Monday, November 25, 2019

So You Wanna Get Bigger, Part Two, Training - Glenn Pendlay

This link is to a blog of Glenn's.
There's a whole lotta posts and

a ton of info: 

Equipment and eating considerations are covered in Part One, here:

And now we finally get to the good part . . . 


Remember in Part One when I said all you really HAD to have was a bar and some weights - the kind of cheap setup that you can probably find second hand for $139 or so?  

Well, the first program I am going to give you assumes that this is indeed all you have. If you are in this situation, save your money to buy a pair of squat stands and a bench. Yes, you can get off to a good start without them, but, if you want maximum return on your effort, you will have to have these two pieces of equipment fairly soon.

By necessity, this first program is based off of pulling a bar off the ground and pressing it over your head. This is not a technique article, but if you need to learn how to do a particular exercise, there are plenty of resources on the web that will help you to learn. 

You will train three days a week on non-consecutive days.

Your workouts should take less than an hour. 

Clean and Press

You will Power Clean the bar to your shoulders, then do 5 Military Presses with it, and this counts as one set. You will start this with an empty bar, and add weight to each set, with the aim being to get to a fairly challenging weight on your 5th set. 

Your first time might be hard and you might fail on your 3rd or 4th set, or, you might have to do 6 or 7 sets to find a challenging weight. But once you find your starting weight, you should be able to use some simple math to take fairly even jumps from the empty bar on your first set to your top weight on your 5th set from then on. 

Clean and Front Squat

You will Power Clean a bar to your shoulders, then Front Squat it 3 times. Just like with the clean and press, you will start with an empty bar and aim to find a challenging weight on your 5th set, and do so making fairly even jumps. 

If you fail to do this on your first try, it's okay. But once you know your starting weight, use your math skills and get to it in five even jumps from then on. 

I really gotta find more manly-man photos.


Done identically to the first two exercises, move from an empty bar to a challenging weight for a set of 5 in 5 sets with fairly even jumps.

On each exercise (the first time you do it), find a challenging weight for your top set. Notice that I DID NOT SAY MAXIMUM. A "challenging weight" is one where you KNOW you could do 10 or 20 more pounds, but you still have to put forth some effort to finish the set. 

Every subsequent time you do an exercise, you will add 5 lbs. for the Clean and Press or Clean and Front Squat, and 10 lbs. for the deadlift, if you complete the required number of reps on your last set from the previous workout. If you did not complete 5 reps in the last workout on your last set, you will keep the weight the same until you do.

The exercises are arranged in the following way: 

Clean and Press
Clean and Front Squat

Clean and Press

Clean and Press
Clean and Front Squat

This is it. 
This is all there is to it. 

Plenty of people have gotten plenty big and strong doing programs similar to this with nothing but a barbell and a place to stand and lift it. 

But, you should make it your goal to buy, make, steal, or somehow improvise a pair of squat stands and a bench within 2-3 months of starting this program . . .  


So now you have . . . wait a second . . . 

So now you have a bar, weights, bench, and squat stands. Whether you are just now starting to train, or whether you started with only a bar and weights (via the method above), it doesn't matter. Now we are going to move into one of the simplest and most result producing programs a beginner could do - 

The 5X5 Program, Beginner Version 

When you start the 5X5 method, you "ramp" your sets. You go from a set of 5 with a light weight as your first warmup set, take consistent jumps in weight over each of the next 4 sets (doing 5 reps each set), and you end with your heaviest set. 

So, you are doing 4 submaximal sets of 5, and one maximal set. 

An example of the weights used in a squat workout would be 

95 lbs.

all for sets of 5 reps. 

A good selection of exercises for the beginner would be the following: 

Bench Press

Squat (or Front Squat)
Military Press (or Push Press)
Power Clean (or Chin-up)

Bench Press (or Incline Press or Dips)

Now, some of this negotiable and some is not. The least negotiable are the squats on Monday and Friday. On Wednesday, you can replace the squats with front squats if you want. 

You must bench press, but you can replace on of the bench workouts with one of several other exercises if you want. Dips or incline presses are two that are suitable. 

Military presses can, if you want, be replaced by push presses. 

You must do the deadlifts on Friday, but you can replace power cleans with chin-ups if you absolutely cannot do a clean. Or, you can ADD chin-ups after power cleans on Wednesdays. 

Some type of rowing should be done on Monday - I prefer barbell rows by a large margin, but I guess T-Bar rows could be substituted. Stay away from dumbbell rows or anything that takes away the stress on the posterior chain along with the upper back work.

How heavy do you start? 

Light - with weight that does not require maximal effort. For those new to weight training, you almost can't start too light. For those who have a training history but are new to this method - do about 15% below the maximum that you can do for a set of 5. 

Every time you do an upper body exercise, you add 5 lbs. to the top setand adjust the lower sets so as to keep the weight jumps as near to even as possible. 

Add 10 lbs. to the lower body exercises each time you do them.

The first time you fail to get 5 reps on your last set of an exercise, you will decrease the top weight by 10% and change the warmup process. Now the warmup process with look like this: 

95 x 5
115 x 4
135 x 3
155 x 2, then
175 x 5

You now repeat the process of upping the weight every workout 'til you stall again.

On this second stall, you will continue on as long as some progress is being made. For example, if you get 3 reps on your 5th set, go ahead and try it again the next time. If you make 4 reps, then stay with it for another workout. As long as progress is being made, stick with it. 

When you go three workouts in a row without any progress, reset (decrease) by 10% again.  

When you start hitting the third stall on some of your exercises, you need to use a little judgment. If your row is stalled, but your deadlift keeps ticking upwards every week, just stick it out. If your squats and bench are still going up, but the military press is stalled, stick it out. 

Squats, bench presses, and deadlifts are the most important exercises. If two out of three of these exercises are still going up, stick with it. If two out of the three are stalled, along with several of the other exercises, you're at the end of the road for this "beginner's" version of the 5X5.

Just to give you a rough idea of how long this can take for a person who has no strength training background, does the program correctly and eats enough food to support growth - this simple program can go for as long as six months, put 200 lbs. or more on exercises like the squat and bench press, and add a very noticeable amount of muscle. 

For a person who fails to do the program correctly or doesn't eat enough, progress can end much sooner. 

For anyone who has a history on a different program, this program will likely not last as long. How long it does last will depend on the quality and the length of their previous training. 

When you get to the end of the line on this program, you are ready to step up to an intermediate level of 5X5 training.        



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