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Madcow - Intermidiate or Advance?

Hey everyone,

I’m looking to start the Madcow 5x5 after doing about 2 months of higher volume work. My question is whether to start with the intermediate or Advance program. I’ve been lifting for sometime (5 years) so I think my body has adapted to the point where I would need an advanced progression.

Then again I have not done this type of training in a long time so perhaps Intermediate program would work. Any input about which variation to do/how you liked the program would be much appreciated.

I didn’t like it. It was great for deadlift and ok for squat. But I the lost gains I made on squat during spring ball. I needed more assistance work for weaker areas and needed some days to do speed work, which this program really didn’t allow.

Do the program if you want to get your squat up fast.

The program is great for foundation strength. It will help if you decide to carry over to a powerlifting style. But I would use the intermediate until you hit a plateau and stop hitting PRs.

Thanks for the input guys.

I’ve been leaning more and more towards powerlifting/pure strength emphasis. Right now I feel I’m not strong enough and have shifted my focus on getting stronger and then after Ive reached a good strength level, perhaps working more on higher rep IE “pure” hypertrophy training. But right now my focus is getting stronger, plain and simple.

If you’re not sure, do the intermediate. I wasn’t sure either and went with the intermediate and did well with it. At the same time, I had never followed a structured program in my life. I often just lifted what I felt like, so it was kind of nice change and less thinking.

I did the intermediate after return from an injury and a long lay off of squatting. I was very conservative, probably too conservative, with my starting numbers, especially the squat. As the weeks progressed, however, I made poundage jumps in the squat that were larger than recommended. It got me back up to squatting decent poundages fairly quick.

I also tweaked day 2, the middle day, as I progressed. I quickly discovered that 3 days of squatting and 1 day of heavy pulling was a lot for me. Around week 4 I changed day 2’s squat to a front squat and varied the pulling. I did some deficit deads at a lighter weight. A couple weeks, I skipped day 2 altogether and did a session of farmers walks and tire flips.

I ran it 6 weeks and hit rep PRs on my bench and overhead press(I used OH press instead of inclines) and really brought up my pathetically weak row. I didn’t set any PR’s on squat, partly because I was so conservative in my number, but I feel I gained in technique and just comfort of squatting.

I may run it again with a little more tweaking now that I have a feel for it.

5x5 is a dynamite program.

It would be a good idea to find your maxes first -your true maxes, that is.

Simply take a week and, for example, max squat Mon -bench Wed and Dead on Friday.
Not your 1rm, but a true 5 rep max for each lift. Then you’ll be armed with the knowledge you need to succeed.

Start conservatively -otherwise you’ll blow up the program. You’ll make it a few weeks and stall.

Start a bit light. The first week should be relatively easy. Don’t worry, you’ll be busting your butt soon enough.

Follow the program and don’t fool with it. Don’t add work. If things are going a bit too easily for you -rep out on your last set.
Believe me, you won’t be doing this very often. The workload is hellish if you truly bust your butt and work to perfect your form.

Even advanced trainees can benefit from the Intermediate plan.

Eat, eat and eat some more
Sleep as much as you can and drink plenty of water.

I gained 30 lbs on the 5x5 over 16 weeks.
My clean jumped 45lbs
Squat improved by 30 lbs
OH Press bumped 25 lbs

That’s after a lifetime of lifting too (43 yrs old)

Good luck
Good lifting

Wow, great advice Pauli D. I really appreciate it.