T Nation

Brad Gillingham Routine Part 2


Since the old thread is closed, I opened a new one.

I have thought about trying this routine and wanted to hear the opinions and results of others that have used this program. The intensity and volume looks like it is something that would work well for me. I have done periodization, Westside, 531, Sheiko (both Dave Bate's program and a lower volume modified version) and block periodization.


Which routine are you talking about?

The one outlined on his video or have you had a recent discussion with him? The reason I ask is 5x5's are the staple but they have several phases including utilization of a Front Squat cycle and they also utilize high bar squats, etc.


If none of those have worked yet, I don't see how front "russian front squats" and clean and jerks are going to help your powerlifts.


I am talking about the one that uses 5x5 on the squat and alternating between rack deadlifts and deadlifts. The same program that is on the Jackal's Gym website.

I currently use a modified Sheiko program for squat and bench, but I use something different for the deadlift. I do deficit pulls for 3 weeks, deload, and the do deadlifts for the last 3 to 4 weeks before my competition. I pulled 545 lbs for 5 reps and hit a 672 lbs deadlift at the 2011 Raw Challenge at the Arnold. The deadlift portion of my program is working, but not optimal. So I am looking for options to consider after USAPL Raw Nationals.


Actually they have worked. I am just looking for feedback on Brad Gillingham's deadlift routine, more specifically the routine that uses 5x5 squat, and alternates between rack deadlifts and deadlifts. I train by myself and the percentages used on squats work well for me. I train by myself most of the time and lower intensity squatting works well when training alone.


Most of the people I know whom don't train at Jackals' (obviously with some exception) don't utilize the 5x5 year round (read as a foundational training approach) because they can be hard on your body. It is part of a broader training plan. I think it lays an excellent foundation but from my own perspective, (not having much experience using it leading into a meet) it is hard to guage geared performance against it and there is very little time spent in gear (don't know if you are a RAW lifter or not).

Having said that, my experience has been that the Jackal's boys are not gear intensive at all, most of their stuff is worn pretty loose (by my standards, anyway) and they are just a bunch of ridiculously strong raw squatters. Krogman recently told me he hit like a 705 high bar double with sleeves only and I am pretty sure Tylutki is around 565-585 for his last 5x5 (heaviest set) without a belt so these guys are freaks.

The point I am getting at is I think over the long term it obviously works very well but I think there is an adaptation process that occurs in the first cycle which makes it very useful for building foundational strength leading you into a peaking cycle.

If I were to run a cycle, I would underestimate my max for the first one and aim to kill it. Weeks 4 and 9, in the squatting program, are the heaviest. If you kill yourself in week 4, it will flatten you out and if you kill yourself in week 9, you are risking overtraining and hitting a contest flat.

I view the rack pulls as a solid contributor to mass and a mental training tool, you should make remarkable progress at the various pin heights (you need a rack that will allow you to set the pins at 5 inches below the knee to do the cycle right). On the other hand, your DL form better be pretty solid because you are only pulling 6x1 from the floor every other week.

You warm up on the pull days by working up to a high bar double, which you increase 5-10#'s every week so squatting frequency is 2X per week and I would recommend using sumos with moderate weight as an accesory (3x6) movement on the squat day.

If you PM me an email (I can't send pm's on this site anymore...technical glitch I guess), I can send you an excel spreadsheet that is plug and play. I also have the bench routine and a DL program Nick gave me that can be run with the 5x5's but it is a significant volume of pulling from the floor.

Lastly, you need to eat like it is your job on this program to optimize it. Carb intake the night before a training session is very important, IMO. Some of these guys will eat like 3-4 baked potatoes before they go to bed.


Thanks for your response, apwsearch!

I compete raw. I switched from multi ply gear to raw in May 2008. I am looking at different programs and trying to decide how I will train after USAPL Raw Nationals in August. What I have been doing is working well, but I don't think it is optimal from my deadlift. I squat twice a week, bench three times a week, and deadlift once a week. I am using a modified Sheiko routine with some tweaks of my own. If the weights are feeling easy, then I will reverse the set and rep scheme. The program calls for 5 sets of 2 to 3 reps and I reverse it to 2 to 3 sets of 5 reps. For the deadlift, I do 3 weeks of deficit pulls, deload and then the last 3 to 4 weeks I pull from the floor. I went up to 545 for 5 reps while training for the Arnold and hit 672. For USAPL Raw Nationals I am doing the same thing. I have been using this program for 4 training cycles including this one.

I have considered going back to 531. The 531 for powerlifting method makes it a better option than before, since it has peaking a peaking cycle and heavy singles. 531 has worked well for me and I pulled 705 raw with a deadlift bar using 531. The one thing about the Brad Gillingham program that I don't like, is the 16 week competition cycles, which are preceded with the 12 week off season program. That would limit me to only two competitions per year. I typically compete 3 to 4 times per year.


Yes, that is why I have limited experience (through observation only, not through application) of applying it as a peaking cycle because we use a 7 week bracket setting program.

I also have a condensed 8 week 5x5 program, as well.

Let me get a hold of Brad and hopefully I can put you directly in contact with him. He is obviously much better equipped to help you sort this out than I am.


Thanks for your assistance. I compete raw.


Check your email. You can contact Brad directly.


Thanks and I appreciate it.