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BendtheBar 04-13-2011 10:45 AM

Training Programs
Last night I couldn't sleep so I was doing some reading, and came across a battle between Stronglifts and Starting Strength. It was a 30 page thread and fairly interesting.

Anyway, one of the questions rolling around in my head was this:

Would the average guy who "just" wants above average (good/respectable) size and strength:

A) Prefer a rigid system like Stronglifts and Starting Strength that provides results but little variety.

B) Prefer more flexibility and variety (like Wendler's or Dioggcrapp) - a system that equips them with the proper tools (progression and compounds), but allows them to tweek a bit to fit you needs.

Wendler's might not be the best example, but I think you get my point.

All things equal, being equipped with progression and compounds and the other necessary tools to succeed, do YOU prefer a rigid system like SS or SL, or a looser structure with more flexibility?

BendtheBar 04-13-2011 12:42 PM


LtL 04-13-2011 12:53 PM

I think it's down to the individual. Some people like routine down to doing the same exercises over and over. Others like more variety. I think a lot of how successful programmes are for people comes down to peoples' personality and how well it fits them in that respect rather than the programme per se.

The only caveat that I would put on that is experience. If you're a beginner lifter, the less exercise choices you have to make, the better. You don't have the requisite knowledge to construct a routine that is suitable for your needs so stick to the basics and progress slowly.


BendtheBar 04-13-2011 01:00 PM

Which do/did you prefer, then and now?

IronManlet 04-13-2011 01:09 PM

I've tried both, but I seem to make more progress when I can do some tweaking as I go while still adhering to certain constants like progression, exercise selection, etc.

LtL 04-13-2011 01:11 PM

For an absolute beginner, Starting Strength is best. Full stop.

My preference when getting started in serious strength training was 5/3/1 with guidance (having transferred from a BB style split, I like the larger number of exercises). I still think that is the best way to take someone from a low intermediate level, to a competitive level of RAW strength.

My preference right now is Westside. It is working a TREAT for me and the exercise rotation keeps things fresh. You do need a higher level of knowledge to make it work though.

I think that answers your question although I may have got carried away...


Mombow111 04-13-2011 01:19 PM

Use the generic routines as a model, experiment with them but keep the basic elements (never change more than one or 2 things per month I'd say). When you get tired of one, try another one that's radically different. Develop a repertoire of routines and gather knowledge about how your body responds along the way. Look for movements, rep schemes/ranges YOU enjoy doing primarily. A lot of people take exercises that completely obliterate their muscles, I prefer movements that my body is naturally good at and that leave me capable of important daily tasks such as walking, bending over etc. .

Ever since I got back to lifting around christmas I've been doing a push/pull/squat variation essentially (though it's more a push/pull, pull/squat, push/squat) and have slowly permutated from a 8x3 to a 5x5 to pretty much chaos and pain ranges now. I love it because I can choose from 5-10 heavy compound exercises, finish my 2-3 major exercises quickly (I find I recover much more quicker from a set of 3 than a set of 8), and still have time to do whatever else I want to do in the gym that day. The routine I follow might seem loose, but it offers enough latitude than I could go to the gym sore as hell and still have a great/enjoyable workout.

BendtheBar 04-13-2011 01:25 PM

I guess for those just tuning in, my question is...

Do you like choice and flexibility, or do you like "this is the template, do it."

MC 04-13-2011 02:06 PM

I think that for the average person who wanted to big a bit bigger and stronger and who may not (at first) have a lot of understanding of exercise selection and placement, a program like SS would be idealI think too much choice early on coudl lead to people eliminating or substituting exercises neddlessly (I cartainly would have been guilty of this)

The problem though, is that most things (magazines, larger internet sites) readily visible to novices make programs like SS invisible or appear overly complicated.

Magazines prefer to sell the "look like QB Drew Brees" workout in a poster style format.

This confused me for a long time.

Chillen 04-13-2011 02:19 PM


Originally Posted by BendtheBar (Post 128980)
I guess for those just tuning in, my question is...

Do you like choice and flexibility, or do you like "this is the template, do it."

Personally, I like choice and flexibility. With one exception. I do run one templated structure for weight training depletion workouts as structured by Lyle Mcdonald when BF is low, but history (bodily feedback) has taught me I do not have to have Carbohydrates as low as he specifies and thus modify it accordingly.

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