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Ramping Weights with 5x5 Program


I have been ramping up to a final set of 5 that's near failure.

Squat 5x5
Bench 5x5
Deadlift 5x5
Wide Grip Pull ups 3*Failure with iso-hold on final rep
Weighted Sit-ups 3*10

Squat 4x5
Military 4x5
BB Row 4x5
Seated Calf Raises 3*15
Standing Calf Raises 3*45

Squat 4x5, 1x3, 1x8
Bench 4x5, 1x3, 1x8
Deadlift 4x5, 1x3, 1x8

My strength sucks right now and my aim is to get huge wheels.

BW: 185 lbs
BP: 220*8
ATG Squat: 235*5
Deadlift 315*3
BB Row: 175*5

Notes: I'm a little concerned my BP numbers are nearly as high as my squats, although I haven't taken my ATG squats to failure. If I continued for another rep of 235 my form would have been compromised.

My ramps look something like this: 135/185/200/215/235

Anyone have any pointers for someone new to full body splits?




My advice is don't deadlift 3 days a week. :slight_smile: I would do them only on wednesday. Seriously.

This looks like you took madcow's intermediate starr 5x5, and added in deadlifts 3 days a row. Bad idea. I've done that routine a few times, and frankly, I think you're freaking nuts for doing that. :slight_smile:

10% jumps in weights when ramping works well. Towards later weeks, I started switching to 15% to make sure I kept progressing.

One more thing, I'm not sure if you read madcow's original write up on this routine, but when he talks about starting light, he's serious. It's important. Do it. You shouldn't hit your current RM's until the 4th week.

I'm wondering about your "compromised form." I see a lot of people talking about lowering weight on their squats because of "form problems." You know, frankly, unless you've got video or someone experienced is watching you, or you're already very experienced, you have NO idea what your form looks like. I sometimes think, when I read things like this, "I bet their squat is fine, and they're being a pussy." Now, I'm not saying you are a pussy, but I am saying that if you're worried about your form GET SOMEONE EXPERIENCED TO REVIEW IT. Just because your lower back is fatigued, or sore, doesn't necessarily mean your form is off, for example. That's gonna happen when you squat.


My mistake I'm hitting BB Row on Wednesday!

Thanks for the input, most of the time workout at a high school and train with my younger brother. He watches me but he's inexperienced with lifting. I'm trying to get one of the football coaches who competed in powerlifting to assess my deads and squats but he's always busy coaching!

When I said my form gets compromised I should have elaborated, I will feel myself begin to lean forward and it would suddenly turn into a good morning.


I would really consider doing deadlifts on wednesday, and the rows on monday & friday. :slightly_smiling: Trust me, your deadlift will go up. The squat and rows will drive it up. Deadlifting heavy twice a week while squatting heavy twice a week is going to hamper your progress greatly since you won't be able to recover from it.

(Edit: Actually, it is going to hamper most peoples progress greatly. I don't think, given the weights you lift, that you really have a lot of experience in knowing what works for you. Since that is the case, you should really do the routine unmodified, maybe twice, before F'ing with it.)


Get some video, and post it here, and a few other places. What you "feel" may not be actually what you are doing.



As far as ramping goes, do my squat sets look alright?


Yeah. I would just avoid keeping the increments below 10%, though. I found that upping the jumps to 15% to be beneficial to avoid stalling. If you're looking for strength, that may be what you need to do later on in the program (along with increasing rest periods. Towards the end, I would rest 5 minutes before my last set.)

The first time I did this program (as written specifically by madcow), it took me from a 275x2 max squat, to 315x5 (I squatted this on week 7, because I just couldn't wait!) I ran it 10 weeks or so. I have the last two weeks of it logged in my profile blog.


x 2 on the Deadlifting once a week. It can get pretty taxing on your body and even detrimental if you do it too much. Replace one Deadlift day with barbell rowing, and maybe put in 5x5 heavy pull-ups or lat-pulldowns, but heavy weighted pull-ups are far more superior for strength and size gains IMO.

Program looks solid and very similar to one that I followed for a few months this year and had great results with.


You're doing squat, bench, AND deadlift in ONE day, 5x5? Damn dude.


I'm a big fan of wide grip pull-ups, I can get a good 12 with slow negatives and a 1-2 second pause at the top. Would you recommend doing weighted pull-ups at a regular pace for 5 for strength, or should I stick with slow negatives and a hold?


I would do both. Do your main sets weighted. Then at the end do bodywieght for as many reps with a negative. Weighted pull ups will make for a brutally strong back.


Thanks for the reply.

Would you recommend a 5x5 on weighted followed by one BW set, or is that too much?


When I did 5x5 programs a while ago I ramped without thinking 5x5 had to be with the same weight. It doesn't have to be with the same weight and it's very well suited for ramping. Just try it.


when I'm ramping a 5x5 my jumps are 20#. so for 235 it would of been



i think i posted these two links under a different discussion but the kid was asking about ramping too

(i know its bodybuilding.com but the calculator is still good and btw its a little more than 3/4's of the way down the page)

when i did 5x5 i referred to the section under ramping on here until i found the calculator i linked above