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The Next Step.

What comes next?

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#1 ScottT

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 06:43 AM

I wrote this randomly just because I have been thinking about this a lot lately. My idea is to create some discussion in regards to more intermediate & advanced programs. Sorry if it seems a bit random and not going anywhere.

I have been thinking quite a bit lately about what comes next. After Stronglifts 5x5 and our other respective weightlifting routines, we have many many options and most of us have varying goals. Strength is a big one that most of us have in common, I would say that a lot of us don't mind looking good either :)

I personally have never been a very big person, I am 5'9" (173-174cm) and currently 69kg (152lbs). I have been fairly active throughout my adult life and always been lean. Some people call me lucky, in someways I guess so. But it has always been tricky for me gaining weight. Not only cause I am usually too poor to buy 4000cal of food a day, but also cause deep down I do care about my body image. Despite this body image isn't in my actual goals. Strength and Functionality are, I want to lift more weight, compete even and I want to Rock Climb... Not exactly 2 sports that go hand in hand, but oh well.

Now, the whole reason why I started this Topic. What comes next. There are a few folks on this forum that have started hitting the Weight and Volume barrier in 5x5 Squats, most of us have either stalled out to 3x5 or chosen to drop to 3x5. Either way that means we are heading to the end of life in the SL 5x5, from what I can see most of those people are squatting above bodyweight too.

I have been tossing and turning over what to do next. I am currently feeling stronger then I have in a while, but I am noticing that outside of working out I am generally less active then I used to be. Most intermediate programs have a lower volume of heavy lifting to allow for greater recovery. So I thought I would put it out there and see what people think about their future options in regards to their future goals.

The main selection of Intermediate plans that I know of is:

Madcow
SL 5x5 - Advanced
Wendler's 5/3/1 -- Wendler Spreadsheet
Smolov Squat Cycle
Faleev's 5x5 (odd russian varient)
Texas Method

So..... I could type up a bit of info on all of these programs, but I figure you are better off just clicking links and reading. Plus I dare say most of us have read these pages before. I'll throw a few of my own thoughts in though.

The most popular of these seems to be Madcow, the most challenging would have to be Smolov and one of the better long term programs would be 5/3/1.

I have always wanted to complete a full Smolov cycle simply because it appears to be so crazy arse insane. Lots of people argue that you need 'Chemical Assistance' in order to get through the program. I have no doubt that it is intense but I feel it is truly doable.

5/3/1 appeals to me personally due to the ability to focus the Assistance exercises on possible sport specific goals. A long distance runner could effectively do 5/3/1 without hampering their daily training if they so wanted. Without the serious assistance work and big diet you would simply gain strength where it counts without gaining large amounts of weight. This also allows people to use Kettlebells, gymnastic rings, Metabolic Conditioning and other such 'Non Standard' assistance exercises in order to achieve a slightly broader goal and possibly leaner physique.

Madcow allows the next highest rate of progression for all of the prime lifts. For a guy squatting 270lbs twelve weeks gets you to 330lbs (1x5) vs 297lbs (1x1)... Of course you can't stay on Madcow forever I guess. But you can run back to back cycles, but I imagine it would get less and less effective.

For me personally I may choose Madcow followed by 5/3/1, although I would love to throw Smolov in there for the challenge.
In the end though, I want to bring Kettlebells and Gymnastic rings back into my regular training schedule as these bring me much joy and relate a little more to the type of strength needed by a climber. But I want to still improve my overall strength.
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#2 FerrousMaverick

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 11:56 AM

Let me throw out a couple other routines that are at least intermediate level:


I'll also throw out that the 5/3/1 method has a whole book to more deeply explain it. There's also Practical Programming book by Dr. Kilgore and Rippetoe that will help you tailor your own programs for yourself.
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#3 Mike

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 03:30 PM

Thanks for the post Scott. Nice to see all the options we have in one place. Problem is, I now want to do them all :)
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#4 Ramesh

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 03:46 PM

I think i will move to the Madcow..and Wendler's 5/3/1 once i am close to 320 lbs on my Squat (this is not a limit..just that i would like to switch to a low volume one). I swear i haven't read the 5/3/1 Program fully yet, but i do believe that it has a overall lower volume on exercises than 5x5.

Personally, i have no goals of competing in a Powerlifting meets. I am lifting just to feel and get Stronger..and ofcourse to feel good about it.
I started on SL basically bcos, my lifts on the Isolation routines werent making me any stonger (the Rep range did not allow me to increase my lift poundage). SL Helped me overcome that barrier.


Yes, Smolov seems to be a perfect recipe for real bad (and hard) asses...I think i would take it up when i plan to commit suicide...Kidding..The Program's layout itself looks so intense that i need balls of steel to take up that one and stick to the 13 weeks.
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#5 Mike

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Posted 28 July 2011 - 07:44 PM

This is what I'm thinking for the future:

Starting Strength

Madcow

Wendler

Smolov

Wendler again


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#6 ScottT

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  • Deadlift PR:180kg x 3 reps

Posted 28 July 2011 - 11:27 PM

Thanks for the Bill Star options there Maverick, there is some nice reading there.
The 5/3/1 book is a good little read, it explains various assistance ideas and give examples all the while letting you make up your own thing too.

I have been thinking of going Madcow first and then Wendler and save Smolov for the Wet Season... When it rains here there is no Outdoor activity that is safe for around 3 months :D.
I want to start implementing Gymnastic ring exercises during Madcow, just easy going Static Exercises. But in Wendler I want to get back into Kettlebells and more active Ring workouts. Mostly cause they are fun.

I also found some of the Boris Sheiko routines...... These things scare the crap out of me more then Smolov, they seem to be more serious 'professional' routines for people that don't work, have meals and all daily needs catered for or just plain rich people with too much time. Some of these routines have you Squatting TWICE in one day.
Some of them are a bit tricky to read as they are semi translated from Russian. There is a special translation link there, but the core ones are in full english.
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#7 FerrousMaverick

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Posted 29 July 2011 - 07:45 PM

My personal plans, assuming the timing works out are:
  • Starting Strength until I hit Intermediate stats
  • Smolov (if it burns fat like they say I'll be one happy camper)
  • Wendler 5/3/1
Beyond that, I'm not quite sure what I plan to do until I reach my advanced stats. I may alternate Wendler 5/3/1 and Madcow, throw in the Bill Star options, or use the information in Practical Programming to help me decide. One thing is for certain, I do want to keep explosive movements, so power cleans or straight cleans will be part of the program for the foreseeable future. I may throw in snatches after a while as well. None of the programs on listed so far focus on those. (Although Smolov does have PC in the latter weeks).
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#8 ScottT

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  • Deadlift PR:180kg x 3 reps

Posted 29 July 2011 - 11:51 PM

I like the idea of using Wendler as a base routine for long periods throughout the year and slipping in Madcow every so often. I'm looking forward to your results on SS Maverick. It really seems the people on this forum are slightly masochistic. Nearly everyone wants to do Smolov :P

I am pretty interested in Olympic Lifts, and I have the basic idea, but no one where I am actually knows anything about them. Ironically I am going to Tafe (Collage of sorts) studying fitness and exercise. Looks like I have to go and get my Weightlifting Level 1 Couching certification to learn any of that properly or just teach myself.
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#9 FerrousMaverick

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Posted 30 July 2011 - 01:43 AM

With the results I've gotten from doing something hard, I'm thinking the results after Smolov will be equally good. I'm planning on doing it once. I may change my mind at some point in the future, but once is enough to think about for now.
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#10 NeilPorter

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Posted 24 September 2011 - 06:50 PM

I will do 2 phases of Madcow - but looking at those next steps, I would rule out 5/3/1 because I simply cannot train 4 times a week.
I don't fancy smolov because of no deadlifting.
I reckon it would be SL advanced after Madcow - then after that I would devise my own plan, because it would basically be heavy squat/deadlift/bench once a week and pad it out with OHP, tricep work and assistance exercises - you only need a spreadsheet to do monthly increases instead of weekly.
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#11 sking

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 01:00 AM

With the results I've gotten from doing something hard, I'm thinking the results after Smolov will be equally good. I'm planning on doing it once. I may change my mind at some point in the future, but once is enough to think about for now.

+1 on Smolov if you really want to increase your squat. Another plus is, if you are working toward body recomp, squatting that much will burn a lot more calories.
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#12 sking

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Posted 25 September 2011 - 01:02 AM

I would rule out 5/3/1 because I simply cannot train 4 times a week.

You can do 5/3/1 3 days per week. You just have to keep up with which workout you are on, just like SL and SS.
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