Prioritizing Muscle Groups

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by Philip, Jun 6, 2008.

  1. Philip

    Philip New Member


    This is a straightforward question about priority. How would you prioritize the lower body using a 5x5 routine? (Without access to a leg extension machine.)

    Doing more leg work, such as squats, does not make sense since the workload in that category already is presumably as high as is optimal. Doing less upper body work would seem like a strange approach too which makes it a bit complicated...

    Just so you know, my lower body is not at all very far behind the upper body but by own preferences, I would like it to get stronger as well as bigger compared to my upper body using a 5x5 routine (that is because my main focus is strength and improvement in the squat particularly). Perhaps the advice would be to just don't bother about this for the time being, and let the 5x5 squats do their job; thus drop the thought of priority. What do you suggest?
  2. You could do some RDLs for hams and calf raises to train other leg muscles. Hammering more at the quads doesn't look necessary if you go heavy on the squats.
  3. Philip

    Philip New Member

    Yes I thought of adding some exercise for the hamstrings, 2-3 sets of moderate intensity mon/fri should do fine so that the back won't take too much additional beating from it.

    Otherwise, there's not much to add in terms of quadriceps I believe. As you point out electric, additional direct quad work won't do much more than burn out the legs, at least not in my case.
  4. What 5x5 are you doing? Have you done a 5x5 before?
    Most 5x5 programs or at least all that I have seen are use the squat as a cornerstone. With the two I have done, stronglifts & Texas, I found no reason to add anything for legs. Between the squating 3x a week and the deadlifts I got all I needed.
    My standard advice if this is your first time with this program is to try it as is the first time or two then make adjustments. 5x5 programs are fairly exhausting by design and often any additions can be too much. Without a baseline for how your body reacts to the stock program there is no real way of knowing if the extra work is going to push you into overtraining until it happens. Once you are overtrained rest is the only thing that can fix it and that really isnt going to help when mass is your goal.
    If you have experience with a 5x5 and you feel you can handle the additional volume the electric's advice is spot on.
  5. Philip

    Philip New Member

    I should have mentioned I am completely new to 5x5 programs. I lack solid experience in classic barbell training although I have several years of more or less heavy resistance training (former gymnast and lots of weighted one-legged work etc).

    The additional calf work should not really imply a greater risk of overtraining at all. Some RDLs at a lighter load could be seen as plain assistance training so I doubt that would be a risk, but then again you are the ones with experience...

    Anyhow, you have brought me to the conclusion that any additional quad or other squat work would be over-kill and probably stupid in my case for the sake of priority of the lower body.
  6. xarfox

    xarfox New Member

    5x5 typically entails:
    day 1: 5 sets of squats
    day 2: 4 sets of squats
    day 3: 6 sets of squats

    that is more than enough leg work for me, my joints are usually screaming by week 6 or 7

    and that's without cardio, i wouldn't add any more leg work than that
  7. Philip

    Philip New Member

    I get the impression that it is actually quite unnecessary to elaborate with this when on such a demanding strength routine as the 5x5. Simply put, if a routine allows you to add leg work then add it if the legs need to be prioritized. I think the HST generally will allow this with only 1 set of squats and 1 set of leg press per workout; if needs be, just add a set to each exercise. But as for the 5x5 in which the main focus is on the squat, no more leg work thanks [​IMG]
  8. colby2152

    colby2152 New Member

    Squats + Deads = All you need for your legs and core! (as far as free weights are concerned)

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