T Nation

Critique Please

Background:
-37 years old
-Hover between 190-200 lbs
-5 feet 8 inches tall
-Lifting consistently for about 20 months
-Calories: I hate counting them and this is something I am not good at (and don’t know if I ever really will be or want to be good at. I eat pretty good, probably around 2700-3000 cals per day. Lots of protein and good carbs + fruits and veggies. Hit carbs hard pre and post workout
-TRT for about 15 months, 170 mg weekly
-Sups: Whey, Creatine, PWO, BCAA mix during workout, ZMA
-Schedule: I could theoretically train everyday from a schedule standpoint, but I only work-out 3 days per week. I used to work out much more when I first stated (not knowing better) respond better to more rest. I train 5AM-6:30AM (normally not this long, but sometimes)
-I don’t use a belt or straps, but I do use chalk

Lifts (5RM):
Bench - 225 LBS
Squat - 285 LBS
Dead - 405 LBS

Goals:
-Significantly improve squats
-Main goal is to get much stronger but I don’t want to add a lot of fat - ideally just slowly recomp. My 6 month goal would be to hit 3, 4, 5 on the big three for a 1RM. I feel like I can do this for Bench and Dead, but it may be a stretch for Squats - I am just not very good at them yet. But I would like to make squat one my main focus for the time being. I am looking for size to some extent too, but main goal is strength while not getting fat.

I am currently (I think) using the Texas Method
Routine (working sets / 90% 5RM):

  • Monday
    Squat 5X5
    Bench / OHP (alternate weeks) 5X5
    Deadlift 1X5
    Super-set Curls 5X8 (lighter that 90% 5RM) and Dips 5X10

  • Wednesday (working sets / 80% 5RM)
    Squat 3X5
    Bench / OHP (whichever I didn’t do Monday, little heavier that 80%) 3X5
    Chins: 3X5
    Good mornings - light weight, 3X8

  • Friday (working up to new 5RM)
    Squat 1X5
    Bench 1X5
    Clean and Press 3X5 (working on explosion)

I’m not doing cardio right now, but I do work in bike sprints when I have time on some days and sometimes work in Farmers Walks because I like them and they have build pretty good grips strength.

I’d really be interested for input - what am I missing. What am I doing right / wrong.

Thanks for your help!

EDIT: I used to be fat ass, lazy bastard who couldn’t lift shit - so I have made pretty good progress for me so far, but would like to kick it up a level…

I would do 5/3/1, to be honest. Then again, the Texas Method doesn’t seem to be too bad… Your choice, at the end of the day.

Thanks fellas. I honestly debated between 5/3/1 and Texas Method but settled on Texas Method mainly because there is more squatting involved and it seemed a little less complicated.

Thanks for Squat link.

Holy shit - I think that Squat program would probably break me right now!
I think I’ll spend some time really working on form and volume and then maybe consider this. I appreciate the resource.

[quote]AliveAgain36 wrote:
Holy shit - I think that Squat program would probably break me right now!
I think I’ll spend some time really working on form and volume and then maybe consider this. I appreciate the resource.[/quote]

Smolov takes a real mental and physical commitment, but it is something every PL’er ought to run at least once when they are ready to. It will change the way you look as what is possible training wise.

You’re on the right track, give Texas method a good run -it works.

I vote Madcow

Thanks for reviewing - I think I’m going to give TM a shot just to see how it goes. I feel like it has good volume with a good rest cycle built in and I really like the idea of kicking my ass in squats (especially on the volume day).

RampantBadger (or anyone else) - if you don’t mind me asking, did you run a TM cycle. Can you share any results? How long did you run it for?

Thanks again for the feedback.

Thanks for reviewing - I think I’m going to give TM a shot just to see how it goes. I feel like it has good volume with a good rest cycle built in and I really like the idea of kicking my ass in squats (especially on the volume day).

RampantBadger (or anyone else) - if you don’t mind me asking, did you run a TM cycle. Can you share any results? How long did you run it for?

Thanks again for the feedback.

I ran SL 5x5 for two cycles and it really helped my form. I loved squatting 3 times a week, but my knees didn’t. Im 47, btw. Started Madcow, but like I say, my knees hated me for two weeks…

Right now your weak link is your diet. Just count calories for about 3 months to figure out where you stand (lots of free websites out there to help). Once you are in the groove, you will actually know where you stand and wont need to keep that journal anymore. Just don’t get bogged down by minor details. Knowing how many grams of protein in a 6oz chicken breast or how many in an egg, etc is all the basic you need.

Cheers.

[quote]JFG wrote:
I ran SL 5x5 for two cycles and it really helped my form. I loved squatting 3 times a week, but my knees didn’t. Im 47, btw. Started Madcow, but like I say, my knees hated me for two weeks…

Right now your weak link is your diet. Just count calories for about 3 months to figure out where you stand (lots of free websites out there to help). Once you are in the groove, you will actually know where you stand and wont need to keep that journal anymore. Just don’t get bogged down by minor details. Knowing how many grams of protein in a 6oz chicken breast or how many in an egg, etc is all the basic you need.

Cheers.[/quote]

Agreed and I know you’re right…

[quote]AliveAgain36 wrote:
Thanks for reviewing - I think I’m going to give TM a shot just to see how it goes. I feel like it has good volume with a good rest cycle built in and I really like the idea of kicking my ass in squats (especially on the volume day).

RampantBadger (or anyone else) - if you don’t mind me asking, did you run a TM cycle. Can you share any results? How long did you run it for?

Thanks again for the feedback.[/quote]

When I was 21 ran a similar Bill Starr heavy-light-medium program on and off for about 6 months, eat everything in sight and put on 40 lbs of mostly muscle. Most lifts went up about 20 lbs and dead went up 80.

Update…

Today is my third Monday on this program - so today was volume day. I am sure a significant portion of my gains have been mental, but I figure that I am training my CNS / brain that I can go harder and heavier than I think I can.

Initial (5RM):
Bench - 225 LBS
Squat - 285 LBS
Dead - 405 LBS

Today’s lifts:

Bench 5x5x225LBS - I ripped out 5 sets pretty easily. I am going to shoot for 1x5x275 on Friday
Squat - 5x5x245LBS - I dropped the starting weight on squats to really focus on my form. I am going to shoot for 1x5x285 on Friday
Dead - 1x5x365LBS - This was directly after squatting and I was pretty spent
Dips - 50
Curls - worked up to 2X5X90LBS

I feel great. Monday kicks my ass, but I have been really happy with the results so far. I am going to hit this for three more weeks (including this week) and then take a rest week (mainly because I have an out of town work conference) to give me a rest week after 5 weeks.