Hello T Nation, this may be a stupid question, but I haven’t ran across an explanation yet that has cleared this up. So on intensity day, you are supposed to work up to one heavy set of 5 reps, and that will dictate what weight you will use on volume day. However, if 5 reps get too difficult, and you do say a 2x3, how will the volume day be affected? Do you change the volume day rep scheme, or do you do the 5x5 with 90% of the weight you used for the 2x3? I hope someone can clear this up.
As Coach Rip says in one of his Texas Method articles: “Friday is intensity day. It focuses the tonnage from Monday into a new 5RM, or within 2% of it to allow for training-quality technique. […] Make sure that the load is higher than Monday but not so much that form breaks down on the last reps. If it does, you picked the wrong weight.”
My advice only applies if you in fact picked a weight that is too heavy and does not account for other factors (e.g. anomalies in sleep/periworkout nutrition) of being unable to reach 5 reps.
If you find that you cannot do the 5 reps on the intensity day and have picked a weight that is too heavy, do not use that to calculate your next volume day tonnage.
Stick to 5x5 rep scheme on the next volume day, and pick a weight that is higher than the previous volume day but lower than 90% of the weight you failed to reach 5 reps with.
Eventually you will stall on that sort of progression, you will either need to reset you numbers or change up the set/rep scheme.
for how long do I need to wait to see results??
I was actually reading tips Practical Programming book and the Texas method section states you should start the intensity day with the weight you ended starting strength with
That means you should be able to do about 3 sets of 5 with it or so (maybe a little less since technically you are ending SS because you can no longer do 3x5 every workout)
Then you use 80-90% of that for the volume day
An example might be:
Finish starting strength at 315x5x3 squat (or maybe 315x5,4,3 or something similar)
Start TM working up to 315x5 on intensity day, and 275x5x5 on volume day (or 285 if you are feeling frisky… but you’ll be there very soon anyway). Add 5lb to each day, each week until more creative programming is needed.
Couple more details:
Combating intensity day stalling: If you feel you are unable to complete the full 5 reps for intensity day, but are still confident your strength is going up, you can start progressing to 2 sets of 3, then 2-3 sets of 2, then 5 singles until its obvious that is not possible, then 3 singles, then finally a new 1RM attempt
Volume day not driving up intensity day: Transition from 5x5 to 8x3 at a slightly higher weight, or add a back off set.
These are very surface level explanations of Rips work, and the book goes into much, much greater detail about when to use various methods for various types of stalling. I high suggest you pick up a copy of this book if his methods work for you. It is an excellent book and a quick, fun read for those of us that like Rips style. It really breaks down training and makes the reader understand WHY you would change something, and what to change.
Again, buy the book if you have an interest in the science of strength training in general, or happen to like or get results from Rips work in specific. It will be money well spent. It anything I have written above sounds good and you want to understand it further, there are much more details in the book.