T Nation

Your Top 5 Programs?


#1

Top 5 programs that have worked for you? Let's hear what you iron giants had work for you.


#2

Pavel’s 3-5 was pretty instrumental in getting me to quit messing around and focus on what matters. It also taught me valuable lessons in deloading, which I quickly forgot for about 5 years and then wondered why I couldn’t progress like I used to. Also taught me how certain movements carry over into others.

20 rep squats was huge in teaching me that psychology plays as big a role as physiology in terms of progress and success. It also taught me that I wasn’t eating as much as I thought I was, how to rest pause effectively, and that you can go almost completely insane when you only hit 19 reps instead of 20.

DoggCrapp broke me out of a 3 year slump where I was just going through the motions by radically changing everything about how I trained. It also got me to start deadlifting again after a 3 year hiatus due to an injury by introducing me to partial deadlifts without feeling like I was “cheating” or “being a wimp” by not pulling from the floor. Tons of great intensity modifiers as well which are great to throw into other programs. It was also probably some of the most fun I ever had training, and crazy considering you’re only really doing 1 set per bodypart.

5/3/1 finally helped me understand how assistance work works: as long as the main lift goes up, your assistance work is working. Prior to this, I used to stress out over assistance work, carefully monitoring ITS progress vs the main lift and wondering how to improve my assistance lifts. BBB also had the most radical transformation on my physique, allowing me to gain 12lbs in 6 months without meaning to.

I’ve posted this part a bunch, but my wife’s co-worker met me before I started the program, and then I hadn’t seen him until I gained all the weight. He saw my wife and I walking from a distance, and the change was so substantial that he thought my wife had divorced me and started dating a completely different person in the span of time since he had met me. He completely didn’t recognize me.

Finally, my current program of no program has been my most successful so far. Stolen a bunch of different principles that have worked from other programs, using a lot of ROM progression, assistance work as needed, intensity modifiers, etc etc. Making huge strides while learning a new sport.


#3

Also, honorable mention to Matt Kroczaleski’s 16 week bench program in “Insane Training”. Have run it for 2 cycles with a lot of success, and I find the structure enjoyable. Just didn’t list it because it’s not a full program.


#4

I’m far from an iron giant, but I’ll play:

5/3/1 Full Body/Full Boring. This program taught me the importance of assistance work, because there isn’t any. It is bare bones, bare basics and all the better for it. Every time I go back to this template, I relearn that the big basics really do work. Still

5/3/1 with a variety of assistance. This program taught me how effective submaximal training can be. I run 5/3/1 with varying assistance almost constantly.

Mass Made Simple. Complexes and high rep squats are awesome. End of

Smolov Jnr. One of the most painful programs I’ve ever run. It does what it says on the tin, very well. It is a very specialised program though, and one I’ll probably never run again. The modified version in Beyond Bodybuilding looks like a more sensible alternative.

10,000 kettlebell swing challenge. 10,000 reps in a month makes you very, very good at kettlebell swings. I also find my grip strength seems to improve noticeably, possibly because of the cheap, nasty, plastic handle on my kettlebell.


#5

^This

Others that showed good results:

5/3/1
German Volume Training (Advanced)
High Performance Mass
20 Rep Squats
Mountain Dog Training


#6

I really only have two that I’ve ever gotten any kind of results on.

5/3/1 and it’s variations (mostly BBB). For the exact reasons Pwnisher mentioned. It taught me assistance work is just assistance work and not to stress about it. I learned that small gains over time add up and that it’d be better to slowly improve a lift by 60lbs in a year than to try to get 60 lbs in a few months and get hurt or just peak and lose it. Always move NOV.

5x5. I did madcow or something in highschool after 3 years of fuckarounditis and 5 day bro splits from magazines. I built a solid foundation and packed on a ton of lean mass in a short time by doing just the basics and dropping all the BS isolation movements I had no business doing at the time.

Honorable mentions to DC for teaching me the true meaning of intensity, didn’t stick with it long enough to get results, I should go back to it. Haven’t done his programs but incorporated some of Paul Carter’s ideas into my training, real meat and potatoes stuff and a few novel ideas (100s curls). Also, not a program but I really like Jamie Lewis’ chaos and pain stuff. Everything is really out there but I like to use his ideas during the weeks of constant 16 hr shifts at work. It got me some nice gains and really hammered home that overtraining is a myth for a lot of people (I know it exists but I figured out where my limits actually were). Plus I really like his series of oldtime strongman articles


#7

Good feedback. Thanks fellas.


#8

[quote]Steez wrote:

^This
[/quote]

Unless I’m forced to do otherwise by injury or whatever, this is what I do. I call it 5/3/1 because I do 5/3/1 sets first, then add in whatever else I feel will help me towards my goals after.


#9

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Also, honorable mention to Matt Kroczaleski’s 16 week bench program in “Insane Training”. Have run it for 2 cycles with a lot of success, and I find the structure enjoyable. Just didn’t list it because it’s not a full program.[/quote]

I am curious what you have done for progression, have you retested your max and gone from there or did you just add some weight and recalculate the percentages.


#10

[quote]Rednose wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
Also, honorable mention to Matt Kroczaleski’s 16 week bench program in “Insane Training”. Have run it for 2 cycles with a lot of success, and I find the structure enjoyable. Just didn’t list it because it’s not a full program.[/quote]

I am curious what you have done for progression, have you retested your max and gone from there or did you just add some weight and recalculate the percentages. [/quote]

First time was with a tested max, and after that each time I’ve just added 15lbs to the max and started the cycle based off those calculations. Also, whenever possible, I round down.


#11

Mass made simple. Complexes and high rep squats. Never ran it but looks different and could be something to throw in the bag and do once a year…Im a little heavy “to fat” to do it now. It says lean out first before running it.


#12

[quote]the hard way wrote:
Mass made simple. Complexes and high rep squats. Never ran it but looks different and could be something to throw in the bag and do once a year…Im a little heavy “to fat” to do it now. It says lean out first before running it. [/quote]

It doesn’t say that this is essential, simply that in Dan John’s (not inconsiderable) experience, bulking programs work better after leaning out.


#13

I’m currently running a mutant program similar to Layne Norton’s PHAT. It is divided into push/pull/legs though with heavy and hypertrophy days.

I have been making fantastic progress. I really enjoy the training style.