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Old 07-10-2012, 10:52 AM   #1
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Hello,

My name is Kevin and I have been lifting more or less strictly from my cellar and garage since I was in college. Now at age 39, I have made some gains of course and currently stand at 6-3, 230 lbs but I am still seeking more. I am not afraid to admit that I am still fairly weak. For the most part, I have done things simple and basic because I started training following the advice of Brooks Kubik and especially the late John Christy from the old Hardgainer newsletters. As a result, I`ve made progress over the years but I always seem to get so confused and bogged down in the details and many variations of the different 5x5 routines.

For example, John Christy advocated doing the 5x5 with 3 top sets, Brooks Kubik recommends 1 to 3 top sets, Wendler (5,3,1), which I am trying to follow now has me doing only one top set. What happens is I always switch from one style to the next or mix and match programs and lose faith in whatever current method I am doing. It seems like a nasty cycle for me.

My goals are simple, I just want to get a lot stronger in the big compound lifts, namely the squat, trap bar deadlift, bench and seated thick bar press from rack which I love doing. My other lifts are basic such as one arm rows,close grip bench, barbell curl, weighted sit ups, side bends, thick bar timed holds, and chin ups (band assisted) and pushups. I have a family and do not compete and my lifting goals are just personal in nature and I want to lift and eat well as a lifestyle for many years to come. I just want to look better and be stronger !

One of my biggest questions is my programming? Currently, I cycle my workout over a 3 to 4 week wave or mesocycle. Week 1 is 85% for sets of 5, week 2 is 90% for sets of 3, week 3 is 95% for singles. Then I repeat but microload weight for next wave or I take a deload in the 4th week first periodocally. Basically I am doing the Wendler program but feel the two sets prior to the top set do not contribute anything but tire me out for my top set. As a result I have been doing the same programming but just doing warm up sets with 1-3 reps and then hitting my top set for 2-3 sets. Then I saw Primal 5,3,1 on this site and this is similar to what I am doing but it calls for 5 sets across which seems like too much for me unless you are a beginner?

Lastly, I am not sure if I should even be programming my lifts like this and instead should be doing straight 5x5 week to week using microloading and or double progression to progress week to week. That is what I had done for many years and recently I just switched to the wave programming.

I am so confused.....Any help would be appreciated ....

Thank you

I
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Old 07-10-2012, 10:58 AM   #2
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Welcome to the forum Milo. Moved this to it's own thread so we could better help. Will post my thoughts very shortly.
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:07 PM   #3
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Thank you, If you need any additional backround or info about my traning just let me know, appreciate the feedback...................
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Old 07-10-2012, 03:20 PM   #4
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I am not afraid to admit that I am still fairly weak.
Let's start at square one. Give us some specifics on about the most you've ever:

--Deadlifted
--Squatted
--Benched
--Overhead Pressed

Obviously it's not about numbers, but I want to get some frame of reference for where you are at. Some people tell me they are weak and deadlift 450, some tell me they are weak and deadlift 150.

Quote:
I always seem to get so confused and bogged down in the details
This is as simple as it gets...the only detail that matters is progression. Everything else is a waste of time UNTIL you have build a solid strength base, then some of it might gain more importance. Sets, reps, rest periods, schemes...all that stuff can be micromanaged, but micromanaging it is misguided. In the end it doesn't matter for quite some time.

What you need is:

1) Progression.
2) Persistence.
3) A reasonable program.

The magic is NOT in the program. You have to toss that out of your mind. Most good programs will get you where you want to go.

Quote:
It seems like a nasty cycle for me.
My advice...pick a program, commit to it for 6 months, log it, and ask for some guys on the forum to hold you accountable. What you're going through is one of the worst things a trainee can do to halt gains.

Progression is important, not program. Most good programs have the same lifts. Rep schemes are not important, progression is.

Quote:
My goals are simple, I just want to get a lot stronger in the big compound lifts, namely the squat, trap bar deadlift, bench and seated thick bar press from rack which I love doing.
Good goals. Achieve them one more rep at a time.

Quote:
One of my biggest questions is my programming? Currently, I cycle my workout over a 3 to 4 week wave or mesocycle. Week 1 is 85% for sets of 5, week 2 is 90% for sets of 3, week 3 is 95% for singles.
I want to see where your strength is at before I comment of this ^.

We're here to help and want to see you succeed.
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Old 07-10-2012, 04:08 PM   #5
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Hello,



I am parallel squatting off an estimated rep max of 350 pounds, currently building from 3x3 reps almost at point of doing 3x5 solid reps with 295 pounds, last cycle in winter got up to 325 pounds for 2 sets of 5.

I am trap bar deadlifting from lower mid shin ( plates on cinder blocks) off a 90% 1rm of 325 pounds, top set of 5 using wendler rep scheme is just under 290 lbs.

Seated overhead press is currently 3x5 work sets with 145 pounds, this past winter was at 160 pounds for sets of 3, done strict from pins inside my power rack.

Bench Press is based on estimated 1rm of 210-215 pounds. Currently at 190 pounds for 3-4 sets of three in strict form. I have very long arms, 37.5 sleeve...

Some additional lift info: One arm rows 126 pounds for 2x5; barbell curls 110 for 3x5; weighted sit ups 102.5 pound dumbbell on chest for sets of 8, side bends 80 pounds sets of 8 each side, thick bar holds 210 pounds for 40 seconds...............Close grip bench press 184 pounds for 3 sets of 3 done strict.

Again, I do weigh 230 at 6-3 and am not ripped but have a fairly trim waist, on a good day can see faint outline of my abs but this honestly isnt my main concern.

I totally agree with you that persistence is key and hard work and I credit the gains I have made on sticking to the basics from the likes of Kubik and Christy but I over analyze everything and the whole rep scheme just confuses me to the point where I wish I knew where I should be at in terms of the best progression schemes. I know that is secondary but it has to count for something, no??

Is Primal 5,3,1 best? is Regular Wendler 5,3,1 best. At my age and recovery, I do think abbreviated training is best so i normally do 3 day a week divided type routines where each main lift is hit once directly . Here is my current routine:

Monday: Squat 3x3/5, once at 3x5, I add wt and drop to 3x3 and repeat week in and week out.
Bench press: 5,3,1 but using 3 top sets each week and microloading
One arm row: 3x3/5 same progression as above for squat
Push-ups -finisher : 3x5,building up to 5x10 then adding weight on vest or backpack
Weighted sit up 2x12,2x8, 2x5 rotating each week

Wednesday: Overhead press 3x5 ,now using 5,3,1 scheme but with 3 top sets
Barbell curl: same double progression as in rows
Barbell calf raise 2x12; 2x8, 2xs5 rotating each week

Friday :Trap bar deadlift: regular Wendler 5,3,1 scheme as in course
Close grip bench: 3x3/5
Weighted side bends: 2x10,2x7,2x5 rotating each week
Grip work
Sandbag finisher such as carries and loading drill
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Old 07-10-2012, 05:09 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by milo332002 View Post
\I have been lifting more or less strictly from my cellar and garage ...I have done things simple and basic because I started training following the advice of Brooks Kubik and especially the late John Christy from the old Hardgainer newsletters.

My goals are simple, I just want to get a lot stronger in the big compound lifts...I have a family and do not compete and my lifting goals are just personal in nature and I want to lift and eat well as a lifestyle for many years to come. I just want to look better and be stronger !
We are of a like mind, especially the Kubik-Christy-Hardgainer stuff.

Welcome to the forum. You are in good hands with BtB. I will chime in where I see something that I can add.
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Old 07-10-2012, 05:57 PM   #7
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There really isn't much to add, except to emphasise this:

Quote:
Originally Posted by BendtheBar View Post
1) Progression.
2) Persistence.
3) A reasonable program.

The magic is NOT is the program. You have to toss that out of your mind. Most good programs will get you where you want to go.
The magic is NOT is the program.

Getting stronger is simply about hitting the lifts as much as possible while remaining as fresh as possible. All of these routines and programmes share that one common goal, and are the author's interpretation of doing so based on the people he has worked with and things he has read and/or experienced.

So once again there is no magic in any routine. Hit the lifts as often as you can while remaining as fresh as you can. Whatever interpretation of that you choose, stick to it for a good 6 months, learn from it, reflect on it, analyse it and then you will know more about yourself.

Spending too much time on finding a great routine, or even the perfect routine is a massive waste of time. That time and energy should be spent on learning how you react to a given routine and the frequency/intensity/volume within it, learning from that experience so YOU can be your own trainer later and make your OWN routines which fit you perfectly.
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Old 07-10-2012, 06:32 PM   #8
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I am parallel squatting off an estimated rep max of 350 pounds, currently building from 3x3 reps almost at point of doing 3x5 solid reps with 295 pounds, last cycle in winter got up to 325 pounds for 2 sets of 5.
Good. That's a nice base strength. That helps. You are not a newb. You have definitely put in some time and effort.

Quote:
and the whole rep scheme just confuses me to the point where I wish I knew where I should be at in terms of the best progression schemes. I know that is secondary but it has to count for something, no??
Well we DO need a progression scheme we like. One of my favorite schemes simple involves doing as many reps as possible for every set, stopping a set when form breaks down, or when you might fail on every rep.

This allows you to try and beat your performance during the previous week. It's merely one example, but something like this just might be the trick to keeping you mentally in the game on every set.

Quote:
Is Primal 5,3,1 best? is Regular Wendler 5,3,1 best.
It's only best if it motivates you to train. There is no best.

Quote:
Monday: Squat 3x3/5, once at 3x5, I add wt and drop to 3x3 and repeat week in and week out.
Bench press: 5,3,1 but using 3 top sets each week and microloading
One arm row: 3x3/5 same progression as above for squat
Push-ups -finisher : 3x5,building up to 5x10 then adding weight on vest or backpack
Weighted sit up 2x12,2x8, 2x5 rotating each week

Wednesday: Overhead press 3x5 ,now using 5,3,1 scheme but with 3 top sets
Barbell curl: same double progression as in rows
Barbell calf raise 2x12; 2x8, 2xs5 rotating each week

Friday :Trap bar deadlift: regular Wendler 5,3,1 scheme as in course
Close grip bench: 3x3/5
Weighted side bends: 2x10,2x7,2x5 rotating each week
Grip work
Sandbag finisher such as carries and loading drill

Overall not bad. Do you like your progression scheme?

There are a couple things I might suggest changing, but I guess the heart of the matter is, do you like your current workout?

If so, let's just do some minor tweaks and get you moving.
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Old 07-10-2012, 08:12 PM   #9
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Hello,

Thanks for the feedback, I mean, generally yes, I feel the three day a week routine hitting each lift once directly, and indirectly twice a week works good for me and my age and recovery. If I was not recovering, I would just spread the three workouts over 9 days instead of 7.

I definitely get the point what you and some fellow members are saying about the focus being the work and progression rather than the exact program. What minor suggestions would you make to my program ? I am all ears and open to suggestions.

I guess one main question I have would be this? If I did a percentager based Wendler program, would it be just as productive if not more productive for me to hit my 3rd set or top set 1st after ramping up with lower rep warm up sets to fire up the nervous system, and then do the 2 lower work sets afterwards as backoff sets. It seems I am fresher for the money set this way.

But yes, anything you can add would be great, I will be sure to post my revised routine on here to keep it real and held accountable, that`s a good idea.

Thanks again !

Kevin Guzda
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Old 07-11-2012, 06:58 AM   #10
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I guess one main question I have would be this? If I did a percentager based Wendler program, would it be just as productive if not more productive for me to hit my 3rd set or top set 1st after ramping up with lower rep warm up sets to fire up the nervous system, and then do the 2 lower work sets afterwards as backoff sets. It seems I am fresher for the money set this way.
That's a solid approach. I prefer rep work after my heaviest set of the day, as it tends to feel lighter and more manageable.

As far as other changes, I would consider bumping the one arm rows to higher reps. My personal opinion is that low rep rows can be sloppy, and somewhat ineffective. One set of 3-5 reps, and perhaps a couple at 5 reps plus.
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