FKYT compares Madcow and TM
Brief training history:
Did SS between November 2010 and June 2011. Results:
Squat: 105 --> 310
Bench: 95 --> 185
Deadlift: 115 --> 340
Press: 55 --> 120
Power Clean: 45 --> 155
Bodyweight: 149 --> 200 (5'10" male, by the way)
Did Greyskull LP for a couple months --> No change in strength levels.
Did 5/3/1 w/ bodyweight assistance while on a cut --> Lost some fat, but also lost strength. Decided I could live with the fat, and proceeded to intermediate programming.
Did Madcow 5x5 between September and December 2011 (13 weeks total). Results:
Squat: 275 x 5 --> 330 x 5, 345 x 2
Bench: 162.5 x 5 --> 187.5 x 5, 197.5 x 2
Deadlift: 300 x 5 --> 355 x 5
Press: 112.5 x 5 --> 135 x 2
My lifts were starting to stall out right before my winter break. Normally I'd just continue with Madcow with a 10% reduction in the new year, but I figured this would be a good time to see how Madcow compares with TM. Therefore, I'll be running a TM set-up for the next 13 weeks and see how they stack up. After the 13 week trial, I'll stick with whichever program I like more.
Here will be my set-up:
Power Clean 5x3
Light Squat 2x5
Back Extension 5x10
I'll just be doing bench on volume and intensity days, not rotating with the OHP. This is partly to keep the program as similar as possible to Madcow, and partly because I want to BLAST and BLITZ my bench. After the 13 weeks, depending on how well I like TM and where my bench press is at, I may start rotating the two lifts.
I plan on keeping pretty much the same diet & sleep schedule I used for Madcow. I work out on Fridays, Sundays, and Tuesdays, because that schedule fits best with my work schedule.
My main goals are:
1 ) Get my bench over 2 plates for a set of 5.
2 ) Get my deadlift over 4 plates for a set of 5.
3 ) Just plain get stronger overall.
I've been on travel over the past few weeks, with just an adjustable set of dumbbells and ~110 lbs of weights. I used this as an opportunity to do some light dumbbell work. Basically, I did overhead presses and rows in 5/3/1 BBB style -- work up to some heavy singles, then light back-off sets of 10. Then I'd finish up with some high-rep goblet squats (10-25 reps) for conditioning + legs. Workouts were 3 days per week.
I had access to a gym again on Tuesday, 1/3, so I basically did a light "intensity day" workout:
150 x 5
190 x 5
225 x 5
265 x 5
300 x 5
95 x 5
115 x 5
135 x 5
155 x 5
175 x 5
205 x 5
245 x 5
290 x 5
330 x 5
Pull-ups won't be a part of my intensity day in the future, and I won't be using sets of 5 for my heavier warm-ups. This was just a way for me to get back into the swing of things. The 290 x 5 was all done double overhand, which is a grip PR for me -- my grip is my weak link on my deadlifts. So I'm happy with that. Lats were sore all day yesterday and today.
Everything felt easy, especially the deadlifts. I think I used some of my strongest bench press form yet -- usually I knock myself out of the groove on the last rep, which is partly why my bench press is so poor compared to the other lifts.
1/6 -- Volume Day, Week 1
Bodyweight: 198 lbs
Squat: 275 x 5 x 5
Bench: 160 x 5 x 5
Power Clean: 135 x 5 x 3
Squats felt appropriately challenging. I probably could have done more, but I'm trying to ease into it.
Bench presses actually felt easier over time. I guess I need an extra warm-up set or two.
I haven't done power cleans as part of my regular routine for a while. Felt easy.
Overall, I'd say it felt like a pretty good work-out, and everything felt appropriately challenging, if a little light.
1/8 -- Recovery Day, Week 1
Squats: 245 x 2 x 5
OHP: 117.5 x 3 x 5
Back-Extension: 110 x 5 x 10
Neck Extension: 17.5 x 3 x 20 each direction
Early morning workout. OHPs were harder than I expected they would be. I still did them all in good form, but they weren't a breeze like I expected. I guess that's a good thing.
I threw in some neck extensions mostly for aesthetic purposes. I can't imagine they'd affect any of my lifts one way or another. May as well lose the pencil neck.
The whole workout left me with a slightly euphoric feeling, which is how I guess a true recovery day should feel. A lot different feeling from Madcow or GSLP, where deadlifts are placed at the end of the "easy" days and you feel toasted no matter what.
1/10 -- Intensity Day, Week 1
Squat: 305 x 5
Bench: 177.5 x 5
Deadlift: 335 x 5
Curl: 60 x 3 x 8
No PRs or anything. The first squat felt easy, but the last two were pretty hard. Bench presses felt about how I expected they'd feel. Deadlifts felt easy. While warming up for deadlifts, I pulled 315 x 1 double over-hand, which I've never done before. Threw in some curls for the guns.
Whole workout was done in under an hour.
1/13 -- Volume Day, Week 2
Bodyweight: 198 lbs
Squat: 280 x 5 x 5
Bench: 162.5 x 5 x 5
Power Clean: 140 x 5 x 3
Squat difficulty felt a lot more "even" than last week -- the first set this week was harder than the first set last week, but the last set felt easier than last week. Bench presses felt absolutely perfect. Power clean form was ugly -- It's amazing what a difference just 5 pounds can make. But I got them up without too much difficulty. I finished with some band pull-aparts (about 20 all together), which I wanted to try after reading this article by Jim Wendler: http://www.jimwendler.com/2012/01/extra-workouts/ I won't be doing 100 per day, but just a few sets after my bench presses, just to see if it makes a difference in how my upper back feels.
1/15 -- Recovery Day, Week 2
Squat: 255 x 2 x 5
OHP: 120 x 3 x 5
Back-Extension: 115 x 5 x 10
Neck Extension: 12.5 x 4 x 25 each direction
Another early workout. OHPs were hard, especially towards the end, but I felt like I had a little left in the tank afterwards. I changed the set/rep scheme for the neck extensions to 4x25 to be consistent with recommendations in the TM e-book & GSLP. No big deal.
1/17 -- Intensity Day, Week 2
Squat: 310 x 4
Bench: 180 x 5
Deadlift: 340 x 5
Curl: 65 x 3 x 8
Squats were disappointing. The bar felt fine when taking it out of the rack, but I ran out of gas after the 4th rep and failed on the 5th one. I loaded the bar back up, rested a few minutes and took it out of the rack again to get in a "make-up" rep, but I knew as soon as I had it on my shoulders that I was done. Too bad, since I was looking forward to getting back to 3+ Plate Squat Land next week.
Bench presses felt super easy. I feel that the more frequent benching with moderately heavy weight, first on Madcow and especially now on TM, has really helped me hone my technique. I'm better at keeping my shoulders tucked and driving my upper back into the bench, and I have a lot more control over the bar compared to when I was on SS.
Deadlifts also felt easy. Not super easy, but I definitely had a lot more in me.
The curls felt even easier than last week. I finished up with some band pull-aparts, about 60 total over several sets of 10-15 reps.
1/20 -- Volume Day, Week 3
Bodyweight: 198 lbs
Squat: 285 x 5 x 5
Bench: 165 x 5 x 5
Power Clean: 145 x 5 x 3
Took care of business early today due to the snowstorm in the Chicago area. Squats felt easy -- even easier than 275 and 280 in previous weeks. Bench presses felt super easy, like the bar wasn't even there. Power cleans went well. I let out this funny "HNNNNNNGGGGGGG" noise on the last couple of sets; I'm sure that as I type this, another guy on another forum's "Gym Idiots" thread is telling everyone about the guy making cumming noises while jumping with the weights. I finished up with some band pull-aparts.
My heart rate was kept high on the drive home due to slick conditions, crazy drivers, and having to dig my car out of a huge mound of snow, so I'll go ahead and count that as conditioning work. :-)