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Bill Starr 5x5 Primer - How to create your own 5x5 program by Head Coach

Powerlifting discussion on Bill Starr 5x5 Primer - How to create your own 5x5 program by Head Coach, within the Bodybuilding Forum; http://www.eclipsegym.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=57 Bill Starr 5x5 Primer - How to create your own 5x5 program Due to popular demand, the Eclipse Coaches ...


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Old 09-18-2007, 10:56 AM   #1
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Default Bill Starr 5x5 Primer - How to create your own 5x5 program by Head Coach

http://www.eclipsegym.com/forums/viewtopic.php?t=57

Bill Starr 5x5 Primer - How to create your own 5x5 program Due to popular demand, the Eclipse Coaches will decipher the 5x5 program and allow members from any gym to experience Phase I of our training. This is the basic program of Coach Bill Starr, arguably the greatest strength coach who has ever lived, since this program has influenced millions of athletes since it was conceptualized over 30 years ago. It is legendary since it simply DOES NOT FAIL to add size, speed, quickness, and strength to even advanced trainees.

It is ideal for newbie lifters however. Why do I say this?

1) It teaches you that training to failure is often a mistake and is not needed for maximum growth.

2) It teaches you how to avoid overtraining by getting you in the mindset of proper sets and reps that can be done per bodypart chain per workout.

3) You experience why free weights are (and always will be) superior to machines.

4) You learn to love squats and leg training...and avoid looking like Johnny Bravo (girls do laugh at guys with this look, BTW)

5) You will learn that isolation is a myth, and the stupid "beach boys" and "curl jockeys" flexing in the mirror will look at you in awe as your arms grow without having do do a single bicep curl or tricep extension. If you are a "beach boy" or "curl jockey", you have the ability to be forgiven if you can accept your mistakes and make a change

6) You will only need to train 3 times per week to achieve maximum results.

7) You will possibly gain muscle and lose fat at the same time. It's possible, and I've seen it in my own guys. This will burn fat more effectively than cardio, which I feel is largely a waste of time, even though we have the state-of-the-art cardio equipment at Eclipse like the Arc Trainer.

8 ) It teaches you that you can train while you are still sore.

9) It teaches you that you should train your whole body every-other-day for optimal results.

10) You get maximum results in a minimum amount of time. 3-6 months is all that it takes to achieve what most trainees cannot achieve in 3-6 years, and you will even get better results than steroid users!

So that's my top 10 list. I'm sure I left out some things, but I'm sure they will be covered as we go on. The mechanics of the program will follow, with many examples, based on what we've learned as Coaches.

*In doing this program, you must accept full responsibility for your actions. We are not there to supervise you, so therefore you are at the mercy of the competence of your own gym's instructors and the integrity of their equipment to assist you on anything here that is clear or unclear. This is an effective but potentially dangerous program if done improperly. If you decide to continue, you must assume full liability and accept that you allow us to absolve ourselves of any blame or liability, as myself or my staff are not responsible for any harm that you inflict upon yourself since we are not there to personally oversee your training actions. In other words, if you get hurt elsewhere when attempting this program, don't say that I didn't warn you.*

If in doubt, the smart thing to do is to join Eclipse so that we can guide you safely and effectively.

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Old 09-18-2007, 10:57 AM   #2
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Default The exercises and descriptions

1) The Squat

The squat is the most important of all of the exercises for most trainees. As the (very) old saying goes, if you are not squatting, you are not training. While I might argue that deadlifts are more fundamental to overall body strength, nothing beats the squat for adding mass in minimum time. Deadlifts do have my preference, however, if I'm working with a total hard-case lifter who has extremely weak hamstrings, no balance, and minimal core strength. But this is very rare, and I'll also assume that even if you are one of those individuals, you can gut it out for a few weeks and accept that you won't progress as fast as a natural athlete in the initial stages. The truth is that it's meaningless, especially if you consider how much further advanced you'll be than most guys with a routine they copied from Muscle and Fiction in a matter of 3 months. All that matters is that you progress, and as I said before, the 5x5 does not fail.

I put squat as #1 on this list because I need to emphasize how important it is. And NO, YOU CANNOT DO LEG PRESSES IN PLACE OF A SQUAT!!!! Also, No FU*KING WAY are you allowed to use a Smith Machine instead of FREE WEIGHT barbell squats!!!! As another article once said, hit yourself in the head with a 45lb iron plate if you need to do so in order to snap out of this idea. If you think you can get away with substituting my recommendations with machines, STOP READING NOW AND GO AWAY. I don't want you here, and nobody will help you when you whine later that you are stuck.

If you expect this program to work, you must squat, with an Olympic bar (for safety purposes) and you must do FULL squats. If your quads do not go past parallel to the floor, you might as well not squat at all. Again, NO HALF SQUATS OR QUARTER SQUATS!!! They must either be high-bar weightlifting squats, or low-bar power squats. Both build muscle, but which you choose depends on your goals. We make women do low-bar squats since they build the butt and hamstrings, while minimizing the role of the quads. Women don't want big thighs (quads), so we do what we can to minimize this chance. Men, you are a different case (even when doing low-bar squats) because 1) you have testosterone and 2) most women stop at around 100-150lbs for their squats and choose to maintain their lower body firmness while you can obviously go much higher than this. Once you go past 300lbs in the squat (which is common after 4 months, even with average genetics), you'll be hard-pressed not to have legs that can double as car jacks as well as make the ladies drool at the beach.

So again, low-bar squats are the key. What does this look like? Basically the Olympic barbell will be resting on your lower traps and your upper rear delts. You will be standing so that your torso is at about a 30 degree angle to the floor and your butt is sticking out. In other words, you'll be squatting by bending at the waist and allowing your body to sit as you'd sit while coming home and sitting on a toilet seat at night. To practice this, hold your arms out straight ahead. Look at your toes without dropping your chin. The idea is to look straight ahead while squatting, but you'll need to look at your toes for practice. Now take a deep breath (and hold your breath) start squatting while sticking out your butt and bending at the waist. You should still be able to see your toes as you decend. At the point where your thighs have gone below parallel to the floor, you should feel your stomach touch your upper thighs (quads). Your knees should still be behind your toes with respect to your line of vision. Your breath should still be held. At this point, you'll immediately stand up to the start which starting to exhale once you are nearly at the top. The purpose of this breathing practice is to maximize the stability given to your spinal column through IAP or intra-abdominal pressure. This pressure causes your abs to contract powerfully and will work together with the muscles along the spine to give strength and stability to your core and lower back.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:58 AM   #3
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Default Gyms that are conducive to the 5x5

Before anyone jumps on me for being biased, as I've said before, I DON'T HATE OTHER GYMS. I just hate the way that they are killing the industry, or being "run into the ground" as the saying goes. I've said it 1000 times already, "If all gyms were getting results for their members, we wouldn't be able to build gyms fast enough to accomodate everyone." But this is not the case. I believe, in my experienced opinion, that most gyms care more about making money than service. I've personally had quite a number of individuals who have never worked out a day in their lives who have come to me and wanted to invest or franchise. In a polite way, I basically told them to go away. We don't need any more absentee owners in an industry where SERVICE is so important. And by service, I don't mean looking good in a suit and kissing member ass, all-the-while looking like he/she has never trained for a day in their pathetic pencil-necked lives.

But I digress....

Besides obviously Eclipse, I'll go over the various gyms of which I believe you can do a 5x5. Most of these are from experience, while others are from the information given to me by others.

If I haven't named the gym of someone reading this thread, assume that I have not heard about your facility. If this is the case, you'll need to give me some sort of evidence that you can cater to my readers with respect to this 5x5 program. So away we go....

1) Eclipse (duh) - Each branch has at least 9 power cages or squat racks, complete with safety features, 1" pin catches, Olympic bars that are made for the squat, thick rubber floors, round (not octagon or hexagon plates that will roll) plates made of a composite rubber material, bumper plates for speed-strength and strength-speed training, plates as small as 2.5lbs and clips that weight 0.5lbs, official bars, the fact that you can drop the weights and not disturb neighbors below, 10" benches, etc. Eclipse is a full health club with state-of-the-art amenities and cardio equipment, in case you care

2) Zest - Zest is a power gym in Quezon City. I've never been there, but it has produced some very fine athletes, a couple who are internationally ranked. It is "hardcore" meaning small and old equipment. It's not for people looking for full service facilities, but it will get you started if getting big and strong with a 5x5 is your only concern. They have basically everything you need.

3) Gold's Alabang and Galleria - Notice I didn't say Gold's Makati. Gold's Makati is not a place condusive to 5x5 training. They have octagon plates that will roll, no 2.5lb plates, a power cage with annoying 2" catches, a squat rack (it's ok I guess), and are above Teriaki Boy so you can't bang the weights without inducing the ire of the management.

Gold's Galleria is ok....as is Alabang (but I've never been there...second hand info), but they are still very expensive since they are in the mall and have other franchise induced overhead. I'd warn you, however, that Gold's Galleria tends to get crowded around 5pm when the offices let out. If you are a serious trainee who wants maximum results, you might do better elsewhere.

4) Pinnacle (not the Libis/Eastwood branch) - I've never been to the non-Libis branch (I don't recommend the Eastwood/Libis branch for the 5x5) but I've been told the other Pinnacle is acceptable.

5) Manila Polo Club - again, I've been told this is adequate by another Coach, but I have no first-hand knowledge.

6) Lord's Gym - it's a very private club by invitation only. You'll have to read the Men's Health Philippines Forum to contact their Director for a membership.


Gyms that are NOT conducive to the 5x5


*Note that what is written below is my opinions and observations. If the representatives of these gyms make a change and wish to address what I've written for the better, they are welcome to post as well*

1) Fitness First - as a former member, I give them a HUGE thumbs-down. Their Olympic bars are too small, and will hurt you when trying to squat. Most of my current members agree that if you are looking for results through a scientific program like a 5x5, you might as well forget about Fitness First. They cater more to the "general fitness population" (whatever the hell that means) who are more concerned with socializing than results. Fitness First doesn't hide this fact, but I wish they'd be nice enough to let their inquirees know that they are mainly for people who just want to get out of the house and move around. Their equipment is inadequate for what I'm teaching.

If you try to do your 5x5 training at Fitness First, you will fail, pure and simple. Don't say that I didn't warn you. Furthermore, some individuals who have done some of the movements like deadlift were told to stop doing so. I hope this is clear enough.

2) Fitness Advantage aka Sphere - I've never been there...but my current members tell me that they do not allow Olympic lifts or deadlifts.

3) Gold's Makati - as said earlier

4) Slimmers World - the problems with Slimmers World are too many to list. I'm a lifetime member there, and have been to most of their branches. You might as well forget the idea of going to Slimmers World to do a 5x5 and succeed at the same time.

5) Red Corner - focuses more on boxing and machines. This is not a place for strength training or a 5x5. I know and like a couple of the "big dogs" at Red Corner, and they have spoken to some of my staff about putting a Red Corner boxing area at Eclipse (partnering), but I still cannot recommend their facilities for the 5x5.

6) Planet Infinity - they are not properly equipped to handle a 5x5.

7) Basically every other gym out there that doesn't have olympic bars, power cages, small weight measurements, allowances to do deadlifts, olympic lifts, etc are on the "Negative" list. If you are going to one of these gyms, consider yourself warned if you are trying to do what I've written here.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:58 AM   #4
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Default How to write your program

Since everyone is probably skimming until they get to this portion (hopefully to come back and study the rest later), I'll get to the program.

The following rules must be followed:

1) You must do all of the exercises prescribed.

2) You CANNOT add extra exercises and expect any additional gains with the exception of maybe a few sets of calves training. If you add additional work you'll likely OVERTRAIN.

3) YOU MUST take at least 2 days off (weekend) following the "Friday" or "Day 3" session of Bench, Squat, and Rows. I cannot begin to tell you how many times I've busted guys who did their "B,S,R" workout, and only took 1 day off since they were so excited to continue. You might get away with it at first, but if you continue to neglect your rest, YOU WILL OVERTRAIN. PERIOD.

Don't give me a migrane headache guys....PLEASE follow instructions!

4) YOU MUST rest at least 5 minutes before attempting your top set of an "Intensity" workout/bodypart and about 5 minutes between sets during a "Volume" workout. "Intensity" is defined as 5 sets where you'll pyramid to one heaviest set. A "Volume" workout is where you'll do 5 constant-weight sets after a brief warmup. For example, if you have to do 135x5x5 for squats, you MUST rest at least 5 minutes between sets. Again, guys will fail to complete their reps, and then I'll later find out that they didn't rest enough between sets. Very simple gentlemen (and ladies)...your goal is to complete the sets and reps. No more, no less.

5) IF YOU DON'T GET THE SETS/REPS (as in you get 4 reps instead of 5 on your 5th set) STOP! STOP! STOP! DO NOT try to be a hero and try to attempt 8 sets in a silly effort to prove to me or yourself that you can do it. Even if you do it on the 8th set, you are still an IDIOT for trying. When I write something, consider it a direct order, and to be a disobeyence of a direct order if you try anything "extra". If you are in need of this program, it means that you are NOT EXPERIENCED ENOUGH TO THINK FOR YOURSELF YET WITH RESPECT TO PROGRAM DESIGN!!! SO DON'T THINK!!! That is my job! Are we clear everyone? I'm not a bad guy....just don't piss me off!

To ensure that you complete the sets and reps, you MUST observe the following final rule:

6) This is the most important rule. If you don't follow it, don't expect much. This applies ESPECIALLY to the guys who have a hard time gaining weight: EAT! If you are a stick-boy, you should be eating enough to gain AT LEAST 1lb per week. And I'm not talking about the 5lbs you'll gain in the first week that is mostly water weight gained from extra carb intake. After this initial 5lbs, you'll need to add another 1-2lbs for the duration of the program. Whatever fat you add, you can always lose later and still retain most of the muscle. As it has been written in our "Training for Men" article linked from the homepage, you DO NOT get to see models and actors in the off-season when they are preparing for movie roles. They get FAT in many cases. If you've ever seen fat actors in tabloids, and later they starred in "Fight Club" or "Ali", now you know what they were doing. They were bulking and gaining muscle. While I don't recommend that you become obese, you should still strive to gain about 10-15lbs of scale weight during this phase of training.


A final message...consistancy is the key, and you should be training 3 times per week, every other day, if you expect to get progress/results. If you miss a day or two, it won't kill your program. But don't make this a habit. Just continue where you left off. If you DO miss a week, you'll need to go back AT LEAST a week in the weights you are using. If you miss 2 weeks, START THE PROGRAM OVER FROM THE BEGINNING.

Oh yea...another bone-headed thing that some guys do....if you are going to miss a day, for example, you are going to the provinces on Friday and won't be able to do your workout then, DO NOT...DAMMIT....DO NOT DO TWO CONSECUTIVE WORKOUTS, AS IN WEDNESDAY AND THEN THURSDAY WITH NO DAY OFF!!! For all of those laughing at what I've written, you'd be surprised at how many doctors, med-students, engineers, and others who are highly-educated will do the things above even when I've told them this stuff already....especially the part about "follow the program exactly" and "you must rest 1 day after each workout and take the weekends off after 3 every-other-day sessions". At least it's in writing here so at least I'll have SOME peace of mind as to adherance to what I'm saying

So away we go:

Cliche...Drum roll....

THE BILL STARR 5x5

Monday (Perform them in this order)

1) Bench Press

2) Squats

3) Dynamic rows

Wednesday (Perform them in this order)

1) Military Press

2) Deadlifts

3) Squats

4) Pull-ups

Friday (Perform them in this order)

1) Bench Press

2) Squat

3) Dynamic Rows


So how does this work:

First, you'll find the most weight that you can do, for 5 reps for:

Bench press

Squat

Dynamic Rows

Pullups (if you can't do even one, don't worry about it)

STANDING Military Press

Deadlifts (sumo or conventional depends on you)

Now you'll begin your progression as follows:


Monday (Perform them in this order)

1) Bench Press - Pyramid to approximately 95% of your top 5 weight over 5 sets. Each previous set should be approximately 15-20% less than the first. Note that this will be very loosely followed when the weights are light. Rest 5 minutes before performing your last set.

2) Squats - After maybe 1-2 warmup sets of 3 reps, you will perform 5 sets of 5 reps with approximately 90% of your top 5 weight for squats. Be sure to rest 5-7 minutes here.

3) Dynamic rows - After maybe 1-2 warmup sets of 3 reps, you will perform 5 sets of 5 reps with approximately 90% of your top 5 weight for squats. Be sure to rest 5 minutes here. If the weight is less than 155lbs, don't bother with warm-up sets.

Wednesday (Perform them in this order)

1) Military Press - After maybe 1-2 warmup sets of 3 reps, you will perform FOUR sets of 5 reps with approximately 90% of your top 5 weight for STANDING Military Press. Be sure to rest 3-5 minutes here. If the weight is less than 85lbs, do not bother with warmup sets.


2) Deadlifts - After maybe 1-2 warmup sets of 3 reps, you will perform 5 sets of 5 reps with approximately 90% of your top 5 weight for Deadlifts. Be sure to rest 5-7 minutes here.


3) Squats - Here you will perform 15-25% less weight than you did on Monday. For most guys, I've found that 15% is sufficient. This is assuming that you are less than 35 years old. For older individuals, you might need a larger reduction in weight.

4) Pull-ups After maybe 1-2 warmup sets of 3 reps, you will perform 5 sets of 5 reps with approximately 90% of your top 5 weight for Pullups. Be sure to rest 5 minutes here. If you cannot do 5 pullups per set, don't worry about it. They grow stronger as your deadlift and dynamic rows grow stronger.


Friday (Perform them in this order)

1) Bench Press - After maybe 1-2 warmup sets of 3 reps, you will perform 5 sets of 5 reps with approximately 90% of your top 5 weight for Pullups. Be sure to rest 5 minutes before attempting each set.

2) Squat - Pyramid to approximately 95% of your top 5 weight over 5 sets. Each previous set should be approximately 15-20% less than the first. Note that this will be very loosely followed when the weights are light. Rest 5 minutes before performing your last set.

3) Dynamic Rows - Pyramid to approximately 95% of your top 5 weight over 5 sets. Each previous set should be approximately 15-20% less than the first. Note that this will be very loosely followed when the weights are light. Rest 5 minutes before performing your last set. If you could not do more than 135lbs on your top 5 test, you'll simply add 5lbs more than you did on Monday and do 5x5 with a constant weight instead. This will be the case for most new lifters or non-athletes.


Now that you know the basic instructions, and do's and don'ts, I'd recommend that you study them THOROUGHLY. An ounce of prevention is worth TONS of cure, or slapping yourself in the forehead ala Homer Simpson later when you realize you did something dumb.

Some real examples, based on theoretical Top 5 weights will follow next to illustrate.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:59 AM   #5
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Default First Illustration - a total newbie

So let's assume a common case. The individual is a theoretical, based on many newbies I've coached at Eclipse.

The session would take 1.5-2 hours of instruction to get the top 5 for bench press, squat, and rows. Most of this time would be spent critiquing form, and correcting common mistakes. Most guys can get their top 5 in 15-20 minutes for bench press, 30-40 minutes for squats, and about one HOUR is commonly spent teaching dynamic rows. Why do most guys have a hard time learning dynamic rows? Because they are a skilled movement that requires coordination. With athletes or guys who grew up playing a sport on a regular basis (and NO BADMINTON DOESN'T COUNT...since, in my opinion, badminton is for fat/lazy people who don't want to do actual work in the gym....and causes obscene numbers of injuries to non-prepared individuals, i.e. most of the population) I find that they have developed a reasonable amount of hand-eye coordination which allows us to quickly teach the dynamic row. So for all of you who choose to read this thread and learn dynamic rows at another gym, again, you are at your own risk. They are very technical and require quite a bit of coaching with an experienced trainer. I will follow this "how-to" section with a discussion on the finer points of dynamic rows.

So let's say that we got the following top 5 for said newbie. This top 5 was performed ideally over 5 sets or less, to avoid excessive soreness after this initial session. For example, this individual did the following sets:

Bench: 45x5, 55x5, 65x5, 75x3. Here the individual failed at 75 for three reps while 65 was not too difficult. It's therefore safe to assume that his top 5 for bench is 70lbsx5.

- I must say this AGAIN since so many MORONS here force reps like it's something about to go out of style so they must get the most out of it: WHEN SOMEONE GETS STUCK, PULL UP THE FU$KING BAR AND RACK IT. DON'T FORCE THE REP. IT IS NOT A SPOT!!!!!

I'm so tired of these guys who think that a "spot" means that they are supposed to touch the bar even if it isn't to jerk it off of someone who has failed a rep. If I ask for a spot and someone touches the bar during my set at any time other than the lift-off OR IF it gets stuck (where, again, he should grab it and pull it off me), or to guide it back to the rack, I swear I'll THROW HIM THROUGH A MIRROR. Then I'm going to find out what ass taught him this stupidity and I'll throw him out of a 5 story window. THEN, I'm going to track down whoever initiated this stupid concept of spot here in Manila and I'll invite him to fly to Boracay with me sometime, and I'll throw him out of the plane. IS IT CLEAR?!? DON'T TOUCH THE BAR DURING THE SET!!!! AAARRGGGHHH!!!!! NEVER FORCE REPS!!!! IT'S NOT CALLED A 'SPOT' YOU MOMO!!!

Ok...I'm calm...sort of For me to totally calm down is a stretch. Anyway, if someone gets stuck, don't help them force the rep. Grab the weight and rack it immediately. If you fail the set, deal with it. It's how you'll adjust your program. And another thing: If you can get 5 reps but feel like you can do 8, stop at 5. The whole reason strength training is effective is because training to failure is probably the biggest blunder someone can make. Training to failure is exactly why I can walk into any gym and outlift even the biggest guy there with probably only a few exceptions in the country, and they (those stronger than me) all train like I do. The reason we are big and strong is because we don't train until failure.

Squat: 45x5, 65x5, 85x5, 95x5. 95 was tough so we stopped.

Dynamic rows: his form was atrocious, so we just decided to use the 90lbs bumper plates as the "Day 0" weight at move up 5lbs per session to ensure that we follow the proper form. It's better to get the form right than get injured.


DAY 2 aka DAY 0 - B

Most people prefer to split up the 5x5 Day Zero into two sessions since it often takes so much time to give instruction on squats and dynamic rows. Military press is relatively straightforward and most guys will crap out at about 55-65lbs on their day Zero if they are newbies.

So let's assume that:

Military Press top 5 = 60lbs

Deadlift top 5 = 155lbs

Pullups = 3 reps. With pullups, don't be concerned about it. If your gym has a gravitron or pull-up assistance device, that is ok. Avoid pulldowns since they don't really translate into pullup strength. They also don't develop the abs like pullups do. I'll save the "why" pullups develop the abs for the pullup discussion later. My best advice is to just try to do 5 sets of pullups, even if you can only do a negative rep or 1-2 reps per set. Many of my first trainees upon the opening of Eclipse couldn't even do a half-rep when they started. These same guys can now perform as much as 60lbs strapped to their waist for 5 reps. This is 6 months later, and their V-shaped backs and defined biceps are the envy of their friends who train elsewhere.


So now you have your top 5 weights that you got over the 2 days. It's probably best to take 2-3 days off before starting the program.

But here is the program with weeks, sets, and reps:

WEEK 1

Format - Weights x reps x sets

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 45x5, 50x5, 55x5, 60x5, 65x5

Squat: 80x5x5 (warmup 45x5)

Row: 90x5x5 (no warmup since rows follow squats) - again, we are practicing form here

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 140x5x5

Squat: 65x5x5

Military press: 55x5x4 (4 sets)

Pullups: Bodyweight x5x5

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 60x5x5

Squat: 45x5, 55x5, 65x5, 75x5, 95x5

Row: 95x5x5 (again no warmup) - here we just added 5lbs since we are practicing the form with rubber bumper plates. If your gym doesn't have these, you are already fighting an uphill battle as a newbie.


WEEK 2

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 45x5, 50x5, 55x5, 60x5, 70x5

Squat: 90x5x5 (warmup 45x5)

Row: 100x5x5 (no warmup since rows follow squats) - again, we are practicing form here

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 150x5x5

Squat: 75x5x5

Military press: 60x5x4 (4 sets)

Pullups: Bodyweight x5x5

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 65x5x5

Squat: 45x5, 55x5, 65x5, 85x5, 105x5

Row: 105x5x5 (again no warmup)


WEEK 3

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 45x5, 50x5, 55x5, 60x5, 75x5

Squat: 100x5x5 (warmup 65x5)

Row: 110x5x5 (no warmup since rows follow squats) - again, we are practicing form here

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 160x5x5

Squat: 80x5x5

Military press: 65x5x4 (4 sets)

Pullups: Bodyweight +5lbs x5x5

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 70x5x5

Squat: 45x5, 65x5, 75x5, 95x5, 115x5

Row: 115x5x5 (again no warmup)


WEEK 4

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 45x5, 50x5, 55x5, 65x5, 80x5

Squat: 110x5x5 (warmup 65x5)

Row: 120x5x5 (no warmup since rows follow squats) - again, we are practicing form here

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 170x5x5

Squat: 90x5x5

Military press: 70x5x4 (4 sets)

Pullups: Bodyweight +10lbs x5x5

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 75x5x5

Squat: 45x5, 65x5, 75x5, 95x5, 125x5

Row: 125x5x5 (again no warmup)


WEEK 5 - There is a week 5 because this individual is a newbie or relative newbie (meaning not much progress). More advanced lifters will often stop at the 4th week for the de-load week.

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 45x5, 55x5, 60x5, 70x5, 85x5

Squat: 120x5x5 (warmup 65x5, 95x2)

Row: 130x5x5 (no warmup since rows follow squats) - again, we are practicing form here

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 180x5x5

Squat: 100x5x5

Military press: 75x5x4 (4 sets)

Pullups: Bodyweight +15lbs x5x5

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 80x5x5

Squat: 45x5, 65x5, 85x5, 105x5, 135x5

Row: 135x5x5 (again no warmup)


DELOAD - WEEK 6 - This week is here to allow your nervous system to take a break since you have been increasing (loading) the weights on your body for 5 weeks straight. After this, you'll begin the simple intensity phase, or Phase 2. Note this Phase 2 is based upon the original Bill Starr program. Eclipse has a special (and much more effective) Phase 2 that is for members only since it must be customized and updated on a daily basis But the Phase 2 we'll give here is pretty effective as well. It

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 45x5, 50x5, 55x5, 70x5, 85x5

Squat: 120x5x5 (warmup 65x5)

Row: 130x5x5 (no warmup since rows follow squats) - again, we are practicing form here

2 DAY REST

Workout 2 (THURSDAY)

Deadlift: 180x5x5

Squat: 100x5x5

Military press: 75x5x4 (4 sets)

Pullups: Bodyweight +15lbs x5x5

3 DAY REST

PHASE 2
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:59 AM   #6
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Default Phase 2

So now we are on Phase 2 for this theoretical newbie, who has likely gained quite a bit of strength and size. What now? Follow the continuation below. As I said, however, this Phase 2 is not quite as nice (or as technical) as what we do at Eclipse. That progression that we follow is true art, if you know how to use it of course. The following Phase 2 will suit you well, and I'm sure you will be satisfied with the results:

WEEK 7 - Note that we have now gone from a 5x5 to a 3x3 and we've dropped the Wednesday squats.

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 45x3, 70x3, 90x3

Squat: 130x3x3 (warmup 65x5, 95x2)

Row: 140x3x3 (no warmup since rows follow squats)

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 190x5x5 (keep doing the 5x5 here as per the Eclipse version)

Military press: 80x3x3

Pullups: Bodyweight +20lbs x3x3

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 85x3x3

Squat: 85x3, 115x3, 145x3

Row: 145x3x3 (again no warmup)

WEEK 8

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 45x3, 70x3, 95x3

Squat: 140x3x3 (warmup 65x5, 115x2)

Row: 150x3x3 (no warmup since rows follow squats)

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 200x5x5 (keep doing the 5x5 here as per the Eclipse version)

Military press: 85x3x3

Pullups: Bodyweight +25lbs x3x3

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 90x3x3

Squat: 85x3, 115x3, 155x3

Row: 155x3x3 (135x3 warmup)

WEEK 9

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 45x3, 70x3, 100x3

Squat: 150x3x3 (warmup 65x5, 115x2)

Row: 160x3x3 (no warmup since rows follow squats)

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 210x5x5 (keep doing the 5x5 here as per the Eclipse version)

Military press: 90x3x3

Pullups: Bodyweight +30lbs x3x3

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 95x3x3

Squat: 95x3, 135x3, 165x3

Row: 165x3x3 (135x3 warmup)

WEEK 10

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 45x3, 70x3, 105x3

Squat: 160x3x3 (warmup 65x5, 115x2)

Row: 170x3x3 (no warmup since rows follow squats)

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 220x5x5 (keep doing the 5x5 here as per the Eclipse version)

Military press: 95x3x3

Pullups: Bodyweight +35lbs x3x3

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 100x3x3

Squat: 95x3, 135x3, 175x3

Row: 175x3x3 (135x3 warmup)


So that is our theoretical end to a Phase 2. Not bad increases eh? Will you get them? Probably...if you eat enough and are consistant with your training, it is highly likely. Some things to note however: If you are an extremely slow gainer, you might need to decrease the jumps in squats from 10 to 5 lbs. You really won't know if this applies to you unless you have begun the program and are struggling immedately. But even the slowest gainer can hit these weights if he is simply eating enough and gaining weight like I've recommneded.

The next discussion will be a more advanced trainee.
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:00 AM   #7
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Default Advanced trainee scenario

This time we'll look at an example of someone a bit more advanced in their progress or training. This individual will represent the genetically average trainee in Metro-Manila with at least 2-5 years of training experience. The truth is that most individuals who fall into this category are not much further advanced than the preceding example. Sad but true. The reason, as you probably know by now, are the mindless worship of bodybuilding mags (rags) and the lies they perpetuate to sell supplements or machine equipment. But this must be forgiven and accepted, since there has never been a foundation of knowledgable trainers. And in this, I'm especially talking about the AFPP/FitPhil. It is a disaster and a complete laughing stock in my humble opinion. That organization should be disbanded and started anew, as an organization without hidden agendas. Who knows....maybe we'll start our own fitness professional society and will give complete disclosure of our vested interests. There's always a first time for everything But I digress again...

The idea now is to get our advanced trainee out of his chronically overtrained state and prime him for some fresh gains. In this case, it won't be as straightforward as the first example. The problem lies in the strategy of the loading of the weights. If you load him too soon, you won't allow for adequate nervous system response and the opportunity for gains will be missed. This is the chronic problem with trainers who are unexperienced in administering micro-cycles such as the 5x5. They often have the trainee doing his maximum weights by the 2nd week and do not back off enough during the first week to allow adequate priming of the nervous system. You must keep the progression fairly linear and shoot for smaller gains. After all, if you have been stuck bench pressing 185lbs for the last 2 years, I'm sure you won't mind a 20-25lb increase over 5-10 weeks.

So let's use the following test weights for 5 reps:

Bench Press: 185lbs
Squat: 185lbs
Row: 185lbs

(You might be surprised how common it is to see weights like those above and how they are all the same)

Deadlift: 225lbs
Standing Military Press: 85lbs
Pullups: Bodyweight x 5 reps


WEEK 1

Format - Weights x reps x sets

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 65x5, 95x5, 115x5, 135x5, 175x5

Squat: 160x5x5 (warmup 45x5, 115x5)

Row: 160x5x5 (warmup 135x5)

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 205x5x5 (warmup 135x5, 185x2)

Squat: 135x5x5

Military press: 75x5x4 (4 sets)

Pullups: Bodyweight x5x5

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 165x5x5

Squat: 65x5, 95x5, 115x5, 145x5, 175x5

Row: 65x5, 95x5, 115x5, 145x5, 175x5


WEEK 2

Format - Weights x reps x sets

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 65x5, 95x5, 115x5, 135x5, 180x5

Squat: 170x5x5 (warmup 45x5, 115x5)

Row: 170x5x5 (warmup 135x5)

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 215x5x5 (warmup 135x5, 185x2)

Squat: 140x5x5

Military press: 80x5x4 (4 sets)

Pullups: Bodyweight x5x5 + 5lbs

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 170x5x5

Squat: 65x5, 95x5, 115x5, 145x5, 185x5

Row: 65x5, 95x5, 115x5, 145x5, 185x5


WEEK 3

Format - Weights x reps x sets

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 65x5, 95x5, 115x5, 135x5, 190x5

Squat: 180x5x5 (warmup 45x5, 115x5)

Row: 180x5x5 (warmup 135x5)

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 225x5x5 (warmup 135x5, 185x2)

Squat: 145x5x5

Military press: 85x5x4 (4 sets)

Pullups: Bodyweight x5x5 + 10lbs

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 175x5x5

Squat: 65x5, 95x5, 115x5, 145x5, 195x5

Row: 65x5, 95x5, 115x5, 145x5, 195x5


WEEK 4

Format - Weights x reps x sets

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 65x5, 95x5, 115x5, 155x5, 195x5

Squat: 190x5x5 (warmup 45x5, 115x5)

Row: 190x5x5 (warmup 135x5)

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 235x5x5 (warmup 135x5, 185x2)

Squat: 150x5x5

Military press: 90x5x4 (4 sets)

Pullups: Bodyweight x5x5 + 15lbs

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 180x5x5

Squat: 65x5, 95x5, 115x5, 155x5, 205x5

Row: 65x5, 95x5, 115x5, 155x5, 205x5


WEEK 5 - Deload week. Notice that there are only 2 workouts this week with an extra rest date, and the weights have not increased from last week.

Format - Weights x reps x sets

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 65x5, 95x5, 115x5, 155x5, 195x5

Squat: 190x5x5 (warmup 45x5, 115x5)

Row: 190x5x5 (warmup 135x5)

2 DAY REST

Workout 2 (thursday)

Deadlift: 235x5x5 (warmup 135x5, 185x2)

Squat: 150x5x5

Military press: 90x5x4 (4 sets)

Pullups: Bodyweight x5x5 + 15lbs

3 DAY REST

Begin Phase 2
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:01 AM   #8
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Default Advanced trainee - Phase 2

Continuing in a similar manner as the complete newbie, the more advanced trainee progresses in his intensity phase. We also dropped the Wednesday squats:

WEEK 6

Format - Weights x reps x sets

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 115x3, 155x3, 200x3

Squat: 200x3x3 (warmup 95x5, 155x5)

Row: 200x3x3 (warmup 135x5)

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 245x5x5 (warmup 135x5, 205x2)

Military press: 95x3x3

Pullups: Bodyweight x3x3 + 20lbs

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 185x3x3

Squat: 135x3, 175x3, 215x3

Row: 135x3, 175x3, 215x3

WEEK 7

Format - Weights x reps x sets

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 135x3, 165x3, 205x3

Squat: 205x3x3 (warmup 95x5, 155x5)

Row: 205x3x3 (warmup 135x5)

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 255x5x5 (warmup 135x5, 205x2)

Military press: 100x3x3

Pullups: Bodyweight x3x3 + 25lbs

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 190x3x3

Squat: 135x3, 175x3, 220x3

Row: 135x3, 175x3, 220x3

WEEK 8

Format - Weights x reps x sets

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 135x3, 165x3, 210x3

Squat: 210x3x3 (warmup 95x5, 155x5)

Row: 210x3x3 (warmup 135x5)

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 265x5x5 (warmup 135x5, 205x2)

Military press: 105x3x3

Pullups: Bodyweight x3x3 + 30lbs

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 195x3x3

Squat: 135x3, 175x3, 225x3

Row: 135x3, 175x3, 225x3


WEEK 9

Format - Weights x reps x sets

Workout 1 (monday) rest at least 5 min in-between squat and row sets.

Bench: 135x3, 165x3, 215x3

Squat: 215x3x3 (warmup 95x5, 155x5)

Row: 215x3x3 (warmup 135x5)

Workout 2 (wednesday)

Deadlift: 275x5x5 (warmup 135x5, 205x2)

Military press: 110x3x3

Pullups: Bodyweight x3x3 + 35lbs

Workout 3 (friday)

Bench: 200x3x3

Squat: 135x3, 175x3, 230x3

Row: 135x3, 175x3, 230x3
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:01 AM   #9
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Default What's next?

Now that you, as a newbie or long-time fitness enthusiast, have finished your first Bill Starr 5x5 program, you might be wondering "Now what?" Well, there are many directions you can go. Again, this is a foundation building program for basically anything under the sun with respect to why men go to the gym in the first place. For most of us, the mere fact that this program gives you a sense of direction and focus should be reason enough to follow it. I don't know about you, but I cannot find motivation to train if I'm just going there to "pump up" for months on end. A few days or even a week of mindless "instinctive" training is fine from time to time, just if we are feeling generally like crap and need to take a mental break from goal-oriented training. But beyond said week, most men need direction if they are to make training part of their lifestyle.

As I said, while the results you'll get from Phase 2 as written here are pretty nice, we actually follow a better version that must be customized very specifically. Some of you might find that your weights are so easy at the end of the 9th week that you'll be raging to jump all of the weights 5lbs and go on for another week or two. If you are feeling incredible, there's nothing wrong with doing just that. But at the end of these additional 1-2 weeks, you'll have to back off of the weights for awhile or risk serious injury. Keep it in mind that most injuries happen while in an overtrained or near-overtrained state. If you push a strength/mass building program too long, you'll be in or near this state of overtraining.

So it's better to be safe than sorry, and back off.

So what are your options? In short, there are many. Most proponents of the 5x5 will tell you that after the 3x3 Phase 2, you'll test your top 5 again, and start another 5x5 progression followed by a 3x3. I tend to disagree with this concept. Instead, I'll recommend some form of EDT style training or German Volume Training (GVT) to add more mass and increase endurance, definition through fat loss, and de-load the body over a period of 6-12 weeks before another strength phase is considered.

So what is German Volume Training?

Basically it was a program designed many years ago for weightlifters who wished to move up a weight class. It is very brutal in nature and requires a great deal of focus while doing the training. The basic German Volume Training is known as the "10x10" or where you'll do 10 sets of 10 reps of 60% of your 1 rep maximum per exercise, with an arbitrary, but fixed, rest period in-between sets. As you progress, you'll later do a "6x10" or 10 sets of 6 reps with 70% of your 1 rep maximum with a similar rest period. Already I've deviated from the "original" 10x10, but what many will argue that there are many hybrid versions that are more effective than the original. Of course, others will argue that the original is the best, and by changing it, it is no longer "GVT". I say that nothing is set in stone, and strength training is in a constant state of flux and adaptation. I might even discover something tomorrow that completely changes my way of thinking and by the time you read this, I'll consider this obsolete. At least it can still easily allow you to reach your goals, considering that what I feel is "obsolete", you'll find it to be a God-send. One mans trash is another mans treasure...

For example, you might try:

Monday - 60% of your 1RM:

Bench press: 10x10

Squat: 10x10

Dynamic Row: 10x10

Each set is seperated by a 90 second rest, and they are done in tri-set format, meaning that once you do bench, you'll then jump to squat, then to row, and then back to bench again, etc. It's important to observe a 90 second rest in-between each set. At first you might find 90 seconds too mind-blowingly difficult and will need to extend it to 2 or even 3 minutes. That's fine, considering some who are reading this have not run for 10 or more years. Over time, however, you'll need to reduce the rest interval if you wish to reap the anaerobic and aerobic energy system benefits. Many guys who were throwing up during their first bout of 10x10 later found it "easy and fun" and didn't want to quit. Go figure. Even I have a "love-hate" relationship with the 10x10. It is painful at first, but as you go on, you'll get an endorphin rush that is better than any buzz I've known.

What we also do is what we've dubbed the "Tiro Wave Method" in honor of our Assistant Coach James Tiro from Cebu who discovered that it's more effective to pace yourself by dropping down to 7 reps once you find the 10 rep goal next to impossible. After the 8th set, you'll try to complete the last 2 sets with 9 or 10 reps if at all possible. If you can complete more than 8 sets of the 10x10 for at least 7 reps, you'll add 5-10lbs to your weights, depending on how heavy you are training. If you are an advanced lifter using over 200lbs, you'll add 10lbs per increment, especially if you get all 10 sets. If you are using weights of less than 200lbs, you'll obviously add only 5lbs.

On Friday, for example, instead of doing 10x10, you'll do 6x10 with a 90 second rest interval. This time you'll wave down to 4 reps as your lower limit.

It's important to note that if you go below 7 reps for a 10x10 or 4 reps for a 6x10, you should stop the set. It's also important that you should avoid going to the point of failure or severe struggle with these sets. Always strive to save something for the last 1-2 sets. "Pacing yourself" is the key to surviving this style of training.

On Wednesday, you can apply the 10x10 and 6x10 to deadlifts, military press, and pullups. Another variation of the 10x10/6x10 is the Vince Gironda 8x8. We'll "Tiro Wave" down to 5 reps for this one. Many other strength coaches are now recommending 5x10, 4x10, and even 3x10. You'll need to experiment which one works best for you since there is no such thing as a "cookie cutter" program. One size does not fit all in the world of strength coaching, and it is why experience is so important. My own trainees have learned to trust my instincts instead of their own, even after they have trained with me for 6-12 months. This is why I am very distrustful of certifications, even the ones I respect like the CSCS. While I respect what they teach, they still lack the most fundamental aspect of legendary strength coaches - experience.

I hope what I've written here has expanded your mind and taught you to think critically with respect to designing strength training programs for mass, speed, and power. This program is what was done in the era before rampant steroid/growth hormone use and is a true "back to basics" look at what the old-timers used to get big and strong before Dr. Ziegler even dreamed about Dianabol.

Split routines suck, and I've never produced world-class athletes using them. Again, they were born in a "post-steroid" athletic world. The rest of those who remain drug-free need a little extra help in the scientific training department. I have produced a number of drug-free national and international contenders using the above total body style workouts, however. So you might benefit to take a page from my own Coaches Playbook. You probably have no aspirations to be "world-class", but even 50% of their abilities isn't bad now is it?

The purpose of this 5x5 primer was to show everyone that the information to achieve your goals is available. You just need to take a critical look at your fitness facility and demand excellence if inadequacy is an issue. When you have out-grown your current facility, the Coaches at Eclipse will welcome you with open arms so that we might help you reach even greater heights.
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:02 AM   #10
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Default Shoulder/triceps specialization

One of the most common specialzation questions is for the triceps/shoulders/upper chest. For example, this individual will find it easy to grow his chest, but his triceps do not respond. This is where a "bodybuilding" perspective is needed.

Does this mean that you need to add 6 exercises, 3 sets each of 10 reps?

Hell no. Save that stupidity for a physical therapist disguised as a strength coach. Losers.

All you'll need to do is swap the bench press for the standing Military press, and follow the formula for the bench press, but obviously substituting the military press. On Wednesday (deadlift day), you'll perform the bench press.

This is the definition of "bodybuilding". All bodybuilding means is specialization/focus on a lagging bodypart. It DOES NOT mean clown pants, supplements, steroids, being a jolog/poseur, and neglecting leg training.

For the rest of the body, the training is very much optimized for getting bigger and stronger, and in a uniform manner. Next I'll cover the other exercises with a little extra depth.
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