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04-17-2012, 10:36 PM
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Boyle's program is not a novice lifting program. it is a mobility program that incorporates single-leg strength. can be combined with other barbell training. it does not achieve strength gains like SS. check.
No, the only group of people Boyle does not start out with single leg movements are the obese population:

Last but, certainly not least, single leg work. Again a basic building block of our programs fails the common sense test. The first thing an obese client needs to do is learn to squat on two legs and, handle his or her bodyweight. I want to throw myself out the window when I see the things they do on The Biggest Loser. I'm worried about doing a proper squat and they have these people running sprints and doing box jumps.
Notice how he calls single leg work a basic building block of his program? Notice how he starts obese people off WITH BODYWEIGHT and not the barbell? This is the only mention I know of where Boyle neglects to incorporate single leg movements.

Wendler's 531 program is not a novice lifting program, but one that intentionally slows down your progress compared to SS.
Wendler on the 5/3/1 for the beginner:

Generally, I tell everyone to just do the program as is, regardless of training age.
He continues:

Of course, if you’re a trainer and are using the program with a novice athlete or someone new to training, simply use your experience to make whatever changes are required – though there shouldn’t be many.
How he sets up 5/3/1 for a beginner


Squat – 5/3/1 sets/reps
Bench – 55%x5, 655%, 75%x5
Assistance work


Deadlift – 5/3/1 sets/reps
Press – 5/3/1 sets/reps
Assistance work


Bench – 5/3/1 sets/reps
Squat – 55%x5, 65%x5, 75%x5
Assistance work
So you are disagreeing with Jim Wendler on how his own programming should be used? I have already shown how well-respected coaches use all of these systems with novice athletes. The best example would be Rudy Neilson who combined the hatch squat program with the conjugate method and came up with a pretty amazing set of programming for the novice to the advanced lifter. He said himself that it works with everyone who can do the movements and uses it at his own crossfit gym with the general populus.

can a novice do those programs? yes. will a novice achieve gains faster than SS? hell, no.
Subjective. But the "novices" I have worked with have made better gains on some version of 5/3/1 over a 3 - 6 month period. More importantly, better performance on the field/ice/whatever. The only place I see SS praised these days is the internet. 5/3/1 is also not a be all and end all, but I find it more flexible.

SS does not prevent you from playing sports. check.
SS does not prevent you from adding assistance exercises. check.
Squatting 3x a week does not prevent you from adding assistance exercises, just because you say it does. check.
GOMAD does not prevent you from playing sports. check.
I just re-skimmed through SS second edition and Practical Programming. No mention of single leg exercises, but I did get some snippets indicating the importance of the squat. This is one of many quotes. Anyone who has read Rippetoe knows he loves squats.

Exercises should be chosen to accomplish the program's specified goal in
the most efficient manner possible. This means large-scale, multi-joint exercises involving large muscle masses working in a coordinated manner.
Here is a brief video of Mike Boyle explaining why the squat is not awesome. While I am not as hardliner as he is, I do agree with the gist of his argument. More important, notice how he is talking about young/novice athletes new/newer to weight lifting.

So. For athletes. You have one of the top performance coaches in the nation talking about why the back squat (the basis of starting strength) should NOT BE used for beginner athletes. So yes, I have an issue with three back squat sessions a week.

raw strength is a far more important factor in preventing injury in novices, than incorporation of single leg movements. i don't have a link, but wendler himself says that every time he talks about his motorcycle accident. once a strength reaches non-embarrassing level, sure, single-leg stuff will help. i can buy that.
Ripptoe's work: No mention of single leg exercises, squat three times a week.
Boyle: The novice athlete should avoid backsquats entirely and focus on single leg movements and mobility.

I think I am going to lean towards with the guy who has worked extensively with college athletes and currently works with professional athletes, the guy whose job is injury prevention and performance, the guy who gets fired if too many man games are lost.

I never said SS would prevent you from playing sports. I said it wasn't the most effective thing ANYONE could do for sports performance.

Oh I also found this gym regarding female strength training that actually contradicts some of what you said earlier:

Women, younger and older trainees, and those with technique problems might only make 5 lbs. every other workout, or might need to introduce smaller plates earlier in the progression
Seems like your statement of "30 pounds on the DL should be at most 3 weeks gains" for a female may not gel with what is in the second edition of Starting Strength. 5 pounds a week on the deadlift would be what, 15 pounds?

what do you think lacrosse ball rolling and stretching does?
Not nearly as effective as a complete program for mobility. I really like Kelly Starrett for anything mobility related.

Here is a video I really like for the hip problems most people have with the squat:

in fact it purposefully limits progression, even though it is still linear. this is important once you reach intermediate and advanced programming.
Important according to whom? For me, proper movement, core engagement, and full body mobility is infinitely more important than maximal strength. At any level. This goes against Rippetoe's philosophy but is more akin to what Matt Nichols, Gary Roberts, Mike Boyle, and so forth - current top tier conditioning specialists preach.

what purpose is it to have LBBS and FS on the same day, rather than do only LBBS at higher weight? there's virtually no benefits to this for a novice. learning two very different squat techniques over one is MUCH more taxing to your CNS. provided that in your program you only have one squat day a week, i think it's unnecessarily slowing down how much weight you can put on the bar. much like lifting to gain muscle without a caloric surplus.
I include a LBBS for skeletal loading. I don't like the how most athletes move with the HBBS. I don't think it is something that should be maintained, but I do agree with Rippetoe's (and others) assessment of the squat for hormonal and other physiological reasons.

The front squat, to me, is a perfect accessory to this for its ability to tax the anterior chain. Notice how it is done lighter. If I have the athlete with me and can watch form, I normally make them do the 5 sets every minute on the minute. It is more taxing with less weight. My goal is to keep tonnage down. Doing less work sets of LBBS (and, if you notice, fewer deadlifts) helps with this. If this is still much total tonnage (and the person is able to preform them) I often move to overhead squats.

In most situations, I wouldn't have someone do a high bar back squat and front squat on the same day. I also change the "primary" lift every 3 cycles and the secondary lifts as needed.

What works for one person, may not work for everyone. Finding the right mix of exercises is key. Those ones are normally good starts.

what do you have against Rippetoe as a source? the reason he gives to separating deadlifts and cleans is because the both work hip extension, but one is explosive, while the other is not. if you were to do them on the same day, sure do the cleans first. but it's probably better to separate them for a novice. i think a novice would be able to move more weight on both cleans and deadlifts if there was a rest day in-between.
I love him as a source for coaching individual movements but think his programming philosophy in terms of athletic performance is outdated. As I have argued, there are varying degrees of opposition to the squat. Yet, SS recommends doing it 3x a week. Find someone who works with all levels of athlete who supports a Squat3x a week 5x3 program.

Why is it better to separate them? Why should the goal for both the deadlift AND the clean be to move as much weight as possible? What about moving it dynamically - as explosively as possible?

yes. the goal of starting strength is the near-optimal (fastest) way of getting a novice through beginning linear gains, which in turn makes your muscles bigger and automatically more athletic. nothing else. any weight goals you may have, you will have to resolve on your own.
That SHOULD NOT be the goal of the athlete. The first thing an athlete should do is ensure they are moving properly. Then they should focus on effective and sustainable strength increases while injuring injury prevention.

most of the advice you give is solid by itself. i certainly can't fault a program for having front-squats in it. but it seems that you take rather random pieces of 4-5 different programs and combine them to make it (1) higher volume per day, (2) fewer squat days per week, and (3) less weight. that runs counter to strength gains, and precisely why SS should work for a novice.
Ya. I took WHAT WORKED from other people and combined it in this one instance to provide a general template/example. Everyone is different, everyone moves different and everyone needs an individually tailored program. (I include warmup AND conditioning in this - the two most customizable and important aspects).

High volume but less weight moved = better results for most people over a 6 month off season and fewer injuries in season.

i am all but done with this thread. just don't characterize ss as poor for athletes. it is the exact opposite. is it readily combine-able with cutting fat or running marathons or playing a full season of hockey. well, no. all of those things affect your recovery and will slow down your progress. and that is NO DIFFERENT from any other program.
It is poor for athletes. The only "guru" I have seen advocate it for performance athletes in the last ten years is Rippetoe. Others have moved on. Rippetoe believes in maximal strength as the basis. I used to agree to this, before it didn't work out for me. I then became more knowledgeable. SS is great for someone who wants to add bulk/strength BUT for the athlete, or aspiring athlete, there are some great "novice" programs out there that better align with their goals.

Your belief = maximal strength = most important = Rippetoe
My Belief = Strength gains need to be balanced throughout the body in order to prevent injury.

I would a like to see reputable source who currently works with athletes who believes that SS is "the near-optimal (fastest) way of getting a novice through beginning linear gains, which in turn makes your muscles bigger and automatically more athletic."

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