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Review Beginner Program


#1

program

Hello everyone I am currently running a beginner’s program for which I would like a review. My stats are pretty bad estimated rep max 154 for bench 185 for squats and rows. I used to be an athlete and I have some experience with weights but never with nutrition. So now I was between the program I run now SL and ICF. What do you think??

Things for your time


#2

Personally I’d take the GreySkull LP program or some version of Bill Starr’s 5x5 any day over SL or ICF’s program.

I ran SL for a long time when I was a beginner and the only lift it was any good for in my case was the deadlift. And even that was only because it’s just one set which gets hard at some point instead of continuous linear progression with steady 5x5 sets.


#3

The program you posted looks fine.

As a small adjustment pick another tricep move as skullcrushers twice a week will murder your elbows.

As said above pick Bill starr/Madcow 5x5 over SL


#4

Thank you both for your answers!! So your final advice is to stop the program i run now and continue with a more strength focused one??(btw the program is from Brendan’s Tietz channel) I checked both programs Furius suggested but the only difference i find is the accessory work. So you think accessory will make me stall faster?? And my final question(maybe =P) how long should i run the beginner program??(according to strength standards maybe)??

Thank you again


#5

Generally speaking, a tradinional 5x5 linear progression program is a very poor choice for any longer term strength gains. The only think StrongLifts for one is good for is to learn the movements and even that is done much better by GreySkull for example.

The biggest problem with 5 sets of 5 with the same weight as your main way of training and adding small increments of weight every workout is that at first, it doesn’t challenge you enough. And once it starts to get challenging, it gets way too challenging way too fast to drive good progress. You start way too light and the program doesn’t allow you to push yourself on good days or lay back a bit on bad days.

That’s the simple genius behind GreySkull for one. You do two sets of 5’s or 3’s and one AMRAP set of at least 5 or 3 reps, but you’ll keep going until you reach a positive failure or have only one rep left in the tank. This way you’ll have the chance to push yourself right from the start to drive progress and set both rep and weight PR’s frequently. This also eliminates the problem with a deload on a traditional 5x5 LP program. In StrongLifts for example, it sets you back quite a bit and once again you are not able to challenge yourself enough to drive progress and may just as well end up stalling in the exact same weights again. GreySkull on the other hand allows you to deload the weight, but do 2x3 and 1x10 for one all-out set.

You shouldn’t just pick a beginner program, you should pick a program that allows you to progress as far as possible without jumping from program to program. Usually people recommend sticking to 3-days a week full body workouts for as long as you can progress that often and then switch to a 4 day upper-lower program for example.

Check out the other Strength Standards. It has a ton of different and very good programs to choose from if you don’t like GreySkull.


#6

Generally speaking, a tradinional 5x5 linear progression program is a very poor choice for any longer term strength gains. The only think StrongLifts for one is good for is to learn the movements and even that is done much better by GreySkull for example.

The biggest problem with 5 sets of 5 with the same weight as your main way of training and adding small increments of weight every workout is that at first, it doesn’t challenge you enough. And once it starts to get challenging, it gets way too challenging way too fast to drive good progress. You start way too light and the program doesn’t allow you to push yourself on good days or lay back a bit on bad days.

Hogwash. I and many others have gotten quite strong, quite fast on 5x5 type linear progression programs. They work if the trainee does.

They are not the end-all-to-be-all beginner program, but nothing is. It is much more important to pick a program that you believe in, that you will want to bust your ass on and that you can fit into your life.

@poseidon10 When you’re a beginner, just about any sensible program works. The biggest variable that I’ve seen boils down to individual effort and consistency. A lot of people think they work hard but, in reality, have no idea how to push themselves. Make sure that’s not you and you will do fine on whatever program you select.


#7

Hogwash. I and many others have gotten quite strong, quite fast on 5x5 type linear progression programs. They work if the trainee does.

They are not the end-all-to-be-all beginner program, but nothing is. It is much more important to pick a program that you believe in, that you will want to bust your ass on and that you can fit into your life.

It works for many, but also doesn’t work for many. “It works if the trainee does” is a pretty damn harsh generalization especially as it’s based on anecdotal evidence.

Also I never said the program is shit. It’s a solid program, but there are much better versions of 5x5 and even entirely different programs out there that just simply do a better job especially on the long run. And for a beginner who - as you said - doesn’t know how to push themselves, don’t you think one set of really pushing it would bet a ton better to teach that than skimming with too light weights for a while and then having to push yourself for 5 sets?


#8

It works for many, but also doesn’t work for many. “It works if the trainee does” is a pretty damn harsh generalization especially as it’s based on anecdotal evidence.

What you wrote is true of all programs. And my statement is neither harsh nor is it a generalization. It is a pretty straightforward statement of fact. Here’s another. Most people who begin lifting weights do not do it for long. They quit the activity.

Also I never said the program is shit…

No, you called it a very poor choice. I disagreed with your statement, but I’ll hear you out. Are you suggesting that I would have been squatting 500 pounds (instead of a mere 465) at the end of my linear progression days if I hadn’t been lifting with such a bad program?

Or are you suggesting that I might have pulled 495 for 7 reps instead of 5 last week if I had only made better choices as a beginner?

I seem to be missing these keys to lifting success that you are holding. I’d like to know more.


#9

Yes I called it a poor choice when comparing it to other programs that do factor in autoregulation. The regular 5x5 SL program has absolutely zero in that department.

If you went to squatting 465 with a 5x5 LP program right from the beginning, then you certainly are in the minority here.

Also yes, many people quit and for many, the reason is they get frustrated for not making gains, slow progress and plateauing. My goal here was to offer an alternative way that I believe would suit a beginner better than the regular 5x5 SL. As I said, it’s way easier for a beginner to learn how to push himself even if he lacks that mindset to begin with if you only do that for one all-out set after two work sets instead of working too light and then facing having to push yourself for 5 sets.


#10

Getting significantly stronger puts you in a minority no matter how you do it. And being in that minority has a lot more to do with individual effort and consistency than it does with who ran this program or that.

I still disagree that 5x5 linear is a poor choice. I did it and it worked fine. Did you fail on it? What experience are you forming your opinion on?

And you still haven’t answered my earlier two questions. I’d love to know how much stronger I would be if I hadn’t made such a poor choice as a beginner. I would love to hear you elaborate on your claim that there were better long-term options.


#11

Complete lack of autoregulation, not being allowed to push yourself when you’re having a good day or easing a bit if you’re having a bad day etc. It’s explained a lot better and in-depth on powerliftingtowin. Even though the article reviews the program from powerlifting point of view, the programming and stalling part especially apply outside of that as well.

I personally didn’t fail, but I found myself wasting a lot of time every de-load and banging my head to a wall especially on press, bench and squat. Deadlifts went up to 5x140kg with no stalls at all but even then, many times I felt like I had a ton of reps in the tank and that I could have done much more weight for the same reps. I also had many beginners I’ve taught run this program because they wanted to and everyone had the same problems. I also personally know of just one guy who went pretty far with SL but he also played ice hockey on the side which also has a huge impact on progress.

You seem to cling on a question you know well is impossible to answer. Even within people who stick to training and don’t quit, progressing that far with SL style 5x5 program is rare.


#12

Well, all I can really say is that I’m glad I spent my time as a beginner training all wrong, especially the times where I thought for myself. I didn’t waste any time like you and I made pretty good progress for quite a long time. I was also able to avoid the problems that were universal among the many beginners trained by you.

If only I had someone like you to guide me back then…

@poseidon10 Sorry for the derail. Best of luck to you bud!


#13

You don’t really have to be a dick about someone trying to help someone else just because you yourself did better on that same program. Same thing with people calling other people pussies just because they went through Smolov whereas someone else couldn’t.

Those gains you made on SL are damn impressive to say the least and maybe that program just suited you better than most. There’s no such thing as an universally awesome program for every single person on the planet.


#14

Have you ever heard of barbell strength training? When some key principles are applied it is a very successful method for healthy people to increase strength and muscle mass.

Works like a charm, in fact.

But don’t listen to me, I was dumb enough to run 5x5, 3x5 and just wing it for a few months before I landed on 5/3/1 in my second year of lifting.

So you definitely wouldn’t want to listen to me when I recommend 5/3/1 for a beginner. What do I know anyway?

@poseidon10 Actually we don’t really know much about you. What goal are you working towards anyway?


#15

Look man, let’s just drop this. We both have run 5x5, 3x5 and 5/3/1 and what worked for you, didn’t work for me and what worked and didn’t work for us, might have worked or not worked for someone else. There’s no reason bullshit arguments like this since we both just aim to offer advice. @poseidon10 can choose what he wants to do and who he wants to listen.


#16

SL, increased my lifts from untrained to 365 dead, 215 bench and 335 squat.

Effort and lots of food, you will gain strength and size.

When gains stop switch to another program.

No gains will be made searching programs on the net, get started, stay focused.

There is no magic, just hard work both in the gym, in the kitchen and in you’re recovery.


#17

Amen.

I’ve yet to see the perfect program, but I have seen plenty of big strong guys who bust their ass consistently.


#18

For what it’s worth, I agree with the criticisms you’ve levied against the currently en vogue beginner programs. I find that they are an adequate means of peaking available strength (as was their intention back when Bill Starr developed his strength training program for off-season football players that Mark Rippetoe codified in Starting Strength and many authors put their spin on) but do not do a great job of building strength. Staying in the same rep range and adding weight every session rather than allowing oneself to employ a little auto-regulation, work in a variety of rep ranges, and utilize intelligent assistance exercises tends to have that effect.

This is why you see such a wide variety of responses to this type of training. Some trainees get up to a 500lb squat, and some stall out at 115lbs. Some came into the game with more availabel strength than others. Additionally, it’s why bodyweight is such a significant factor in success, and why so many authors maintain these programs “work” as long as you eat enough to put on weight the entire time. That’s true of literally ANY program on earth, because gaining weight gets one able to move more weight. Yes, even fat has this effect, not from increasing strength but improving leverages.

When you look at the old school and original 5x5s, it wasn’t straight sets for 5x5, but 2 warm-up sets and then 2-3 sets of the max weight you could do THAT session. It was autoregulation from the start. And then there was still some assistance work thrown into the mix. “The Keys to Progress” gives a great overview of this.

If I were to start all over again, I’d run 5/3/1 from the start with no regrets.


#19

I am 5’8 and weight around 164 started 152(5 months ago). My goal is to increase the big 3 but not leave hypertrophy training out. The split i enjoy the most and used to do while i was cutting(you do not want to know what my weight was believe me) and at the start of my bulk was push pull rest legs push pull rest. I loved this split but i was the only dumbell and leg press guy hitting hypertrophy rep range with rpe 10 most of the time. After i started my bulk i dropped the reps at the first excersise for each workout to 3-5. I was pushing 65 pound dumbells for 4 reps and i was excited :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:. When i tried bench press i got disappointed. Yay! So i started research and i found ICF, GS, SS. I did for one week SS i felt not fulfilling me. So i did more research and i found the program i have at my first post and the one i am currenty running and i wanted your opinion guys on it. But i am really sorry my post was the cause for such an argument between you two :persevere:.

Thanks everyone for your time and effort anyway!! :sweat_smile:
@Furius
@twojarslave
@RampantBadger
@T3hPwnisher
@dagill2
@Rednose


#20

Your post wasn’t the cause for an argument, my disagreement over Furius’ statement was.

I wouldn’t choose the program you linked, but I don’t think it would be a disaster for you to run either. If I had to make a specific recommendation based on your rather broad goals it would be to buy Mr. Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 book. Read it, understand it and follow one of his proven templates. Absorb and apply the principals espoused by Wendler, they will serve you very well if you intend to stay in the game long enough to really change how you look and/or perform.

In fact, I’ve been asking myself why I’ve been winging it for the last few months instead of just running 5/3/1. I don’t really have a good answer for myself there.

But yes, the strength portion of 5/3/1 is basically a varying set/rep scheme for the big four lifts plus whatever else you want and/or need to do. It pairs very well with hypertrophy work. It sounds like it has the elements you are seeking in a training program.

Don’t confuse it with “30 Day Shortcut to Massive Biceps” type programs though. Think of it as a sensible foundation of lifting principles for a person who is serious about strength and realistic about the timelines involved with the pursuit.

5/3/1 isn’t some Holy Grail though. If you believe in the program you picked and want to run it, I say do it and see where you get with it.

Edit: @poseidon10 One more thought I wanted to add is to find a way to lift that you enjoy. Learn to love what you do or, if you can’t manage that, learn to love what it does for you. If you do, lifting will just become a normal part of your life that you make sure to do, kinda like flossing, and something that you strive to improve at, kinda like fucking.

For my first two years I lifted with a father/son pair who busted their asses on their home-made isolation six day bro-split with almost no compounds. They were both really jacked (above the waist, at least) and couldn’t have given two flying fucks what their squat or deadlift is. I miss lifting with them.

Almost everything works if you do.

Good luck!