new posts all posts post new thread

Barbell Greyskull LP

Closed Thread. (Continue Discussion of This Topic by Starting a New Thread.)


Level 6 Valued Member
Always confuses me this thinking, surely if you were training for the possibility of such a scenario, the best preparation would be some sort of mountaineering/bushcraft course rather than doing pull ups for time.
And that's why crossfit sucks. A good idea (the ready for everything approach) gone horribly wrong.
I'm thankful for the experience, because it introduced me into the world of lifting, oly and most important kettlebells and I still like to watch the pros at the games, but a lot of the things going on in boxes around the world are just dangerous.

Kyle Schuant

Level 1 Valued Member
I do not see anything innovative, or different in this program compared with other similar programs.
Tolstoy said that every happy family is happy in the same way, but every unhappy family is unhappy in its own unique way. Programmes are like that. The effective ones look pretty similar, but there are many different ineffective ones.

The differences are small, but like the differences in people's faces they are significant. They're significant enough that the system, though derived from SS, is angrily declared to be "not SS" and "not appropriate for a novice" by the SS crew. I already laid out what I think the benefits and difficulties are.

The program in the link has press before squat, or deadlift, that is the only change I see compared to similar core lift programs. I had read a study that showed press before squat has less impact on your squat output than vise versa. I change up the order of my exercises also in an effort to increase adaptation.
In GSLP the authour's reasoning is that after squats you're too tired to do much else, or at least not very effectively. He says you'll press or bench more if you do it first than if you squat first. I don't believe the studies count for much. It's mostly personal preference. Do you do the hardest thing first or last? I would say: whichever is most important to you, do that first.

This is why, for example in SS's novice linear progression for healthy young people when powercleans are brought in they're done last - even though weightlifting coaches would put them first. But that's because the quick lifts are most important to them, SS's novice linear progression is a pure strength programme, the cleans are just there as a break from heavy deadlifts and a bit of assistance for them, as well as developing co-ordination a bit. If strength matters most, you would do squats before press or bench. If "looking like you lift" is most important, you would do press or bench before squats. Whatever's most important to you, do first.

In putting press and bench first he is addressing a common complaint about SS, that you end up a T-Rex. I think that issue has more to do with the fact that almost nobody microloads, even though SS3e specifically tells them this is necessary for progress on press and bench. The lifter insists on 2.5kg jumps and gets stuck on press and bench, but can still add 2.5kg on squat and deadlift They ignore the book's advice to use smaller plates but follow its advice to use only 5 rep sets. So... lower body has weight added to the bar, upper body doesn't, guess which grows? If they kept 2.5kg jumps but did more reps this would be progression, but they stick to 5s. Thus T-Rex body.

GSLP addresses this by telling you to microload from the start, and yes even if it's easy. And he tosses in 5+ sets for good measure. This is simply progressive resistance training, as the GSLP book says, "load is not the only variable." He adds reps done as another variable. I would add sets as well. If for example you do 5,5,4 today and 5,5,4 next time, you can do 5,5,4,2 - you couldn't increase the weight or reps, so you increase the sets. More is more and is progress. Do more weight, if you can't do more weight than do more reps, if you can't do more reps then do more sets.

Again this is nothing amazingly revolutionary for those who have done some form of progressive resistance training. To me this is like chess: there are only a few different pieces and the basic rules can be written on a page, but the interaction of these simple elements leads to a complexity which people take a lifetime to master.
Last edited:


Level 4 Valued Member
I have the book as well. I thought was Kyle wrote was pretty accurate, but I'm going from memory. I thought about looking through it today, but I haven't even had time to send @Steve the email he asked me for!

Marlon Leon

Level 3 Valued Member
The programme is no secret. There are many variations but the basic one is,
Monday - squat 5,5,5+; press 5,5,5+
Wednesday - bench 5,5,5+, deadlift 5+
Friday - squat 5,5,5+;press 5,5,5+
and in the following week it's the same except you swap out press for bench. "5+" means at least 5 reps, keep going until you feel the next one would be grindy and/or messy. Normal weights progression is 1kg a time on press or bench, and 2kg a time on squat or deadlift. Optionally, if you get 12+ you might double the progression next time.

It arose as a variant of Starting Strength because the authour was depressed by endless stalls and deloads; better slow and sustained progress than fast progress with setbacks, goes the reasoning. Whether it's physically better is up to argument, but I think it's mentally better. Thus, GSLP in its most basic form is basically SS with one less squat session a week, and the "as many" sets at the end.

From there he adds in "plugins" if you want more gunz or abz or are doing it for weightlifting or whatever.

My thought are these.

1. doing just two exercises a session lets you focus your efforts on them, rather than leaving something in the tank for a third, fourth etc as in other programmes. This is also useful for time-poor people.
2. Since you are squatting twice a week and deadlifting once, squats will get ahead of deadlifts unless you're doing quite high reps (12+) in deadlift, and
3. high reps in deadlifts risks injury, at least in newbies.
4. fatigue degrading form is an issue with every lift. A newbie needs to practice doing it right, not practice doing it wrong (as an aside, this is one flaw in vanilla SS - doing 3 sets of chinups to failure). Yes, it does say to stop when it gets messy, but to a newbie every rep feels messy, it's all new to them. So then really it's just up to the newbie's personality if they err on the side of wuss or on the side of meathead; one leads to less progress and the other to injury. But this really is an issue for anyone using any programme on their own, and is not a particular flaw for GSLP.
5. "as many" sets build volume. A newbie is lifting relatively small loads and thus can handle a higher total number of reps, and it probably does them good to do them. As the load increases the benefit will decrease, but the person will drop reps anyway (from from 12-15 to 6-8 or even 5).
6. "as many" in combination with small jumps builds confidence. The newbie doesn't know what they're capable of, if they did 60kg for 5,5,5 they may be in doubt about hitting 62.5kg for 5,5,5; but if they did 60kg 5,5,11 they're not worried about hitting 61kg 5,5,5 at least.

So... fatigue degrading form vs volume & confidence. Which side the balance comes down on is open to argument. I would say that if it's someone's first time with barbells and they are not co-ordinated etc, I'd err on the side of less reps and something closer to vanilla SS. If they've had some barbell experience and/or are co-ordinated, the volume and confidence win out.

I have done a couple of runs of a variant of this. For reference, I am 45yo with a few old injuries, and two small children. I train people out of my garage gym. I just alternated bench/squat with press/deadlift, and stuck to the +1/+2kg jumps regardless of reps done. At 100kg for squat and deadlift I turned the 5+ into an ordinary 5, as the squats were taking too much out of me and deadlifts, well I have back problems already. After a while I dropped it to 2pw and did something else for my third. I have done this for 12 months out of the last 18, with some other stuff spread in between, best lifts squat 165, bench 110 and deadlift 215 for singles.

Thank you very much for the detailed description.


Level 6 Valued Member
I have been reading about this program. Any ideas on what the starting weights should be? Thanks.
Last edited:

Alan Mackey

Level 6 Valued Member
I have been reading about this program. Any ideas on what starting weights should be? Thanks.

Just do a set of five reps with an empty bar, and then keep doing progressively heavier sets of five until bar speed slows down (way before you would start to struggle) noticeably and make that your first work set.


Level 6 Valued Member
I would describe Greyskull as being (like 531) a HIT variant. Most of the time you are doing what are really warm up sets followed by a single AMRAP set. Greyskull has higher frequency than 531 and other HIT variants as major lifts are trained on average more than once per week


Level 4 Valued Member
Check out Wendlers 'Beyond 5/3/1". Certainly a step up from Greyskull or Starting Strength. The detail/logic surrounding the 'First Set Last' and 'Joker' sets is rock solid.

User 4484

GSLP is by far my favorite LP-program. The Greyskull Reset is what sets it a part. If I ever touch a barbell again and have a need for linear progression, GSLP it is!
Last edited by a moderator:


Level 6 Valued Member
I ordered the book Friday hoping to read it over the weekend. It was supposed to be instant download. But, the link was broken. It has been three days. No response to my email requests. I am bit bummed about this.


Level 6 Valued Member
I have the book today 25 days later, after opening up a complaint with paypal. There was an apology, the person was traveling. I moved onto another program (PTTP) meanwhile. So perhaps another day.
Closed Thread. (Continue Discussion of This Topic by Starting a New Thread.)
Top Bottom