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I'm 21 years old & have been bodybuilding now for around 6 years. A few months ago I came across the Bill Starr 5x5 workout program, which is shown in the following link - Bill Starr - Glenn Pendlay 5x5 - Periodized Version, Dual Factor Theory

I found this program to be amazing in Strength/Size increases. I then came across another link, which explains what to do AFTER the 5x5 program. He says that after the 5x5, you should do a cycle of EDT (Escalating Density Training) or GVT (10x10 German Volume Training) in order to break out of the high weight training & shock your body into producing more muscle, by incorporating more volume.

I won't ask you to read through the WHOLE thread I'm linking but I'd greatly appreciate it if you could at least read through the specific POST I link to, as that's generally what I'm asking about in this thread. And who knows, you may learn something!

The Original Thread - Eclipse Gym :: View topic - Bill Starr 5x5 Primer - How to create your own 5x5 program

The Specific Post I Need Help Understanding - Eclipse Gym :: View topic - Bill Starr 5x5 Primer - How to create your own 5x5 program

As far as I know, he's basically saying carry on with the 5x5 method of training which is SQUATS/BENCH/ROW on Mondays & Fridays and SQUATS/DEADS/MILITARY PRESS/PULLUPS on Wednesdays, BUT this time you do 10x10 instead of 5x5. I've added a picture in, to show what a typical 5x5 program looks like.

Picture -

Am I right then in thinking that he means use the above program, but just do 10x10 instead of 5x5? If so, I have a few questions:

- Surely doing the Bill Starr routine but using 10x10 instead of 5x5, would cause overtraining & be counter-productive to gains wouldn't it? I mean, I thought that with high volume routines such as GVT, you needed extra rest due to the very fact it is HIGH VOLUME, but the Bill Starr routine has you training the same muscle group/exercises 2-3 times a week. What do you make of this?

- In the original Bill Starr 5x5 article shown in the very first link, he says to NEVER substitute the exercises for other variations (e.g. Back Squats for Front Squats) because the exercises chosen are THE BEST for what you are trying to achieve. OK, well this may be true, but what happens when you stop growing or making progress on an exercise, because your body has become adapted to it? Surely I can't be squatting 3 times a week in BOTH routines (5x5 & 10x10) and carry on making progress. For this reason, would it not be a good idea to perhaps do Back Squats for the 5x5 routine, and Front Squats for the 10x10 routine so that I don't get accustomed to a specific exercise? I guess this also goes for the other exercises used in the 5x5 which are Bench/Row/Deadlift/Military Press. Would it be a good idea to also switch THEM up for something like DB Bench/DB Row/Rack Deads/DB Military Press? I'm just a little concerned that I'll plateau on a particular exercise because I'll be doing it for so long without any change, but I'm also concerned about actually substituting the exercise for something else, because like I said, in the Bill Starr article about 5x5 above, he says that bodybuilders have a ridiculoud tendency to want to CHANGE everything, and that's one of the reasons people don't make progress.

- In the post I linked to above (the one saying you should do something like EDT or GVT after 5x5), it says something about doing 10x6 (6 sets of 10 reps), although it doesn't say HOW you should implement this, unless I've missed something. Here's what it says:

"Basically it was a program designed many years ago for weightlifters who wished to move up a weight class. It is very brutal in nature and requires a great deal of focus while doing the training. The basic German Volume Training is known as the "10x10" or where you'll do 10 sets of 10 reps of 60% of your 1 rep maximum per exercise, with an arbitrary, but fixed, rest period in-between sets. As you progress, you'll later do a "6x10" or 10 sets of 6 reps with 70% of your 1 rep maximum with a similar rest period."
^^ OK fair enough, but WHEN do I use this method?

Anyway, I don't want to make a long post any longer, so for now that's all the questions I have. As stated above, any help is greatly appreciated & hopefully somebody has the time to give me a hand with all this.

Thanks a lot!

6,805 Posts
If you found the program to be amazing, why not just run it again? It is periodised by way of loading and deloading, so it's highly unlikely you will plateau. If you do, it's probably because you've chosen unrealistic weight increments rather than squats suddenly stop working for you.

So to answer a few of your questions:

* No, don't swap the exercise if you're doing linear loading/deloading periodisation. The point of swapping exercises is for conjugated periodisation, not linear loading/deloading.

* While you are squatting 3x/week, one of those session is at a much lower weight, miles away from failure. This should HELP recovery, and serve as a warm-up, not hinder it.

* 10x10 would be done at a far lower intensity. You are increasing the volume from a 5x5, so you will drop the weight accordingly. The volume is totally the stimulus here.

* Although you are thinking along the right lines, you are definitely over-thinking. Instead of wondering whether you should swap things about, get in a gym and try it both ways and see what works best for you. Exercise theory/science is great, but sometimes you just have to get in a gym and move some heavy-ass weights :D
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