T Nation

Basic Linear Program Alongside Cardio?


#1

I am a newbie looking for a program that can be done in combination with 3 cardio workouts a week. I am getting fit and ready for a tough mudder next year but would also like to start lifting weights.

I have done some research and have decided I would benefit most from a linear progression program however the ones I am aware of are probably not ideal for me and the level of cardio I will be doing. Starting strength and Stronglifts are example of ones that seem like they wouldn't be practical to do alongside running.

I am now considering two different programs, one is a program called 531 by Jim Wendler and another is called Greyskull linear program by John Sheaffer. I am sure most people on here know of these popular programs.

I am 22 years old, I am about 203lbs around 5,9 5,10. I would say I am probably anywhere from 30-35% bodyfat most of my fat is in my gut.

For a view of my current fitness level or lack there of my recent workouts were:

3.10 mile run in 24:53 minutes

pressup max 5

situp max 10

Squat test 1x5 @ 45kg

Overhead press 1x5 @ 30kg

I want to pick something that I can do while running hard 3 times a week with progressively longer distances. Any help welcome.


#2

Sorry put my 3.10 mile run at 24:53, meant to put 34:53 minutes.


#3

Do 5/3/1, and be prepared to ditch a day or two of cardio. Jim Wendler has some wonderfully effective ideas about conditioning that will most probably work better than plain old running.

My understanding of Tough Mudder style races is that they’re not like a standard distance foot race but actually require a fair degree of strength to hoist yourself over/around/through stuff. The conditioning work I’ve read about by Jim Wendler sounds pretty ideal to prepare your for this.


#4

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
Do 5/3/1, and be prepared to ditch a day or two of cardio. Jim Wendler has some wonderfully effective ideas about conditioning that will most probably work better than plain old running.

My understanding of Tough Mudder style races is that they’re not like a standard distance foot race but actually require a fair degree of strength to hoist yourself over/around/through stuff. The conditioning work I’ve read about by Jim Wendler sounds pretty ideal to prepare your for this. [/quote]

Thank you Markko. What template would you recommend? I can’t do pullups yet and i am struggling with a handful of pressups.


#5

[quote]Joe Pears wrote:

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
Do 5/3/1, and be prepared to ditch a day or two of cardio. Jim Wendler has some wonderfully effective ideas about conditioning that will most probably work better than plain old running.

My understanding of Tough Mudder style races is that they’re not like a standard distance foot race but actually require a fair degree of strength to hoist yourself over/around/through stuff. The conditioning work I’ve read about by Jim Wendler sounds pretty ideal to prepare your for this. [/quote]

Thank you Markko. What template would you recommend? I can’t do pullups yet and i am struggling with a handful of pressups. [/quote]

I feel like, at your level, you don’t need powerlifts and 5/3/1 to dramatically improve, basic calisthenics will do just as effective a job, safer and cheaper.

If you can’t do a pull-up or more than a handful of push-ups, then these will do just as good a job of building strength and fitness as a bar and weights and with less distractions.

Try the bodyweight training outlined here (ignore the title):

Or maybe something even more minimal, like the NASA push up program detailed in Beyond Bodybuilding or a very minimal GPP program like Simple and Sinister.


#6

[quote]Joe Pears wrote:

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
Do 5/3/1, and be prepared to ditch a day or two of cardio. Jim Wendler has some wonderfully effective ideas about conditioning that will most probably work better than plain old running.

My understanding of Tough Mudder style races is that they’re not like a standard distance foot race but actually require a fair degree of strength to hoist yourself over/around/through stuff. The conditioning work I’ve read about by Jim Wendler sounds pretty ideal to prepare your for this. [/quote]

Thank you Markko. What template would you recommend? I can’t do pullups yet and i am struggling with a handful of pressups. [/quote]

I can’t really recommend a particular 5/3/1 template - I haven’t run any myself, I just know it is one of the best programs available based on the success rate of people who do run them.

Jim Wendler says to do the program that gets you excited, or words to that effect. So, look at the various 5/3/1 templates and whichever one gets you the most excited is the one to do. 5/3/1 has a whole forum on here, so you could do a lot worse than asking some questions on there.

I can’t really help you much with pull-ups, because I still suck at them. I did find Australian pull-ups helpful to bridge the gap - when I could do three sets of 10 with a wide grip, I could just about do two decent shoulder width grip pull-ups. Once I got there, I did lots of sets of two with a hold at the top. When I could do five sets of three to four with a hold at the top, I moved to doing normal reps, but still in the five sets of five-ish range.

I guess for push-ups just do a bunch but not in a silly way like 10 sets every day to failure. So, if you can do five, do five a lot of times a day but not all at thepull-ups as a ‘toll’ to improve, so I figure it could work with push-ups. For example, if you’re at home you could say every time you go into your room or leave you room, you pay a toll: 5 push-ups (or 6, or 7, or however many you can do).


#7

[quote]MarkKO wrote:

[quote]Joe Pears wrote:

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
Do 5/3/1, and be prepared to ditch a day or two of cardio. Jim Wendler has some wonderfully effective ideas about conditioning that will most probably work better than plain old running.

My understanding of Tough Mudder style races is that they’re not like a standard distance foot race but actually require a fair degree of strength to hoist yourself over/around/through stuff. The conditioning work I’ve read about by Jim Wendler sounds pretty ideal to prepare your for this. [/quote]

Thank you Markko. What template would you recommend? I can’t do pullups yet and i am struggling with a handful of pressups. [/quote]

I can’t really recommend a particular 5/3/1 template - I haven’t run any myself, I just know it is one of the best programs available based on the success rate of people who do run them.

Jim Wendler says to do the program that gets you excited, or words to that effect. So, look at the various 5/3/1 templates and whichever one gets you the most excited is the one to do. 5/3/1 has a whole forum on here, so you could do a lot worse than asking some questions on there.

I can’t really help you much with pull-ups, because I still suck at them. I did find Australian pull-ups helpful to bridge the gap - when I could do three sets of 10 with a wide grip, I could just about do two decent shoulder width grip pull-ups. Once I got there, I did lots of sets of two with a hold at the top. When I could do five sets of three to four with a hold at the top, I moved to doing normal reps, but still in the five sets of five-ish range.

I guess for push-ups just do a bunch but not in a silly way like 10 sets every day to failure. So, if you can do five, do five a lot of times a day but not all at thepull-ups as a ‘toll’ to improve, so I figure it could work with push-ups. For example, if you’re at home you could say every time you go into your room or leave you room, you pay a toll: 5 push-ups (or 6, or 7, or however many you can do). [/quote]

Do you think Grey skull Linear program is definitely out of the question combined with cardio ? I really liked the simplicity of the program. I have looked more into 531 and it seems quite complicated and seems to be aimed at people who are already somewhat strong.

Will it be impossible to do both greyskull and running? Here is what i was initially going to do with greyskull:

Bnech and overhead press are alternated each workout , it isn’t both bench and overhead press each workout. Weekly programming has 2 A sessions a week 1 B session.

A

Bench/Press 2x5 1x5+
Dumbbell row 4 sets
Dumbbell curls 2 sets
Squat 2x5 1x5+
Reverse hyperextensions 4 sets

B

Bench/Press 2x5 1x5+
Dumbbell row 4 sets
Dumbbell curls 2 sets
Deadlift 1x5+
45 degree hyperextensions

A

Bench/Press 2x5 1x5+
Dumbbell row 4 sets
Dumbbell curls 2 sets
Squat 2x5 1x5+
Reverse hyperextensions 4 sets

So maybe I could fit the conditioning in like this:

Monday - GSLP
Tuesday - 3 mile run
Wednesday - GSLP
Thursday - 2 mile run
Friday - GSLP
Saturday - 1 mile run
Sunday - Rest day

So less miles but still 3 a week?


#8

MarkKO, you’re a decent guy, but your approach in this thread is classic Internet-jockey stuff: you have neither run a Tough Mudder nor done 5/3/1, but you’ll go ahead and recommend a program that you have never run to train for a specific event that you have never done? What, did you stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night?

Look, I have nothing against recommending 5/3/1 to people just getting started on their fitness/lifting journey - user feedback on 5/3/1 is, obviously, quite good - but let’s not make blanket recommendations of programs without much firsthand knowledge of the program or the training endpoint ™.

  1. You are correct that a Tough Mudder is not a traditional distance footrace, but it does not require a lot of high-end strength, either. If I was asked what the optimal build for a TM competitor, I would pick a champion rock-climber or one of those dudes from Ninja Warrior. Most of the obstacles involve things like scaling a wall, monkey-bars over a pool, crawl-through-a-tunnel, rope climbs, walking across balance beams,. 5/3/1 is a great strength program, but come on. If I was asked how to get someone in shape to perform those tasks, I wouldn’t say that the answer was heavy squats, bench, deadlifts, and pressing. I would probably include some kind of sprints as well as an assortment of bodyweight things (pull-ups, push-ups, and probably rock-climbing if OP has a climbing gym nearby).

Also, while a TM it is not a traditional footrace, you spend a LONG freaking time on your feet, usually running up and down pretty steep hills. I would recommend doing at least SOME running to get acclimated to spending some time on your feet. Or going for long hikes carrying a weighted pack (which might really be the best training for a TM, along with some work on pull-ups and odd-movement things like burpees, bear crawls, army crawls, climbing or monkey bars, maybe some dips).

The TIM is very different from a comparable-distance footrace in the sense that you never run more than probably 3/4 of a mile without hitting an obstacle. So it’s just not “continuous” running. But it still is a long way to run in a couple of hours, and if OP spends a year doing 5/3/1 and sled drags and hill sprints…I suspect that his conditioning will be lacking come TM day.

  1. To that end, I think dagill’s recommendation of the Colucci bodyweight routine is a great one. If OP will do that alongside his running three times a week, NOW he’s probably a little closer to the type of work that will get him ready for a TM. 5/3/1 is a great lifting program, but don’t make it out to do something that it is in no way designed to do. The kind of strength required to do a heavy squat or deadlift is vastly, vastly difference from the kind of strength required in a TM,

#9

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:
MarkKO, you’re a decent guy, but your approach in this thread is classic Internet-jockey stuff: you have neither run a Tough Mudder nor done 5/3/1, but you’ll go ahead and recommend a program that you have never run to train for a specific event that you have never done? What, did you stay at a Holiday Inn Express last night?

Look, I have nothing against recommending 5/3/1 to people just getting started on their fitness/lifting journey - user feedback on 5/3/1 is, obviously, quite good - but let’s not make blanket recommendations of programs without much firsthand knowledge of the program or the training endpoint ™.

  1. You are correct that a Tough Mudder is not a traditional distance footrace, but it does not require a lot of high-end strength, either. If I was asked what the optimal build for a TM competitor, I would pick a champion rock-climber or one of those dudes from Ninja Warrior. Most of the obstacles involve things like scaling a wall, monkey-bars over a pool, crawl-through-a-tunnel, rope climbs, walking across balance beams,. 5/3/1 is a great strength program, but come on. If I was asked how to get someone in shape to perform those tasks, I wouldn’t say that the answer was heavy squats, bench, deadlifts, and pressing. I would probably include some kind of sprints as well as an assortment of bodyweight things (pull-ups, push-ups, and probably rock-climbing if OP has a climbing gym nearby).

Also, while a TM it is not a traditional footrace, you spend a LONG freaking time on your feet, usually running up and down pretty steep hills. I would recommend doing at least SOME running to get acclimated to spending some time on your feet. Or going for long hikes carrying a weighted pack (which might really be the best training for a TM, along with some work on pull-ups and odd-movement things like burpees, bear crawls, army crawls, climbing or monkey bars, maybe some dips).

The TIM is very different from a comparable-distance footrace in the sense that you never run more than probably 3/4 of a mile without hitting an obstacle. So it’s just not “continuous” running. But it still is a long way to run in a couple of hours, and if OP spends a year doing 5/3/1 and sled drags and hill sprints…I suspect that his conditioning will be lacking come TM day.

  1. To that end, I think dagill’s recommendation of the Colucci bodyweight routine is a great one. If OP will do that alongside his running three times a week, NOW he’s probably a little closer to the type of work that will get him ready for a TM. 5/3/1 is a great lifting program, but don’t make it out to do something that it is in no way designed to do. The kind of strength required to do a heavy squat or deadlift is vastly, vastly difference from the kind of strength required in a TM,[/quote]

Point well made, and taken.

That said, a lot of the thought behind what I said is based on my own experience of anything physical getting easier once I got stronger; as well as high intensity conditioning work like Jim Wendler recommends with a Prowler having been the thing that most improved my cardio when I was doing an endurance sport (kettlebell sport). Plain old running didn’t really do anything to make my cardio better, but dragging sleds and flipping tyres did.

The other reason I recommended 5/3/1 is that it isn’t a plain powerlifting program - it looks like it’ll make anyone stronger and generally physically better, which won’t hurt for Tough Mudder in the slightest. That’s why I didn’t say to drop cardio completely, and to do some other kind of conditioning.

But like I said at the start, good point and well made.


#10

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
That said, a lot of the thought behind what I said is based on my own experience of anything physical getting easier once I got stronger; as well as high intensity conditioning work like Jim Wendler recommends with a Prowler having been the thing that most improved my cardio when I was doing an endurance sport (kettlebell sport). Plain old running didn’t really do anything to make my cardio better, but dragging sleds and flipping tyres did.

The other reason I recommended 5/3/1 is that it isn’t a plain powerlifting program - it looks like it’ll make anyone stronger and generally physically better, which won’t hurt for Tough Mudder in the slightest. That’s why I didn’t say to drop cardio completely, and to do some other kind of conditioning.
[/quote]

First, respect for you as a former kettlebell-sport guy. I’m a kettlebell enthusiast.

Second, I agree with you…sort of. A brief aside: I was a football player and wrestler in high school who dabbled with powerlifting/O-lifting, a football player in college that achieved sorta-respectable numbers all around, and then…shifted to long distance running from age 22-27 before coming back around to a strength focus, and I am dallying with the idea of going into KB sport myself. I agree that doing a little top-end strength work on my deadlift and power clean because that 53-pound bell will feel a lot lighter to me once I’ve rebuilt my power clean to 225-plus and my deadlift to 405-plus than it does now (I just posted about this in my training log yesterday). So I can buy a little of the “anything physical got easier when I got stronger” statement, but…even that statement has limits. It’s one of those things that sounds good on paper and is easy to agree with, but “anything physical” in that context really should be “anything where strength actually helps me.”

A marathon is a physical activity; getting stronger will not help you run a marathon (really, try it, or ask some of the CrossFit goons that tried to claim you could run a marathon on CF and dropped out, or limped to the finish line in 4 hours behind 60-year-old graybeards). Swimming is a very physical activity; but somehow I doubt Jim Wendler would recommend 5/3/1 to a college swimmer.

Ergo, “getting stronger will make you better at anything physical” is really a saying that sounds good on a strength website, but we should realize that it has limits.

Flipping tires, pushing the Prowler…I mean, of course that has more carry-over to kettlebell sport than regular running would. But kettlebell sport and a Tough Mudder are not the same thing! In kettlebell sport, you have to give maximal effort for about 10 minutes, lifting a weight that is still a darned heavy object. It requires “endurance” of a kind but not the same kind of “endurance” that. I would argue that KB sport is still closer to the “strength” end of things than the endurance end of things.

In contrast, a Tough Mudder will take a good athlete at least 2.5 hours, possibly as long as 4 hours, and the only “strength” it requires is the ability to pull your body up, around, and over things; while it does require to keep running up and down hills, for stretches ranging from a quarter-mile up to three-quarters of a mile, 20-25 times depending on the specific course (every TM is different).

Those two activities require a very different type of endurance.

Some things fit neatly into a single definition: running a marathon is unquestionably an “endurance” activity. Powerlifting is unquestionably a “strength” activity. But things like KB sport, or a Tough Mudder, exist somewhere along a spectrum between those two things, and to lump them into simple bins with a statement like “Pushing the Prowler helped condition me for my endurance sport” without considering the type of “endurance” involved in KB sport vs. a Tough Mudder (KB sport is plenty hard - but in the balance of “strength” vs. “endurance” and, even moreso, the TYPE of endurance required) is just silly, and you’re smarter than that.


#11

Bear crawls uphill…hill sprints


#12

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

[quote]MarkKO wrote:
That said, a lot of the thought behind what I said is based on my own experience of anything physical getting easier once I got stronger; as well as high intensity conditioning work like Jim Wendler recommends with a Prowler having been the thing that most improved my cardio when I was doing an endurance sport (kettlebell sport). Plain old running didn’t really do anything to make my cardio better, but dragging sleds and flipping tyres did.

The other reason I recommended 5/3/1 is that it isn’t a plain powerlifting program - it looks like it’ll make anyone stronger and generally physically better, which won’t hurt for Tough Mudder in the slightest. That’s why I didn’t say to drop cardio completely, and to do some other kind of conditioning.
[/quote]

First, respect for you as a former kettlebell-sport guy. I’m a kettlebell enthusiast.

Second, I agree with you…sort of. A brief aside: I was a football player and wrestler in high school who dabbled with powerlifting/O-lifting, a football player in college that achieved sorta-respectable numbers all around, and then…shifted to long distance running from age 22-27 before coming back around to a strength focus, and I am dallying with the idea of going into KB sport myself. I agree that doing a little top-end strength work on my deadlift and power clean because that 53-pound bell will feel a lot lighter to me once I’ve rebuilt my power clean to 225-plus and my deadlift to 405-plus than it does now (I just posted about this in my training log yesterday). So I can buy a little of the “anything physical got easier when I got stronger” statement, but…even that statement has limits. It’s one of those things that sounds good on paper and is easy to agree with, but “anything physical” in that context really should be “anything where strength actually helps me.”

A marathon is a physical activity; getting stronger will not help you run a marathon (really, try it, or ask some of the CrossFit goons that tried to claim you could run a marathon on CF and dropped out, or limped to the finish line in 4 hours behind 60-year-old graybeards). Swimming is a very physical activity; but somehow I doubt Jim Wendler would recommend 5/3/1 to a college swimmer.

Ergo, “getting stronger will make you better at anything physical” is really a saying that sounds good on a strength website, but we should realize that it has limits.

Flipping tires, pushing the Prowler…I mean, of course that has more carry-over to kettlebell sport than regular running would. But kettlebell sport and a Tough Mudder are not the same thing! In kettlebell sport, you have to give maximal effort for about 10 minutes, lifting a weight that is still a darned heavy object. It requires “endurance” of a kind but not the same kind of “endurance” that. I would argue that KB sport is still closer to the “strength” end of things than the endurance end of things.

In contrast, a Tough Mudder will take a good athlete at least 2.5 hours, possibly as long as 4 hours, and the only “strength” it requires is the ability to pull your body up, around, and over things; while it does require to keep running up and down hills, for stretches ranging from a quarter-mile up to three-quarters of a mile, 20-25 times depending on the specific course (every TM is different).

Those two activities require a very different type of endurance.

Some things fit neatly into a single definition: running a marathon is unquestionably an “endurance” activity. Powerlifting is unquestionably a “strength” activity. But things like KB sport, or a Tough Mudder, exist somewhere along a spectrum between those two things, and to lump them into simple bins with a statement like “Pushing the Prowler helped condition me for my endurance sport” without considering the type of “endurance” involved in KB sport vs. a Tough Mudder (KB sport is plenty hard - but in the balance of “strength” vs. “endurance” and, even moreso, the TYPE of endurance required) is just silly, and you’re smarter than that.[/quote]

Very well put. I shall proceed to extract my foot from my mouth where it has become quite firmly lodged.

OP, best of luck.