Jump to content

Profound New Respect for Body Builders


Recommended Posts

As some of you may know, I'm doing SL5x5 right now, and am trying to refine my accessory work to make me into, hopefully, a consummate power lifter.

 

Today, I tried attaching the "BBB" assistance program from Wendler to my workout.  Oh my god.  I thought to myself "oh, only 50% of the work weight?  No big deal."

 

I don't think I've ever been this deep in muscle hell.
 

Link to post

As some of you may know, I'm doing SL5x5 right now, and am trying to refine my accessory work to make me into, hopefully, a consummate power lifter.

 

Today, I tried attaching the "BBB" assistance program from Wendler to my workout.  Oh my god.  I thought to myself "oh, only 50% of the work weight?  No big deal."

 

I don't think I've ever been this deep in muscle hell.

 

 

Yeah, I did 531 bench for the first time this week. I'm using my true 1 rep max for calculations, not the 90%, so for my last set on bench (SSS 1RM of 305) I'm doing 260x5 instead of 235x5. Holy crap was 85% 1RM for 5 a grind on the 5th rep, then 5x10 close grip at 50% of my bench (155) after that was easy for the first set, but the last 3 reps of the last set were so slow I was shocked I got the last one. It's gonna be something that's going to take some getting used to, but I also think the 5x10 light variant is something I might keep around for all my major lifts.

Massrandir, Barkûn, Swolórin, The Whey Pilgrim
500 / 330 / 625
Challenges: 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 31 32 34 35 36 39 41 42 45 46 47 48 49 Current Challenge
"No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. " ~ Socrates
"Friends don't let friends squat high." ~ Chad Wesley Smith
"It's a dangerous business, Brodo, squatting to the floor. You step into the rack, and if you don't keep your form, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ Gainsdalf

Link to post

Yeah, I did 531 bench for the first time this week. I'm using my true 1 rep max for calculations, not the 90%, so for my last set on bench (SSS 1RM of 305) I'm doing 260x5 instead of 235x5. Holy crap was 85% 1RM for 5 a grind on the 5th rep, then 5x10 close grip at 50% of my bench (155) after that was easy for the first set, but the last 3 reps of the last set were so slow I was shocked I got the last one. It's gonna be something that's going to take some getting used to, but I also think the 5x10 light variant is something I might keep around for all my major lifts.

 

Yeah.  I think I'm still going to do the 5x5 format, but either split the lifts into Squat/Bench day and DL/OHP day and keep the BBB or give each lift its own day so I can get in and out in under two hours.

 

I have DOMS today.  That's the first time in almost a month.

Link to post

Yeah.  I think I'm still going to do the 5x5 format, but either split the lifts into Squat/Bench day and DL/OHP day and keep the BBB or give each lift its own day so I can get in and out in under two hours.

 

I have DOMS today.  That's the first time in almost a month.

 

Yep, I have DOMs in my chest as well 36 hours later. I'm doing Texas Method starting the challenge after next and will figure out how to mix it in with 5x5 when I get there.  That huge volume is going to take getting used to by itself.

Massrandir, Barkûn, Swolórin, The Whey Pilgrim
500 / 330 / 625
Challenges: 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 31 32 34 35 36 39 41 42 45 46 47 48 49 Current Challenge
"No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. " ~ Socrates
"Friends don't let friends squat high." ~ Chad Wesley Smith
"It's a dangerous business, Brodo, squatting to the floor. You step into the rack, and if you don't keep your form, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ Gainsdalf

Link to post

 

How come?

Because I've read a lot (mir and bigm come to mind) about when running it with 90% as your calculation it is too light. When I examined it for myself, I found it was true. My true SSS one rep max for bench was 305. 90% of that is 275. 531 would put my working sets this week at:

205x5

220x5

235x5+

I know that's a lot for some people, but for me that's a warm up. My workout consisted of

Bench

135x10x2

185x8

230x5 (working)

245x5 (working)

260x5 (working)

then

close grip

155x10x5

That felt like a good, solid workout. The reason I felt justified dooing it is that I've read that one of the 2 reasons Wendler says to use the 90% is that most people don't know it and overestimate it, so he does that to be safe. I know what mine is.

Massrandir, Barkûn, Swolórin, The Whey Pilgrim
500 / 330 / 625
Challenges: 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 31 32 34 35 36 39 41 42 45 46 47 48 49 Current Challenge
"No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. " ~ Socrates
"Friends don't let friends squat high." ~ Chad Wesley Smith
"It's a dangerous business, Brodo, squatting to the floor. You step into the rack, and if you don't keep your form, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ Gainsdalf

Link to post

 

Because I've read a lot (mir and bigm come to mind) about when running it with 90% as your calculation it is too light. When I examined it for myself, I found it was true. My true SSS one rep max for bench was 305. 90% of that is 275. 531 would put my working sets this week at:

205x5

220x5

235x5+

I know that's a lot for some people, but for me that's a warm up. My workout consisted of

Bench

135x10x2

185x8

230x5 (working)

245x5 (working)

260x5 (working)

then

close grip

155x10x5

That felt like a good, solid workout. The reason I felt justified dooing it is that I've read that one of the 2 reasons Wendler says to use the 90% is that most people don't know it and overestimate it, so he does that to be safe. I know what mine is.

This. Allllll this.

Level ? Half-Dwarf/Half-Amazon Warrior

STR:21.25 STA:15 DEX: 10.95 CON: 14 WIS:15.5 CHA:17

SWOLE BUCKS: 1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Link to post

 

Because I've read a lot (mir and bigm come to mind) about when running it with 90% as your calculation it is too light. When I examined it for myself, I found it was true. My true SSS one rep max for bench was 305. 90% of that is 275. 531 would put my working sets this week at:

205x5

220x5

235x5+

I know that's a lot for some people, but for me that's a warm up. My workout consisted of

Bench

135x10x2

185x8

230x5 (working)

245x5 (working)

260x5 (working)

then

close grip

155x10x5

That felt like a good, solid workout. The reason I felt justified dooing it is that I've read that one of the 2 reasons Wendler says to use the 90% is that most people don't know it and overestimate it, so he does that to be safe. I know what mine is.

Acknowledged - lots of people don't know their 1RM, but that's not the only reason (and I would argue not the most important reason) that the program is set up this way.  Quoted directly from the book: "Once you have your maxes for each lift (bench, squat, deadlift, and standing military press), I want you to take 90% of this number and use this as your 'max' for the first 4 weeks of the training cycle....This will allow you to use sub-maximal weights to get stronger, and since you won't be handling heavy weights all the time, it'll keep your body fresh and you won't plateau  or regress.  If you decide you don't want to do this, don't do this program.  I've gotten a lot of questions about why this must be done, and the answer is simple: by starting out at 10% less than your max, you won't burn out, and you won't plateau.  So, leave your ego at the door and do it correctly.  You don't need to operate at your real max to make gains with this program.".

 

I'm all for intelligently adjusting ANY program based on individual needs - I'm just wondering what your basis is for adjusting this fundamental aspect of the program?  It's SUPPOSED to be light at first.  Also, it's primarily designed for, and is used by, lifters with strength levels comparable to yours.

 

Trying to learn here, not be argumentative :)

What you do, and what you don't do, matters.

Link to post

Agreed that it's supposed to be done that way so you keep getting stronger, but that didn't work for me. I tested my 1RM on all my lifts, plugged it into a spreadsheet, and did a full cycle (okay, maybe doing only one cycle wasn't fair but!!!! but but but keep reading). At SSS I had made NO gains on any lift (except maybe DLs, and I started doing those 10 lbs heavier than the spreadsheet called for).

Level ? Half-Dwarf/Half-Amazon Warrior

STR:21.25 STA:15 DEX: 10.95 CON: 14 WIS:15.5 CHA:17

SWOLE BUCKS: 1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Link to post

Agreed that it's supposed to be done that way so you keep getting stronger, but that didn't work for me. I tested my 1RM on all my lifts, plugged it into a spreadsheet, and did a full cycle (okay, maybe doing only one cycle wasn't fair but!!!! but but but keep reading). At SSS I had made NO gains on any lift (except maybe DLs, and I started doing those 10 lbs heavier than the spreadsheet called for).

Not sure what this means?  You did more than 1 cycle???...have no idea what SSS is :(

What you do, and what you don't do, matters.

Link to post

Oh! So Wendler is broken down into cycles, right? I did one cycle = 1 month. First week is 3x5+, 2nd week is 3x3+, and week 3 is 1x5, 1x3, 1x1+. Then week 4 is deload. So I went through all that with all my lifts once.

 

SSS = Spring Strength Showdown. Is our powerlifting comp.

 

So basically I tested my 1RMs, did a cycle of Wendler, aaaand had the exact same 1RMs as before.

Level ? Half-Dwarf/Half-Amazon Warrior

STR:21.25 STA:15 DEX: 10.95 CON: 14 WIS:15.5 CHA:17

SWOLE BUCKS: 1

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8

Link to post

Oh! So Wendler is broken down into cycles, right? I did one cycle = 1 month. First week is 3x5+, 2nd week is 3x3+, and week 3 is 1x5, 1x3, 1x1+. Then week 4 is deload. So I went through all that with all my lifts once.

 

SSS = Spring Strength Showdown. Is our powerlifting comp.

 

So basically I tested my 1RMs, did a cycle of Wendler, aaaand had the exact same 1RMs as before.

Ok got it - thanks!  Like you said, not sure 1 cycle is enough to reap the benefits of this style of program.  I'd lean towards playing with other negotiable variables (frequency, assistance stuff, etc.) before mucking with one of the underlying fundamental pillars.  Sooooo....thread thoroughly highjacked :nightmare:  Sorry Perry!

What you do, and what you don't do, matters.

Link to post

Acknowledged - lots of people don't know their 1RM, but that's not the only reason (and I would argue not the most important reason) that the program is set up this way. Quoted directly from the book: "Once you have your maxes for each lift (bench, squat, deadlift, and standing military press), I want you to take 90% of this number and use this as your 'max' for the first 4 weeks of the training cycle....This will allow you to use sub-maximal weights to get stronger, and since you won't be handling heavy weights all the time, it'll keep your body fresh and you won't plateau or regress. If you decide you don't want to do this, don't do this program. I've gotten a lot of questions about why this must be done, and the answer is simple: by starting out at 10% less than your max, you won't burn out, and you won't plateau. So, leave your ego at the door and do it correctly. You don't need to operate at your real max to make gains with this program.".

I'm all for intelligently adjusting ANY program based on individual needs - I'm just wondering what your basis is for adjusting this fundamental aspect of the program? It's SUPPOSED to be light at first. Also, it's primarily designed for, and is used by, lifters with strength levels comparable to yours.

Trying to learn here, not be argumentative :)

Oh, I know you're not trying to be argumentative, I'm more than happy to explain. Remember, I've got 18 months of lifting under my belt and below is based on my experience with my body and how I've learned it reacts.

The whole starting light thing to me is more applicable to beginners or people coming back to strength training after some time off. I did a whole light period for my first 4 weeks of madcow in the first 3 months of this year after 2-3 months off and am glad I did.

Madcow brings me to the other reason. Coming off that program, my body is already trained to work at slightly higher intensities than this program and that multiple times a week, so a slightly higher weekly volume as well. I'm also running it for only 3 cycles and I deal well with plateauing as it happens now and again once you've been an intermediate for a bit and I've been through it.

Looking at my working weights that I'm capable of doing vs what strict application of the program would have me do with the defined increases, it would take me 6 cycles, or 6 months to get to the point where it proscribes the workout I just did. By that time I'd be done my experimentation with this program. (I'm trying different programs for 12 weeks each this year so I can give better advice to people ask that is to an extent based on some experience. I've done madcow, then this, then I'll do Texas method.) It really all boils down to experience with your abilities and how you body reacts. Would I recommend beginners make the same jump I did? Nope, but I wouldn't recommend it to beginners anyway. I wouldn't recommend beginning intermediates make the jump either, but I do think the 6 month build up is too long and I think if the 4 week cycle seemed too easy, to make bigger jumps in the calculation 1RM than proscribed, like I did for Mir.

Ok got it - thanks! Like you said, not sure 1 cycle is enough to reap the benefits of this style of program. I'd lean towards playing with other negotiable variables (frequency, assistance stuff, etc.) before mucking with one of the underlying fundamental pillars. Sooooo....thread thoroughly highjacked :nightmare: Sorry Perry!

You should always see benefits after one cycle, that's why I think this program is too conservative in the starting 1RM number used in calculations. If you're experienced at all and already conditioned to lift, I think the minimum you should use would be 95% 1RM.

I wouldn't necessarily call it a hijack, it's roughly on topic.

Massrandir, Barkûn, Swolórin, The Whey Pilgrim
500 / 330 / 625
Challenges: 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 31 32 34 35 36 39 41 42 45 46 47 48 49 Current Challenge
"No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. " ~ Socrates
"Friends don't let friends squat high." ~ Chad Wesley Smith
"It's a dangerous business, Brodo, squatting to the floor. You step into the rack, and if you don't keep your form, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ Gainsdalf

Link to post

You should always see benefits after one cycle, that's why I think this program is too conservative in the starting 1RM number used in calculations. If you're experienced at all and already conditioned to lift, I think the minimum you should use would be 95% 1RM.

 

I disagree.  With this specific program, it would be unrealistic to see an increase in a true 1RM for an experienced lifter transitioning directly from another program.  It's exactly like you said, it'll take you 6 months to get up to your current levels.  It SUPPOSED to do that.  It's designed to do exactly that.  Applying this program with the expectation of hitting a 1RM PR within a month of the start of the program seems like a set up for failure.  Once you're into it, sure, expect PRs month-to-month, but not for the FIRST month.

 

But your last post totally cleared it up for me - you have no intention of using the program long-term.  Since that's the way it's designed to be used, the %RM scheme is also then designed with this in mind...so I can totally see why you'd want to jump in a few cycles!!

What you do, and what you don't do, matters.

Link to post

I don't see any point in a 6 month ramp up for anyone. It's a long time spinning wheels. For the first go round to get used to the program? Sure. But by the second cycle you should be progressing.

Massrandir, Barkûn, Swolórin, The Whey Pilgrim
500 / 330 / 625
Challenges: 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 31 32 34 35 36 39 41 42 45 46 47 48 49 Current Challenge
"No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. " ~ Socrates
"Friends don't let friends squat high." ~ Chad Wesley Smith
"It's a dangerous business, Brodo, squatting to the floor. You step into the rack, and if you don't keep your form, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ Gainsdalf

Link to post

And it's only a 6 month ramp up because of my specific weight on bench, he should be using %'s on weight increase to make it more applicable.

Massrandir, Barkûn, Swolórin, The Whey Pilgrim
500 / 330 / 625
Challenges: 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 31 32 34 35 36 39 41 42 45 46 47 48 49 Current Challenge
"No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. " ~ Socrates
"Friends don't let friends squat high." ~ Chad Wesley Smith
"It's a dangerous business, Brodo, squatting to the floor. You step into the rack, and if you don't keep your form, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ Gainsdalf

Link to post

Feels like we're barking up the same tree here. It's a conservative program, both in its initial load and progression - we seem to agree on that, yes? Take it or leave or, though, that IS the program. Each part of the program contributes to, and is dependent on, the other pieces.

Anyway...I've also wondered why more programs don't use % increases for progression. My guess is for simplicity's sake - to make it work you'd have to use some sort of pyramid strategy (at higher weights, you'd have to use lower percentages). And you'd have to optimize percentage change points (like, figure out at which weight it would be most appropriate to reduce the percentage increase).

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

What you do, and what you don't do, matters.

Link to post

Yes, it's a conservative program, you are right, in my opinion it is overly so with the starting weights and if you know what you're doing you should alter that part. Most programs don't use the % increases I think more because it's scary math that people don't want to do and have spreadsheeets for and all that. Telling someone to increase by a certain number of a certain type of plate is much easier.

Massrandir, Barkûn, Swolórin, The Whey Pilgrim
500 / 330 / 625
Challenges: 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 31 32 34 35 36 39 41 42 45 46 47 48 49 Current Challenge
"No citizen has a right to be an amateur in the matter of physical training. What a disgrace it is for a man to grow old without ever seeing the beauty and strength of which his body is capable. " ~ Socrates
"Friends don't let friends squat high." ~ Chad Wesley Smith
"It's a dangerous business, Brodo, squatting to the floor. You step into the rack, and if you don't keep your form, there's no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ Gainsdalf

Link to post

Good discussion on 531. I don't use it for most people for the reasons mentioned. It is a conservative program that makes sense in certain situations but most recreational lifters in their 20's can squeeze more progress out of more aggressive progressions. 

 

Save special loading cycles like Smolov, most of our strength work is autoregulatory. If we're in a 5's block a squat workout might look like "find a 5RM then do some backoffs at 90-95%." The end result is a lot like a heavy 3-5x5 only you're not slave to a number or progression. On day's you're feeling it you go for PR's, other days you're just punching the clock. More than anything over time it is the frequency (volume) you accumulate at high intensity that puts weight on the bar and we never want to sacrifice an opportunity for some quality intensity just because our spreadsheet says 3x5@70%. 

Eat. Sleep. High bar squat. | Strength is a skill, refine it.
Follow my Weightlifting team's antics: Instagram | Facebook | Youtube
Looking for a strength program? Check out The Danger Method and remember to do your damn abs

Link to post

Speaking of frequency, what do you guys think of that I'm regards to 5/3/1 using a 3-day per week scheme? Basically you're only hitting each 5/3/1 lift once every 1.25 weeks or so. Is there enough carry-over from the bench to the press (and vice-versa), from the squat to the DL (and vice-versa), and from the various accessory lifts to the main lifts? Or is it more advantageous to do the 2-day per week scheme (squats and bench, deads and press) with a third day for pure accessory work? Ups the frequency on the main lifts a bit, at least...

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

What you do, and what you don't do, matters.

Link to post

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

New here? Please check out our Privacy Policy and Community Guidelines