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  1. #1
    Registered User CatsAndMice10's Avatar
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    Low reps beating me up. Suggestions?

    I train my main lifts for 3 sets of 4-6 reps and starting to feel like they’re beating me up. Any suggestions on methods to train my main lifts? I really only care about maximal strength with these, not really using them for hypertrophy. I already get that through lighter assistance type work.

    My thought was to maybe try ramping to a single peak set of 5 but I’m not really sure about how to do this effectively. I feel the ramps will end up making my top set weaker which defeats the whole purpose of it. Any ideas on % and reps for the ramping sets? I was looking at madcows for ideas. Is this a good approach? Thanks

    The exercises i’ll be using this method for:

    Barbell Bench
    Barbell Row
    Overhead Press
    Weighted Pull-Up
    Squat
    Deadlift
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  2. #2
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    If peak strength is your goal then you can't really stray too far from low reps... It may be that you are getting too close to failure (which can have a disproportionate effect on fatigue). A program that plans the loading for you might help you pace yourself while still getting enough volume to make a difference. I'm not a PL expert but I ran Calgary Barbell for a cycle and really liked it - maybe try that.
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  3. #3
    Registered User CatsAndMice10's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    If peak strength is your goal then you can't really stray too far from low reps... It may be that you are getting too close to failure (which can have a disproportionate effect on fatigue). A program that plans the loading for you might help you pace yourself while still getting enough volume to make a difference. I'm not a PL expert but I ran Calgary Barbell for a cycle and really liked it - maybe try that.
    Thanks for the reply. My goal isn’t to ditch the low reps completely. Actually thinking of trying ramped sets to a peak set of 5, which should be a higher intensity than my previous sets across of 3x5. I’m just wondering how to ramp effectively without getting fatigued by the time I reach my top set. Something like Madcows for example.
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  4. #4
    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Triples @ rpe 7.
    More than enough intensity without the fatigue.

    Ramping up to a 1@7-8 then dropping back for higher rep work works too
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  5. #5
    Time is Muscle ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by CatsAndMice10 View Post
    I train my main lifts for 3 sets of 4-6 reps and starting to feel like they’re beating me up. Any suggestions on methods to train my main lifts? I really only care about maximal strength with these, not really using them for hypertrophy. I already get that through lighter assistance type work.

    My thought was to maybe try ramping to a single peak set of 5 but I’m not really sure about how to do this effectively. I feel the ramps will end up making my top set weaker which defeats the whole purpose of it. Any ideas on % and reps for the ramping sets? I was looking at madcows for ideas. Is this a good approach? Thanks

    The exercises i’ll be using this method for:

    Barbell Bench
    Barbell Row
    Overhead Press
    Weighted Pull-Up
    Squat
    Deadlift
    Total work is more important than one hard set. The ramping sets will stimulate the muscle effectively depending on overall volume.

    Madcow is ok for a late beginner or a very patient intermediate, but these days there are much better options. RTS is probably the best, Barbell Medicine is also good. The Calgary that Suffolk mentioned is very good, and free.

    It's not really a good approach to go for maximum strength every session, or even every week. You need some kind of periodization, depending on the numbers you're moving.

    What are your numbers for those 6 lifts?
    2020 maxes
    Squat 185
    Bench 137
    DL 205
    bw 88.5 age 43

    Workout Journal: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=175647011&p=1630928323&viewfull=1#post1630928323
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  6. #6
    Registered User CatsAndMice10's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by WolfRose7 View Post
    Triples @ rpe 7.
    More than enough intensity without the fatigue.

    Ramping up to a 1@7-8 then dropping back for higher rep work works too
    Thanks for the reply. I like the idea of the second option but I’d rather ramp to something like 5 reps as opposed to 1.

    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    It’s not really a good approach to go for maximum strength every session, or even every week. You need some kind of periodization, depending on the numbers you're moving.

    What are your numbers for those 6 lifts?
    Thank you for replying. So it wouldn’t be wise to ramp to a peak set for each of those lifts every week? I feel like that would generate much less fatigue and joint stress than a basic 3x5 I was doing. I’m doing concurrent periodization so I focus on strength for the first lift or two of that session and the rest of the workout is hypertrophy work.

    All 3x5
    Bench 240
    Row 240
    OHP 110
    Pull Up 40
    Squat 310
    Deadlift 360
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  7. #7
    Time is Muscle ECGordyn's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by CatsAndMice10 View Post
    Thank you for replying. So it wouldn’t be wise to ramp to a peak set for each of those lifts every week? I feel like that would generate much less fatigue and joint stress than a basic 3x5 I was doing. I’m doing concurrent periodization so I focus on strength for the first lift or two of that session and the rest of the workout is hypertrophy work.

    All 3x5
    Bench 240
    Row 240
    OHP 110
    Pull Up 40
    Squat 310
    Deadlift 360
    Ramping to a peak set is fine, depending on the intensity of the peak set. RPE 9-10 every lift, every session wouldn't be wise.

    5 at around 80%, then backoff 3x6 between 60-70%.

    Those numbers are solid intermediate. The problem with Madcow is that once you run up to your maxes (week 5 or so), you start grinding linearly +5 pounds a week, and it causes too much fatigue.

    Have you looked into block periodization? Take a look at Calgary Barbell 8 week or 16 week, both free, and a couple people here have run it (Suffolk, Wolf, Camarija, me).
    2020 maxes
    Squat 185
    Bench 137
    DL 205
    bw 88.5 age 43

    Workout Journal: https://forum.bodybuilding.com/showthread.php?t=175647011&p=1630928323&viewfull=1#post1630928323
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  8. #8
    Registered User CatsAndMice10's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by ECGordyn View Post
    Ramping to a peak set is fine, depending on the intensity of the peak set. RPE 9-10 every lift, every session wouldn't be wise.

    5 at around 80%, then backoff 3x6 between 60-70%.

    Those numbers are solid intermediate. The problem with Madcow is that once you run up to your maxes (week 5 or so), you start grinding linearly +5 pounds a week, and it causes too much fatigue.

    Have you looked into block periodization? Take a look at Calgary Barbell 8 week or 16 week, both free, and a couple people here have run it (Suffolk, Wolf, Camarija, me).
    Sorry, my mistake I don’t think I was clear. I’m actually running an U/L. So Upper A would be bench + row, Lower A is squat, Upper B is ohp + weighted pull up and Lower B is deadlift. So I’m only ramping to a top set on each of those lifts once a week if that makes sense. I’m not doing all those lifts 3x a week or anything. The rest of each workout is just hypertrophy work 8-15 rep sets on assistance movements after the 5 rep peak sets.

    I’ve tried block periodization before but I much prefer concurrent strength/hypertrophy type routines. I was interested in something like PHUL but it has you grinding 4x5 on main lifts which isn’t sustainable. Ideally I’d like something that trains main lifts similar to madcows, 5/3/1 etc with room for standard hypertrophy training after that.
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  9. #9
    Registered User WolfRose7's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by CatsAndMice10 View Post
    Sorry, my mistake I don’t think I was clear. I’m actually running an U/L. So Upper A would be bench + row, Lower A is squat, Upper B is ohp + weighted pull up and Lower B is deadlift. So I’m only ramping to a top set on each of those lifts once a week if that makes sense. I’m not doing all those lifts 3x a week or anything. The rest of each workout is just hypertrophy work 8-15 rep sets on assistance movements after the 5 rep peak sets.
    Rts powerbuild
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    All pretty solid concurrent programs
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