On last week’s lifting thread I gave a shout-out to my posse on new program ideas for me to follow. Didact came through in a big way.
I started out on the same StrongLifts 5×5 programme that Adam did, and I still use a lot of the same concepts from that programme in my own training routines. As I noted in a three-part series of posts that I wrote a few years ago for another reader’s request – you can find that series, along with all of my other multi-part posts, here when you look for “A Beginner’s Guide to Lifting” – the SL5x5 programme is, in my personal opinion, THE most effective way for novice lifters to pack on hard muscle mass, lose fat, and gain strength.
However, it needs to be very clearly understood that the SL5x5 programme is a beginner’s training method. It is extremely effective, because it uses time-tested and rigourously proven principles of strength engineering.
But, like most problems in engineering, there is actually more than one possible way of approaching the question of how you add strength over short periods of time.
I will answer Adam’s request for suggestions based on my personal experience, and will offer two possible alternative training methods to doing squats 3x per week. Both involve squatting only twice per week, not three times.
So this week I switched it up a bit to incorporate some of Didact’s recommendations.
On Wednesday I followed his advice for the bench press and the chin ups which is as follows:
Friday – Upper Body Day, Bench Press & Chin-ups:Warm-up sets: 5 pause reps @45, 95, 135
- 3 sets of 5 reps @185
- 3 sets of 5 reps @195
- 2 sets of 2 reps @205
- 1 set of 1 rep @215
- 1 set of 1 rep @225Chin-ups: 1 set of bodyweight chin-ups for as many reps as possible, usually between 15 and 20
I was following my own numbers for the weights, obviously, but otherwise I did it exactly as Didact mentioned here. If you exclude the warmups then this is 10 sets of the bench press as opposed to 3 sets on the 3×5 program. I felt it the next day, no doubt about it. Not in an overwhelming sense, but it was noticeable.
On Friday I did the same as above for the squat, as I misread Didact’s squat regime as 37 sets, which seemed slightly insane, but it’s actually reps, not sets. Anyway, I did that and then I did my normal 3×5 for the shoulder press which he excludes for some reason, not sure why. When I eventually got to deadlifts I have to admit that it was just about over for me by that stage but I managed to eek out about 10 reps.
I felt the legs the next day, no doubt about it. It felt good to switch things up like this. I’m taking the next week off over Christmas but I’m looking forward to see how the old legs respond to a bit of snowboarding.
The one disadvantage that Didact’s program has is the time it takes to complete it. I was in the gym for almost 2 hours on Friday as opposed to my normal hour session. I’ll have to weigh this up going forward.
The other challenge will be not to overindulge to much over the next week. We shall see as I have some fun stuff planned.