T Nation

Stronglifts for Big Three and Arms?


#1

I've started doing Stronglifts because I want to get my main lifts back up. I want to do a powerlifting meet before the year ends, and feel confident about my lifts. I lifted for about five months last year and got decent strength results, but since I was wanting physical changes, I got disappointed and slowly quit going to the gym. I was around a 325x5 squat, 365x5 deadlift, and 165x5 bench.

Since my goals have changes to being strength focused, simply lifting more weight each session has become the reward rather than expectations from my appearance. But, I still want to just look like I lift and feel strong. So, I want to focus mostly on the big three but also work a little on 'mirror muscles'. SL focuses on the big compounds but doesn't leave for accessory 'bro lifts'.

Is there a routine out there that would serve my vanity and use mostly compounds for PL goals? Or perhaps sticking with SL while it runs it's course until a plateau, but throw in an arm/bro routine at the end of workouts? I imagine getting some extra tricep could to hurt my weak bench.

Btw, I'm 5'10" and around 200lbs. Average build, no abs or anything, but not chunky. I see smaller guys benching more than me, but I felt okay about where my squat used to be. Stronglifts is cool, I am only a little worried that I'll get dissuades again if I don't see some mirror results this time. It would help me keep on track if I could work on both strength and get some mass where it shows. I gained about 20lbs in those previous give months, and meticulously tracked my diet. It changes the way I approached food and even after I quit lifting, I continued eating a better diet and kept most of those weight gains. At the moment I'm on 3500 cals, 200 pro.


#2

Look into 5/3/1.


#3

I actually have the book but didn’t think of it as a beginner routine. I like squatting and benching as often as possible. I’ll go through it again since I don’t remember much, there was a lot of confusion versions in there.


#4

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Look into 5/3/1.[/quote]

X2


#5

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Look into 5/3/1.[/quote]

X2[/quote]
What version, and what does it offer that’s makes it good for a beginner? I know it increases only once a month.


#6

[quote]-108- wrote:
What version, and what does it offer that’s makes it good for a beginner? I know it increases only once a month.[/quote]

The training max increases once a month, but that doesn’t mean that you only get stronger once a month. Remember, you perform as many reps as you possibly can on the work set.

Lets say that on your 5s week, you’re benching 150, and on your 3s week, you’re benching 160.

5s week, you bench 150 for 8 reps
3s week, you bench 160 for 8 reps

In one week, you added 10lbs to your 8rm(ish) on bench.


#7

[quote]-108- wrote:

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Look into 5/3/1.[/quote]

X2[/quote]
What version, and what does it offer that’s makes it good for a beginner? I know it increases only once a month.[/quote]

This was off-putting to me initially, but that was before I understood what a training max really was. In a nutshell, it is a sensible number around which to plan your training. Just as important to understand is what it is not, which is a direct reflection of your strength.

The top set of each day with 5/3/1 is intended to be done with the best effort you can muster. Speaking for myself, I’m consistently hitting 8 reps on my 5+ sets, 6 reps on my 3+ sets and 3 reps on my 1+ sets. I’ll also be lowering my TM in the cycle after next.

If you intend on making lifting a part of your life for the long-term I believe 5/3/1 is a fine choice. I enjoy the emphasis on compounds with the freedom to basically do whatever else floats your boat and helps you get to the goals.


#8

I will probably stay with Stronglifts to get back to where I was. I started back at the beginning of January at low weights to give me room to get used to moving again while adding weight. So, I’ll ride this out through February and go over 5/3/1 some more.

The main lifts are programmed with 5/3/1, but do I choose whatever accessory version looks interesting to me, or are some particularly better for my goals than others? I would like to find one that has me doing additional squats on DL fay and more benching on OHP day, maybe do like a 5x5 @ 70% or something? Plus, I want some stuff in there for the ego muscles so I can feel like I’m actually getting somewhere and not only putting up numbers.


#9

[quote]-108- wrote:
I will probably stay with Stronglifts to get back to where I was. I started back at the beginning of January at low weights to give me room to get used to moving again while adding weight. So, I’ll ride this out through February and go over 5/3/1 some more.

The main lifts are programmed with 5/3/1, but do I choose whatever accessory version looks interesting to me, or are some particularly better for my goals than others? I would like to find one that has me doing additional squats on DL fay and more benching on OHP day, maybe do like a 5x5 @ 70% or something? Plus, I want some stuff in there for the ego muscles so I can feel like I’m actually getting somewhere and not only putting up numbers.[/quote]

There is a Boring But Big Template in Beyond 5/3/1 that has you doing exactly what you are looking for except the 5x5 variation uses 80% of your training max. If you want to work the pretty muscles then after your 5/3/1 work and main accessory lift (5x5) then move on to some curls, triceps or lateral raises if you like. Do not neglect chin ups and rows. I find it best for me to super-set chins or rows with my main accessory lift on upper body days. That’s the great thing about this program, you can tinker with it to fit your needs.


#10

[quote]-108- wrote:
I will probably stay with Stronglifts to get back to where I was. [/quote]

This, in my opinion, is what it’s really good for - getting back into the swing of things since it rapidly increases the weights. Just make sure you consider switching to 531 or any other program when you start banging your had against a brick wall in training.


#11

You can always add some arm work to Stronglifts, as long as you’re reasonable about it (i.e. don’t add huge amounts of volume). Also check out Greyskull LP for a routine similar to Stronglifts, that includes some arm work (and even includes AMRAP sets like 5/3/1).


#12

look up icf 5x5

when you are done with stronglifts i’d recomend doing Texas Method over 5/3/1. TM is especialy for intermediate lifters superior IMO. And add in some acessory work.


#13

Question:

Would you rather a. look like you do now but have a 315 bench, 455 squat, 500 dead? OR b. have the same numbers you do now but look more like a spartan soldier?


#14

[quote]fat_powerlifter wrote:
look up icf 5x5

when you are done with stronglifts i’d recomend doing Texas Method over 5/3/1. TM is especialy for intermediate lifters superior IMO. And add in some acessory work.[/quote]

How have your results been on the Texas method?


#15

Re: 5/3/1 vs Texas Method, the topic comes up a lot on these forums. I have done both, and I like both. (I’ve done Texas Method more often and for longer, over the years, but for most of that time I wasn’t aware of 5/3/1.)

To be clear, there has been no study that takes 1000 lifters and has half of them use 5/3/1 and the other half use the Texas Method and compares their results. Nor is there likely to be. So any comment on which is “better” is essentially just an opinion. The degree to which it is an “informed” opinion will vary. And really, “better” is missing the point.

Both programs are progression models rather that set routines – you have a lot of latitude to change variables and customize based on goals / schedule. The primary difference in my mind is that 5/3/1 uses a cyclical, sub-maximal approach to programming while TM uses more linear, heavier loading. This makes the TM more difficult, most of the time – the workouts are more intense (higher % of 1RM) and more difficult to recover from.

The point is: there are good reasons to do either, or both, but it really depends on the specific case. They are the two best strength programs I know of, and the best advice might be to try them both for 3-6 months and see which you prefer. (Or keep alternating between them).


#16

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]fat_powerlifter wrote:
look up icf 5x5

when you are done with stronglifts i’d recomend doing Texas Method over 5/3/1. TM is especialy for intermediate lifters superior IMO. And add in some acessory work.[/quote]

How have your results been on the Texas method?[/quote]

it alows for faster (weekly) progression than 5/3/1. Therefor if you can still maker faster progress, why not make use of that? After that you can switch to 5/3/1 or another program of choise for intermediate/advanced lifters

my results have been squat from 5x 155 to 5x 180. Bench from 5x 65 to 5x 82.5. deadlift from 5x 150 to 5x 180 (in kgs). For some reason i could go really far with SL5x5 on squats and progression slowed down a lot after that


#17

[quote]jskrabac wrote:
Question:

Would you rather a. look like you do now but have a 315 bench, 455 squat, 500 dead? OR b. have the same numbers you do now but look more like a spartan soldier? [/quote]
I care mostly about the numbers. I do not care if I don’t have impressive quads, abs, whatever. I don’t care to look like a spartan. I do want to look like I lift, mostly I want to get some size on my arms and shoulders to feel like I’ve gained something when I look at myself. I watch the scale and when I was lifting, saw my weight increase. I was 180 when I started, 207 when I quit, and now I’m sitting around 200 because I’ve kept up the diet. I never looked muscular but typical sort of athletic, which is fine but like every other guy who was skinny as a kid, I want to get some better looking arms because they seem to go nowhere. Of course on 5x5 there’s no arm training usually, so I was doing nothing to improve them.

I doubt I will be able to bench 315 without decent tris/shoulders, but simply doing bench and military press had me stalling on bench all the time. I stayed around 165, although occasionally I would have a good day and get 180x5 for three sets. I like sticking to the main three and variations. But adding something for the ego is all I need. 531, SL, Greyskull all look great for the main lifts but either don’t have much added accessory for hypertrophy/bro muscles, or are confusing to me (531).

Can I just do Stfonglifts for awhile and add a short workout of maybe curls, dips, chin-ups after each session, 3x12-15 or something? Then when my main lifts stall, I can explore 531 or another more flexible program. The thing I hate about some programs is that they are inflexible and any change made makes people scream ‘you’re not doing the program’ or to do it as written. But if a program doesn’t cater to a persona goals there’s no reason to follow it precisely.

I want to bench 225 ASAP, currently at 155.
I want to squat 405 ASAP, currently at an easy 245
I want to deadlift 405 ASAP, currently at an easy 295.
I want to work on my arms and shoulders while still focusing on the main three lifts, because it will simply make me feel better and keep me wanting to go to the gym. I need more results than numbers although the numbers are most important.

I’m leaning towards 531 after reading a little about some others mentioned. I think I could find a 531 template that I like. Stronglifts is serving it’s propose to get me back in the swing of things. I need to go read the wendler book again and maybe get that sequel mentioned earlier.

I’m also thinking about getting a power rack/weights for my basement. My gym is a 25 minute drive so an hour commuting plus 1 to 1.5 hours at the gym on a weekday evening is off putting with work and usual life crap.


#18

[quote]fat_powerlifter wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]fat_powerlifter wrote:
look up icf 5x5

when you are done with stronglifts i’d recomend doing Texas Method over 5/3/1. TM is especialy for intermediate lifters superior IMO. And add in some acessory work.[/quote]

How have your results been on the Texas method?[/quote]

it alows for faster (weekly) progression than 5/3/1. Therefor if you can still maker faster progress, why not make use of that? After that you can switch to 5/3/1 or another program of choise for intermediate/advanced lifters

my results have been squat from 5x 155 to 5x 180. Bench from 5x 65 to 5x 82.5. deadlift from 5x 150 to 5x 180 (in kgs). For some reason i could go really far with SL5x5 on squats and progression slowed down a lot after that[/quote]

Do you believe that the Texas Method is a good fit for OP, given is stated requirement of…

[quote]-108- wrote:
So, I want to focus mostly on the big three but also work a little on ‘mirror muscles’.[/quote]

Do you think the Texas Method is a good fit when he posts in the beginner section and describes his experience as…

How much mass did you add on the Texas Method?

You are seeing 5/3/1 recommended because it is a fine program for a beginner who understands that your cycle-to-cycle training max is not what indicates progress, progress is what indicates progress. It has the compounds, which is really the core of the program. It is squats, deads, bench and presses with 5/3/1 protocol and whatever else you want to do, i.e. beach muscles.

You are also seeing it recommended because people have actually done it, and understand that it fits OP’s requirements quite well. I would argue that the Texas Method is much more advanced than 5/3/1 and not a good fit for the OP’s goals or experience level.

But, then again, I’ve never run the Texas Method. I’ve only read Rippetoe’s ponderous tome that has a whole chapter on it.


#19

[quote]fat_powerlifter wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]fat_powerlifter wrote:
look up icf 5x5

when you are done with stronglifts i’d recomend doing Texas Method over 5/3/1. TM is especialy for intermediate lifters superior IMO. And add in some acessory work.[/quote]

How have your results been on the Texas method?[/quote]

it alows for faster (weekly) progression than 5/3/1. Therefor if you can still maker faster progress, why not make use of that? After that you can switch to 5/3/1 or another program of choise for intermediate/advanced lifters

my results have been squat from 5x 155 to 5x 180. Bench from 5x 65 to 5x 82.5. deadlift from 5x 150 to 5x 180 (in kgs). For some reason i could go really far with SL5x5 on squats and progression slowed down a lot after that[/quote]

I am curious; what exactly is the rate of progression of 5/3/1 as you understand it?


#20

[quote]fat_powerlifter wrote:
it alows for faster (weekly) progression than 5/3/1. Therefor if you can still maker faster progress, why not make use of that?[/quote]

I think you seriously miss the point of 5/3/1, and of submaximal training in general.