Saturday, January 9, 2010

The 5 to 7 Program

     There are several programs that I have touted on this blog because of their efficacy—the two that I get asked the most questions about would probably be the H-L-M system of training and the 3 to 5 method.  I like both of these systems for a few reasons: 1) They use full-body workouts. 2) They allow you to train your muscle groups frequently while still being fresh at each session.  And 3) while they are training templates they both allow for enough variety to keep the lifter from getting stale and/or bored.
     Now I would like to introduce another template of a training system that I think is even more effective for advanced strength athletes.  I call it the 5 to 7 Program.
     The 5 to 7 Program works for advanced athletes because of a simple reason: it forces you to use more volume than with the other above systems.  (Despite the bull that is often espoused in some of the various bodybuilding magazines, as you get more advanced you don't need less training you need more.)
     To begin with, I'm going to outline the parameters of this training method.  Don't worry, it's fairly simple:
     1) You train your entire body 3 days each week.
     2) You perform 5 to 7 different exercises for 5 to 7 sets (each exercise) of 5 to 7 reps.
     3) You should select basic, "core" exercises.  You should also utilize more lower body and rear-of-the-body exercises than upper-body exercises.
     4) You should train hard, but not so hard that you can't recover from each training session.  In other words, don't give the workout 100% of your effort—more like 90-95%.
     That's it.  It really is quite simple.  The two things that it requires are hard work and consistency.
    As you get more advanced, you need to learn to train more "instinctively" (or what I call "Awakened training").  Although I wouldn't recommend such a tactic for beginners, advanced athletes should understand their bodies and how they respond to training volume, training intensity, and training intensiveness (of effort).
     With the 5 to 7 Program you have a template that allows you to make instinctive changes whenever they are necessary.
     Here is what a week of training might look like:
Monday
Squats: 7 sets of 5
Deadlifts: 5 sets of 5
Bench Presses: 7 sets of 7
Power Cleans: 5 sets of 5
Overhead Presses: 5 sets of 5
Chins: 5 sets of 7
Dumbbell Deadlifts: 5 sets of 5
Wednesday
Squats: 5 sets of 5
High Pulls: 5 sets of 5
Clean and Presses: 7 sets of 5
Incline Dumbbell Bench Presses: 5 sets of 7
Front Squats: 5 sets of 5
Friday
Squats: 5 sets of 7
Clean-Grip Deadlifts: 5 sets of 5
Dips: 7 sets of 7
Chins: 5 sets of 7
Sumo Deadlifts: 7 sets of 5
Standing Dumbbell Presses: 5 sets of 5
     Although you will be training somewhat instinctively, make sure that most of the exercises are staples of your program.  If you just used the exercises I included above, they would be all you ever need.  Just change the order of how you do them from workout to workout, and from week to week.

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