CowQuest 09

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by naiveguy, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. naiveguy

    naiveguy New Member

    After nine full cycles of HST, I've decided to do a few strength-oriented cycles, and I'm going with madcow's intermediate 5x5 program. I've tweaked it only slightly to include weighted chinups and dips:

    Power clean
    Weighted chinups
    two sets abs

    Standing overhead press
    Weighted dips

    Power clean
    Weighted chinups

    This is pretty much copied straight up from madcows site, except I won't be doing the suggested assistance exercises--curls and tricep extensions--on Fridays. I've been converted to the "simplify and win" approach, and I think adding the chins and dips may work better for me than the isolation exercises.

    I'd be grateful for any suggestions from anyone who has experience with the madcow program.

  2. Wildman

    Wildman New Member

    This looks like a reasonable setup. I dont know how long you have been lifting but I have been able to tolerate isolation work on the 5x5 and found it beneficial. Depends on your fitness level if it would be too much or not I suppose.

    If you do reconsider adding in isolation work consider doing so with an A/B split perhaps. This will keep the total number of exercises down while still giving enough stimulous to benefit you. What I found from years of 5x5 was that my smaller muscles did not develop as much as desired. Once I added in isolation work they came up to par with my chest, back and leg development. And my numbers increased as a result on my compounds.

    Also it is not required that you use 5x5 on isolations either. You can use a 3x8 or some other reasonable setup. I would just stay away from high volume and keep it to a single movement per muscle. It would be hard to recover from more than that. That is another advantage of the A/B split I suggested.

    I would do isolation for tricep, bicep, calves, traps, deltoids, forearms and even hamstrings and glutes sometimes. Traps and hamstrings on squat days. Calves and on deadlift days would be an example split that shouldnt interfere much. I always built my isolation work around what I felt was lagging. But my arms benefitted the most.

    Also it is common for guys to not squat and deadlift the same day. Yes you can do it and it will not be the end all but you may find that during the heavy portion you will not put as much into the second lift as you would like due to fatigue. So an option is to squat Monday and Friday. Deadlift on Wednesday. I have done both setups before and it worked fine either way but Wednesday would be a big hit on CNS if combined. If you seperate them and do not feel like you are getting enough quad work, add in some leg extensions or unilateral quad work to round it out.
  3. naiveguy

    naiveguy New Member

    Thanks for the reply and the advice, Wildman. I finished my first week of Madcow's version of Bill Starr's 5x5 on Saturday, and tomorrow (Tuesday, Jan13) I'm starting on week two. I think I'll try following the program to the letter at least for a cycle and see how I feel. I've never done squats and deads on the same day before, but in this program the squats that are done on the deadlift day are relatively light compared with the other two days, so it might be manageable.

    I also decided to go ahead and do the suggested isolation exercises on the third workout day--three sets of weighted dips (5-8 reps) three sets of curls (8 reps), and three sets of tricep extensions (8 reps).

    If I can organize myself I'll try to start keeping a log this week.
  4. xarfox

    xarfox New Member

    madcow is the only workout i do now. i've modified it to have less volume during the football season. when i do only madcow and eat a lot, i can take my strength to new heights. i also don't do the isolation exercises, they never really did anything for me

    powerclean and squat in the same workout can be a challenge, better get a lot of calories. when i was powercleaning, i did them on the light day (wednesdays).

    good luck!
  5. naiveguy

    naiveguy New Member

    Well, two weeks in and I've already decided to drop the isos, Xarfox. I'm sticking with the schedule I outlined in my first post, using weighted chins and dips as my assistance exercises, plus weighted situps and good mornings. So far the powercleans haven't been a problem, but I'm still using relatively light weights at this point. I might feel differently three or four weeks from now.

    But I'm enjoying the madcow program so far. What I really like is that I can better concentrate on my form when doing 5 reps. I think my form, such as it is, would suffer at times during the 15-rep weeks of HST.

    Good luck to you, too.

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