Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Archie

Madcow Failure

Recommended Posts

Dear all,

 

Started week 8 on Madcow and I'm really beginning to struggle with completeing reps on last set.

 

Given up on assisatance on week 6  to focus on required objectives.

 

Today (Monday)

Failed on the Squat 5 x 112.5kg - got only 3 similar to Friday's set of 3 x 112.5kg

Horrible on Bench 2 x 75kg

Just missed out on barbell pull-ups with 4 (though form was average on last 2 reps)

 

Last week (Week 7 Wednesday) missed out on strict Military press and got only 2 x 52.5kg!!! Weird as I made 5 x 50Kg last week with some effort, but successful nevertheless.

As well as Deadlifts where I managed to get only 3 x 140kg

 

Feel burnt out and hurt all over. Not too sure to start again from scratch and log in and use new PR's or persist and repeat week 7 and 8 a few more times till successful.

 

There has been an increase of weight since stopping SL, about 10% on Squat, Deadlift and BBP, and very little on the Press and Bench.

 

Is this normal????

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is this normal????

 

Yes.  I only got a few more weeks with Madcow.

 

A recent article by Greg Nuckols I think explains your situation very well:

 

http://rippedbody.jp/2014/07/18/intermediate-training-greg-nuckols/

 

Upper body work needs a lot of volume to get it moving.  Even more so than squats and deadlifts.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Ferrous.

 

Great article. I'll give it a shot,

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For the record, I lost ground on overhead press, and gained about 15lbs on everything else. (I think body weight included...)

 

Doesn't make it a bad program, but I think it would serve better as the beginner program rather than what you do after a beginner program.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

On Madcow I barely went past my lifts in SL, though others seem to have had luck with it

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I had a different experience from Art and Mav: after several resets and no progress on the last 2 months of SL5*5, I had 2 runs of Madcow which improved my 5rm by +75lb squats, +130lbs deads, +35lbs bench, and +15lbs ohp. My last Madcow run got me nothing. Like Mav, that was with +10lbs bodyweight in 6 months. For me 5*5 (and 3*5) gave me subpar results (Sets of 5 across for squats just ground me down) where the lighter volume of Madcow finished off my newbie gains.

No program is magical, you have to find your individual balance between pushing yourself and letting yourself recover. You need a program with more volume, less volume, and/or more recovery. Glad I could help ;)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Art, Fudley and Ferrous,

I'm in the process of dropping down to week 7 from (stalled week 8) where I was successful on getting 5 reps on last set. But I'll go for 6 reps, 7 reps etc on the last one till I get 10 reps.

What format are you guys on now? 531?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Right now I'm working a basic Westside template, when I tried 531 I lost Pressing power, I think due to lack of Press volume in the program, so if you go with 531, you might consider the BBB template, as it has a lot of volume, though at lower percentages, first set last also looks like a good setup, or there is a variant called 863 that gives more volume

there are also other programs like sheiko or smallov that are regarded highly, though I haven't tried them myself

If you have a LOT of time to devote to training (2 hours per session or so) I'd say hepburn powerbuilding looks good

I'm sure others will have more info, and opinions

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks Art, had a look at the Westside program. Seems to be quite a few variation's. Looks interesting, certainly more flexiable in format compared to SL and Madcow.

 

I've read Wendler's book with the 531 outline, it would feel strange to Squat once a week as opposed to 3 times a week I've been doing what feels like forever now!

Also I noticed with the 531, that if you choose the BBB option, there is no Barbell Pull for back. I can see what you mean about the Press; if I miss a week due to a conference, I tend to really struggle with it too.

 

I'll look at the other options you gave, thanks buddy....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

When I went on Madcow the first time it was a shit show. I'm notorious for not eating enough so that was probably the reason why. The second time I did Madcow I used the protocol only for Deadlifts. I stayed on it for 9 weeks (actually 11 but had two failed weeks in there). I put 45 lbs. on my deadlift 1RM during that time. But remember I was only using Madcow for deadlifts, not the full program. In my experience most people make short runs with Madcow and 8 weeks is completely "normal". This doesn't mean it's good. It may be that most of the people on the internet, myself included, just suck.

 

The first time I did 5/3/1 I really didn't accomplish anything at all. I kind of felt like I just wasted 6 months. There is a tweak to 5/3/1 where you have goals for the AMRAP sets and essentially you use your rep max for the goal set and try to get more reps. So if the goal was 7 reps you would be using your true 7 rep max and trying to get more reps. That version produced more results for me. In fact, had I not gotten sick I might still be on that program now. But i had some health issues that made me stop lifting for a while. I was the strongest I had ever been when on that variation (non official) of 5/3/1.

 

My conclusion is that 5/3/1 didn't work so well for me, or at least not at that time. Tweaking it so that you can push for rep PRs every single week seemed to work well for me, though. Probably because I thought it was fun. Enjoying training seems to be a key to success. The premise behind Madcow works but doing it with squats, deadlifts, and presses at the same time takes a lot of recovery and perhaps I wasn't willing to do what it takes. I think I just don't like sets of five with heavy weights on big lifts.

 

I feel like I do better with less structure. I like training ideas and protocols I can incorporate and apply to specific lifts, not "lift this weight for this much on this day for 7 months" programs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, just an idea, with ramping sets, like Madcow, I find it's better to reverse the order of them. So do a proper warm up all the way up to the top heaviest set. Then do the working sets in reverse. So instead of doing 300 x 5, 325 x 5, 350 x 5, 375 x 5 you would reverse it and do 375 x 5, 350 x 5, 325 x 5, 300 x 5. This way as you fatigue the weight is coming off the bar instead of going on it. I found more success with that and at the end of the day you get the same amount of work done so there is no difference in the result you should get other than the fact that it's (at least mentally) easier to do it in reverse. Just make sure you're doing singles for warm ups as the weight gets heavy because you're going to have to do more warm up singles to get up to your top set.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm working with a coach right now, so he takes care of my programming.  I personally had some good experience with 531, and a lot of what you get out of it is choosing your assistance work well.

 

None of these stock programs are going to be perfect for everyone.  However, one thing is certain, you'll have to increase your work capacity to keep progressing.  I would start with Wendler's triumvirate assistance package for a couple cycles, then do BBB but swap days so that your DL assistance is on squat day and your OHP assistance is on bench day and vice versa.  After doing that for 3 cycles, switch back to triumvirate.

 

See how that helps you overall.  531 is a good program, but there are several good programs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Also, just an idea, with ramping sets, like Madcow, I find it's better to reverse the order of them. So do a proper warm up all the way up to the top heaviest set. Then do the working sets in reverse. So instead of doing 300 x 5, 325 x 5, 350 x 5, 375 x 5 you would reverse it and do 375 x 5, 350 x 5, 325 x 5, 300 x 5. This way as you fatigue the weight is coming off the bar instead of going on it. I found more success with that and at the end of the day you get the same amount of work done so there is no difference in the result you should get other than the fact that it's (at least mentally) easier to do it in reverse. Just make sure you're doing singles for warm ups as the weight gets heavy because you're going to have to do more warm up singles to get up to your top set.

that reversal sounds like a stellar idea, to be honest, for Madcow at least

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

OPie, you don't mention how much your bodyweight increased?

 

Madcow is a "footballer's" program and is all about getting "big & strong".  If you aren't willing to get big on Madcow, then most will struggle to get strong on it as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I weigh about 79kg.

Tonight I did the Wednesday night schedule Madcow week 8

Moderate squats, press and deadlifts.

All good with the exception with Press. Doing last first is a great idea, managed to get 3 reps of 52.5.

Though Ferrous idea of increasing volume made sure I had a good hit on those shoulders. 10 reps of 42.5 and then 8 reps of 40kg.

I think it sort of acts like assistance work. Man those shoulders were tender after that.

I'm at a conference for a week and my body can do with a break. It's been consistent training for months. At 51, things hurt a bit longer.

Might restart Madcow for the second time with new PR's, reevaluate as soon as I hit a new wall.

Guys you've been solid with your advise.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yeah but what was your starting weight on Madcow and your finishing weight?  If they are ~the same, then you set yourself a significant hurdle.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea I hear what you say, I put on about 2kg in 8 weeks. Ate big time.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So basically a 250 calorie a day surplus. It's something, but that's not spectacular for a program like this. It really is for young athletes who don't particularly care about fat gain. Just like Starting Strength is for beginners. Madcow is basically the non Rippetoe equivalent of Texas Method. Except people who don't eat a lot don't last very long on Madcow even though they can have some success with SS, because there are no noob gains to push you forward even without proper diet. But at least you did gain weight.

 

In other words, if you're thinking "but I can only gain 2 lbs. of muscle a month so why eat more?" then don't do these kinds of programs. These are for the "screw it I'm gaining 10 lbs. this month, and next month, and next month" crowd. At your age you likely don't have a reason to do such things. But that being said, you did have success with it so if you want to take another run, go for it. Just remember that weeks 1 - 4 aren't even PRs so getting to week 8 isn't super fantastic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

ok, restarted Madcow and have lasted 8 weeks without a stall with the exception of one last rep of 5 for military press for 52.5 kg (I'll get this tomorrow)

 

Dropped everything 10% at the start of this second round. And only gave myself 3 weeks to meet PR.

For 5 reps, Squat jumped from 105 to 120kg, bench from 70 to 77.5kg, Military not that much though from 50 to nearly 52.5kg and DL from 130 to 140 kg.

I think from the advise you guys gave me about Volume (thanks Ferrous), I added an extra set of 10 reps at a lighter weight and only increased it if successful after I finished my normal schedule . I dropped the light squat on Wednesday's entirely and found my DL was easier to get more weight on.

 

BY THE WAY, does anyone use Knee straps or Knee wraps?? 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use neoprene knee sleeves, as it's the only thing legal in my powerlifting federation.  There's a few on here that use knee wraps because they are legal in their federation.  One example would be "sking", and you can find his training log in the Advanced section.

 

I have knee wraps, but haven't broken them out yet.  Honestly, unless you are preparing for a competition in a couple months I'd keep going without the wraps.  Everyone benefits from more glute work, and that helps both squats and deadlifts.  Eventually, you will have to move on from Madcow to keep seeing progress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for that Ferrous.

Finally, going from Madcow (5 months on it now) and getting some good results, in particular the 3rd round and now going to 5/3/1.

What seems to concern me a little is squating and benching only once a week with this program. I fully understand that the assistance covers some of these body parts but would one lose some strength? So used to squating 3 times a week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Many people have added plenty of lbs to their lifts on 5/3/1.  If you are concerned, you could squat as assistance on DL day -- just do lighter volume.  You could also bench as assistance for press day, or use dips or push press to get heavier chest or triceps work in, respectively.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Don't be too worried about that.  The key feature of 5/3/1 is to introduce some undulation (varying intensity ranges) week to week.  Between that and the AMRAP sets, you are going to be building more recoverable volume in the space of a month than you did on Madcow.

 

As Idle pointed out, doing 5x10 squats on deadlift day helps spread things out and keep you in practice.  I went from a 310 lb squat to 405 lb on 5/3/1 in a few months.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×