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View Full Version : Switching from splits to SL5X5



Sean Steele
12-15-2011, 07:13 PM
I am currently doing a split routine that I got from BB.com. I have been at it for a month now and have been adding to my lifts. I feel stronger but my weight is slow to come off and my measurements aren't changing. I had no idea where to start with my lift weights so I am probably just getting to where I should have been to start. I am currently 5'11" and 275lbs but I am more interested in lowering my %body fat. I am also spending almost two hours in the gym on lifting days. I would like to switch over to the Strong Lifts 5X5 routine but I am not sure which of the exercises in the database are the ones that match the exercises in the routine. Also, I workout in a small town gym and I am usually the only one there. Is it safe to do bench press and squat with no spotter? I know I can handle the 45lb bar that the system suggests to start with but once I get to heavier weights I am worried about working out alone.

Any suggestions or input would be appreciated. Which of the dozens of rows is the one used in the SL5X5?

Deviation
12-15-2011, 07:52 PM
There's quite a few SL members here so I'll let them answer those questions.

Is it safe to do bench press and squat with no spotter?
That depends. Are you squatting in a rack? If so and the safety bars are set right, then you're fine. For bench, I would get a spotter OR move a flat bench into a power rack and use the safety bars as a spotter. I workout at home and let me tell you no spotter on bench will bite you in the ass. I made the mistake of doing that before I got my rack. Nothing like trying to get a loaded bar off your chest with no one around. Even worse, people have had the bars fall on their necks killing them. Not trying to scare you, but just understand it can be dangerous.

Sean Steele
12-15-2011, 08:51 PM
The gym has a power rack that everyone uses for bench press as well as other lifts. It has what I assume are the safety bars that you are talking about. Can I assume that for a squat I would set the bars just below a full squat height and for bench press, just above my chest?

I looked thru a few routines in that section of the forum and the majority were using the bent over row. One or two were using the upright row. The bent over gets more back so I am betting that is the one I want to use.

Deviation
12-15-2011, 08:56 PM
Bent over row is back so you're probably right.

Yep. The power rack will do the trick. The safety bars just need to be below full squat so you make it all the way down. You want it to catch the bar if you fail at the bottom so you don't get squashed. For the bench, you can set the J hooks (where the bar rests) wherever is comfortable for you. You just need to be able to clear them when you start.

amcredle
12-16-2011, 01:58 AM
Here are the exercises I use in the data base

For Work out A

Barbell Full Squat
BArbell Bench Press
BArbell Bent Over Row
Push Ups

Work Out B

Barbell full Squat
Standing Military press
Barbell Deadlift
Pull Ups

As far as saftey... Deviation said it right. personally I dont Bench in the squat rack. But i only bench what im comfortable with. If i go heavy I can usually call for a spot. For sqauts if you just set the safety bars right you should be just fine.

Sean Steele
12-16-2011, 02:55 AM
Thanks guys, I appreciate the help.
I think I will finish out the year with the split routine and start week one on week one 2012. Once I start, I will probably start a log as well.
Thanks again.

tjwood
12-16-2011, 01:44 PM
I have been at it for a month now and have been adding to my lifts. I feel stronger but my weight is slow to come off and my measurements aren't changing.

Just to point out - that's probably normal. Initially you'll gain muscle/water weight at the same time as losing fat so don't expect to lose weight too quickly. Also remember muscle is denser than fat so your measurements perhaps won't change noticeably in the first few months.

Sounds like you're doing everything right - just don't let the apparent lack of physical progress get you down, it will happen if you stick at it...

decu68
12-16-2011, 03:55 PM
Come the new year I will switching to the Strengthening 5x5. I had done so many years ago and I always find that I circulate through my lifts having done many of them 2 or more times over the years.

Also workout alone. When squatting I just ensure that on my last lift I know I can get it back in place. For bench pressing I do use the safety bars and has saved me more than once; I'd have it no other way. Only problem with working out alone is that you don't have somebody there to help/assist you for a "couple of more" which can help you get over humps or take you to the next level. However with the Strengthening Routine, you don't want to go to failure so it won't be as big an issue.

Sean Steele
12-18-2011, 01:14 AM
I don't want to make it sound like I am quitting the splits routine just because I am not seeing progress after only one month. I just think that the 5x5 is a better routine for where I want to go.

decu68
12-20-2011, 06:22 PM
So I looked at the Stronglift 5x5 and found some good information. I downloaded the spreadsheet and entered in my weights and reps and found that it notified me that I am beyond this workout and need to move to the next levels. I looked at those and have now moved to the Madcow 5x5 which I will do for the 12 week program before moving to the Stronglift Advanced 5x5.

These workouts are a nice layout as you only enter in some limited information about your lifting weights/reps and it will calculate exactly what to do for each lift. It will start you lighter and than building you up. I will be giving this a go on Monday, January 2, 2012.

Deviation
12-20-2011, 06:41 PM
Damn lost another to SL. LOL

decu68
12-20-2011, 08:38 PM
I've done strengthening 5x5 workouts in the past; nothing new for me though it has been a number of years. I think all of us that have worked out for any long duration of time have tried different programs. This however is one of the better set up ones I've seen and the spreadsheet that tells you what to lift I like; no guess work. I'm just wondering how my body will like this being in my 40's with some ailments. I will adjust accordingly but I don't foresee too many problems.

It was a ego boost though when looking at the SL5x5 and it telling me I as too advanced for it. :D

Deviation
12-21-2011, 02:16 PM
It was a ego boost though when looking at the SL5x5 and it telling me I as too advanced for it. :D
LOL I was just giving you a hard time. At this rate, we'll have more SL guys than the SL forums.

Sean Steele
12-21-2011, 11:32 PM
I've done strengthening 5x5 workouts in the past; nothing new for me though it has been a number of years. I think all of us that have worked out for any long duration of time have tried different programs. This however is one of the better set up ones I've seen and the spreadsheet that tells you what to lift I like; no guess work. I'm just wondering how my body will like this being in my 40's with some ailments. I will adjust accordingly but I don't foresee too many problems.

It was a ego boost though when looking at the SL5x5 and it telling me I as too advanced for it. :D

I haven't even opened the spread sheet yet. I doubt I will have the same outcome but I can appreciate the ego boost you got from that.

Deviation
12-22-2011, 02:23 AM
Do you have to signup to get that spreadsheet? I didn't see a spot to just download it.

amcredle
12-22-2011, 08:21 AM
you get a copy of it when you download the stronglift ebook

decu68
12-22-2011, 04:08 PM
I found it online without selecting to download. I also found the Madcow as well as the Stronglift Advanced.

Stronglifts
http://stronglifts.com/secret-5x5-report/

Madcow (the spreadsheet is below where it says "click here")
http://stronglifts.com/madcow-5x5-training-programs/

Stronglifts Advanced (the spreadsheet is below where is says "click here")
http://stronglifts.com/stronglifts-advanced-strength-muscle-building-training-program/

decu68
01-03-2012, 06:52 PM
Started Madcow last night. Was done in 30 minutes with next to no rest between sets as the weights they suggest starting with are extremely low. I see that they will progressively get harder but to start too easy with no difficulty. To go from benching over 300 lbs (1RM) and this starting you off at just over 110 (1x5) for the first lift; I had to laugh. I'm sure it is to get your body ready for the lifts required later. A warmup. A way to get the technique down before you lift big.

Looking forward to the lifts by the 7th week.

Deviation
01-03-2012, 08:16 PM
That's the reason I haven't started one of the 5x5 routines. Not saying I need to lift at max all the time, but ~50% or less is a bit low. Then again I "supposed" to start with the 3x5 on some of the lift according to the sheet.

I'm more inclined to try 5/3/1 if I can get the math right. At least I see the logic there.

decu68
01-04-2012, 06:50 PM
I'm going to give the 7 weeks a try and will be able to make a better decision of its success. Day 2 tonight.

Deviation
01-04-2012, 06:58 PM
Ahh so you jumped ahead? That was my first thought. Best of luck

Goodolsen
01-04-2012, 09:13 PM
Just remember with Stronglifts, at least starting out, you need to check your ego. If you try and go to heavy too quick you will burn out and end up switching to another routine.

I started SL just under a month ago and here are my numbers:

First lifts (12/7 and 12/9)
Squat - 80x5x5
Bench - 110x5x5
Press - 65x5x5
Row - 100x5x5
Deadlift - 95x5x5

Last Lifts (12/30 and 1/3)
Squat - 165x5x5
Bench - 145x5x5
Press - 90x5x5
Row - 145x5x5
Deadlift - 165x5x5

You can see that in just under a month my squat went up 85lbs, bench 35lbs, press 25lbs, row 45lbs, and deadlift 70lbs. That is why it is important you make small jumps 5/10 lbs each workout. If you try and just more than that you will stall much faster.

The workout itself is very good if you follow it as designed. But don't take everything the "creator" Medhi says for granted.

decu68
01-05-2012, 06:52 AM
Ahh so you jumped ahead? That was my first thought. Best of luck

No, I just noticed that there was a second page; it is a 12 week schedule.

decu68
01-05-2012, 07:11 AM
Just remember with Stronglifts, at least starting out, you need to check your ego. If you try and go to heavy too quick you will burn out and end up switching to another routine.

I started SL just under a month ago and here are my numbers:

First lifts (12/7 and 12/9)
Squat - 80x5x5
Bench - 110x5x5
Press - 65x5x5
Row - 100x5x5
Deadlift - 95x5x5

Last Lifts (12/30 and 1/3)
Squat - 165x5x5
Bench - 145x5x5
Press - 90x5x5
Row - 145x5x5
Deadlift - 165x5x5

You can see that in just under a month my squat went up 85lbs, bench 35lbs, press 25lbs, row 45lbs, and deadlift 70lbs. That is why it is important you make small jumps 5/10 lbs each workout. If you try and just more than that you will stall much faster.

The workout itself is very good if you follow it as designed. But don't take everything the "creator" Medhi says for granted.

I am following to the "T" for sure; ego left at the door. I went through the Stronglift and said I was advanced for it so am on the Madcow. After 12 weeks I will see where I am and if able to move to the Stronglift Advanced. Like I was saying it really feels weird lifting so light of weights but will take it week by week to see where I am. Here is my starting point so far after 2 days and than I will later come back and update. Remember, this is the Madcow set-up.

Note: Unable to do Squats due to crush vertebra; C5,C6,C7. No matter how many times I have tried to do them I always suffer; therefore am doing Front Squats. Can't do as much weight but it still works my legs.

MADCOW 5x5 START: (January 2, 2012)

DAY 1 - Monday

BARBELL FRONT SQUAT
5 x 147 Lbs
5 x 182 Lbs
5 x 217 Lbs
5 x 252 Lbs
5 x 287 Lbs
1RM = 334.83 Lbs

BARBELL BENCH PRESS
5 x 112 Lbs
5 x 137 Lbs
5 x 162 Lbs
5 x 192 Lbs
5 x 217 Lbs
1RM = 253.16 Lbs

BARBELL BENT-OVER ROWS
5 x 120 Lbs
5 x 150 Lbs
5 x 180 Lbs
5 x 210 Lbs
5 x 240 Lbs
1RM = 280 Lbs

DAY 2 - Wednesday; lighter workout

BARBELL FRONT SQUAT
5 x 147 Lbs
5 x 182 Lbs
4 x 217 Lbs
4 x 217 Lbs
1RM = 253.16 Lbs

BARBELL SHOULDER PRESS
5 x 95 Lbs
5 x 115 Lbs
5 x 135 Lbs
5 x 155 Lbs
1RM = 180.83 Lbs

BARBELL DEADLIFTS
5 x 190 Lbs
5 x 230 Lbs
5 x 267 Lbs
5 x 305 Lbs
1RM = 355.83 Lbs

Day 3 - This will be Friday and will be heavier lifts scheduled for:

BARBELL FRONT SQUAT
5 x 147 Lbs
5 x 182 Lbs
5 x 217 Lbs
5 x 252 Lbs
3 x 292 Lbs
8 x 217 Lbs
1RM = ?

BARBELL BENCH PRESS
5 x 112 Lbs
5 x 137 Lbs
5 x 162 Lbs
5 x 192 Lbs
3 x 222 Lbs
8 x 162 Lbs
1RM = ?

BARBELL BENT-OVER ROWS
5 x 120 Lbs
5 x 150 Lbs
5 x 180 Lbs
5 x 210 Lbs
3 x 245 Lbs
8 x 180 Lbs
1RM = ?

Like I said it was too easy but see as I go on that by week 12 I will be doing (or should be doing) Front Squats of 5 x 385 Lbs, Bench Press 5 x 290 Lbs, Rows 5 x 325 Lbs and Presses 5 x 205. Will I? I sure hope so. Than after the 12 weeks I will take a week break and either repeat Madcow at higher levels OR do the Stronglift Advanced. I don't see this as unattainable based on where I am now in my lifting; the end result is a little away from where I am now (before Madcow) but not too far from where I am, this plan just gives me a more scheduled goal. I may hit some hiccups along the way but will deal with them at that time. Heck even my age of 43 may be a factor for if I can attain but it has never stopped me from trying.

FYI: Tuesdays and Thursday I do 20 minutes of skipping. In this amount of time I can do 1500 skips which burns about 250 calories.

decu68
01-05-2012, 02:41 PM
Good information femaveeick. I may be on the wrong program because I would be above an intermediate lifter having 14 years into this. I will however give Madcow a go and if not than move on to another program. I will look into the Wendler's program, you've peaked my interest.

I found that when doing martial arts on the same day of weight lifting I suffered hugely; both in martial arts and weight lifting. I was always trying to find a balance and I never quite did over the 7 years. Haven't trained since January of 2009 as needed a break due to injuries and motivation. Good for you if you have found that balance.

Again thanks for the information.

decu68
01-05-2012, 05:48 PM
At 43 I don't recover like I used to in my 20's and 30's for lifting. My gains are usually much harder to obtain and what I do I fight like a bugger to maintain. Always seems like I gain some and than have to reach that point again; always an up hill struggle. The more I read from you the more I'm thinking this may not be the workout for me BUT I am going to give it a go. I've overcome many things and I just have to keep focused and workout with intensity.


Any program worth its salt combines a strength component, a hypertrophy component, a conditioning component, and a mobility component

Most of the workouts I have done or created over the years usually have all of these components so I agree with this.


Strength is built on the four main lifts: squats, bench press, overhead press (AKA standing military), and deadlift

I also agree with this though I have had far and few programs that only did just these, they always included other lifts as well. Doing Madcow and not having direct tricep/bicep work will be a big change but like I said, I'm willing to give this a go and see what happens. I have always know that many lifters eventually eliminate work on these body parts, I just haven't done so for any length of time. I have always found that to be good at bicep curls you actually have to curl. To be good at tricep extensions you have to work on extensions. That is life, to be good at something you have to actually do that thing. This will be a big change and I am down for the commitment.

When starting I trained like a body builder and did so for 5 years. Than when training martial arts for 7 years I realized I had to train different. Since than I have the mentality to want to get stronger, look good but be functional. No sense looking a certain way if you can't do things. That is why in many of my programs I lifted explosively and lowered slower. I wanted to train my body to perform and react in the same manner I needed it to.

Thanks again.

decu68
01-06-2012, 10:45 PM
Hey thanks for that, I have book marked and will give a read.

decu68
01-19-2012, 04:38 AM
Instead of commandeering this thread, I have created a log for myself.