2/5 -- Recovery Day, Week 5
Squat: 230 x 2 x 5
OHP: 122.5 x 3 x 5
Back-Extension: 130 x 5 x 10
Neck Extension: 22.5 x 4 x 25 each direction
This morning I went out to eat for breakfast and got some steak & eggs. It was one of the greasiest steaks I've ever had, and I had the runs later that afternoon. I was glad today's squats were light! ;-)
Great work-out overall. I'm pretty much recovered from the Volume Day squats, so today's squats actually felt appropriately light. I guess I'm adjusting to the 5x5 set/rep scheme. I finally got my 122.5x3x5 OHP. Usually I work-out alone, but today someone came in the gym just as I was approaching my last set, and I think the desire not to fail in front of someone else helped push me through my set. All reps were strong and smooth. 122.5 isn't a weight PR, but it is a PR for the 3x5 set/rep scheme, so I'm happy. Chin-ups are slowly increasing. Everything else is straightforward.
2/7 -- Intensity Day, Week 5
Squat: 320 x 4
Bench: 187.5 x 5
Deadlift: 355 x 5
Curl: 80 8/8/5
Decent workout capping an otherwise crappy day. The first four squat reps felt strong and good and the bar felt light on my back, but on the 5th rep, I leaned forward coming out of the hole and I decided to dump the bar rather than GMing it up. I'll be lowering my next Volume Day squat weight, so maybe getting 5x5 squats in with great form will improve things next week. Bench press and deadlift performance match my previous bests on Madcow, so next week will be PR territory once again. The 187.5 bench press felt pretty much max effort on the last rep, so we'll see how 190 goes next week. Deadlifts were heavy, but not max effort -- in fact, I'd say they felt easier than last week's. Failed on the last set of curls. No big deal. Finished up with some band pull-aparts. Now to go nurse this killer headache I have.
Nice to be back in PR territory, right?
You bet! I always feel like I'm just going through the motions the first few weeks on a new program. I understand the benefit of taking a new program with a running start, and I know that my muscles will still benefit from working against non-limit weights, but nothing beats tackling a new PR.
Originally Posted by Rob Is
This is a really cool idea. I know you're not even halfway done with the comparison, but what do you think so far? When I get to intermediate programming, I was debating whether to do Madcow or TM, so this is really interesting.
Do you think it would be useful to do Madcow until you've pretty much exhausted it and then switch to TM? Sort of treat Madcow as a beginner intermediate and TM as a more intermediate-intermediate?
Hey FKYT. I'm also starting TM after doing about 3 months of Madcow. Looks like you and I are at similar points in our training, and in general strength level. I'll be interested to see how your experience with TM compares to mine. Here's my log if you're interested.
One of my main goals was to increase my bench press, and so far I think TM is doing a better job of helping me do that than Madcow did. I think doing 5x5 reps with moderately heavy weight has really helped me clean up my form issues and get into the proper "groove". I'm a lot better at using leg drive, keeping my arch, keeping the weight on my upper back, and breathing between reps. Madcow also helped with this, since it also had me benching 2x per week, but I think the experience of 5x5 moderate sets across has helped my form issues better than ramping up to a top heavy set 2x per week.
Originally Posted by Odysseus
I'm still trying to find the proper Volume Day / Intensity Day ratios for the Squat. One thing about Madcow that I like is it's always easy to psyche yourself up for your top weight. On the Monday top set of 5, you think "Yeah, it's five reps, but I handled way more weight than this the previous Friday", and on the Friday top set of 3, you think "Yeah, it's a lot of weight, but I only have to do three reps, and on Monday I did five reps with just slightly less weight", so you just get under the bar and do it. Each day, you're doing at least one set that's "heavy", as in it feels like a ton, you have blood rushing to your head, you see sparks, etc. For my last Intensity Day workout, the bar felt fine on my shoulders, but during the first couple of weeks the Volume Day squats felt moderate and the Intensity Day squats felt HEAVY on my back. Initially I was wondering if VD squats would really prepare you for ID squats, since for each day just holding the bar was a totally different experience. It's sort of the opposite experince as I'm having with bench presses. However, as I said lately the ID squats haven't felt bad, so maybe this will improve as the program continues.
One thing I really like about TM is I actually get a light day. Madcow puts the deadlift on the Wednesday workout, so you never really get a break. Each day you're either squatting heavy or deadlifting heavy. The only "heavy" thing I do on Recovery day is my 3x5 OHP PR attempt, and if I were running the program as written, this would be replaced with just some light presses while the PR attempts all happen on Friday. Every now and then it's nice to just go to the gym, pump out some easy sets, and leave.
Another thing about TM -- surprisingly, the total time I spend in the gym is a little less than total time in the gym on Madcow. With TM, Volume Day takes me around 2 hours to complete everything, but Recovery Day and Intensity Day both take me slightly under an hour per session. With Madcow, the Monday and Wednesday workouts both took me about 1.5 hours apiece, and the Friday workout would take around 2 hours, since you have to ramp up to a top set in 3 main lifts, then do back-off sets, then pump out sets of dips, tricep extensions, and curls.
As for the last question, the main reason I did Madcow first was because I basically saw it as an "early intermediate" program and TM as an "intermediate intermediate" program, as you say, because with Madcow you go for PRs on everything once per week, whereas with TM you're hitting OHP and bench PRs every other week, and you can tweak TM so that you hit PRs for different rep ranges less frequently (for example, I've heard of people cycling 3RMs, 2RMs, and 1RMs for the presses and deadlifts). I think doing Madcow before TM is a pretty good way to go, but you probably wouldn't miss out on anything by jumping right into TM, particulary if you configure it like I have so you're doing PR attempts in everything once per week.
Last edited by FKYT; 02-08-2012 at 12:57 PM.
Thanks FKYT, that was really helpful.
2/10 -- Volume Day, Week 6
Bodyweight: 198 lbs
Squat: 275 x 5 x 5
Bench: 172.5 x 5 x 5
Power Clean: 160 2/3/3/2/2, 130 x 3 x 3
Squats felt easy, even using short rest times (3 minutes between sets, and a little longer before the last one). I think I've mastered this weight.
Bench presses felt perfect.
Power cleans were strange. I got the 1st two reps on the 1st set, but the 3rd one turned into a high pull. I did a second try, and got the same result. Second and third sets went well. I missed the last rep on my 4th set of power cleans, and the very last rep turned into a high pull again. If I had gotten all three reps on the last two sets, I would've just added a 6th set and called it a PR, but after the 4th set I knew it wasn't going to happen. I did 3x3 "back-off" sets with 130 lbs afterwards to practice form some more, and those went up smoothly. So, no PRs today, but power cleans aren't as much of a priority to me as the other members of the "Big Five", so that's okay. Obviously, I like getting PRs when I can, but missing a power clean isn't as big a kick in the balls as missing a deadlift or a bench press.
I finished up with some band pull-aparts again.
2/12 -- Recovery Day, Week 6
Squat: 225 x 2 x 5
OHP: 125 5/5/4, 95 x 8
Back-Extension: 135 x 5 x 10
Neck Extension: 27.5 25/25/25/15 each direction
Squats went okay.
For OHPs, I've been playing with my breathing patterns during execution of the set. When I started out on SS, I'd basically take a huge gulp of air, bang out 2-3 reps, quickly take a breath, and try to finish the set. Obviously, this didn't work out well for me. In the past few months I've been better about breathing between reps, but I felt like I had to breathe quickly, since I'd take a new breath at the top of the OHP and I didn't want to wear myself out supporting that weight overhead. This time, I decided to just relax, push the weight up, and make sure I've exhaled and inhaled completely before doing the next rep. This is basically what I've done with my bench presses, and it seems to be working well for those. I think that works a lot better, as shown by my hands-down better performance on this workout than my first two attempts at 122.5. I couldn't quite get that last rep though. It would've been cool to set a new OHP 3x5 PR right away, but it wasn't in the cards. I finished off with a light set of 8 to concentrate more on my movement and breathing patterns.
Pull-up reps are inching forward. I thought I did worse than my last pull-up attempt, but checking back I see I actually did one rep more on the first set. So good!
The rest is self-explanatory.
I've been hankering for pizza the past few weeks, so I think I'll head to Pizza Hut and destroy a Meat Lover's pizza. :-)