T Nation

PPL vs. Madcow 5x5?



  • 16 y/o
  • 190lbs
  • 16% bf

    So i have a couple questions regarding training.
    I used to train 6 days a week / PPLPPLR , and saw some gains not quite great strength wise but was growing a bit. I recently switched to Madcows 5x5 , with some added hypertrophy work , and cardio on tuesday and thursday to stay lean / drop bf while i run this. Added hypertrophy is kind of the usual stuff , lateral raises , incline DB Bench or Incline flyes , pushdowns , curls , etc. Abs pretty much everyday. Would it be more beneficial for me to run Madcow 5x5 or return to my PPLPPLR which i focused highly on hypertophy. Have been looking into my MRV , stayed around 20 sets per muscle group a week on the PPL , maybe more on legs as they are a lagging point (didnt train them for a good year). Anyway , what is your take on this , i am looking to have that “beachbody” look , but also dont want to look like a twig in a t-shirt. Let me know , thanks!


At your age (both biological and training), it’s very hard to make a wrong decision. Train whatever way you want, put in effort and time, make tweaks as you go, figure out what works for you and you’ll be fine.


The easiest way to fill out your shirts is big shoulders and a big chest. But you really cant neglect the legs and back. With your experience the compound lifts will grow the larger muscles and then also help develop the muscles in the arms and shoulders. If the PPLPPLR worked better for you, I would go back to that and train for hypertrophy. The next step for you will be to get your nutrition Under control. Weight gain is a “Calories in vs Calories out” game. You have to be eating enough to grow and put on real mass. Look into mastering your nutrition for your next phase of PPLPPLR.

Hope that helps brother!


hey man thanks for the reply! I was kind of thinking of staying on the PPL but is 6 days a week to often? Training each muscle 2x a week , pretty much 4 exercises. I work late nights usually (after 11 chick fil a gains FTW) , and dont get much sleep to begin with. I didnt want to be training at such high volume/intensity and just have diminishing returns. Really looking to put on size/strength , and am focusing highly on every muscle group (lateral delts again FTW - trained like 3 times a week) . Do you think it would be more beneficial to run the 3x a week as i dont get much sleep / and i do count cals/macros (stay under 100g fat , over 200g protein , over 300g carbs) looking to add as much size as possible before i cut for summer (possibly middle to end of may). Get back to me!


prioritize sleep. don’t do something that’s going to cause you to miss more of it. You WILL have diminishing returns without proper rest. Nutrition, rest, and training are all equally important for muscular growth. Don’t devalue rest!


Twice a week is probably sufficient, but if you are seeing gains at 3x then hell why stop doing it. Nobody can tell you exactly how your body grows so if you do something and see sufficient growth I wouldn’t stop. Flipcollar is definitely right about the sleep though. Sleep is when our body naturally releases greater amounts of GH so I would definitely prioritize it, but if you really just can’t fit it into your schedule get the nutrition down.

200+ Proteins is perfect for a guy your size, but look into the carbs and make sure you are getting a good mix of them in there. Don’t focus to heavily on slow or fast digesting carbs. Just limit the processed starches and sugars and you should be good!