Easy Strength Questions

mikerobinson

Double-Digit Post Count
I have a few questions about Easy Strength.

1. Can it be done three times a week?

2. Do I do five exercises? EG deadlift, bench, pull, swings (75-100), abs?

3. Is the rep scheme for the above 2x5 per exercise?

4. What capacity do I work at for the 2x5, like 70-80%?

5. How do I progress. Like when do I add weight and how much?

6. Then when do I back off.

I want a simple, easy program. Doing 5x5 is too hard man. I can't get to gymnasium 5x a week.

I read that top man Pavel says stick to 2x5 if you want to do other stuff like sports or cardio so I dont want to do 5x5.

Basically want 3 day a week easy program with energy left to do other stuff.
 

mikerobinson

Double-Digit Post Count
Yes I've read. But it reads more like a conversation and notes. It is for trainer it seems.

I've read those two Dan John articles. I find Pavel easy to understand and programs are simple. Mr John is more hard.

Like Pavel writes:

“For the next forty workouts, pick five lifts. Do them every workout. Never miss a rep, in fact, never even get close to struggling. Go as light as you need to go and don’t go over ten reps for any of the movements. It is going to seem easy. When the weights feel light, simply add more weight.”

But Mr John then confuses me with explanations.

Even Easier Strength is five days a week, which I can't do.

The question about the 40 day workout would be is it ok to do for 3 days a week for 40 workouts. That means it would take about 13 weeks. This is still easy strength yes?
 

Bryant W

Double-Digit Post Count
In the book Easy Strength, the 40 day workout version is referred to as " Even Easier Strength". There are guidelines for an"Easy Strength" approach that involves 2-3 workouts a week. The structure and loads are different than the 40 day workout version. This section was outstanding and is well worth the price of the entire book, IMO.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
@mikerobinson, IMHO (in my humble opinion) if you don't do at least some consecutive days, you're missing something important about Easy Strength. I do something like this 4 days per week, on Mon/Tue and Thu/Fri, and I've made this accommodation because one of my chosen lifts is the deadlift, which is perhaps the most taxing on the CNS (central nervous system). Having to train the same full-body, compound lift on consecutive days teaches you something about how to go about an Easy Strength approach.

JMO (just my opinion), YMMV (your mileage may vary).

-S-
 

mikerobinson

Double-Digit Post Count
@Steve Freides

Very valuable. Thanking you.

Can I ask what exercise your do? Do you do all five like hinge, push, pull, explosive, carry?

And do you work in cardio? I think you are runner yes?
 

Antti

More than 2500 posts
In general the easier you go at a time the more often you have to go. But there are two big questions one has to ask: do you do other sports and what are your goals? Both have a big impact on the nature of the strength training.

It is of course possible to do the ES that was planned for five days a week for only three days but you'll have to accept that the results may be lacking.

Also, you haven't really specified what you meant by "Doing 5x5 is too hard man". There are many different training plans for training three times a week without it being ES. Maybe some of them would be better. But the answer depends on your goals.
 

krg

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
I have a few questions about Easy Strength.

1. Can it be done three times a week?

2. Do I do five exercises? EG deadlift, bench, pull, swings (75-100), abs?

3. Is the rep scheme for the above 2x5 per exercise?

4. What capacity do I work at for the 2x5, like 70-80%?

5. How do I progress. Like when do I add weight and how much?

6. Then when do I back off.

I want a simple, easy program. Doing 5x5 is too hard man. I can't get to gymnasium 5x a week.

I read that top man Pavel says stick to 2x5 if you want to do other stuff like sports or cardio so I dont want to do 5x5.

Basically want 3 day a week easy program with energy left to do other stuff.
Answering from personal experience (currently at 31/40 workouts):

1. Yes (you won't make as much progress though)
2. Yes
3. More or less
4. Reasonable place to start
5. For me this is the big unknown - you add weight when you feel ready. This is where I think a less experienced trainee like myself struggles. If you are in tune with your body this may work fine for you.
6. When you get bored? Great bit about going easy and never missing a rep is that you should never have to back off too much.

I think it will suit your needs - 3x a week without killing you, but you may not make a ton of progress, depends where you are now. You won't get any weaker though, you won't burn out and you shouldn't get injured if you know how to do the lifts.

I sympathise with your views on 5x5, once I'd got most of my beginners gains out of the way it was too much for me. The downside is that easy strength 40 day workout feels a bit aimless to me, no clear goal, no clear progression, that kind of freestyle training suits some people well, other people less so.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
@Steve Freides

Can I ask what exercise your do? Do you do all five like hinge, push, pull, explosive, carry?
No, and honestly, I don't subscribe to the theory that you need to do all those things on a regular basis. At home, my usual training is a 1h kettlebell press and a 2h barbell deadlift.

Some days, I do swings before. Some days, I'll do a few weighted pull-ups between presses and DLs. And while I like carries, I don't do them regularly but I do them from time to time. E.g. on a recent road trip, I took a 24 kg bell. Some of my training days started with rings if I found a playground that had them, and then swings and then presses.

Other days, I'd do a single set of presses, keep the bell overhead after the last rep, and do 50 steps overhead carry, 50 steps rack carry, and 100 steps farmers carry. Do the other side, and finish with 10 goblet squats. NB: I am getting back into pressing after a long absence, and 24 kg represents about a 5RM for me.

In my off-competition cycles, I do some ab work, usually near the beginning of a session. In my competition seasons, generally no ab work because the rest of my training is pretty ab-intensive.

And do you work in cardio? I think you are runner yes?
I am not a runner but I used to be. Lately I've started again, but it's really very little, maybe 1/4 mile a few days each week, just looking for good form and practicing nose-only breathing.

My main cardio, such as it is, consists of walking 3-4 miles a day in average, some of it lightly weighted.

-S-
 

Jared_G_85

Triple-Digit Post Count
Basically want 3 day a week easy program with energy left to do other stuff.
What do you mean by other stuff?

There are so many 3 day a week full body programs out on the "inter-webz" that I'm sure you could find one of them to fit your needs. Plus a lot of the ways to answer your questions in your first post is going to depend on your lifting experience and what you are trying to achieve. If you are new, I would just do a basic linear progression program where you start light and add weight after every workout.

If you think 5x5 (StrongLifts), 3x5 (Starting Strength) or 5/3/1 sessions are too hard then I'm wondering if you are looking for a cop-out to avoid putting in some decent work. Full body programs like these have always kept me with plenty of energy because I have a days rest in between sessions to do kettlebell work and it not affect my barbell day. Also the volume is on the low end of the spectrum. If you are looking to get stronger and better then you will have to put the work in to do so.

If you are dead-set on doing something like Easy Strength then do the program with "easy" weights you know you can easily hit for 2x5. Knowing nothing about your history we can't really tell you what "easy" will be for you. What's easy for me will mean something completely different for you or vice versa. Plus if you are playing a competitive sport then Easy Strength is just there to keep you stronger and it not hinder your sports performance.
 

Manuel Fortin

Triple-Digit Post Count
To join others, why is 5X5 too hard? It may be lack of recovery, it may be lack of food, it may be age, it may be technique, or it may be that you just grind too much. However, if you like the idea of easy strength there are ways to make 5X5 or similar programs "easier". One would be to put a bit less weight on the bar. The other one is to stop the last few sets short of 5. Basically, you vary the load or the reps so that the last rep of each set is almost as fast, or as fast, as the first one. No grind. That may require that you increase the load less often than suggested by your program. That may alternatively require that you do for example one week 5, 5, 5, 4, 3, and then use the same weight until you get to 5X5. That way, you still get enough volume. If you only do 2X5 three times a week, you only get 30 reps. That is a bit low on the volume side for many to make significant progess.
 

mikerobinson

Double-Digit Post Count
Also, you haven't really specified what you meant by "Doing 5x5 is too hard man"
To join others, why is 5X5 too hard?
5x5 always feels like I'm pushing my max. For example, take Stronglifts 5x5, you go up in weight when you can do 5x5. Ergo, before this, when you are making 5,5,5,4,3, you're pretty much at your limit. Likewise I did Faleev's 5x5, but again, you're at your limit with the progressions.

I prefer Pavel's idea of keep a rep or two in the tank, don't go near failure.

Plus, I'd prefer to follow a SFG system because it doesn't seem to tire one out. I started on ETK, went to simple on S&S, I've done a couple of the 'secret' SFG plans -- the six week ones. And I've benefited a lot. For various reasons I want to return to barbell work for a while.

The other issue is that I value swings -- a lot. ES allows me to keep swings in the program.

The thing I like about SFG strength work including ES is that I don't have to mess around with percentages and so forth. As Dan John says:

"In effect, the load has been waved by not waving it at all—no calculating percentages, none of that hooey. You just get strong instead, which, to me, is far more appealing than having to deal with the inconvenience of math. This is strength training in the extremest simplicity."

What do you mean by other stuff?
Mainly cardio / aerobic / running work, which I enjoy and benefit from. If I do 5x5 with the squats (and sometimes the DL) then I find my legs are too tired. They never completely recover. Where as the ES principle of:

Frequent, low rep, high-quality strength work + Less frequent, high-intensity metabolic conditioning + As much joint mobility and low-intensity cardiovascular activity as possible.

Would seem to allow for cardio work in a way that 5x5 does not.

I'm wondering if you are looking for a cop-out to avoid putting in some decent work.
At little unfair -- I work out five or six days a week. I'm just looking not to strength train more than three days a week, nor to overtrain, and to keep my legs fresh.
 

Antti

More than 2500 posts
Is the 5*5 too hard or the intensity you do it with? At what intensity does most of your work stay at? In my experience staying at 60%-80% 1RM leaves me with plenty of energy.
 

mikerobinson

Double-Digit Post Count
Is the 5*5 too hard or the intensity you do it with? At what intensity does most of your work stay at? In my experience staying at 60%-80% 1RM leaves me with plenty of energy.
It's possible I'm doing the intensity wrong. I always understood that you try for 5 reps (with good from) for every set. Inevitably, as the weight goes on, and you only get 2, 3, or 4, reps then you are pretty much at your maximum at that point (otherwise you would have made the 5).

Therefore, I'm working close to my 5 RM every time. Although of course fatigue can come into play as one 'get's' the first 3 sets of five, but can't do the last two.


The way I haven't tried, which I think is Bill Starr's or Reg Park's method is that that first three set are progressive warm up sets, with only the last two sets at heavy work sets. But then you have to start messing around with percentages and keeping records every workout, and I'm not into that. I prefer the simplicity of the SFG system.
 

Jared_G_85

Triple-Digit Post Count
At little unfair -- I work out five or six days a week. I'm just looking not to strength train more than three days a week, nor to overtrain, and to keep my legs fresh.
If you are going to do anything StrongFirst related, never use the terms "workout" or "over-train"

Workout is living for the day, training is looking long term.

Over training does not exist. Under recovered exists due to lack of sleep, food and stresses outside of lifting.

Otherwise, the best advice I can give is to try an easy strength approach, adjust the volume and intensities to fit your needs and start a log so we can see how your plan unfolds!
 

Dan John

Triple-Digit Post Count
Steve,
Your patience borders on miraculous.
"But Mr John then confuses me with explanations."

If people didn't ask me literally 100s of questions about the program, I wouldn't have to explain it. I followed Pavel's very simple advice and had the best season of my career. Most people can't follow five sentences, so I attempted to explain it a book. That didn't help, so I plotted it out in a "Do This" template.

I'm sorry for having tried to explain things. It never helps.
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
Steve,
Your patience borders on miraculous.
You are much too kind, @Dan John.

"But Mr John then confuses me with explanations."
You are a very patient person, too, of course. We're teachers and it's an occupational requirement.

@Jared_G_85 et al , overtraining absolutely does exist. Whether or not it happens because of insufficient rest doesn't change that. This is semantics, I realize, but not all lives allow sufficient rest and nutrition. I train at a low volume that many people might not make progress on it, but I have found the right level of intensity that allowed me to set a new lifetime DL best recently, at age 62. [Edit: without overtraining.]

@mikerobinson, I would take note of the people telling you that perhaps you're avoiding work by considering Easy Strength 3x/week, but take note is all I'd do. You've said that you have found yourself overdoing your exercise in the past - I'd respect that self-knowledge and do what you think is best. The risk is minimal - you might not make progress or as much progress as if you did more, but unless your livelihood depends on it, no harm will have been done, and the same cannot be said if I overtraining.

Thank you, everyone, for a good, reasoned, and reasonable discussion thus far.

-S-
 

Steve Freides

Forum Administrator
Staff member
Senior Certified Instructor
@Dan John, always good to see you here. I meant to say that above but typing on my phone got the better of me. :(

-S-
 
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