When it comes to advanced lifters, they are the ones who have a decent level of experience in training. Although they tend to represent an elite class in the lifting game, making certain modifications in their training program can be a bit tricky. The Bill Starr 5×5 Advanced Program tends to be a boon in disguise for advanced lifters. Numerous testimonials of advanced lifters have been there who support the effectiveness of this workout program.
What Will I Learn?
Bill Starr 5×5 Advanced routine and its variations have been used by elite athletes in various sports. Following this program religiously promotes enhanced strength and lean body mass. It primarily focuses on the core lifts that are responsible for promoting full-body hypertrophy. This program also ups the weight used on those lifts in a shorter span of time. Apart from training the major compound lifts, this program also makes use of a little bit of isolation work. The main highlight of this workout program is that your entire body grows in proportion just with a small assortment of compound lifts.
But it should be considered that this workout plan is designed for an advanced lifter who has some decent knowledge and experience of the basic core lifts.
Bill Starr 5×5 Advanced Routine
DELOADING AND INTENSIFICATION
OPTION 1: DELOAD AND PEAK 3X3
OPTION 2: PURE DELOAD
5×5 (10-20% less than Monday)
Drop this lift
3×3 with 70% of Monday
Military or Incline Press
Pull-ups or Chins
In deloading and intensification phase, you will be selecting one option from the two options given.
In option 2, you can shift your Wednesday workout to Thursday.
Before you get started with this program, it is necessary that you know about your 1 rep maxes or ideally your 5 rep max pertaining to each lift. Once you get to know about your 5-rep max, you can base your 5×5 max by cutting back a bit from it. You will find it much easier to find out these weights by following a systematic procedure to get to your maxes. It is advisable to start light and work your way up. This promotes flexibility along with ensuring that all the subsequent cycles get in the right place.
To progress effectively with this program, you would be putting your present PRs to Week 3. Now to start with the program, you can go with 80% of your Week 3 PR lift. Just keep in mind to not start too high as it will hamper your progression. Your week 4 lifts can be 5% above your week 3 lifts.
You also need to ensure that your fatigue levels don’t get too high. If they get high in week 1, that could be acceptable. But in case, if you feel overly fatigued from week 2 to the last week, this indicates over-training which might affect your progress.
Following this workout plan will require you to keep in mind that you will be having separate targets for 5×5 and 1×5 even though they will be for the same lift. The ramping of weights for such lifts are set separately and are also treated in a separate manner. The following list presents the ramping of weights in a detailed manner.
5×5 (straight sets)-
- Set 1- 315(lbs) x 5
- Set 2- 315(lbs) x 5
- Set 3- 315(lbs) x 5
- Set 4- 315(lbs) x 5
3×3 (straight sets)
- Set 1- 315(lbs) x 3
- Set 2- 315(lbs) x 3
- Set 3- 315(lbs) x 3
1×5 (ramped sets)
- Set 1- 225(lbs) x 5
- Set 2- 255(lbs) x 5
- Set 3- 275(lbs) x 5
- Set 4- 295(lbs) x 5
- Set 5- 315(lbs) x 5
1×3 (ramped sets)
- Set 1- 275(lbs) x 3
- Set 2- 295(lbs) x 3
- Set 3- 315(lbs) x 3
Volume/Loading Phase: Weeks 1-4
The workout routine consists of performing 5 sets of 5 reps with a weight that you use for your working set. The 1×5 mentioned in the table refers to ramping up the weights upward each set to get to a target set weight for a single set of 5. However, on Wednesdays, you will be squatting 5 sets of 5 reps which will be around 10%-20% less than the weight you lifted on Monday.
Following this protocol allows you to increase the target weight week to week which helps you achieve personal record lifts in the final two weeks (Week 3 and 4) of the volume phase.
- In case you are unable to complete the prescribed number of sets, you would keep the same weights for the next week.
You should keep in mind that in order to progress well with this protocol, you must start with a lighter weight. It facilitates flexibility and allows you to either add an extra week to your ramp up or move your targets a bit as you continue feeling your way. The prime purpose of starting with a lighter weight is that you would be in a position to get all your sets and reps completed.
Deloading and Intensification
Option 1: Deload and Peak 3 x 3
This option allows you to deload the weights in the middle weeks and work towards setting up new PRs in the final weeks. If you are a first-timer, you might find it a bit harder. Option 1 provides the trainees with a lighter week or two before they proceed to another loading period.
Deloading Week: Week 5
Week 5 will require you to drop the weight with the use of Deloading/Intensity set/rep scheme. The weight that you would be using in Week 5 will be the same weight that you used in the last week of the Volume phase. This week does not require any weight progression.
Intensification Phase: Week 6-9
The Intensification Phase uses the same principle except 3×3 and 1×3 that is used to set up records on week 8 and week 9. This phase doesn’t require you to perform squats on Wednesday. However, you must keep in mind that you recover properly before you get into the heavyweight PRs again. In the intensification Phase, the weight tends to get increased week by week.
The intensification Phase requires you to ramp up the weights from your deloading week taking them to your 3×3 and 1×3 records in the last 2 weeks. In this 3 times a week pattern, you would be restarting with a lighter weight. You will get an idea about your tolerance for volume loading and unloading in the intensification phase.
Prior to moving into another volume cycle, it is always a great idea to get through a deloading phase again. Especially if you have run the program 3 times per week as outlined in the program, this deloading phase becomes more rewarding. You can utilize this phase for two weeks with a target to work on your speed/acceleration.
If you go through your training session as mentioned below that promotes your deloading/intensity, you can then move into another volume phase.
Option 2: Pure Deload
The pure deloading phase aims to provide you with recovery in a hassle-free manner. In this phase, you perform your workouts only two times a week along with dropping off your Friday workout. You can shift your Wednesday workout to Thursday if you like. You can continue this phase for as many weeks as you require. There are certain people for whom 1-2 weeks of pure deload is enough. On the contrary, there are some people for whom 5-6 weeks of pure deload fetches them the desired results.
When you get to Week 5, get to a 3×3 pattern along with dropping off the Friday workout. The weights that you will be using in Week 5 will be the same ones that you used in the final week of loading. Then in the following weeks, you can increase the weight in each workout if you are capable to perform all the 9 reps. In case you miss out on the reps, keep the weight constant. After you get it completed, you can move straight into another volume phase.
For weekly increment, percentage wise rise will be more effective. But for first-timers, it is recommended to add 5 lbs to rows and bench presses and 10 lbs to squats and deadlifts.