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Old 01-08-2012, 12:33 PM   #1
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Question When is it time to move on?

I'm working through intermediate levels now using Madcow's 5x5 Intermediate program, and having read several books concerning trainees' phases of advancement and following the training of many lifters on MAB I find myself wanting the opinions of you all about indicators a lifter should move forward in his training.

Off the top of my head, I'll share what I think I know to be true and how it applies.

1) Goals are established
2) Program is established using simplest method of progression applicable to lifter's adaptation (level of advancement)
3) If measurable progress toward goals is being made, make no change
4) If measurable progress is not being made, re-evaluate training, diet, rest
5) If regression is occuring, evaluate diet, rest, and possibility of over-training


My problem lies with step 3, I guess. If a lifter is making measurable progress, it is not necessarily the best progress that can be reasonably (naturally) made during this length of time. Depending on the goals of the lifter, this progress may or may not be adequate/satisfying. Personally, if I'm not making the best progress possible in the shortest amount of time, I am literally wasting time and am unsatisfied.

I remember being told awhile ago, before reading much on what defined the advancement of a lifter, that there were certain weights-per-lift that indicated strength level and a need to move on. It was something like bench 1.5 times bodyweight, squat 2 times bodyweight, and deadlift 2.5 times bodyweight. Is this type of consideration useless? Can it apply to this timeline or dictate transition?

If a program does not inflict enough stress to require a deload, does the program's efficiency become questionable?
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:03 PM   #2
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Tank,

A few comments in no particular order:

1) You are still young and some time moving sideways isn't always a bad thing. It is okay to take a short break from your regular training to do something else, if this satisfies your curiosity/sanity.

2) Changing routines necessitates some downtime where you get up to speed on the new sets/reps and/or exercises. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but make sure you account for it when you're looking at optimum progress.

3) A bunch of sets/reps written on a monitor screen don't make the lifter.

4) Little progress is always better than no progress (unless number 1 applies of course).

5) Some people cope with routine changes much better than others. Some don't and require a mental/physical build up. Which are you?

Quote:
Originally Posted by tank View Post
If a program does not inflict enough stress to require a deload, does the program's efficiency become questionable?
This is probably my fault.

1) In terms of absolute progress, if it's working then stay on it.

2) In terms of fun/curiosity then sure switch it up for a while.
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Old 01-08-2012, 01:21 PM   #3
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I think any program needs to be adjusted to the individual. If the % or rep scheme of a program isn't want you want, adapt it to you. Add weight, reps, sets where needed. Don't make it to complicated. Load the bar and lift it.
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Old 01-08-2012, 03:24 PM   #4
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thinking about it a bit at lunch, i think the thing i don't like about my current routine is the ramping sets. i want to be doing sets across with the final set's weight.
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Old 01-08-2012, 06:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tank View Post
thinking about it a bit at lunch, i think the thing i don't like about my current routine is the ramping sets. i want to be doing sets across with the final set's weight.
Cool. Don't ramp it. Start with your final set weight, hit 5 x 5 if you can. If you make it add weight the next week. If you go below 5 on set 4 lower the weight until you make to the 5th set. When you hit the entire 5 x 5, add weight. Simple....get stronger.
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Old 01-08-2012, 09:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tank View Post

If a program does not inflict enough stress to require a deload, does the program's efficiency become questionable?
No.

I didn't deload until this year. I wasn't someone that pushed into overreaching. It did bring limitations around a 565 deadlift and 500 squat for me, but until that point I didn't need it.

My progression was slow but steady. I never worked at 90% plus and built most of my strength in the 5 to 8 rep range. My only point is that if you listen to your body and aren't pushing 90% plus range, you can progress without needing many, if any, deloads.

Quite frankly I see far too many people deloading when they really don't need to deload. They have a bad workout and think it requires a week off.

Fazc and Ryano gave you some good advice. I can only add that if the program isn't fun for you, change it. Despite all the mumbo jumbo on the Internet, lifting is pretty simple and the core of great workouts aren't that different.

The method of progression and frequency are usually the defining aspect of a program for beginners and intermediates. Beyond that you are pretty much using the same exercises in similar rep ranges.

If you want options, I would be glad to give you more than a few that will work.
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Old 01-09-2012, 10:56 AM   #7
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Being at the end of week 10 of Madcow's Intermediate, I think I would like a change of program after running it for 12 weeks; not because results have tapered, actually despite still getting results.

I feel like 12 weeks on the program was a fair shake and that changing it up wouldn't halt progress. Mentally, I think a change would be refreshing. After these next 2 weeks end, I'll be taking mid-tour leave, so returning from leave, I think, would be a great time to start something new.

Now the question is, what to do?

EDIT: To prevent tailoring this thread to me specifically, feel free to respond/start this discussion in my log.
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Old 01-09-2012, 02:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tank View Post
I'm working through intermediate levels now using Madcow's 5x5 Intermediate program, and having read several books concerning trainees' phases of advancement and following the training of many lifters on MAB I find myself wanting the opinions of you all about indicators a lifter should move forward in his training.

Off the top of my head, I'll share what I think I know to be true and how it applies.

1) Goals are established
2) Program is established using simplest method of progression applicable to lifter's adaptation (level of advancement)
3) If measurable progress toward goals is being made, make no change
4) If measurable progress is not being made, re-evaluate training, diet, rest
5) If regression is occuring, evaluate diet, rest, and possibility of over-training


My problem lies with step 3, I guess. If a lifter is making measurable progress, it is not necessarily the best progress that can be reasonably (naturally) made during this length of time. Depending on the goals of the lifter, this progress may or may not be adequate/satisfying. Personally, if I'm not making the best progress possible in the shortest amount of time, I am literally wasting time and am unsatisfied.

I remember being told awhile ago, before reading much on what defined the advancement of a lifter, that there were certain weights-per-lift that indicated strength level and a need to move on. It was something like bench 1.5 times bodyweight, squat 2 times bodyweight, and deadlift 2.5 times bodyweight. Is this type of consideration useless? Can it apply to this timeline or dictate transition?

If a program does not inflict enough stress to require a deload, does the program's efficiency become questionable?
Quote:
Originally Posted by tank View Post
I feel like 12 weeks on the program was a fair shake and that changing it up wouldn't halt progress. Mentally, I think a change would be refreshing. After these next 2 weeks end, I'll be taking mid-tour leave, so returning from leave, I think, would be a great time to start something new.

Now the question is, what to do?

EDIT: To prevent tailoring this thread to me specifically, feel free to respond/start this discussion in my log.
Please consider this tank. From what you say this is what I get.

It appears your program is working great and your body is growing. Because one program works does not mean another won't...maybe another program will work better!

I don't think your program is assisting growth mentally and emotionally. I have a personal example I will use as an explanation. I had trained my squats on 5x5 for 4-5 months making it all the way up to 365x6 as a 5th set - I was going for 2x bodyweight - thee almighty 405. I was making excellent progress and my body was growing and I was going to make it. But something I felt was missing. It was like it was too easy and felt like it became simply work. My growth and gains seemed like routine work, but I stopped growing in passion and experience. I didn't want it if it was so easy at this point. I wanted to know more and try different things. I wanted to be excited to go to the gym and walk back into the power rack.

So here is what I did. I "deloaded," if one would all it that, and marched into the gym, stepped into the power rack and proceeded to do 3 sets of 12 reps with 275 pounds. Brutallity compared to 5's. Beat my ass down, but it raised my heart for training. I felt a fury enrage within me at attemping that challenge. The barbell became a source of battle and fight an enemy that ignited a fear within me. My training felt "alive" again.

The challenge toughened me beyond what I could imagine. I was breathing hard and my legs were wobbly the next couple days. "Argh, give me more of that" I thought. It was as if doing these squats was like stoking a fire that has not since faded in the slightest. I went to 3x12x315 a couple months later. It was a life changing event for me. My mind grew 10 times tougher that day and has since proven to be an asset far beyond my training.

Did I get bigger? Nope. Did I lift heavier weights? Nope

What I did do was toughen my mind and stoke a deeper passion for training. Can't see these on a bar or in a bumpy muscle, but I believe the primary indicator to "move on" is - does it toughen your mind and does it stoke your passion regardless of everything else. Maybe you can't measure it with pounds or numbers, but you can sure as hell feel it. Without these we are simply nothing to the barbell...

What to do? Whatever scares the shit out of you. Conquer this and it doesn't matter how much weight is on the barbell.

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Old 01-09-2012, 11:06 AM   #9
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they do say a change is as good as a rest you know...

and i can see why you might like to have a fresh run at a new program when you return, im on my 9th cycle of 5/3/1 ( in my log its called cycle 3 cause thats when i started logging here) i would suggest this as a good alternative , but i suspect the progress might be a bit slow for your tastes .... from reading others logs , i have become very interested in Fazc program and will venture towards it at some stage...
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Old 01-09-2012, 11:22 AM   #10
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i've considered that as well!
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