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Why is my workout a pyramid shape?


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So after working through Starting Strength I moved on to madcow 5x5 and it's been going great. Doing first deload this week. But I had a sudden thought that google has not sufficiently answered.

 

The workout is structured like a pyramid, lighter weights working to heavier ones. And on Fri up to a PRx3 then a set of 8 at a lower weight.

 

But why is the workout this shape? There must be a good reason, as opposed to straight sets, or for that matter warming up and then going from heaviest to lightest? It seemed that I'd be more likely to hit my heaviest sets if I did them first :P

 

So I guess I'm wondering if there is a physiological reason for the workout being designed this way?

The valiant never taste of death but once.

 

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It's just the way that Bill Starr designed his 5x5 program. There are justifications for every set and rep scheme. The Bulgarians do a lot of max effort singles. Westside loves conjugate periodization in 1 week blocks. Lily likes conjugate over 3 week blocks. Wendler likes waving block periodization over 3 week cycles. All of them work, some more effectively in some trainees than others.

 

Madcow's game is to do just enough volume on Monday to be able to hit a PR on Friday, rinse, lather, and repeat. The Texas Method looks similar but does straight sets on Monday but Friday's PR isn't necessarily based on your Monday's weight but on the previous Friday.

 

TL;DR: Because Bill Starr said so.

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2016

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It's built that way so you can work up to the max triple and be the freshest possible for it, with the lighter 8 added for additional hypertrophy after the most difficult work has been done. It makes the set of the easier to get and lets you move more weight on it.

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One practical reason (among many reasons, including those above) - as your weight gets heavier, you'll need more warm-up sets to get to your max sets. This a)takes a lot of time and b)adds a fair amount of volume. Plus it's easy to missjudge your jumps - too big and you're not ready for it, too small and you're fatigued before getting to your max set. Working in a pyramid gives you some structure to that build up and manages volume somewhat.
 

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Hey guys. Thanks for the feedback. Hate having an unanswered question lol. Eats away at me :P

 

I particularly like "Because he said so" which is sort of what I imagined but thought it might be some deeply complicated chemical and physiological reason :P

The valiant never taste of death but once.

 

Battle Log:

100 Day Bench Press Challenge (64 Days)

Challenge: 1, 2

         

Estrix, level 1 Goblin Raider

STR 3|DEX 2|STA 3|CON 3|WIS 3|CHA 2

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