1. We now have a new forum called Fantasy Matchup Discussion. Access it here

3x5 or 3x6-8?

Discussion in 'Strength & Conditioning Discussion' started by supdudexxx, Jul 20, 2010.

  1. supdudexxx

    supdudexxx Orange Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Messages:
    254
    Likes Received:
    0
    Background: I'm 21, 5'7, 130 lbs. I started lifting about 2 weeks ago to supplement my BJJ training. I've been lifting every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday. BJJ Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday. Friday is a rest day.

    On advice I received I alternate each workout between:

    Workout A
    3x8 Squat
    3x8 Bench
    1x8 Deadlift

    Workout B
    3x8 Squat
    3x8 Military press
    3x8 Pendlay rows

    But, I recently perused Rippetoe's Starting Strength book and he recommends 3x5. There's also a chart at the back showing at what amount of reps each physiological adaptation is maximized, power being at rep 6.

    I was told personally that for BJJ, you need strength that can endure, so I should do about 8+ reps for each set. But then others say that 8+ is bodybuilding, Sarcoplasmic Hypertrophy territory. I'm assuming you guys are knowledgeable and can tell me what I should REALLY do. Thanks guys.
     
  2. Baconator69**

    Baconator69** Banned Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2010
    Messages:
    1,731
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    With Crom, strong on his mountain
    Stick to what Rip says. 3x5 ftw man.
     
  3. razegfx

    razegfx Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Jan 25, 2005
    Messages:
    187
    Likes Received:
    0
    stick to the 3x5. you'll naturally develop the muscular endurance/conditioning for BJJ by simply grappling more. when you need to compete, switch your priorities to focus more on BJJ. unless you've got a competition coming up, just work on building strength.

    HOWEVER, there's no reason not to have some extra fun every once in awhile, if you want to go for a set of high-rep stuff, or throw in some extra assistance/hypertrophy work that you weren't necessarily planning on. but in general, stick to the starting strength script.
     
  4. Origins

    Origins Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    0
    Lots of people seem to think that if your sport is endurance-based that you then need to do high reps when you lift so that your muscles can last a long time. Last a long time doing what? If you are weak as a kitten, I don't care how long you can maintain that intensity, you are still weak as a kitten.
     
  5. VoodooPlata

    VoodooPlata Brown Belt

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2009
    Messages:
    2,532
    Likes Received:
    4
    Location:
    A sparkling socialist paradise
    I agree with this. BJJ itself will give you endurance, what you need the gym for is max strength so that the endurance means something.
     
  6. glennpendlay

    glennpendlay Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am a fan of using each tool for the purpose that it is best used... Just as a hammer is great at putting in a nail but a poor tool for a screw, progressive resistance barbell training is a superior way to build strength and muscle, but not so superior at conditioning. So, unless you are immedietly prior to a fight, use the barbell mostly to get stronger. The best conditioning tools are exercises and implements which allow a large part of the body to be used at once BUT are suitable for higher repetitions and performance in a fatigued state. This suitability is determined by the likelyhood of fatigue causing a breakdown in form, and if it does, how much it matters.

    This makes things like some Kettlebell lifts, shouldering a sandbag, throwing a stone or a log over a barrier of a set height repeatedly all much superior to most barbell exercises for conditioning.

    So, my advice would be to use the barbell to get stronger. Use it in a way that maximizes this benefit. Then use another implement to condition yourself.

    Just my .02 cents worth.
     
  7. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Messages:
    6,524
    Likes Received:
    683
    TS, if this is the first time you are doing compound exercises with free weights, my opinion is that spending another 4-6 weeks on the 8-rep range is not a bad idea. That is not because you want to focus on muscular endurance, but because it is a good starting period to condition your connective tissue, as well as get used to the new motor patterns.

    Make your primary focus learning and practicing proper technique above all else (Rippetoe's book does a great job at explaining proper technique). Once you have passed the 2-month mark drop to the 5-rep range (for your main lifts) and don't look back.
     
  8. glennpendlay

    glennpendlay Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    0
    Certainly not to be argumentative or overbearing, but I disagree with 8 reps for beginners to compound exercises. 3-4 sets of 5 with a weight that would let the trainee do 8 reps on any given set if he really wanted to strain has been, in my experience, the way to go that developes solid technique the fastest. And it produces about the same if not superior strength gains as going ahead and straining to get the 8-10 reps that an all out maximal set would contain if we were really going to failure with the weight used.

    Again, not to be argumentative or come across as someone who thinks my way is the only way and everyone else is wrong... BUT, I have coached a fair amount of beginners, and quite a few of them have eventually went on to a high standard in strength sports. So I believe in what I do. And if given the choice, I would always use lower reps when teaching the lifts. I would rather use 3 than 8 for instance, although I think 4-6 is ideal. In my opinion, if you really want to do high reps, wait till you develope good solid technique and some basic strength in the lift, then do it. Its not suitable for beginners.

    And furthermore I will say this. Let me issue a disclaimer first. I no longer have any financial interest in any of Rippetoes books. I did at one time, but with the advent of the second edition of "Practical Programming" any money to me has stopped. So I dont want people to think I am recomending this because I have an interest. I dont. Yet, I would still recomend them. So many people would be better off if they would just do the tried and tested routines in books like those than something they get off the internet. By the time you need more than books like that can give you, you will have the knowledge to program for yourself. But until you get at least to the intermediate level of "Practical Programming" you really are better off just following the programming.

    Anyway, no hard feelings for disagreeing with me. Just wanted to get my opinion out there.
     
  9. miaou

    miaou barely keeping it together

    Joined:
    May 9, 2005
    Messages:
    6,524
    Likes Received:
    683
    Glenn, there is no reason to repeat there's no hard feelings. I am interested in hearing your opinion, and I obviously have more to gain if you disagree with me than if we always agree.


    I agree with the notion that a beginner lifter should spend a few weeks with submaximal weights, and that is regardless of the rep range (so if he does a 5-rep set it would be, as you say, with something like an 8RM weight).

    I don't advocate 8RM sets for a beginner, I personally advocate 6-8 reps with less than 6RM (or 8RM) weight. That is the reason why I felt the need to stress that imo technique (not strength) should be the primary focus in the first few weeks.

    My way of thinking is that a complete beginner, in his first 1-2 months, will benefit from a greater amount of repetitions, which will help practice and instill the motor patterns of the main lifts. He will benefit from a more gradual intensity increase (so he will spend the first few weeks on maybe a 9-12RM weight while doing 6-8 reps, then he will move to a program like starting strength, that will have him start with his ~8RM weight) in order to allow time for his connective tissue to adapt to the extra load (remember, this is a complete beginner). On a last note, while doing sub-maximal rep sets, he will benefit from a slightly higher volume in order to build his work capacity.

    I obviously agree with you that the strength gains in those first few weeks will be faster if the beginner lifter works on 3-5 reps. From my point of view, it is worth (for the reasons mentioned above) waiting those few weeks before upping the intensity. Note that this is about the PL lifts, I definitely agree with sticking to lower reps if we are talking about the oly lifts.



    I started a discussion on this exact subject a few months ago (here), were I explained my thinking in a bit more detail and also pointed that the absence of a coach might be an important parameter. In that thread I proposed 6-8 rep sets or alternatively a submaximal 5x5, with small breaks between worksets (which will result in the weight on the bar will being less than if doing 3x5; so if 3x5 would be with 8RM weight, 5x5 with shorter breaks would result in a 10-12RM weight) before transitioning to SS or a similar routine.


    EDIT: I'll be a pussy and repeat there are no hard feelings and I'm very happy to hear your opinion. I actually copy-pasted one of your responses to the S&P FAQ thread earlier today.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2010
  10. DEVILsSON

    DEVILsSON Black Belt

    Joined:
    Feb 13, 2006
    Messages:
    5,830
    Likes Received:
    10
    Glenn it's great to get your take on things. No need to pussyfoot here, we can handle criticism and disagreement.

    I have seen such debates before and both approaches have their benefits and weaknesses. Low submaximal sets tend to reinforce better form while higher rep sets both RE and SE tend to build muscular endurance/hypertrophy and condition various connective tissues. I tend to think about higher rep sets as GPP in preparation for heavy lifting. Sure sets of 12-20 may not do much in terms of reinforcing great form but they help build general fitness, muscular endurance, bit of hypertrophy, and develop mental focus.
     
  11. Tosa

    Tosa Red Belt

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2008
    Messages:
    9,068
    Likes Received:
    242
    Location:
    Somewhere else
    One approach I've seen for complete beginners is that each workout starts with technique practice for a main lift(s). This would be low reps, and could involve tools for teaching technique (E.g. using a box when teaching squatting). And when the work on technique is done other, less technical exercises, would be done for volume and to improve work capacity. For example it might be something like (1) Work on squat technique (3 reps) (2) push-ups, (possibly with additional resitance) (3) prowler work.
     
  12. glennpendlay

    glennpendlay Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    0
    I will try not to "pussyfoot", but, I have found a little extra politeness when disagreeing with people on a forum when I am the "new guy" tends to help with keeping the discussion cordial.

    My thoughts on this are as follows. I believe you should seperate the exercises that you do heavy and for strength and the ones you do for conditioning. There are two reasons for this.

    The first is that you DO NOT want your technique on things like the squat or the clean to be eroded by doing these exercises in a very fatigued fashion.

    The second is that I believe for grappling, you want variety. Why limit this variety by conditioning with the same exercises as you build strength with. Instead, squat in the manner that is best for building absolute strength, then do something like shoulder a sandbag for conditioning.

    I realize that I am not an expert on MMA conditioning. But I see this as a way to condition for fighting which interferes as little as possible with the building of strength and muscle. And upon reading this board a bit, it seems to me that a fair amount of the readers here not only want to condition, they want to condition while also getting stronger and often bigger.

    Anyway, thats my .02 cents worth.
     
  13. Gary Peters

    Gary Peters Purple Belt Professional Fighter

    Joined:
    Oct 31, 2006
    Messages:
    2,025
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sounds good to me, I use completely different movements for building strength vs conditioning. The only one I can think of that are similar would be weighted chins vs mass bodyweight ones.
     
  14. turbozed

    turbozed Red Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Messages:
    9,436
    Likes Received:
    1,324
    Location:
    Kakapoopoopeepeeshire
    So I take it, glenn, that you would be against things like lighter-load barbell complexes for muscle endurance and conditioning?

    What would be your stance on Crossfit, which is the most prominent training style that advocates a hybrid of strength training with conditioning in almost all of their exercises?

    I've always believed that Oly coaches would frown upon doing extremely technical lifts like cleans for high reps and while fatigued. Still, you see a lot of Oly coaches giving seminars to Crossfiters and immersing themselves in the Crossfit world. Is this just purely because that's where they can find people interested in the Olympic lifts? Just curious to see what your take is on this.
     
  15. supdudexxx

    supdudexxx Orange Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    Messages:
    254
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks guys for the feedback, it's nice to hear the logic behind the suggestions from educated posters.

    If it makes any difference, this is the first time in my life that I've started lifting. My numbers also are pretty low as of right now:
    Squat 100 lbs, Military Press 65 lbs, Bench Press 85 lbs, Deadlift 115 lbs, and Pendlay Rows 80 lbs.

    I've been consistently been adding at least 5 lbs per lift every workout on the 3x8.

    I also work out at home with an olympic barbell, squat rack, and bench. No trainer, and I try to use a mirror to check my form when I can.
     
  16. Origins

    Origins Blue Belt

    Joined:
    Jun 4, 2010
    Messages:
    510
    Likes Received:
    0
    Don't rely on mirrors too much. They can be deceiving.
     
  17. glennpendlay

    glennpendlay Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    0
    No, I am not against them (barbell complexes), but I think they should make up a small part of the conditioning work. In my original post I listed barbell complexes as one of 12 sample conditioning workouts, and in reality, I think thats roughly about how much they should be used, about 1/10th of the time. They are GREAT conditioning tools, but have a big weakness... when doing barbell complexes, you tend to mimic the positions you are in when you go heavy with the barbell. This, I think, is their great weakness.

    When you grapple, you are in 100 strange positions, exerting force from odd positions and in odd directions, and at odd speeds ranging from as fast as you can move unloaded to holding an isometric contraction as long and hard as you can.

    There are a lot of reasons why barbells and in particular major barbell exercises like squats and bench presses are the best tool when you want to gain 20lbs of muscle mass or increase base strength. But they do not in any way mimic the way the body works when wrestling or fighting.

    When moving from basic strength work to strength/conditioning that is specifically for grappling, you want to mimic as much as possible the demands of the sport. This means variety of positions and movement speeds. Shoveling sand or dirt, shouldering odd objects, one arm KB lifts, pushing a prowler, the farmers walk with awkward implements, loading logs or other odd objects... if you put all these things together, they are much more "specific" to grappling than weights.

    I remember when I wrestled competitively. I spent 9 years at it, then about a year doing MMA/Judo. I also coached wrestling for a couple of years, but thats another story. Anyway, do you know the ONLY year that I didnt absolutely DIE the first week of practice? It wasnt the year that I had ran my ass off. The 5:19 mile and 11:38 two mile that I was fairly proud of didnt seem to help at all. It wasnt the year that me and my friend Barry Park spent the couple of months before practice doing circut training. It wasnt when I went back to wrestling after a stint in powerlifting and started practice with a 500+ pound bench press and a 700 + deadlift. None of that, while it all certainly had to help somewhat, prepared me to get on the mat for 5-6 minutes with a tough opponent.

    What did prepare me was the year when I spent about 3 months cutting wood with my dad and stopped when wrestling season started. Dad ran the chainsaw, and I loaded the trailer. The small stuff you pick up with one hand and throw in the trailer. The medium stuff you get an armload of and walk to the trailer and dump. Some of the really big logs you roll to the trailer, then struggle to barely deadlift and roll over the side. The really really big logs, those you can pick up, you get a sledge hammer and split right there in the woods, then take the pieces to the trailer. 2-3 hours of that right after school, at a fast pace to keep up with Dad who worked fast when cutting, and also to get a "workout" which I felt that I needed because having to do it meant I didnt have time to run which I had always done to prepare for the season, then to home and supper then to the YMCA to squat and bench press and stuff, then bed. Now THAT prepared me for the first week of wrestling practice. That is the ONLY time that I can remember when that first week on the mat didnt phase me much.

    This experience helped me a ton when I coached wrestling. The coaching experience led me to believe that it is not specifically loading logs of various sizes into a trailer that is an excellent conditioning tool for grappling, but movements with a huge variety of positions and with speeds ranging from isometric to explosive, in other words tons of variation of every variable that can be varied, lol.

    When I gave the 12 examples in my earlier post for wrestling specific strength and conditioning workouts, I simply thought of 12 things each of which was unique in the position and movement and speed, etc. Get really good at going balls out with 5 or 10 different workouts like that, and you will have the best "base" that I can think of for wrestling. Much better than if you do all your work with a barbell in your hand. Use heavier weights and less sessions when you are concentrating on getting stronger, and lighter weights and more continuous movement and more sessions when you are getting ready for a fight, and you have, in my opinion, a fairly good system for both improving in a long-term fashion (getting stronger over time) and being in great shape when you have to get on the mat with someone in front of an audience.

    Just my .02 cents worth
     
  18. glennpendlay

    glennpendlay Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    0
    For grappling or fighting, I do not think it is ideal. Were I to coach wrestling again, or work with another fighter, I would use the program I have described, and not crossfit. Strength is very important in fighting. I dont think CF programming allows for this. And I dont think their exercise selection is ideal for fighting. I think it is a good idea, just not executed in a way that is ideal for grappling or fighting.
     
  19. glennpendlay

    glennpendlay Yellow Belt

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2010
    Messages:
    163
    Likes Received:
    0
    Most if not all OL coaches are against that. OL coaches go to crossfit because crossfitters appreciate and want to learn the lifts. Thats a rare quality in the USA. CF also allows OL coaches an avenue to actually get paid for their knowledge, another rare thing in the USA for that particular group.
     
  20. turbozed

    turbozed Red Belt

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2006
    Messages:
    9,436
    Likes Received:
    1,324
    Location:
    Kakapoopoopeepeeshire
    ^
    Thanks for the comprehensive reply glenn.

    I had a suspicion that most Oly coaches aren't 100% in favor (or even mostly in favor) of Crossfit training methods but I figure they also appreciate the increased interest in weightlifting that comes with it. I'm sure there will also be a good number of Crossfiters that will end up forsaking thrusters and focus more on the Oly lifts. I'd say the sum effect of it all is positive.
     

Share This Page

  1. This site uses cookies to help personalise content, tailor your experience and to keep you logged in if you register.
    By continuing to use this site, you are consenting to our use of cookies.