To Develop a most effective Strength Program

Discussion in 'Strength-Specific Training (SST)' started by TangoDown, Sep 13, 2012.

  1. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    hi guiz,

    Sorry if I seem inarticulate; I assure you that my first language is English and I am quite proficient in it. I'm just exhausted from a long day.

    Bout to test my 1 rep maxes for the first time ever over the weekend. Since I now care mostly about strength, I want to transition from HST to something else (obviously still keeping within the vein of progressive overload). I've looked at Wendler 5/3/1 and WSB, and I like Wendler 5/3/1 better because I don't have any boards or chains that WSB seems to require.

    Yes I know I posted a thread about transitioning beforehand, but that was 5 months ago. I've squatted and sumo deadlifted for about 2 months now (using Starting Strength for a lower body that was untrained and imbalanced) so neural adaptations have probably ended. I consider my form on both to be pretty good.

    I switched to barbell bench a couple of weeks ago from dumbbell bench and I'm guessing I can probably put up around 200lb for a rep, which isn't a ton (figuratively and literally lol), but hey, I'm only 157lb and 5'8" or so, so whatever. I'll be pushing a big number in the future.

    Hence, with HST's outlined setup (15/10/5/Post-5/SD) becoming boring, progress stagnation (didn't get much stronger this cycle on the upper body, compared to before), and not much caring for aesthetics outside of getting fat or breaking my body, I want to go strength or go home, if you know what I mean. ;)

    Back to Strength Program talk:

    The one thing I don't understand about Wendler is the assistance work; it doesn't seem to use progressive loads like the main lifts do. Unless that's outlined in the book (which I haven't purchased and probably won't). The other thing I'm confused about is the fact that with Wendler, you never train above 90% of your 1 rep max. You never test your actual rep max, you just push out as many reps as possible with a specific weight on specific days (when the program utilizes "+" days, or 3+ reps for example). I'm not specifically peeved that you don't get to push for a true rep max at any point...just seems kinda weird.

    But I digress. I'd like to transition to a pure strength/power protocol, and the weight room at my gym doesn't have any fancy equipment besides dumbbells, a couple Olympic barbells, one babrell bench, one incline bench, a dip station, 2 pullup bars, a smith machine (ew), and a squat rack (not a power rack so no self spotting, unfortunately).

    The lifts I'll be using:

    Main Lifts:

    Sumo Deadlift

    Low-Bar Squat (Normal Stance)

    Flat Barbell Bench Press

    Overhead Press (not a big priority, but if I utilize Wender 5/3/1, it's used as a main lift...if not using Wendlers, I don't even know if I want to utilize this lift)

    Assistance Lifts:

    Some sort of back row (probably barbell, have to test my max)

    Dumbbell Rear Delt Row (prehab purposes)

    EZ Bar Curls (how could I resist?)

    I suppose I could do DB Floor Press if need be (I was doing 1 arm floor press until I joined the gym) but I'd like to keep my program simple.

    I'm not too keen on any major power-lifting protocols at the moment (speed work, some crazy lift-specific protocols, board presses, resistance-band presses, etc.) My main goal is to increase the big three. My current schedule has me going to the gym 3 times a week - Tues Thurs Sat. ATM can't do Mon or Weds or Sundays. So training anymore than 3 times a week won't work for me.

    So should I try Wendlers or should I do something else, or should I develop/get help in developing from ya'll, some HST-principle driven custom program?

    Thanks for the assistance.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  2. CDB

    CDB New Member

    Honestly, I'd recommend going simpler first. You said you were considering west side, why? West side is for advanced lifters who need to train specifically to improve weaknesses because they want to deadlift 800 pounds. At your level, you are weakness. No offense. Most of us are at that level for the most part. I always recommend 5x5. It's simple and easy, and it works. And it gives you an idea of how to balance intensity and volume without going into overly convoluted dual or triple or quadruple 'factor' periodization routines. You have to wonder what all these 'methods' are really for when the goal is relatively simple to achieve. West Side has proven success, but are you capable of putting in what it takes to be a west side success? I'm sure as hell not. As such, I'm not going to Louie Simmons for advice on how to train a middle aged guy with a tight work schedule and knees on their last ligaments.

    Keep it simple.
  3. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Yeah, if you want to increase the big three then 5x5 is great. I did a lot of 5x5 back in my earlier time when I was trying to build strength and didn't want to do regular HST routines. It can be very effective. Of course you have to eat a lot. Also careful with lower back, 5x5 can really hammer the lower back which can be good if you can keep up with it. I never had a problem but I know others who had to switch to chest supported rows or seated rows instead of bentovers.

    Btw: Google Madcow's 5x5 if you want an easy to use spreadsheet
  4. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    Isn't 5x5 a lot like Starting Strength, except for the increase in volume?
  5. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    Don't worry, I lol'd.

    Been training for almost a year on HST, squat/deadlift for 2 months w Starting Strength (no lower body before that). If that helps any.
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2012
  6. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    DL'd the Madcow spreadsheet. If I'm gonna do 5x5 I'm gonna do Madcow's Intermediate. EXRX has my stuff around intermediate, bench looking closest to advanced. Taking those numbers with a grain of salt, because apparently if I bench 300lb at 155lb, I'm an elite lifter lol.

    One thing about Madcow; the spread sheet has my 1 rep maxes going up a good 40-60lb in just 12 weeks. That seems insane. I think it assumes I'll continue PRing after the initial PR at the fourth week. I think the actual program has you pushing your PR until you stall, and then you deload, similar to Starting Strength.
  7. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

  8. Jester

    Jester Well-Known Member

    I think you'll be surprised at the PR increases you'll experience under a strength program. Hell, I tried this back in 2001 (yeh, this link still works, w00t :p):

    And it more or less worked perfectly - but who'd have thought that looking at it?
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 15, 2012
  9. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Sorry, forgot to mention to get the intermediate version. Yeah, it does have some increases programmed in and you might not hit all of them but I'm willing to bet you hit some of them.
  10. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    I'm gonna SD before I start this program as the 5 set on the first day has you only about 15-20lb lower than all your maxes.

    Since I don't feel comfortable getting a 1 rep max on squat without a power rack, I think I'm going to just test my 5 rep maxes, since those are what are being used in the program. Today or tomorrow I'll test deadlift and bench, and Tuesday I'll test Squat, Military Press, and BB Row.

    Hopefully this 3 rep balls to the wall **** I've done for the past 2 weeks has pushed my maxes up some, but then again there may be some fatigue. We'll have to see.

    As it stands, the lifts I'm going to use are:


    Sumo Deadlift


    BB Row

    Military Press

    Assistance: Some sort of core exercise, EZ-bar curl, rear-delt row


    Thanks for the help, gentlemen.
  11. Totentanz

    Totentanz Super Moderator Staff Member

    Make sure you keep a log...
  12. TangoDown

    TangoDown Member

    Aye aye sir

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