First time SST program

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by Bulldog, Nov 23, 2007.

  1. Bulldog

    Bulldog Active Member

    I have come to realize that I really need to improve my strength. I have never done a strength specific program in the past and after reading a lot of threads here I have decided to follow the intermediate 5x5 that Madcow has posted on his web site. For the first cycle I'm just going to use the spreadsheet he provided and round everything off to the nearest 5 pounds.

    Does anyone have any suggestions on things I might want to adjust or any situations I should look out for doing this kind of program?

    I'm really hoping to add more strength than I have in the past with HST. I will be in Las Vegas all next week for a conference and that will be my SD time. So I will be starting the 5x5 program on December 3rd.
  2. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    I made my own log charts but printed out the instructions and posted them on my wall next to my w.o. stations. It's a bit to get your head wrapped around when you're used to something else and easy to forget the percentages.
    Well, easy for my math-blocked head. At least I don't misspell things.
    It's an awesome program and you WILL get VERY strong on it.
  3. Bulldog

    Bulldog Active Member

    Do you think it is OK to round the weights to the nearest 5 pounds or should I make some chain weights for microloading like he shows on his web page?

    Actually, those weights wouldn't really work either since they aren't 0.5 lb weights. So some rounding would still be involved. However the increments would be much closer to what he is suggesting.

  4. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    I think rounding to the nearest 5 is perfectly fine and is what I did when I followed his program. You can actually go through the formulas if you want and change it to use the mround function.
  5. Bulldog

    Bulldog Active Member

    (Totentanz @ Nov. 24 2007,15:01)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">I think rounding to the nearest 5 is perfectly fine and is what I did when I followed his program.  You can actually go through the formulas if you want and change it to use the mround function.</div>
    Actually that's what I did.  Well kind of.  Instead of editing the spreadsheet he provided I just copied the Monday through Friday block of calculated weights to a new spreadsheet.  Then I copied that sheet of the workbook and on the new sheet I edited the first Monday week 1 weight to use the forumula =MROUND(Sheet1!D3,5).  Then I copied that cell and just highlighted the entire block of weights for Monday and pasted.  Then did the same thing for Wednesday and Friday.  It was a lot easier than trying to edit the spreadsheet he provided.

    As far as the weights go.  I will probably round them off as I planned.  But I just ordered some zinc plated washers that will fit an olympic bar.  I found them referenced on the Dave Draper forum.  The guy who originally posted the info on them suggested that the non zinc plated ones were about 5/8 of a pound each.  I figured I could just drill some holes in them to get them down to 1/2 pound each.  Or I would just consider them close enough for my needs.  I'll decide for sure what to do when I get them and weigh them.

    The zinc plated ones were less than $3 more than the non plated ones so I figured what the heck.  They should resist rust better than the non plated ones.

    For anyone interested here is what was mentioned in the thread on Drapers forum.

    Microload - Cheap Tricks

    If you go to just do a search for &quot;washers&quot;.  Then pick the round hole option and then the 2&quot; under &quot;for screw size&quot; and you will see the non plated ones which are number 91081A046.  And the zinc plated ones are number 90108A046.  I tried to link them here but the way their site is set up it doesn't work.
  6. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    My all time favorite is old speaker magnets for &quot;platemates&quot;. With the 5x5 program I used a lot of mixed plates, having some in Kg and some in Lbs. Just rounding off close as you can will be enough, or just buy two 2-1/2 lb. plates.
  7. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    I don't see a lot of point in microloading, since most weight plates aren't exact anyway. At least that's what I hear. I've heard a few different guys who checked all their plates and found them to be approximately what they said they were, but rarely exactly what they said they were. In that case, it would mean that any time you think you are using a certain weight, it is actually only approximately that weight...

    If you had weights that you can confirm are accurate, then I can see how microloading would help, since you would be able to advance your load more often since you don't need to take larger jumps. But if your plates aren't exact, then there doesn't seem to be a point.

    Anyway, if you do microload, I think those washers are a perfect, inexpensive solution. It is absurd how much money they try to charge for microplates, platemates and other things like that.
  8. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    since I use spin-on db's (except my 110's and 120's) it's a bit of a hassle to add weight, so the quickness of a speaker magnet is ideal. I don't even know how much they weigh: I simply don't think it matters when I just feel good enough to get too many reps in and want a bit more weight. I'm not really thinking about the weight per se; it's the load.
    Nonetheless, I don't often use them since any real advances are in 5lb. increments anyway, but for noobs, a 3 lb. advance on a 100 lb load would be similar to a 5-10 lb. increment on a seasoned lifter using 150-200 lbs. , so I guess they have merit.
    TBH, I more often just add the five lbs. and cluster the set if necessary. Then use the same weight next workout with no cluster. Microloading does feel kind of gay...but I just like gadgets I think. [​IMG]
  9. Bulldog

    Bulldog Active Member

    Tot, that is a great point and I never really thought about it that way. I know my plates are not exact. And like you said, most plates aren't unless you spend a ton of money on them. I'm pretty sure that my set at only $130 or so are not exactly what they say they are.

    So what are your thoughts regarding SD when doing a 5x5 program. Should SD be done between each cycle of a 5x5 or should I just recalculate my weights when I plateau and start over with no SD? I don't think Madcow talked about taking a break or deloading on his site. I'm assuming that an SD or some kind of deload is still a good idea. And I really have no choice but to SD next week since I will be in Las Vegas all week.
  10. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    I don't think a straight out SD (as in time off) is as necessary with 5x5 if you are looking mostly for strength gains. If you check out his advanced template and look at how he handles the deload/intensification phase, you can probably get a good idea of your options. However, taking a week off after pushing yourself so hard at the end of a 5x5 can be a welcome break.
    Regardless, you'll have to do one or the other once you plateau.

    I think he talks about this on his page, but once you've run the cycle once, you probably won't even need the spreadsheet. Or if you use it, you'll end up tweaking the heck out of it like I did. What I ended up eventually doing was doing 5 straight sets of 5 on Monday, Weds being a lighter day, then Friday, pyramiding up to a new max, the new max I would use on Monday and try to get 5 sets of 5. If I didn't get 5 full sets of 5, I didn't worry about it, just carried that weight over to Friday instead of looking for a new max.

    The intermediate program sort of does this, except you'll be looking for a new 3 RM on fridays, then building up to a set of 5 using that 3 RM on mondays, which works real well too, and is what I would definitely do the first time around.
  11. quadancer

    quadancer New Member

    Yeah, you wouldn't need the beginning program. I didn't. I didn't have to tweak the intermediate myself; it was fine for me.
  12. Bulldog

    Bulldog Active Member

    Well, things aren’t going very well.   [​IMG]

    Thanksgiving day I slipped and fell on the ice while loading stuff into the trunk of my car.  About an hour after that my left wrist started to hurt from the fall and I still have pain today depending on how I move it.  The bad thing is that it was my GOOD wrist that I haven’t had problems with (I have ongoing arthritis and had wrist surgery on my right wrist a couple years ago).  I thought my wrist would be feeling better by now but its not.  So I'll probably have to get it checked out.   [​IMG]

    Then last Tuesday, the day after starting my 5x5 I threw my back out while shoveling snow, which set me back another week.  I felt pretty good yesterday so I started up again but just did some 15’s.  My back is slightly sore today but nothing that I wouldn't expect after starting up after basically having 3 weeks off from lifting.  I’m planning on doing 15’s again tomorrow and some 10’s on Friday and then next week I will start my 5x5.

    I think everyone was right about not jumping into a 5x5 after an SD though.  Since I was out of town for the end of Thanksgiving week and only worked out on Monday of that week it was two full weeks off before I attempted to start my 5x5 and that first day was probably a bit too much.  Which I believe contributed to throwing my back out the next morning because my back felt very fatigued when I woke up and then had to shovel snow.  So I won’t make that mistake again and will always take a week or two to work into a 5x5 if I have had a week or two off.

    Live and learn I guess.  But it seems like there is always SOMETHING that messes things up no matter what I'm trying to accomplish.   [​IMG]
  13. TunnelRat

    TunnelRat Active Member

    (Bulldog @ Dec. 11 2007,09:29)</div><div id="QUOTEHEAD">QUOTE</div><div id="QUOTE">But it seems like there is always SOMETHING that messes things up no matter what I'm trying to accomplish.</div>
    Perhaps we should learn from Tot that there is no need to schedule an SD. It's just gonna happen when it happens!
  14. Bulldog

    Bulldog Active Member

    Yeah, he's probably right.

    I guess lately I have been the statue! [​IMG]
  15. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Wow, that really sucks. I hope you heal up real quick.

    That's the one thing to watch out for with 5x5 - it's a lot of low back stress. Squatting and rowing heavy all week, plus deadlifts on weds can be really stressful on the lower back. You could always swap out rows for something else, like chest supported rows or something similar. That would ease it somewhat.
  16. Bulldog

    Bulldog Active Member

    Thanks for the well wishes Tot.  Other than my wrist I'm feeling pretty much back to normal after a week getting back into lifting.  I did 15's on Monday and Wednesday and I did some fairly heavy 10's today.  I think I'll be ready to start the 5x5 on Monday as planned!   [​IMG]
  17. Bulldog

    Bulldog Active Member

    I forgot to mention....I got the giant washers while I was in Las Vegas. When I got home I weighed them with my cheapo food scale. They are all between 8.5 and 9 oz. in weight. Some day I may dig up my drill and drill some holes in them to get them all down to 8 oz. but for now I'm just going to use them as they are.

    The total including shipping for the washers was just under $20. Which is better than the $40-$50 most micro load plates cost.
  18. SweetDaddyPatty

    SweetDaddyPatty New Member

    I am also beginning a 5x5 program and had a few setbacks. First it was an awful cold that kept me out of the gym for a week and a half.
    Now my work hours have changed for the holidays, which combined with a shortened schdule for both of the gyms I go too for christmas eve and new years eve, means 3 weeks of working out only on wed and fri, which messes up the spacing of my first 6 5x5 workouts. This means only doing some movements once a week. Does anyone have an opinion on if that matters?
    What I may do is just do the first 6 workouts, then start over again at the beginning the first week of january when I can get back to a M-W-F schedule.
  19. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    If I were you, I'd probably just drop the Weds workout, just do the Mon and Fri workouts on Weds and Fri and see how that goes. If you are having a hard time, maybe go to doing the Weds and Fri instead, since the Weds workout is lighter.

    But your idea would work too, I think. You'd basically just have more rest days than normal.
  20. Bulldog

    Bulldog Active Member

    I was planning on working out right through the holidays but I have been sick the last couple of days.  I didn't feel too bad on Monday other than being a little tired soI went ahead and worked out. Then I felt like complete crap yesterday so I didn't do anything.  And then I had a real hard time getting my but out of bed this morning and still feel pretty crappy so no workout today.

    So being sick has kind of killed my 5x5 plans.  I think I'm going to start another HST cycle next week (assuming I'm feeling better by then) and then when I get done with that I go right into a 5x5 cycle.  I think that would be a better approach than I was taking trying to jump into a 5x5 after an SD anyhow.

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