Join Date: Dec 2006
More from Pendlay
For hand wringers scared off by lots of words, nighmarish formatting and the fair use doctrine...... you'll find no relief here,
excerpts from a discussion on 5x5 from Glenn Pendlay...very helpful I found in ways to think about working with basic templates like those laid out Rippatoe's in Starting Strength and Practical Programming..
there seem to be a lot of people who do the style of training we usually call "5 by 5" for a while, then wonder "whats next".
one general comment i would make, is that if this style of training has been successfull for you, why change it? and by style of training, im not talking about one specific program, but the general style of doing whole body exercises, training the whole body or at least most of the body in each workout, and doing multiple sets not taken to failure.
i do, however, understand the mental side... you do the same thing over and over and you want something different. there are lots of ways you can change things without totally changing to a "new" program. switching back and forth between widely differing types of training isnt that good of an idea... small and systematic changes over time in what you are doing however IS a good idea.
for instance... say youve been squatting 3 times a week. how about changing one of the workouts to front squat, hell you could change 2 of the workouts to front squat. i hate leg presses, but if you really wanted to, you could squat on monday, front squat on wednesday, and leg press on friday!!! if youve been doing only rows for back, change one or two of the workouts to chinups... substitute stiff legged deadlifts for deadlifts, change mondays workout to 3 sets of 8 for a month, change fridays squat or bench workout to 5 singles, etc, etc, etc.
ive even seen people who after a while on a 3 day a week program, switched to a 4 day split, doing squats and pressing exercises on monday and thursday, back and pulling exercises on wed and saturday. i dont see this as retreating from the principles of the 5 by 5 at all. you are STILL working your whole body, or very nearly so, every training day. squats work the back, they work everything... and deadlifts or stiff legged deadlifts work the legs, not as much as squats, but they still work them. this is in fact the favored program of mike stone, probably the best ex phys guy on the planet and former head of sports science at the olympic training center.
the main thing is to go about it in a systematic way.
one of my lifters, josh wells, who made the junior world team in 2004 in weightlifting, and can jerk close to 400lbs weighing around 180lbs as a teenager, did this program about a year ago in his "off season" to try to gain some general strength.
monday, squats (5 sets of 3), push presses (3 sets of 5) then glute ham raises or reverse hypers
wednesday, snatch pulls (5 sets of 2), powercleans (5 sets of 2), chinups (5 sets of 10 with extra weight, hanging from a 2" bar)
thursday, front squats (6 sets of 2), push jerks (5 sets of 2), military press (3 sets of 5), then glute ham raises or reverse hypers.
saturday, powersnatches (5 sets of 2), clean pulls (5 sets of 5), barbell rows, (5 sets of 5)
obviously this is geared toward olympic weightlifting, and not really what most of you would be doing. im not sure many here have that much interest in doing so many snatch and clean pulls. and hes using lower reps, because of course for him strength is a bigger deal than size, but even his reps changed over time, sometimes were higher, sometimes lower. this is just as representative of the 5 by 5 training style as the simpler 3 day programs... because we did it systematically, sets across instead of failure, gradually moving the weights up, gradually adding then subtracting volume of training to force the body to adapt
the important thing is to think thru the changes, dont make too many at one time, but make them slowly and steadily.
the real value of the "5 by 5" style of training isnt that it can or will add a certain amount of muscle or strength in an 8 week cycle. the real value is that it is a framework that when used right can work for years, slowly changing and morphing along the way to fit itself to your particular goals, and making for steady progress for 3, 4, or more years. it is more than anything, a mindset. a mindset of writing your workouts down, being systematic, knowing what you are going to do before you go to the gym, having a plan, and knowing that 5lbs a month is 60lbs a year and 180lbs in 3 years.
and more than that it is a mindset of THINKING, thinking about training, and rejecting the latest and greatest thing that forces many, even most, to run from one program to the next, changing things totally every time they get bored or have a bad workout. by recording everything, thinking a lot, planning, making small changes instead of wholesale ones, going back and looking at your workout log and looking at the last month, 6 months, year, etc, and planning the next month... within a year or two you know more about your body and what to do than me or anyone else could ever tell you.
now... last comment. i have, in a big drawer, a record of every single workout i have ever done, from the time i was 15 back in 1975 to my last month of competitive training in 2003. every single one. i also have descriptions and comments, tables in the back of the logs that showed weight gain and strength gain on a yearly basis, monthly, etc. comments on what happened to weight/strength when i changed exercises, changed reps, etc. there is very little i dont know about how my body responded, what worked and what didnt, etc. you all should do the same thing. approach training like a scientist working an experiment.