Starting Strength: I loved it. Had a total of three months with it before I completely switched off of it. I grew insanely efficient at 5 rep sets and this single handedly walked me into powerlifting and the joy of squatting. Nearing the end, the program starts breaking you down. You would even rest 10+ minutes in between squat sets.
The cons for me, was that I neglected the other lifts. I put squats before everything else and that was all I thought about before after and during the sessions. After squats I was usually beat and didn’t give much attention to whatever lift followed. This isn’t necessarily a con but more my own fault. If I could do it over again, I’d fix what I just wrote and add in more pullups and curls.
Madcow: Ran it for almost 8 weeks. Never reset. Basically the same issues and concept as SS, except the progression is week to week. Nice program, just not to my liking. Ever since Starting Strength, I’ve always been a fan of sets across at 85%+.
5/3/1: Nice program. Allows for a lot of flexibility. Very slow progress, made 50 pounds of progress in my total in a span of 6 months. I followed the 4-day template like I was told. Did BBB for a bit then switched to the triumvirate. Wasn’t too hard. It never made me feel like shit like with SS or Madcow. I’m not a big fan of doing accessory work for squat day. I hate the hack squat machine, leg press, leg curl, etc. So all I had left to do was the BBB 5x10 stuff. Probably one of the worst squat forms I’ve had to this day was done on those sets.
Smolov Base: Hellish 3 weeks. I ran it during the summer with 9-11 hours of sleep and I still felt like shit. I never missed a rep and never had a spot either, but every morning I woke up feeling like crap. Maybe it was because of the sudden change in intensity, volume, and frequency of a high stress exercise. Regardless it shot my squat up insanely fast.
Texas Method: I ran this to peak for my meet, well not really. I just ran it for 8 weeks. Adding 5 pounds on the Mondays and Fridays, up until the last week before the meet. 5x5 on Mondays, 2x5 light on Wed, and 1x5 PR fridays. I loved this program. I perform best on Mondays after a nice long 2 day weekend and the volume was bareable because I had so much rest prior. It gave a light day in the middle of the week and Fridays, I was hitting 5RM PR’s. I can’t have anything bad to say about this program. Probably my favorite and would run a modified version of it again.
Sheiko 29-37-32: I’m not done with this cycle yet. I’m on the 3rd week of 32. I wanted to try something different aside from the 3x5/5x5 stuff. It was uncomfortable coming into Sheiko at first, the volume is a lot and these sessions are a punch in my schedule, but my work capacity has increased immensely over these past 3 months. Probably challenges Starting Strength for a 2nd place on my favorites.