Tom, could you give me an idea of what I could do for GPP the day before a leg workout? I'm looking for something that won't interfere with my squat day and my deadlift day (5/3/1) but will increase my conditioning. I currently do sled pulls the day after my leg workouts. Thanks.
How much experience do you have with rest-pause training?
Also, what is your primary goal (strength/mass/lean muscle/sports performance/etc.)?
With regard to the dumbbells in favor of barbells, I have always preferred dumbbells for flat bench and military press. The dumbbells are a lot easier on your body and I feel that you get a much better workout with them. I do like to use a barbell for incline press though.
What would the advantage of flat bench with dumbbells and incline bench with barbell be?
The type of program will also dictate how much volume you can handle. For example rest-pause sets, drop sets, breathing sets, or high intensity compound lifts can take a lot out of you. Working hard in the gym is important but overtraining is quite simply wasting your time.
*Absolute Beginner (0-3 months): 5-10 rep range, 5 working sets
*Beginner (3-9 months): 5-8 rep range, 5-10 working sets
Intermediate (9-24 months): 3-5 rep range, 5-8 working sets
Advanced (2+ years): 1-5 rep range, 3-8 working sets
*These individuals can go in the 1-3 rep range but it should not be to failure or should be closely supervised.
As a general rule of thumb anything in the range of 5-8 working sets should be sufficient for most bodyparts or powerlifting days; though I would reduce that to 3-4 sets for the smaller bodyparts if you are on a bodybuilding / bodypart split (such as biceps and deltoids). If you are doing a powerlifting program that incorporates speed work (DE) then 8-12 working sets is fairly standard.
Usually I try to hit 2-3 working sets on my compound movement for that day and then will perform an additional 3-5 working sets on isolation or accessory movements. This has worked well for strength gains.
Hopefully this is what you were looking for.
Your best bet might be to do some high rep hang cleans or power cleans with a light weight in an interval training fashion. You could do something like 95 lbs for (5) reps then rest for (1) minute, for 10 total sets.
Plyometrics would also be a good way to do something different. You could run some stairs at a local stadium and mix in some box jumps onto bleachers or some cone drills.
A lot of common GPP work such as tire flips, sandbag carry, sled drag, etc. could impact your lower body training.
I was wondering something about diet regarding healthy foods and unhealthy foods. I posted this same question in the diet section about a month ago, but I never really got a clear answer.
If your weight remains constant (mine is 180 lbs.), and I lift consistently and slowly gain strength, and I do cardio about 2 - 3 days a week as well, does healthy eating really have that much of an impact on your body composition? I mean, keeping training consistent, and my weight remains the same as well, will eating a super clean diet make a huge difference?
Basically my diet isn't that bad, but it's not great. When I cut down to 180 from 220, I ate very clean and low carbs. Now, I kind of let myself slip by allowing myself some crap foods everyday (candy, donuts, white bread, etc...you know, just crap), but my weight has remained the same. However, because of this I don't feel like I am as cut, but I think this may be a mental thing.
I would like to alternate the Power Cleans one day and something else on another day. I like the idea of stairs and plyo jumps. I might use my stepper and add the jumps. What would be a good size jump box? What would be a good setup as in interval times and number of jumps?
Tom, my friend, I have another questions regarding Squats.
I am doing 5 sets of Squats ands squatting every Monday and Wednesday. I tend to recover faily well, so my questions is, what gives you better results,
Squatting heavy for 5 sets or High Reps, fairly weight, or 20 Rep Squats with moderate Heavy weight until you puke?
I am sure they are different things, require different levels of training, and give different results. Do you think I should just stick to my squatting routine until I have a solid base?
I am interested in the 20 Rep squats because they require less time. My usual squat day lasts for 30 minutes for 5 sets and that just takes so much from my back day
I am looking for bigger legs I have fair leg size from all the years I spent playing soccer, but nothing impressive, but I want some good size now hehehe
Last edited by Ryumexicano; 11-11-2009 at 01:06 PM.
-█--------█- Squat: 285 x 3
......\☻/...... Bench Press: 235 x 3 (stuck there)
........▌....... Skull Crusher: 110lbs ez bar
......./ \......Standing Shoulder Press: 115lbs (barbell)
"I am always doing things I can't do, that's how I get to do them." Pablo Picasso
The reason that I prefer dumbbells is that they are much easier on your shoulder joint whereas barbell bench press causes problems for some. Incline barbell press has never bothered me and I like using a barbell because of the carryover that it has to overhead press with an axle/log (strongman).
In general I have always felt that I get a better workout with dumbbells when it comes to pressing - incline, decline, military, and flat. Some of this could be personal preference but I would still give them a try as a primary movement if you are currently only doing a couple of sets at the end of your workout. You can judge the effectiveness based on soreness and strength progression.
At the end of the day both barbells and dumbbells are effective options.
The simple answer is 'yes' - what you eat is important; but with that in mind it really does depend on your goals.
It sounds like you are looking for a maintenance program where you can remain steady at 180 lbs while gaining strength. For those goals your protein intake and overall calorie consumption will be the most important factors.
For someone who is looking to improve body composition while gaining strength then the macronutrient sources become much more important. You would specifically want to look at the glycemic index of your carbohydrates and the quality of the fats in your diet. Low carb diets do not always work well for strength athletes or bodybuilders; but the quality of macronutrients is very important.
An occasional cheat meal is not going to have a notable effect on your physique but eating junk food everyday could eventually give you body composition problems. It may be in your best interest to change things around a bit; here are two ways to keep body comp in check while still gaining strength.
Instead of eating cheat meals everyday I would find a balance between good and bad meals (things like whole wheat ANPB sandwiches with sugar free jelly, wheat bagel with fat free cream cheese, healthy microwaveable meals, etc.). The basic objective is to make sure that you are not eating a large amount of fat and large amount of carbohydrates in the same meal as this will cause you to store fat.
Eat clean foods (6) days per week and allow yourself (1) cheat day. I typically follow this protocol and like to have a cheat day either on or before strongman events day (heaviest / most demanding training session). You may also want to plan the cheat day for the weekend if you like to go out, etc.
It is not easy to improve body composition while gaining strength, and it really takes a lot of discipline with your diet. Typically I pick one or the other and just try to maintain the secondary objective. (For example if I am working on building strength I just try to maintain body comp, or vice versa)
- Increase weight on the power cleans (115 lbs)
- Decrease rest periods (45 seconds)
- Add an additional movement (pullups, pushups, etc.)
Personally what I would do is advance to a two part complex which effectively increases time under tension and difficulty. If the 95 lbs power cleans were much too easy then 115 lbs may be a better idea, you just want to make sure that this workout is testing your conditioning and doesn't become a test of strength (and also that you keep good form).
Alternating arm dumbbell clean and press is a good conditioning movement but the time under tension is very long so I don't like to use them in complexes.
Here is an example of a more advanced conditioning complex.
Off Road Complex:
(5) Power Cleans - 115 lbs, (3) Chins - BW, (Rest) - 1 Minute [Repeat X10]
With regard to box jumps I would typically use something 15-20" in height for endurance work. A standard flat bench usually makes for a good stable platform.
A good exercise to mix in with box jumping is jumping rope.
You can do something like this:
Off Road Cardio Complex:
- 25 box jumps
- 1 minute of jumping rope or 25 revolutions
- 1 minute of rest
**Complete (5) total sets.
If you wanted to incorporate the stepper then I would go with:
Off Road Cardio Complex - Option 2:
- Stepper (Moderate Intensity) 2 minutes
- Box Jumps (Bench) 20 reps
- Rest 1-2 minute(s)
**Complete 3-5 total sets.
Is this in line with what you are looking for?
Tom, I am making steady gains using madcow 5x5. I am sure you are familiar with it, but its basically just ramping 5x5 sets on monday, a recovery medium day wednesday, and a ramping up to 3 rep PR on friday. Squats, bench, and rows basically.
I am making good progress on my squats...I am up to 340 x 5 and its getting easier and easier. Rows is going up as well to 225x5. However, my bench has stalled...I have been stuck at 265 x 3 for 2 weeks straight and I think it is largely due to not getting enough upper back work/lat work (I feel very unstable and I am benching the way Dave Tate demonstrates in his video). Also, my shoulder press is really falling behind my bench...I can only do 145 x 5 military.
I was thinking of basically swapping bench for military press on monday/friday while maintaining my bench press and doing it only once a week on wednesdays. I also wanted to mix in some more volume for my back on one of the days (maybe the wednesday workout?). I was thinking 6 weeks of this to catch my military up and then swapping back to benching twice a week. What do you think?
Hi Tom, great thread going here...a couple of strongman questions:
1-Do you recommend training events on a separate day or incorporate events with the gym lifts?
2-Would you do front squats in place of back squats for a gym routine with a strongman focus?
Last edited by Y2A; 11-13-2009 at 02:27 PM.
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Hey Tom, thanks for this thread. Anyway I was hoping you could help me set up a deadlift schedule. All of my other lifts I know what I need to do to move them along. However my deadlifting is very inconsistent. My current numbers are 320x1 and 310x5. This brings me to another problem. When ever I try for any thing over 275ish it takes a couple trys on the first rep to get it moving. I also have no clue why my max is so low, its like that for all of my lifts. Thanks!
Hey I have a cutting question, if you wouldn't mind answering it to the best of your ability...
Ok so I know that if you continue to lift weights while cutting, your body will know to preserve as much muscle as it can. But my question is: if you are losing strength but still going to failure on each set, will your body still know to preserve the same amount of muscle mass as it would if you were gaining strength and still going to failure?
One would think it would maintain the same amount of muscle because you're still going to failure...but I'm not sure.
Then: 134 lbs November 12, 2008
Now: 195 lbs
Since you are squatting twice per week I would break that down into two seperate routines. If you are pressed for time on the back day then something like a 20 rep squat or speed work might be a good idea, and then you can do your heavier/higher volume day when you train legs alone.
The thing is that squatting twice per week is going to present quite a recovery challenge if both training sessions are to failure. You may want to work a 5/3/1, 3x3, or 5x5 regimen on one day and then on the other day there are a few different options. You could do a light GVT workout (toloakes about 20 minutes), a lighter 20 rep squat, box squats, speed squats, or even stick with your 5x5 protocol and just decrease the weight and rest periods.
For example, if you can currently squat 275 lbs then your workout might look something like this.
Workout 1 - Heavy Squat: 235 lbs x 5 x 5
Workout 2 - Volume Squat: 175 lbs x 10 x 5 (1 1/2 minute rest periods)
or 145 lbs x 10, 155 lbs x 10, 165 lbs x 10, 175 lbs x 10, 185 lbs x 10 (easier)
or 155-175 lbs x 20 (one set)
**You can base Workout 2 on how you feel after Workout 1. If your legs are sore or you do not feel recovered then you can do the progressive weight work or a light 20 repper. If you are feeling strong then you can do the heavier volume work or the heavier 20 repper.
This will give you a balance of volume and strength work, and will not take so long that it impacts your workout (the volume day is about a 15 minute workout).
Glad to hear that you are making gains on most of your lifts. It can be tought to make progress on all lifts simultaneously though so it is not uncommon that certain movements may fall behind a bit or progress at a different rate.
In general, your military press is actually right about where it should be (assuming that you are using good form and full range of motion). My barbell military press was always about 100 lbs less than my bench press, although I will admit that I did not put a lot of focus on that movement.
One of the most important muscle groups for both military press and bench press is your triceps. Are you doing any direct triceps work? Specifically weighted dips or close grip bench press?
I would recommend perhaps swapping out bench press for close grip bench press; the improved triceps strength will have carryover to all other pressing movements. You could always throw in some dumbbell military work (light/low volume) to give you some direct deltoids work. The problem with a high frequency general compound movement routine is that certain muscle groups do not get a lot of direct attention, which is something that you have also noticed with your upper back.
For upper back work I have always liked doing weighted chins and high pulls or hang cleans. In my opinion those two movements will give you everything that you need as long as you are also doing some type of deadlifting and rowing occassionally.
Now, how do we bring all of this together?
I would created a modified MadCow that incorporates more variation but still sticks to some of the basic principals of the standard program.
Mchicia1's Modified MadCow:
Monday: Squat (5x5), Row (5x5), Close Grip Bench (5x5)
Wednesday: Chins (BW for 25+ reps total), Bench Press (light), Dips (BW), Squts (light)
Friday: Squat (3RM), Rows (3RM), Close Grip Bench or Board Press (3RM), Dumbbell Military Press (2 sets of 5-10), Front & Side Laterals (1 superset/drop set)
These modifications should help to bring up your lagging bench press and military press without having a negative impact on your squats or rows.
If your body does not respond to the changes then we can re-evaluate the program again in a few weeks.
Seeing that the new defranco program did not quite live up the hype some of it still seem interesting to me.
With that being said if you took the original west side for skinny bastards ( which is also the washed up meat head template in wsfsb 3 ) program ( one day bench ME, one day lower ME, and one day upper body RE ) how would you add some conditioning to this type of routine in your opinion? Super sets, max effort push ups etc..
Last edited by View 1; 11-13-2009 at 09:49 PM.
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