T Nation

Nearing End of SS


I’m nearing the end of my time on Ripptoe’s “Starting Strength” program. Looking ahead to the “Intermediate” phase. Any professional recommendations? I understand 5/3/1, Juggernaut, Strong[er], and Conjugate are more “Advanced” or “Elite” Level programs. Was wondering if SL (5x5) is a step up or also a first phase program like SS.


Whoever told you that those programs are advanced most likely was not big or strong, nor did they ever coach anyone to be big or strong. We’re I in your situation, I would not listen to that person.

All of the programs that you listed as advanced were written by successful liters and coaches, whereas Stronglifts was written by a guy who trained for 20 years and accomplished nothing (by his own admission). I feel as though the choice becomes obvious in this context.


Are you still adding weight every workout? If so, keep doing Starting Strength until you cannot add weight consistently anymore than switch to a program that fits your goals if it is strength I would recommend 5/3/1/Juggernaut/Cube or the Texas Method. I would skip Stronglifts.


So I’ll just run through the quick list of questions I always post and never get a response to, just to satisfy myself:

  1. What makes you think these programs are “Intermediate” or “Advanced”?
  2. What is your actual goal?
  3. What equipment/time do you have available?

Stronglifts is a bastardised version of Starting Strength by a guy who, by his own admission, is better at writing aps than lifting weights.
5/3/1 was written by Jim Wendler who has squatted 1000lbs and lifted at Westside for years
Juggernaut is based heavily on 5/3/1 and is written by Chad Wesley Smith, a professional strongman and powerlifter
I’m not familiar with the Strong[er] program but I believe it’s written by Dave Tate, another ex-Westsider and powerlifting legend
Conjugate Method is obviously something devised by Louis Simmons, the Godfather of powerlifting.

Pick the odd program out here?


I still have some time before I stall on Starting Strength. Its been working out very well for me. I will continue to use this program as long as I am still making progress. That being said, one day I will be ready for a more advanced program that adds weight a little slower. At least according to Mark Ripptoe in “Practical Programming for Strength Training”.

I believe the “Strong(er)” program by Dave Tate is a more advanced program that I am not yet ready for. Dave Tate states in his book, “Strong(er) Workout Phase I”, the following statement in chapter I: “The Strong(er) Workout is not a beginner’s exercise program. A consistent background of at least three to five years — with a proven training program — is recommended before undertaking the Strong(er) Work- out.”

I have to agree with all of you on the Stonglifts guy, Mehdi. But he did not come up with the routine. Here is a passage from his website: “Stronglifts 5×5 is based on Reg Park’s 5×5 routine. He was the first guy to write about 5×5 in 1960. That means people were doing 5×5 before I was born. I didn’t invent this.”

I have dabbled in the world of Jim Wendler’s “5/3/1” in the past. I used his program for about a year before my motorcycle accident. I loved every second of it. I am most likely to go back when the time is right. Thanks to all the advice given here.

I have not read “The Cube Method” yet. But before I do, does anyone here prefer it over the others?

I know the basic concept behind Juggernaut Training but not as in depth as some others.

dagill2: To answer your questions. My goal is overall strength. I am not, nor will become a competing powerlifter. I do have all intentions of making myself as strong as possible though. I have a power rack, bench, belts, bands, and more weight than I can lift. No prowler though. :frowning: Is there any special equipment you recommend? I have about 2 hours/day sometimes more.


How Reg Park trained in no way resembles what Mehdi put out though, aside from the fact that the number “5x5” appears. If you’re curious about Reg Park’s training, I’d read “The Complete Keys to Progress”. It outlines a lot of this stuff, and it has some great little gems in it.

You honestly couldn’t go wrong with any of the “advanced” programs you listed. There isn’t really anything magical about putting together sets and reps; it’s all about the principles, and all those programs are based on solid, sustainable principles.


just do the original 5/3/1


I have to agree with Yogi. Try 5/3/1. Just buy-in, believe it, and run the program for a few months. It’s a complete approach. High reps, low reps, big weights, low weights, conditioning, training for explosiveness, Progression, Periodization. It’s all in there. It’s all figured out. Once you can get your head around it, you’ll see how like eachother all the other programs, like Westside, The Cube, and Juggernaut are. You’ll understand why Gradual Progressive Overload is like Fisher-Price, my first weight lifting.


Sounds perfect to me, you have everything you need to get brutally strong there.

In terms of programming, I would go for a few cycles of vanilla 5/3/1 and then start to (slowly) modify it to deal with weaknesses.


Thanks fellas. Very helpful.