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Old 06-11-2009, 05:47 PM   #1
george nesrallah
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Default Trying to increase strength and need advice.

Hi all. I was wondering how to structure a strength/powerlifting program for 5 days a week? I do sports another day during the week and my body seems to need the 1 rest day. Just wondering how I would go about it? My current program looks like this (I don't know how effective this is; it may make some chuckle, not sure):

Day 1-Heavy Day (85-90%)

Bench Press-4x2
Close Grip Bench Press-4x2
Shoulder Press-5x2
Wide Grip Upright Rows-4x2

Day 2

Front Squats-3x5
Stiff Legged Deadlifts-3x6

Day 3-Speed Day (50-60%)

Bench Press-6x3 (2/2/2-different grips)
Dumbbell Bench Press-3x6 (Palms facing each other)
Close Grip Bench Press-4x3
Triceps Extensions-3x6
Wide Grip Upright Rows-3x3

Day 4-Monday

Power Cleans-5x5

Day 5-Moderate Day (60-70%)
Bench Press-3x3
Close Grip Bench Press-3x3
One Arm Triceps Extensions-3x5
Front Press-3x5
Wide Grip Upright Rows-3x5

Anyway, not sure if this all right or not as I am not experienced with powerlifting. Any tips would be really helpful. Thank you so much everyone.

Take care
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Old 06-11-2009, 06:25 PM   #2
Júlíus G. Magnússon
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I would switch the speed day with the moderate day to help you better recover from the heavy day.

Seems like you've got a lot of unnecessary stuff in there... Bench Press followed by Close Grip Bench Press followed by One Arm Triceps Extensions followed by Front Press (whatever that is), seriously?

I'm curious, though, why are you trying to reinvent the wheel? There's lots of good programs out there like the Texas Method, Wendler's 5/3/1, Bill Starr's 5x5...
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Old 06-11-2009, 08:44 PM   #3
Steven Low
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Waaaaaaay too much volume.

Pick a program at your level... novice, intermediate, advanced. There's different stuff like Julius said from Starting Strength to other various periodization schemes at the top.
Posts NOT intended as professional medical, training or nutrition advice.
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Old 06-11-2009, 09:01 PM   #4
Gavin Harrison
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Slow down there, good sir. You haven't really told us anything now, have you?

First off, how strong are you right now (Squat/Bench/Deadlift numbers)? How much do you weigh, and how tall are you? What exactly are your goals? ie, do you want to compete in powerlifting?

If you're not really strong, I'd suggest starting with a round of Starting Strength until it doesn't work anymore, then switch to something like the Texas Method, Bill Starr's 5x5 or Jim Wendler's 5/3/1, whichever is the most appealing to your goals and schedule. Also, if you're not that strong yet, 'speed days' aren't that beneficial. The program you laid out looks a lot like a generic BBer program, tons of volume and tons of similar, but slightly different exercises following one another.. and the fact that you seem to want to devote three, reeeeally long days to the bench press and only two very short days to doing hard work (squatting and deadlifting). Where's the progression in strength? You're cycling intensity (for the bench press), but when do you increase the weight you lift? By how much?

If you need to gain weight, lots of milk will take care of that for you.

I hope you get the point. You're overcomplicating and focusing on the wrong things, if you want to start into strength/powerlifting. The squat and deadlifting deserve the same amount of effort as the bench press. A well thought out program someone who knows what they're doing is much better than whatever you on your own will come up with at this stage in your development. Hell, you could even go the SUPER RIDICULOUSLY SIMPLE route, like Pavel's 80/20 Powerlifting routine and make great gains in strength for powerlifting for a long time. It's 5 days per week too, cycling intensity in a smart way, and a clear path of progression each week...

Here's some links:
Starting Strength - Invaluable for description of properly performing the big 5 lifts, as well as containing the basic program, daily linear progression.
Practical Programming for Strength Training - Easy to understand description of basic principles of programming for strength training from novice through advanced stages of development.
Jim Wendlers 5/3/1 Manual - Great program, stresses simplicity in a four day a week strength/powerlifting oriented split.
Pavel's 80/20 Powerlifting - Full article detailing the super simplistic program, weekly linear periodization geared very specifically for powerlifting.
Modified Version of Bill Starr's 5x5 - Another good weekly linear periodization oriented towards building the powerlifts.

EDIT: It's a good to note, all of these are 3 days a week, except 5/3/1 which can be 4 or 3 or 2, and 80/20 which is 5 or 4 or 3 (but really low volume... only the powerlifts and stretching).
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Old 06-12-2009, 06:18 AM   #5
Chris Salvato
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Posts: 560

goals goals goals...

What in the hell are you trying to do?

I suggest picking 2 push, 2 pull and 2 posterior chain goals....thats a good place to start. All this other info is garbage unless we know what on god's green you are trying to do, imho.
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Old 06-13-2009, 02:32 AM   #6
Blair Lowe
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To sum up, George was limited to doing CF 2x/week due to family and life and accessability.

He's a big guy who was 314 at one point and now around 260. Looks like he was following some sort of Ketogenic diet and wanted to get down to 205. I think he's 6 foot 3 and does BJJ as his sport. No idea what his BF is at or was at.

He was running a bit just cause.

George, you may want to look into CrossFitFootball. There is strength work and then a strength metcon afterwards 4 days a week during the midweek with one metcon on Saturday. Wed and Sun off. Maybe just get a look at it to get an idea of what they do.

I don't think you need the BP and CGBP and DB BP. Just rotate BP each time. One day do it close grip, the next with DB, the next with regular or wide grip.

Are the tricep extensions and bicep curls due to the grappling nature of BJJ?

I don't see any need to work Bench and Overhead press on the same day.

I think you should be less focused on your pressing strength and more focused on stuff like pullups and DL and Squatting. This will lead to a strong back good for BJJ I'm thinking.

Btw, you mentioned once you were totalling in 2k calories. Are you still around that number? How much grams of protein per day? That probably is more the reason you're finding you're losing strength besides possibly too much volume.
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Old 06-13-2009, 04:31 AM   #7
george nesrallah
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Thank you for all the responses everyone. My question could have contained more info. Sorry about that.

In terms of goals, basically I just want to get stronger. I am not training for a competition at all. I just want to see how well I can progress. Family and work have opened up a bit as well so I can devote more time to training; crazy fluctuations. Blair is right; the sport is bjj. I have cut that down from 3-4 times a weak to once so I can better focus on weight training and the like. Other goal is to lose bodyfat. I started about 7 months ago at 314 lbs. and this morning weighed 255 (awesome memory Blair). I am hoping to keep getting stronger while still dropping fat (I have been told this is extremely hard to do however I am hoping to increase strength or at the very least maintain until I level off on bodyweight, if at all possible). My bodyfat about 6-7 months ago was around 47% (if memory serves me correct). The last time I checked (about 4 weeks ago) I was 32%.

Strong? Nope. However I am trying to be. Current lifts (for 3x2 as I don't really do max's) are:

Bench press-290

Pathetic that all three of my lifts are so close together in weight.

Anyway thanks again for all the help everyone; very much appreciated.
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Old 06-13-2009, 05:43 AM   #8
george nesrallah
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I forgot to mention diet. Sorry about that. As of now I am doing the Zone and on 20 blcoks, split into 5 meals daily (4 blocks each). However I substitute 2 fatblocks for 2 carb. blocks. Thus it is 20 protein blocks, 30 fat blocks and 10 carb. blocks (okay, pseudo Zone). My worry with this is protein; at 20 blocks I am only taking in 140 grams of protein daily. I was thinking of changing to CKD which I have done before and really liked however I am not sure what eating plan can best support gaining strength and fat loss at the same time (if one does actually exist).

Thanks a bunch; sorry about forgetting this in my previous post.
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Old 06-13-2009, 09:03 AM   #9
Harry Munro
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If you're looking to drop bodyfat and get stronger it is indeed hard, but far from impossible. The key is lower volume higher intensity training. Lots of volume is good but it's main purpose is to put on muscle as well as strength, as you're looking to eat in a way that will make you lose fat the extra volume works against that, basically burning you out big time and you end up hurt/dead.
Exercises that minimise or eliminate the eccentric portion of a movement are your best friend here, imo. Stuff like power cleans and deadlifts.
Also, honestly look at any weak points on your body and savagely attack them, bringing up weak points is easy and makes big differences to life in general.

edit: Have a look at Pavels 'Power to the People'
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Old 06-13-2009, 05:58 PM   #10
george nesrallah
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I am going to pick up Starting Strength and Power To The People this week; thanks for the suggestion.

I have decided on trying Jim Wendler's 5/3/1/ program. I am going to start it this coming week. However I have a question. I see there is a percentage progression week to week on the program. I was wondering if these percentages are based on your 1 rep max prior to starting the program? To make my question more clear, let's say your bench max. was 200 lbs prior to the program. Week 1 you do 85% for 5. No problem. However as the weeks progress (I know it's only 5 weeks) your max. may have gone up from the initial max. you are using. Now let's say your max. is 210 lbs but you do your third week, 95% for 1, and you use 190 lbs., basing this on your initial strength. However, at this point 95% would actually be 199.5. Maybe I am being odd with this question; not sure. To make my extremely long (sorry about that) question short, is the entire program based on your max. strength levels at the beginning of the program?

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