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Old 01-31-2011, 12:29 PM   #7
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5 x 5 Advanced (Glenn Pendlay verison)

Bill Starr - Glenn Pendlay 5x5 - Periodized Version, Dual Factor Theory


CAUTION - READ THIS: if you are going to devote hours and hours over weeks and weeks to a program, please take 10-15 minutes to actually read this page and understand it. That's a retarded method of saving time. Also, you will find it hugely useful to read the Training Primer I put together. You will understand so much more about training in general if you read it. Honestly, save yourself years of learning and spend 10-15 minutes reading that page. Hell just print it out and leave it in the bathroom. Within a couple days, you'll have it finished and you will be so much further ahead than so many others.

Before beginning it is useful to know your 1 rep maxes or more ideally your real 5 rep max in each lift (there is a table and calculator in the TOC). You can base your 5x5 max off your 5 rep max just by cutting back a bit. If you don't know this - it might be useful to test your lifts first or start light and allow for some flexibility in the weekly planning so you can make adjustments on the fly as you ramp the weights week to week to across the board records in the final weeks of the volume phase. Don't overly stress on this - it's easier than it sounds and once you've run it once, subsequent cycles fall right into place.


Volume Phase Option 1: Deload and Peak 3x3 OR Option 2: Pure Deload
Weeks 1-4 Weeks 5-9 Weeks 5-6 or Extended

Monday - Monday - Monday
Squat 5x5 - 3x3 - 3x3
Bench 1x5 - 1x3 - 3x3
Row 1x5 - 1x3 - 3x3

Wednesday - Wednesday - Wednesday or Thursday
Squat 5x5 (10-20% < than Monday) Drop This Lift - 3x3 with 70% of Monday
Deadlift 5x5 - 3x3 - 3x3
Military or Incline 5x5 - 3x3 - 3x3
Pull-ups or Chins 5x5 - 3x3 - 3x3

Friday - Friday
Squat 1x5 - 1x3
Bench 5x5 - 3x3
Row 5x5 - 3x3

Clarifying Examples
(numbers are random - do not read anything into this)

Set 1 Set 2 Set 3 Set 4 Set 5
5x5 = Straight Sets 315x5 315x5 315x5 315x5 315x5
3x3 = Straight Sets 315x3 315x3 315x3
1x5 = Ramped Sets 225x5 255x5 275x5 295x5 315x5
1x3 = Ramped Sets 275x3 295x3 315x3

Volume/Loading Phase - Weeks 1-4:

So 5x5 is 5 sets of 5 reps with working set weight (warm up to the target weight for the week and proceed through 5x5 with that weight). Where 1x5 is present you are ramping the weights upward each set to a target set weight for a single set of 5 (it's still 5x5 but each set gets heavier and your target set is the top set of 5). The exception is the Wednesday squat for 5x5 using somewhere between 10-20% less than the working weight on the Monday 5x5 workout (the Wed squat may increase less than the Monday squat over the ramping weeks - meaning it may start at 12% less and wind up at 22% less by the last record week if one needs some extra recovery). What you are doing is gradually increasing the target weights week to week so you wind up performing record lifts in the final two weeks of the volume phase (weeks 3/4 in this case). If you miss a weight, hold it constant for the next week by carrying it forward (you should not be missing until weeks 3/4 though). Keep in mind that you have separate targets for 5x5 and 1x5 even though they are the same lift (i.e. bench press). The ramping is set separately for these and they are treated separately. It's a good idea to start conservatively as this gets fairly backbreaking and you'll be begging for week 5. The most common mistake is people starting too high. It's useful to start light and then be flexible either adding an extra week to the ramp up or moving your targets a bit as you feel your way. This is far easier in the intensity phase because you already have a reference - likewise the next time you run this workout, it'll be a no brainer. The main point in this phase is the volume. Lower the weight if need be but get the sets and reps in. If you fail on an exercise just carry the target weight forward into the next week. Some people who are new to this might find it easier to run this phase for 6 weeks starting much lighter and building slowly. If your working weights for the deadlift are 2x bodyweight (meaning you are a 200lbs lifter and you'll be doing 400+ for 5x5 throughout the cycle) it's probably a good idea to do lower the volume on that lift to 3x5 in this phase.

The easiest way to set this up the first time is to put current PRs in week 3 (with more experience and relevant lifts you might have new PR goals in both weeks 3 and 4). Your 5RM can be calculated and just drop off a given percentage for your 5x5RM (try 7.5% maybe) you get a week 3 figure for those lifts. Now back down to week 1. A conservative number to start with might be 80% of your Week 3 PR lift then split the difference for Week 2. If you are really strong (and jumps are large), you might need more weeks to ramp up. What you don't want to do is start too high, you can always tack on another week but if you start too high you blow the progression. Anyway, week 4 lifts are a margin above week 3, maybe 5%. It's important to plan it out and then play it by ear as you go, adjust where need be so that you culminate with the 2 final weeks. If that means starting lighter and running for 6 weeks that's fine. If that means, you thought 4 weeks was fine but you were unexpectedly stronger (or got stronger during this phase) and need to add an extra week to avoid a big jump, that's okay too - just be very conscious of fatigue level. Your first time through you'll feel pretty beat up after the last week, that's okay. If you are beat up entering the 2nd to last week, that's something to watch. You want to 'overreach' which is before overtraining. Sometimes you'll encounter a performance deficit and not be able to set PRs (very common for advanced athletes loading hard), without experience though you don't want to push it too hard and overdo it - takes too damn long to recover from.

OPTION 1 - Deload and Peak 3x3:

This option provides for deloading in the middle weeks and working toward new PRs in the final weeks (think of it as almost 2 loading phases as the 2nd will likely fatigue you by the time you are done). This makes it a bit harder to handle particularly for first timers. In addition, trainees might need a light week or two before moving back into another loading period.

Deloading Week - Week 5:
On week 5 drop the Wednesday squat workout, begin using the Deloading/Intensity set/rep scheme, and keep the weight the same as your last week in the Volume Phase. In reality the whole intensity phase and this week are the same thing, I just break this week out because there is no weight progression so in reality after the volume phase the whole thing is deloading/intensity which for the purposes of this workout are synonymous. Also my 3x per week layout tends to get pretty aggressive as many find themselves fatigued again by the end so it kind of makes logical sense to break this period separately. Largely semantics.

Intensification Phase - Week 6-9:
Everything is the same principal except that you use 3x3 and 1x3 setting records on week 8 and 9 (or the final 2 weeks of this phase). No Wednesday squatting. It's important that you recover before getting into the heavy weight PRs again so if you have to keep Week 6 light, go ahead. The important aspect of this phase is the weight increases. If you are burned out and you need an extra day here and there that's okay - this won't hurt you at all and unless you are feeling ripe it might well be beneficial. If you can't do all the work that's okay too. Just keep increasing the weight week to week. It might also help to keep the first week in this phase just incrementally higher than the Deloading Week to provide for extra recovery if needed. During this phase you'll be ramping the weights from your deloading week to your 3x3 and 1x3 records in the final 2 weeks. In this 3x per week pattern, start light once again and get a breather. Taking extra days or cutting out volume isnít encouraged but if you need extra recovery do it and then adjust your future training plans accordingly. If you donít get an adequate deload first (that 1 week may not be enough) you will cripple your gains. Better to get 90% out of a training cycle than 10%. You'll learn a lot about your tolerance for volume loading and unloading here - there is no need to try to be a hero. Get some experience and the next time you run this you'll be spot on but you wind up feeling your way to a degree the first time.

Post Cycle:
Depending upon how you feel, it's probably a good idea to deload again before moving back into another volume phase if you ran the 3x per week like I outlined above. See the alternative schedule below and perform this light for 2 weeks working on speed/acceleration. If you ran the 2x alternate schedule below for your deload/intensity you can likely move straight back into another volume phase.

OPTION 2 - Pure Deload:

This is designed to get you recovered without too much hassle or worry. Frequency is dropped to 2x per week and the Friday workout is dropped. The Wednesday workout can be moved to Thursday if desired. This phase can be run as long as needed to recover or until one wants to do something else. Maybe that's 1-2 weeks for some people to build enough steam to jump back into a loading phase. Maybe that's 4-5 weeks if someone feels they are really getting a lot out of it.

Week 5 and on switch to 3x3 and drop the Friday workout altogether. Week 5 weights are the same as the final week of loading. Over the following weeks increase the weight workout to workout if you get all 9 reps. If you don't get all the reps, keep the weight constant. You'll likely be able to move straight back into another volume phase after this is complete. As for the increases week to week, probably best to use a percentage but to make it easy for first timers maybe add 5lbs to benches and rows then 10lbs to squats and deads.

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