ( too much) and its a big attack on my nervous system so i’m very much considering switching to 3x5.

I prefer a 3x5 over a 5/3/1 and i want to do 2 lifting sessions, 3 will be too much.[/quote]

You ask for advice and then make it clear you want to stick with the plan that you are complaining about not working. Brilliant. Good luck though.

also try getting some MAG-10 or hydrolyzed whey

[quote]Ecchastang wrote:

[quote]Respeezy wrote:
I do a lot of warm up sets, because i have a long history of injuries. Also do 10 min cardio warming up and need 5 minutes rest between every set to be able to do 5 sets with my working weight on all exercises. I’m not doing 9 sets i’m doing 3 exercises of 5 sets and usually add some sets of pullups or triceps work in the end, so say 4 exercises of 5 sets = 20 sets.+ warm up+ lots of warmup sets.= 2.5 hours.
I know its alot ( too much) and its a big attack on my nervous system so i’m very much considering switching to 3x5.

I prefer a 3x5 over a 5/3/1 and i want to do 2 lifting sessions, 3 will be too much.[/quote]

You ask for advice and then make it clear you want to stick with the plan that you are complaining about not working. Brilliant. Good luck though.[/quote]

Your obviously not so good at comprehensive reading are you?

[quote]RampantBadger wrote:

also try getting some MAG-10 or hydrolyzed whey[/quote]

Thanks for the link, i’ll check it out.

Your post is all over the place. Shows you really are a bloody beginner. What sticks out is that you actually believe that it should take 2.5h to complete your “5x5” sessions. Given your very low maxes that is ridiculous.

Anyway, I agree with others that at this point you should rely on some simple variation of 531 or so rather than doing your “own thing”.

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
Your post is all over the place. Shows you really are a bloody beginner. What sticks out is that you actually believe that it should take 2.5h to complete your “5x5” sessions. Given your very low maxes that is ridiculous.

Anyway, I agree with others that at this point you should rely on some simple variation of 531 or so rather than doing your “own thing”.
[/quote]

I know i’m a beginner, i just started 4 months ago, i’m still working on technique. I don’t believe it should take 2.5 hours, it takes me 2.5 hours. Theres a big difference.

Like i said i need 5 min rest between sets to be able to do 5 sets with my workingweight, i could take smaller rest intervals but than i wouldnt be able to lift what i lift and since gaining max strength was my goal on this program and i had the time, i didnt see a reason to make these rest intervals smaller.

I’m definitely not planning on doing my own thing, i am currently in doubt between 3x5 (Starting Strength) And 5/3/1.

[quote]Respeezy wrote:
and need 5 minutes rest between every set to be able to do 5 sets with my working weight on all exercises.[/quote]
That’s a matter of conditioning and based on this, yours sucks. A full five minutes between 5-rep sets is definitely on the long side of rest. Yes, it’s kinda heavy but it’s not like you’re doing singles or doubles which would better warrant that kind of rest time. Force yourself to shave some time off the rest periods. It’ll suck in the short-term, but you’ll adapt.

These can be alternated/supersetted into your main workout without much, if any, negative effect.

Lifting twice a week (depending on the program) while doing BJJ is a very good way to build strength and prioritize BJJ, but it’s a very inefficient plan for building size. Or, as Dan John might say, your actions don’t match your goals. You’ll need to change one or the other.

[quote]
Lifting twice a week (depending on the program) while doing BJJ is a very good way to build strength and prioritize BJJ, but it’s a very inefficient plan for building size. Or, as Dan John might say, your actions don’t match your goals. You’ll need to change one or the other.[/quote]

That’s pretty much why i made this post, to get people to help me think what options i have.
I suspected with a 3x5 it would be much harder to gain some muscle mass than as i did on 5x5, but the first response here was that it would be doable just fine, now you are saying it isnt?

[quote]Respeezy wrote:

[quote]
Lifting twice a week (depending on the program) while doing BJJ is a very good way to build strength and prioritize BJJ, but it’s a very inefficient plan for building size. Or, as Dan John might say, your actions don’t match your goals. You’ll need to change one or the other.[/quote]

That’s pretty much why i made this post, to get people to help me think what options i have.
I suspected with a 3x5 it would be much harder to gain some muscle mass than as i did on 5x5, but the first response here was that it would be doable just fine, now you are saying it isnt?[/quote]

Shouldn’t take you 2.5 hours unless you are talking way to much. I actually did a 5x5 where I would time my rest intervals at 5 minutes for a little while. It took me an hour and a half at the most. You should take no longer than a minute between your warm up sets. Basically the time it takes you to adjust the plates should be plenty. And 3x5 and 5x5 isn’t going to make that much difference, especially if you make the 3x5 a denser (shorter rest periods) workout.

[quote]Respeezy wrote:

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
Your post is all over the place. Shows you really are a bloody beginner. What sticks out is that you actually believe that it should take 2.5h to complete your “5x5” sessions. Given your very low maxes that is ridiculous.

Anyway, I agree with others that at this point you should rely on some simple variation of 531 or so rather than doing your “own thing”.
[/quote]

I know i’m a beginner, i just started 4 months ago, i’m still working on technique. I don’t believe it should take 2.5 hours, it takes me 2.5 hours. Theres a big difference.

Like i said i need 5 min rest between sets to be able to do 5 sets with my workingweight, i could take smaller rest intervals but than i wouldnt be able to lift what i lift and since gaining max strength was my goal on this program and i had the time, i didnt see a reason to make these rest intervals smaller.

I’m definitely not planning on doing my own thing, i am currently in doubt between 3x5 (Starting Strength) And 5/3/1.[/quote]
If you have to rest that that much then your training weight is too high.

[quote]Respeezy wrote:
A strength workout usually already takes me 2.5 hours, sometimes longer if i socialize a little.[/quote]

To add what’s already been said…

If you leave the socializing until after your training, you won’t have to count it as part of your workout. Also, doing an extensive warm-up to avoid injury then resting for five minutes between sets seems to me to be a little counterproductive.