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  1. #1
    Registered User FitnessCPA's Avatar
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    Switching from 5x5 to 3x5?

    I am currently doing Stronglifts 5x5 and have been for about four months. I've hit plateaus at least a couple times on all exercises already. I've deloaded and been able to bust through them, but lately even deloading is not really doing it. I'm wondering if the volume is too high and it's time to go to 3x5 or something else. When I don't get 5x5, my sets usually look like 5-5-5-4-3 or 5-5-5-5-3. So if I was doing 3x5, I'd move up in weight for the next workout.

    And if I was doing Rippetoe's Starting Strength, I'd never do 5x5 in the first place.

    Is it time to switch to 3x5 or another routine like Madcow or 5/3/1?

    What do you all suggest?
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  2. #2
    Fulk of peace FunkymonkAW's Avatar
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    3x5 or Madcows IMO
    squat: 390
    bench: 225
    dead: 405

    rebuilding...
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  3. #3
    Banned JasonDB's Avatar
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    I could go either or. 3x5 will allow for slightly more aggressive weight increases... and more room for accessory work to shore up your weaknesses. Or you could switch to Madcows as suggested. If you are stalling out even after a deload either will probably get the job done.
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  4. #4
    Registered User FitnessCPA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JasonDB View Post
    I could go either or. 3x5 will allow for slightly more aggressive weight increases... and more room for accessory work to shore up your weaknesses. Or you could switch to Madcows as suggested. If you are stalling out even after a deload either will probably get the job done.
    Thanks to both of you. I think I'll go with 3x5 and see if I could keep increasing weights for a while. Then I'll hop over to Madcow.

    What types of accessory work? I'm already doing dips and pull-ups. The problem is I really don't know what my weaknesses are. I always figured it was lifting weights.
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  5. #5
    Banned JasonDB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FitnessCPA View Post
    Thanks to both of you. I think I'll go with 3x5 and see if I could keep increasing weights for a while. Then I'll hop over to Madcow.

    What types of accessory work? I'm already doing dips and pull-ups. The problem is I really don't know what my weaknesses are. I always figured it was lifting weights.
    Outside of specialization for lagging bodyparts, you can break down weaknesses on your actual lifts and do accessory work. Rack pulls if you struggle to lock deadlifts on your PR's... more tricep work if you can't lock bench press at the top... good mornings to help with forward lean on squats. Basic thing.
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  6. #6
    ♚ Elected V.P. - R/P ♚ sawoobley's Avatar
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    I prefer 3x5 and if there is more left in the tank go for another set or two.
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  7. #7
    Registered User FitnessCPA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by JasonDB View Post
    Outside of specialization for lagging bodyparts, you can break down weaknesses on your actual lifts and do accessory work. Rack pulls if you struggle to lock deadlifts on your PR's... more tricep work if you can't lock bench press at the top... good mornings to help with forward lean on squats. Basic thing.
    I do tend to lean forward on squats as the weight gets heavier, but as long as I'm going past parallel and my back isn't hurting, I figure it's not the worst thing in the world and I should keep adding weight to the bar. I will incorporate some good mornings into my routine. Thanks again.
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  8. #8
    1100 total wuwu joelash302's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FitnessCPA View Post
    Thanks to both of you. I think I'll go with 3x5 and see if I could keep increasing weights for a while. Then I'll hop over to Madcow.

    What types of accessory work? I'm already doing dips and pull-ups. The problem is I really don't know what my weaknesses are. I always figured it was lifting weights.
    Big killer for a lot of us. Vid your lifts, everyone has form issues.
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  9. #9
    Registered User FitnessCPA's Avatar
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    I have a question, maybe a stupid one, on Madcow.

    I am looking at this template and inputting my weights:

    http://www.vicjg.com/aspx/madcowint.aspx

    However, each week, Monday and Friday is the squat/bench/row workout, and Wednesday is the squat/press/deadlift workout.

    I assume that in reality it will alternate in an A-B-A-B-A-B format.

    Week 1 is self-explanatory, but what would I do for week 2? In this template and all others I've seen, Monday of week 2 is having me repeat the exercises from Friday of week 1 which obviously is not right.

    I would just pick up the Wednesday Week 2 workout to do on Monday, but the weights are lighter and there are fewer sets on Wednesday.

    Anybody?
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  10. #10
    Fulk of peace FunkymonkAW's Avatar
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    AFAIK that's the workout/exercise scheme every week.
    squat: 390
    bench: 225
    dead: 405

    rebuilding...
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  11. #11
    witty comment goes here SimonThePieman's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FitnessCPA View Post
    I do tend to lean forward on squats as the weight gets heavier, but as long as I'm going past parallel and my back isn't hurting, I figure it's not the worst thing in the world and I should keep adding weight to the bar. I will incorporate some good mornings into my routine. Thanks again.
    Good mornings.
    Trx push outs or ab roller.
    Box squats
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  12. #12
    witty comment goes here SimonThePieman's Avatar
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    also to original questions I would go to 3 x 5.

    Also here comes a 5 x 5 top tip. If you ever stall at the same weight twice. Add weight to the bar for the session and continue until you stall at 2 x 5. then go to your original weight you stall at for 5 x 5 and see the magix
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  13. #13
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    Originally Posted by FitnessCPA View Post
    I have a question, maybe a stupid one, on Madcow.

    I am looking at this template and inputting my weights:

    http://www.vicjg.com/aspx/madcowint.aspx

    However, each week, Monday and Friday is the squat/bench/row workout, and Wednesday is the squat/press/deadlift workout.

    I assume that in reality it will alternate in an A-B-A-B-A-B format.

    Week 1 is self-explanatory, but what would I do for week 2? In this template and all others I've seen, Monday of week 2 is having me repeat the exercises from Friday of week 1 which obviously is not right.

    I would just pick up the Wednesday Week 2 workout to do on Monday, but the weights are lighter and there are fewer sets on Wednesday.

    Anybody?
    Madows isn't rotated, well I never rotated it.

    So each week is the same.

    Week 1. Mon - A Wed -B Fri -A
    Week 1 Mon -A Wed -B Fri -A

    So yes, there is consecutive A workouts from Fri-Mon.
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  14. #14
    Registered User FitnessCPA's Avatar
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    Simon, thanks for the tip.

    Everyone - so on Madcow, you do bench press and rows twice a week (one session heavy, one session light), but overhead press and deadlifts only once a week heavy?

    What benefit does this serve? I know the program is popular and very successful so there must be some benefit to it.
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  15. #15
    Banned JasonDB's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by FitnessCPA View Post
    Simon, thanks for the tip.

    Everyone - so on Madcow, you do bench press and rows twice a week (one session heavy, one session light), but overhead press and deadlifts only once a week heavy?

    What benefit does this serve? I know the program is popular and very successful so there must be some benefit to it.
    Routines like Madcows are geared towards effeciency rather that optimalization. Meaning minimalist approaches to get as strong as possible with a limited number of gym hours per week (in this case for an intermediate), regardless of genetics, supplementation and even dietary intake. So they have you working each basic muscle movement 3x a week but use squat and bench for two and deadlift overhead press for the other. Keeping in mind that a deadlift is effectively a lower body lift that also hammers the back a bit, and overhead press and bench work very similar muscles but in a different priority of recruitment order and emphasis. The program is successful because anyone in the intermediate bracket can make strength progress on it with good or bad genetics, on a bulk or even a mild cut, natural or enhanced... unemployed or working full time + raising a child or doing night class and little free time.
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  16. #16
    Registered User FitnessCPA's Avatar
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    Thanks Jason. I like bench and rows better than press anyway so I should enjoy the program. And although I like deadlifts, I won't complain about only doing those boys once a week.
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  17. #17
    rainy day in pizzaville snrygo's Avatar
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    imo, i would switch to 3x5 and milk it for all its worth then go to MC after you cant get jack **** from 3x5
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  18. #18
    get big or get fat trying NaLLa8705's Avatar
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    Directly from the 5x5 report

    "use the deloads to figure out when to switch from StrongLifts 5x5 to StrongLifts 3x5. You should switch to 3x5 after you deload 2x on a lift. This cuts the training volume by almost half and thus improves recovery. Training will feel lighter for a while, and you'll be able to add weight to the bar for a few more weeks"

    For what it's worth....
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  19. #19
    Registered User FitnessCPA's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by NaLLa8705 View Post
    Directly from the 5x5 report

    "use the deloads to figure out when to switch from StrongLifts 5x5 to StrongLifts 3x5. You should switch to 3x5 after you deload 2x on a lift. This cuts the training volume by almost half and thus improves recovery. Training will feel lighter for a while, and you'll be able to add weight to the bar for a few more weeks"

    For what it's worth....
    Thanks. I do remember that and that's what made me consider switching to 3x5.

    Today I made the switch. I did 5 lbs heavier on OH press and got 3x5. Last workout with 5 lbs lighter than I did today, I could not get 5x5. I got 5-5-5-4-3. I had been struggling with that weight and deloaded twice without being able to get 5x5.

    So it was definitely time.
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    Registered User AdrianoBrigante's Avatar
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    So I'm having a similar problem,
    im now at the 220 lbs mark at the squat for 5x5.
    Today it was quite easy, but at the end of the workout I almost had no power left anymore for the deadlift.
    My warmup weight at the deadlift was even getting challenging for me,
    and I just could do 4 reps on my workweight, with not so good form.
    So I dont think its making much sense to deload my squat, or deadlift.
    It would really help me if I had just to squat 3 sets.
    So should I change this up, or is there another option ?
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    Originally Posted by FunkymonkAW View Post
    3x5 or Madcows IMO
    what ?
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    Village Idiot miacanesfan25's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by AdrianoBrigante View Post
    So I'm having a similar problem,
    im now at the 220 lbs mark at the squat for 5x5.
    Today it was quite easy, but at the end of the workout I almost had no power left anymore for the deadlift.
    My warmup weight at the deadlift was even getting challenging for me,
    and I just could do 4 reps on my workweight, with not so good form.
    So I dont think its making much sense to deload my squat, or deadlift.
    It would really help me if I had just to squat 3 sets.
    So should I change this up, or is there another option ?
    Try not doing 2 major lifts in the same day. I know if I'm doing deads I'm putting everything into it and squatting would practically be pointless after that.
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    Cutting down... deadpool9's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by miacanesfan25 View Post
    Try not doing 2 major lifts in the same day. I know if I'm doing deads I'm putting everything into it and squatting would practically be pointless after that.
    Very true. Your performance is always going to suffer on the second major lift, and most progress will almost always be made on the first.
    I do flat bench and incline bench on the same days, and seem to only make improvements to whichever I do first. Typically I rotate their order to try and progress them both.
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    Originally Posted by miacanesfan25 View Post
    Try not doing 2 major lifts in the same day. I know if I'm doing deads I'm putting everything into it and squatting would practically be pointless after that.

    It all depends, different strokes for different folks


    I train deads and squats in the same day and find it very beneficial to myself.
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