T Nation

How's This Idea For Hypertrophy/Strength?


I'm trying to approach this in a way which doesn't make it seem cliche, so please bear with me if it does. Anyway...

I've had a lot of success with Bill Starr's 5x5 program, shown in the following link - http://www.geocities.com/elitemadcow1/5x5_Program/Periodized_5x5.htm

I like to switch things up every so often though, so that I don't get bored with my training & can stay motivated, so I had a thought. What about doing 5x5 for 6 weeks, then a higher volume version of it for another 6 weeks, then take a week off & start again back at 5x5.

The 5x5 program teaches you that Compound exercises should ALWAYS take precedence over Isolation exercises, and a lot of the time Iso's aren't even needed because the Compound exercises take care of the smaller muscles for you. Obviously though, if a certain muscle isn't progressing the way you'd like (rear delts, biceps, triceps etc) then you'll add in an isolation exercise at the end of your workout for that particular muscle.

Here's an example of a 5x5 workout - http://img33.picoodle.com/img/img33/3/10/21/f_Madcow5x5m_9f8b93c.jpg

Now what if (for a change in volume) I was to change the 5x5 to 3x10? That's still around the same number of reps per exercise & the actual program itself would stay the same, e.g. Squatting 3x a week & having a Medium/Light/Heavy (Mon/Wed/Fri) day, but I'd be training with lighter weights & more volume (reps) than the 5x5, so hopefully this would be enough of a change in stimulus to keep progressing in Size/Strength.

This routine (like the 5x5) would be around 95% focused on compound exercises, and isolations would only enter the picture if a muscle group was starting to lag behind or if I felt that I needed to train a certain muscle group more than the others for a while.

The program would look something like this

Also IF this would work, I'm wondering whether to use Ramped sets or not in the 3x10 phase (e.g. instead of benching 250lbs for 5 sets, you "Ramp" up to it by doing something like 210/220/230/240/250lbs). When training 5x5, you DO use ramped sets at times (see the attached pic) in order to keep the weight progressing on a certain exercise, but seeing as this 3x10 phase is more for hypertrophy than strength, I was wondering if "ramping" up the weights is necessary or not? If I DID use ramped sets, the program would look like this:

How do you guys think this approach to training would play out?


I think for hypertrophy it may work quite well, as for strength its probably not so good.

Theres a lot of thing you could do to change things up. After a period of 5x5, you could switch to a period of 4x6 and 8x3.

Also, one thing I do that helps both physically and psychologically is to switch from a 3 day / week full body routine, to a 3-4 day/week upper/lower split. This alone will take care of a change in volume regardless of the reps you use.

There are so many things you could do though, the options are limitless. Are you still getting fairly good results on 5x5? If you are, you might want to just make a minor change, and switch to 4x6 instead. Just 1 less set per exercise per workout, means your workouts will be shorter and more intense, and likely more effective.


Yeah, that's the point I was trying to make. For strength, I'll leave that part to the 5x5, but for hypertrophy I'll try this new method.


well like, the line between strength and size is not really that different. I'm not going to argue that training more in the lower rep ranges isn't more effective at strength because it is but gaining strength in the higher rep range will lead to an increase in your 1RM. I just feel the need to make sure you understand that point.

actually, why don't you just do conjugate training? Have some rep work in the lower rep range, and some exercises in the higher rep range. Pretty simple.


Yes I do understand completely ^^

An increase in weight when doing 3x10, is still an increase in weight no matter how you look at it, which means your strength HAS increased, which in turn SHOULD mean your 1RM for Bench or whatever the lift is, has increased.

Is that what you meant?




Hey so i looked around for some workout routines on this page and I'm new to it. I've been going back and forth on the internet finding training programs and what not. I was hoping if maybe actually talking to some experienced people that i could get some help. I don't have a picture up, but my pecs are the biggest portion of my body. I'm six foot, 185 lbs. I used to be a cross country runner and I still do long distance.

I'm in college, so sometimes the wieght room must be put aside when it comes to exams and i'm also a little short on money. I'm looking to put on 15 pounds of muscle. I need to bulk up in my arms and back for sure. Legs could use some meat as well. I typically stay off my shoulders because I have a rotator cuff thing that pops/snaps, especially lateral raises. Any suggested workout routines or places to find such would be awesome.


Please make your own thread if you want to find a workout routine for yourself. I'm sure there are plenty of people here who can help you.