When and why to change programs?

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When and why to change programs?

Postby Lordmuppet » Sat Feb 11, 2012 6:36 pm

Okay Been on Rippetoe's Texas Method (intermediate program) for a year now.

I'm very aware that most people don't stay on any intermediate program that long and conventional wisdom would dictate that I'd benefit from switching to something like 5/3/1 for a while.

Here is the thing though. I don't understand what the justification is for the conventional wisdom. Assuming you don't get bored, shouldn't one just keep doing a program until you stop making gains with it?

So anyone know what the justification is? I did some searching and couldn't find it, just more and more statements of it as fact.

thanks! :D

edited to add that i found this for the 'no change' side http://www.t-nation.com/strength-training-topics/474
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Re: When and why to change programs?

Postby Talyn » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:01 pm

I've tried 5/3/1 in the past, but found the lack of volume frustrating.

edited to add: I didn't read your post properly. There is no justification for changing a routing if you are finding it enjoyable and you are progressing.
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Re: When and why to change programs?

Postby Lordmuppet » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:11 pm

"goob-rag-on-a-stick style" this gave me a chuckle :) I think it may need to become a regular meme here.

You are right I need to think about goals. A year ago the plan had been to get bigger with Texas but I found myself getting stronger without getting bigger and figured that was pretty cool. Will sit down and reflect!

thanks for taking the time! :D

edited to add: while i do need to reflect on goals these would influence more the eating than programming

also edited to add: the only concern with Texas just now is that it is too intense given the amount I'm able to eat just now (stomach issues). Had a major burnout this week with total exhaustion and was too tired to study which is very rare.

5/3/1 seems like it would provide progress but be easier to maintain (than Texas) without eating truckloads of food
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Re: When and why to change programs?

Postby Mellos » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:19 pm

I don´t think anyone as a formula to determine when to use a system and when not to.
You just do what works. If it doesn´t work anymore you change it. Maybe later it will work again or not.

Even for the pros strength sports is more trial and error than you would think.
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195 kg SQ, 130 kg Bench, 245 kg DL, 200 kg SQ w/ wraps

Long Term Goals:
@ 75 kg: SQ - 252,5 kg, SQ w/ Wraps - 267,5 kg, DL - 307,5 kg, Total (w/ and w/o Wraps) - 710
@ 82,5 kg: SQ - 275 kg, SQ w/ Wraps - 277,5 kg, Total (w/ and w/o Wraps) - 772,5 kg

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Re: When and why to change programs?

Postby Lordmuppet » Sat Feb 11, 2012 7:28 pm

okay so consensus so far seems to be that there is nothing magical about change for change's sake
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Re: When and why to change programs?

Postby JP » Sun Feb 12, 2012 4:18 pm

i havent had a routine in years
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Re: When and why to change programs?

Postby Lordmuppet » Mon Feb 13, 2012 11:51 pm

JP wrote:i havent had a routine in years


ha ha ha yeah I never figured how that worked for you but it clearly does! :D

In any case I don't have the imagination to do random stuff each time
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Re: When and why to change programs?

Postby Mellos » Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:25 am

Lordmuppet wrote:
JP wrote:i havent had a routine in years


ha ha ha yeah I never figured how that worked for you but it clearly does! :D

In any case I don't have the imagination to do random stuff each time

It´s just about knowing the principles and hard work.
Like do a main exercise at lower reps and sets, put in some muscle building sets and then maybe some iso-work at the end.
Deload every now and then, train your weak spots etc.

But I like to have a system (even if it´s just made up by myself). Kinda gives me the feeling of staying in control of my training.
Current PBs:
195 kg SQ, 130 kg Bench, 245 kg DL, 200 kg SQ w/ wraps

Long Term Goals:
@ 75 kg: SQ - 252,5 kg, SQ w/ Wraps - 267,5 kg, DL - 307,5 kg, Total (w/ and w/o Wraps) - 710
@ 82,5 kg: SQ - 275 kg, SQ w/ Wraps - 277,5 kg, Total (w/ and w/o Wraps) - 772,5 kg

Team Insanity - The Laws of Physics are Merely a Suggestion
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Re: When and why to change programs?

Postby Catt Queen » Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:07 am

Lordmuppet wrote:In any case I don't have the imagination to do random stuff each time


Neither do I but the variety is what works for me. I have a workout planner (basic spreadsheet) for every month and at the end of each month I copy over the workouts that were good and forget the ones that weren't. I'm forever watching You Tube videos for ideas and when I see something I like the look of, I insert a new tab on the planner and work it in to my monthly planner. Doing this this way I always know what I'm doing and have the variety I like, but without having to plan every day.
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Re: When and why to change programs?

Postby sosso » Tue Feb 14, 2012 9:25 am

Plenty of volume in 531 if you do some sets of 10 after the main work sets, plus other assistance.

After a while I guess you know when you're making progress and when you're not, no matter what your routine is, or even if you don't have a set routine at all. An extra plate added here, an extra rep there, an extra set there... etc etc.
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Re: When and why to change programs?

Postby baldy » Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:27 am

I am the type of person that needs a routine, I need numbers written down to motivate me. These routines where you walk into the gym and hit the weights you feel like for the day result in my walking in thinking everything is heavy and just doing a few curls. So I understand your desire to have a routine, just ignore these guys that don't live and die by a spreadsheet.

You're a strong guy for your size and past the "beginner stage", so I reckon you need to really think of what your goals are. Do you want to compete, look big, actually be big, be strong, being crazy strong etc. Then work out a program based on your goals.

If you want to do powerlifting comps, for example it would be really easy. Just pick the weight class you want to compete in and bulk until you reach that size. Then take your weakest lift and do a specialised program to improve that like Ed Coan for deadlift or Smolov for squat.
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Re: When and why to change programs?

Postby Lordmuppet » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:08 am

baldy wrote: so I reckon you need to really think of what your goals are. Do you want to compete, look big, actually be big, be strong, being crazy strong etc. Then work out a program based on your goals.

If you want to do powerlifting comps, for example it would be really easy. Just pick the weight class you want to compete in and bulk until you reach that size. Then take your weakest lift and do a specialised program to improve that like Ed Coan for deadlift or Smolov for squat.


Thanks Baldy, I reckon that's solid advice and a good reality check. I need to take some time to reflect.
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Re: When and why to change programs?

Postby baldy » Tue Feb 14, 2012 11:53 am

Lordmuppet wrote:Thanks Baldy, I reckon that's solid advice and a good reality check. I need to take some time to reflect.

To add to that you are in a very good position, the training you have done has given you a really strong base. If you started doing hypertrophy stuff I reckon you would make very quick gains.
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Re: When and why to change programs?

Postby JP » Tue Feb 14, 2012 2:56 pm

not having a routine does not mean not having a plan.

It just means that i cant predict what the numbers are on a particular day - i will have goals, but the progression is not based on paperwork and predicted progress (never really worked for me anyway), i will know what my main targets for the session are before hand - very important for the visualisation and mental prep to have that.

I also know more or less what i will do on what day - days will vary because life is like that, or you may have some niggle or recovery problem and you cant do the usual stuff on usual slots. Especially if one does strongman and nails fair few comps, like i did at least 8 last year, plus big meaningful sessions, it needs the days off beforehand too.

My outline is more or less like this at the moment:

day 1. overhead (jerk, push press, strict, with various things, these will vary and aim to progress in each with each implement)

day 2. squat/deadlift (or both), and variations: partial pulls, stiff legs and so on

day 3. press again

day 4. events

usually have 1 or 2 main lifts with main targets for the day, then some kind of assistance work, and leftovers in the end if ammo, or time, or need.

Volume, rep range and so on vary depending on the time in the season, like over winter i wanted to pack on muscle so i did more high rep work, closer to comp i vary between top end strength for events which need it, and repping for others - always vary again.

hey it sounds more complex now that i write it down rather than "i go to the gym and lift" :D
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Re: When and why to change programs?

Postby Mellos » Wed Feb 15, 2012 12:27 am

Oh ok. Well if you follow JP´s definition many people won´t have a routine but a plan (be it rough or rather detailed).
In that case I wouldn´t have a routine either.
Same goes for many westside guys including Louie Simmons. Somewhere he said that he never knows what he will lift and which lifts he will do the next day. But he´s got his rep ranges, principles etc that will result in a good workout. That´s what I meant with avoiding to lose control (by not just doing random stuff as I often did in the weightlifting gym and see where it got me..).
Current PBs:
195 kg SQ, 130 kg Bench, 245 kg DL, 200 kg SQ w/ wraps

Long Term Goals:
@ 75 kg: SQ - 252,5 kg, SQ w/ Wraps - 267,5 kg, DL - 307,5 kg, Total (w/ and w/o Wraps) - 710
@ 82,5 kg: SQ - 275 kg, SQ w/ Wraps - 277,5 kg, Total (w/ and w/o Wraps) - 772,5 kg

Team Insanity - The Laws of Physics are Merely a Suggestion
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