T Nation

What After Stronglifts? So Many Options


#1

I am 205lbs, 5'10", a good amount of bodyfat. I mostly want to gain muscle and strength and to do a powerlifting meet before the end of the year. These are my estimated 1RMs, but I have never tested them. I have been doing Stronglifts 5x5, and I haven't stalled much yet. I have reset my weights a few times when I noticed something odd in my form, and build back up with better control.

I was adding chin-ups and dips, but the squats in particular have gotten heavy and the long rests needed between sets are causing sessions to drag on and leave me exhausted, so I've cut back on the bodyweight accessories, but I feel like more volume on my upper body could be beneficial. The bench press is the weakest lift, my squats feel great. I have started failing deadlifts due to grip. I am trying to switch to mixed grip but so far it's been an awkward adjustment. I can get a couple reps in before my grip starts coming apart in double overhand. I eat ranging from 3500-4000 calories a day and 200g protein, mostly decent foods since I don't like many sweets or fried foods, but I'll do burgers, pizzas, etc.

Squat 355
Bench 225
Deadlift 385

I bought all the 531 books and read them. I like the idea of focusing on one major lift for the day, hammering high reps on accessories and maybe a second major lift, like 3x5 squats on 531 deadlift days. The only problem is that I would really like to bench heavy more often, and squat twice a week. This could be done with accessories though. I also train at home with only a barbell and rack with a flat bench, which limits the accessories I could do.

The other options I've been reading about are the Jonnie Candito LP, which splits into U/L, has some high-rep accessories of my choice, and lets me add weight every week. It has me doing PRs one day and then a control or hypertrophy day in the other day each week.

I like the idea of a Texas Method 4-day spit as described in Practical Programming. I do high volume on one day and work towards a heavy set on the second day for each lift. I would stagger the lifts so that my PR day for squats is on deadlift volume day, etc. It doesn't have much accessory work though, but maybe that's unneccesary since I'm still a beginner.

The other option I really like is Sheiko. I'm not talking about the translated number programs, but the new Sheiko app program. I really like using the SL app to make training dummyproof, I log my numbers and move on. Although it's not a problem to use a spreadsheet or pen and paper either. The programs in the Sheiko app are higher volume, 3-day a week, but not every day is a PR, so the volume should be manageable. There are varying rep ranges instead of constant 5s, and it's focused on the main lifts so it's very specific. It hasn't been around long enough to get any reviews, but it looks solid to me. It does have incline bench and block pulls which I can't do with my current equipment, but might be worth investing in an adjustable bench and some blocks.

Anyways, they all look like good options so perhaps I should choose one and run with it. I was trying to stay in Stronglifts for as long as possible, but it's really slowing down and I'm not as excited to train as I was before. A PR on squats makes the deadlifts, rows, and bench PRs in the same session brutal.

Is there any reason to choose one of these over the other? I have never done anything but Stronglifts because dicking around on some machines between sets. Should I keep trucking on Stronglifts and quit being a bitch? I don't do any supplements except whey, maybe a preworkout could let me power through the sessions. I don't drink caffeine often so a preworkout would probably hit me hard.


#2

[quote]Jisoku wrote:
Anyways, they all look like good options so perhaps I should choose one and run with it.
[/quote]

This.

Also, I would definitely NOT add a “pre-workout” in the way you’re thinking of it. Drink a cup of coffee, maybe - caffeine is proven to have some mildly beneficial effects on performance - but most of the marketed “pre-workout” supplements are just as likely harmful (to long-term health) as they are helpful.

Peri-workout nutrition, as marketed by this site, is probably a much more sensible route. Something like Plazma, or Surge Workout Fuel, or a simpler homebrewed concoction featuring some carbs + protein of your own, may have benefit. But don’t waste your money on something like NO-Xplode.


#3

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

[quote]Jisoku wrote:
Anyways, they all look like good options so perhaps I should choose one and run with it.
[/quote]

This.

Also, I would definitely NOT add a “pre-workout” in the way you’re thinking of it. Drink a cup of coffee, maybe - caffeine is proven to have some mildly beneficial effects on performance - but most of the marketed “pre-workout” supplements are just as likely harmful (to long-term health) as they are helpful.

Peri-workout nutrition, as marketed by this site, is probably a much more sensible route. Something like Plazma, or Surge Workout Fuel, or a simpler homebrewed concoction featuring some carbs + protein of your own, may have benefit. But don’t waste your money on something like NO-Xplode.[/quote]

I personally don’t like to do anything special to prepare for workouts other than maybe a cup of coffee if I’m feeling really bad. This is a personal thing because I don’t like to feel like my performance is reliant on anything other than myself. This is a personal preference only though.


#4

You’ve listed a lot of great routines. They’ll all work. Pick the one you like the most and will be the LEAST inclined to change, and follow it as written for a few months to get a feel for how it does/does not work. You’re at the point now where you need to learn what works for you and what doesn’t, and trying a few different training approaches is really helpful for this. However, if you modify things from the start, you don’t really get decent data.

Once a routine stops working, use a different one. If a routine never stops working, congrats, you are set for life.

My pre-workout is 2 poptarts and half a diet coke, and that’s mainly because I wake up at 0450 and start lifting at 0505, so this goes down pretty quick. If you’re really dragging, get some nose tork.


#5

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

[quote]Jisoku wrote:
Anyways, they all look like good options so perhaps I should choose one and run with it.
[/quote]

This.

Also, I would definitely NOT add a “pre-workout” in the way you’re thinking of it. Drink a cup of coffee, maybe - caffeine is proven to have some mildly beneficial effects on performance - but most of the marketed “pre-workout” supplements are just as likely harmful (to long-term health) as they are helpful.

Peri-workout nutrition, as marketed by this site, is probably a much more sensible route. Something like Plazma, or Surge Workout Fuel, or a simpler homebrewed concoction featuring some carbs + protein of your own, may have benefit. But don’t waste your money on something like NO-Xplode.[/quote]

12 oz. Quad Americano. Black.


#6

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]ActivitiesGuy wrote:

[quote]Jisoku wrote:
Anyways, they all look like good options so perhaps I should choose one and run with it.
[/quote]

This.

Also, I would definitely NOT add a “pre-workout” in the way you’re thinking of it. Drink a cup of coffee, maybe - caffeine is proven to have some mildly beneficial effects on performance - but most of the marketed “pre-workout” supplements are just as likely harmful (to long-term health) as they are helpful.

Peri-workout nutrition, as marketed by this site, is probably a much more sensible route. Something like Plazma, or Surge Workout Fuel, or a simpler homebrewed concoction featuring some carbs + protein of your own, may have benefit. But don’t waste your money on something like NO-Xplode.[/quote]

I personally don’t like to do anything special to prepare for workouts other than maybe a cup of coffee if I’m feeling really bad. This is a personal thing because I don’t like to feel like my performance is reliant on anything other than myself. This is a personal preference only though.[/quote]

This on all points. If you’re going to supplement, BCAAs are awesome. I started using them last year and they help my recovery heaps.


#7

I am leaning towards Candito LP but it would definitely require a little customization since I am limited on movements I can do with only a barbell and pull-up bar. I did attempt to keep things similar, so instead of one set of ‘shoulder exercise’ like an overhead press, I added one more bench set and used light overheads for the optional accessory lift.

531 is a little too customizable for a beginner and I feel like I would second guess whichever template and accessories I choose. I haven’t been lifting long enough to know which movements have positive results for my main lifts. Sheiko requires an incline bench, and occasionally has dumbbell flies and rows. I am about to move to another state, but I could upgrade my home setup and come back to Sheiko. It would be my second choice of my Candito edits are a bad idea. Texas Method is doable with my equipment but it’s similar to Stronglifts in many ways, and trying something with more variety in rep ranges and strategy may be a better learning experience.

Here’s the modified Candito LP. I found it difficult to come up with enough variety to ‘fill in the blanks’ of the program as it was written. The changes I made aren’t drastic though, so maybe it’s acceptable. T3hPwnisher had a good point with finding s routine, sticking with it and not changing anything, so this may already be a step in the wrong direction.

Monday - Heavy Lower Day
Squat - 3x6
Deadlift - 2x6
Front Squat (light) - 3x8-12
Romanian Deadlift (light) - 3x8-12

Tuesday - Heavy Upper Day
Bench Press - 4x6
Barbell Row - 4x6
Overhead Press - 3x8-12
Chin-ups - 3x8-12

Thursday - Control Lower Day
Pause Squat - 6x4
Pause Deadlift - 3x4
Front Squat (light) - 3x8-12
Romanian Deadlift (light) - 3x8-12

Friday - Control Upper Day
Pause Bench - 6x4
Pause Barbell Row - 6x4
Weighted Dips - 4x8-12
Chin-ups - 4x8-12


#8

Candito looks pretty cool. I really like the heavy day/control day. Thats a cool concept, and pausing will really help you master lifting technique. The assistance lifts will let you figure out how to “build” your main moves. Both of these are important! Upper/lower will let you work your presses without tiring yourself out squatting first.

The whole routine is a drastic change from what you have been doing, and that alone should mean GAINZ!

After you get bored on Candito, you should be experienced enough for 5/3/1. Focusing on 1 lift a day should really let you hit a good run of PR lifts. You’ll learn about wave loading, and really planning your training. You’ll be able to really understand all those 5/3/1 books you read.

Months from now, when you’re sick of one lift a day, you can switch to another full body routine like the Texas Method. You’ll be stronger, and have better technique, so you’ll get a lot from the increased frequency. Also, you will know a lot about lifting in general and what works for best for you personally.


#9

I hear ice cream fitness is a very effective intermediate routine. It is basically stronglifts with a little bit of isolation work added to the end of the workout, if you’re in to that sort of thing.


#10

Do what is proven to work and interest you most.

As an intermediate squatting and benching at least 2x week is really good idea. I personally think under advanced level lifters should often have at least two press/squat workouts per week.

I’m currently making really good gains with squatting and benching 3x/week, but squatting and benching twice a week (with 5/3/1) have worked also.


#11

As others have said, these are all good programs. You can’t really go wrong if you choose one and follow it 100%.

That said, I don’t really agree with some of the comments on how “advanced” the various programs are, and what order you should do them in. The Texas Method is not an “advanced” program – it’s actually very straightforward in the number of lifts and progression model and therefore (in my opinion) good for intermediate lifters just transitioning from a beginner LP.

I’ve done it multiple times over the years w/ different variations and right now am using the 4-Day Split on page 150 of Practical Programming. I’d highly recommend it. I don’t think you should be customizing/altering programs very much at this stage, so choosing a program like this one, that you can just follow and get stronger week to week, is a good option.


#12

I have used starting strength, cube kingpin, and several variations of 531. Also, did a run of Sheiko. I always come back to 531 and pretty much cream my jeans at how much i love it. I’ve used the original template, I’ve done the 3 month BBB challenge, i have used the 531 power lifting template, and i just recently finished a nice run of 531 spinal tap. Spinal tap is fun because you get a nice chunk of volume with pretty good weights and the training maxes go up weekly rather than monthly. Honestly, like everyone has said, pick something and stick to it for while. I like to run a program for around 6 months before i really judge it.


#13

[quote]craze9 wrote:
As others have said, these are all good programs. You can’t really go wrong if you choose one and follow it 100%.

That said, I don’t really agree with some of the comments on how “advanced” the various programs are, and what order you should do them in. The Texas Method is not an “advanced” program – it’s actually very straightforward in the number of lifts and progression model and therefore (in my opinion) good for intermediate lifters just transitioning from a beginner LP.

[/quote]

Totally behind this idea. So many ideas about “beginner programs” “intermediate programs”, etc etc. If you’re busting your ass and believe in the program, it’s hard to NOT make gains.


#14

I am NOT a PL expert, but from what I do know, I suggest Candito LP or Texas Method. I don’t think 5/3/1 is PL specific enough.


#15

[quote]BrickHead wrote:
I am NOT a PL expert, but from what I do know, I suggest Candito LP or Texas Method. I don’t think 5/3/1 is PL specific enough. [/quote]

Not even 5/3/1 for powerlifting?


#16

IMO, experience level is more related to work capacity. You can make a linear program “advanced” by doing a lot of volume. You can make 5x5 “advanced” by adding in more training days and more volume. You can make Sheiko “beginner” by removing volume.

Do a program that is challenging but doable for your work capacity. Too little and you won’t get enough of a training effect to get stronger. Too much and your body can’t adapt fast enough so you’ll just be wasting your time.