Counterfeit Programming?! Review of Stronglifts and Madcow; 5x5 Novice Linear Progression Explained

I strongly encourage you to pay homage

to the wise elders that came before you

to no longer refer to these as strong

lifts or Mad Cow because they are very

clearly what's going on guys finally at

Empire barbell and today I want to cover

a couple of LP programs that have been

requested from you guys so I want to go

over a timeline here because in covering

strong lists in Mad Cow these programs

have been aware of and never leave dug

into these I started to get a job they

started to look familiar when I dug in a

little bit I saw something that I think

is important to at least understand the

timeline in the history of program

development and to kind of give credit

where credit is due because these

programs are very obvious either

imitations of other more well-known

programs or outright copies of them I'm

not saying that's intentional

I think it's as they've gotten popular

people have known them they've kind of

mistakenly given credit where it

shouldn't be but I'm gonna break apart

strong lifts and Mad Cow specifically

had a strong list is essentially

starting strength and Mad Cow is exactly

bill stars power program so I'm gonna

break that down how they're similar how

that timeline happened why think it

happened I don't think there was really

a lot of funny business it was just how

things on the internet evolved and you

know the game of telephone people lose

information every time something gets

passed around but I'm gonna break that

down right now strong lifts is an a/b

split this is strong lifts a strong this

B it follows compound movements that's

the backbone of all basic programming

structure especially linear progressions

squatting benching rowing dead lifting

so strong lifts is five by five on squat

bench in rows and on day two on the

second day its squat overhead press and

deadlifts now dead lists are done for

one set of five and set a five sets of

five die dia being the deadlifts are

harder to recover from so you need less

volume especially with the high

squatting frequency so if you're doing

three days a week you're going a B a and

then the next week B a B you're going to

be squatting three days a week you're

going to be doing some type of pressing

three days we

going back and forth between bench and

overhead and I'm gonna be dead lifting

once or twice a week but only for one

set so it shouldn't be that detrimental

and you progressed linearly so you start

back some percentage of what a five rep

max would be so you can do the minimum

amount of work and then it's time goes

on you add five to ten pounds every

session and as a novice you should be

able to progress well beyond your five

rep max

indefinitely until you hit a brick wall

which should be several months down the

road you should be a lot stronger by

then starting shrank is essentially the

exact same split a B except it's three

sets of five instead of five set to five

it's still one set a deadlift and it

cleans instead of rows four triples

because cleans are explosive so you

don't do them for higher reps five six

to three but other than that it rotates

the same so the main difference are

cleans instead of rows and three sets of

five instead of five sets of five the

the set count is entirely arbitrary it's

just 100% arbitrary if you if you are

volumizing you're trying to build volume

over time or adding volume to what

you're doing that exposure to ever

increasing volume is what drives growth

this is not volumizing as much as it is

intensifying because you are adding

adding weight the volume will go up very

slowly but the intensity jumps up very

linearly thus linear progression if you

are starting a complete baseline if you

are completely sedentary and you go to

some amount of workout that exposure

breaks you out of homeostasis and causes

you to grow from there it is the changes

in each successive workout that continue

to spur growth so starting at five sets

as opposed to three is not very

consequential it's not really at all

because the changes are the same your

baseline from going sedentary to

training whether it's three sets or five

sets it's the change is week to week

that spur progress and those changes are

the simple addition of five to ten

pounds every session so it's essentially

the same now getting the timeline

straight support understand the G

players mark Grippit o row starting

strength I believe in 2000 mark grip toe

row starting strength in 2005 and then

he published practical programming the

next year in 2006 mark repeat always


influenced by Bill starveling he trained

directly under Bill star and Bill star

was a has a couple books and is well

known from being a strength training guy

from the 70s he wrote strongest she'll

survive and there's a lot of bill star

five-by-five routines in there 5x5 s go

back to like the 30s like the 30s the

day era of reg Park and John Grimm occur

talk about the 50s and 60s you're

talking about way back in time when

training was very simplistic and people

didn't have a ton of resources that's

what they did so there's nothing new

Under the Sun but this is a very obvious

imitation of starting strength now

strong list is run by a guy named Eddie

who's a computer programmer who like to

live Medhi started his website strong

lists before everybody really had access

to the Internet in that way back then

and you had to have some type of

programming background you had to kind

of know what you're doing you can just

want to wake some sort of website so

many was on a forum that this mad cow

gentleman was on and apparently Glenn

Penley was on anonymously from time to

time as well that forum ended up going

under many ended up backing up a lot of

information and he ended up starting

this this large strong list website

which it has a lot of good information

but it's so long form to me it looks

like something that was just optimized

for search engine results where the same

keywords are repeated over and over it's

very wordy very lengthy it might be a

good resource for some of you but a lot

of it is just very lengthy and it

contains really the same very similar

principles we're looking at up here so

this strong list program so you're

looking at strong list starting by medi

in 2007 that was well after starting

strength was published we know that they

were influenced by Glenn Penn Leigh and

Mark Grippit oh because Penn Lee was

part of the forum that they were on

supposedly Penley trained out of Wichita

Falls so you have Ripa Taub who is

training under Bill Starr

he takes those principles and goes on to

write starting strength to pack

practical program 2005-2006 he's

training Wichita Falls Athletic Club

which is where Glenn Headley is training

Glen pan Leigh subsequently stumbles

across the Texas method there's a whole

backstory about how a lifter one

get out of doing his fives across so he

said if you could hit a max five you're

out of your work you get out of doing

your work for today and then they ended

up just carrying that on and found it

was a very good balance for more

intermediate lifters of intensity versus

volume versus recovery days so

subsequently Rippa toe ended up putting

that in practical programming and Texas

math they'd kind of got attached a

starting strength as a natural evolution

of what a novice might do is they get

stronger and breaking Hydra media

territory so knowing that Penley

influenced these guys because he was on

the forum that mehdi and this mad cow

character were on moving on to mad cow a

lot of people will credit mad cows

having been influenced by Texas method

because supposedly this guy who as of

right now is an anonymous person I

haven't heard anybody cited as an actual

person was supposedly in contact with

Glenn Pedley and they said the Texas


it was inspiration for this now we can

see the Mad Cow methodology you're

looking at five by fives on day one

you'll get a heavy triple on day three

and in the middle you have recovery

lighter percentages that's pretty close

to the Texas method a subtle difference

is the fives are ramping fives so you're

actually ramping up to a hundred percent

of your five rep max so that's still

like a max five-day yes there's more

volume but not nearly as much as if you

did five sets across at the same weight

so this is a heavy day and this is a

heavier day 102 percent of your fiber at

max done for a triple and in the middle

two to four sets of five going up to

seventy-five percent incline our

overhead press earlier ratios incline I

saw get reproduces overhead press

deadlift is still one set of five and

then you have some token accessories now

mad cow is literally exactly verbatim

bill stars power program bills bill

stars power program didn't show up in

his later publications strongly she'll

survive whatever other publications yeah

now people are familiar bill stars 5x5

which is simple 5x5 routine that

inspired a lot of this but his power

program was first put on line it looks

like in 1999 Chris man dry published on

deep squatter and you could still find

it up there today his power program that


gave him and outlined it very

specifically this is it exactly that it

even has the back offset of eight that's

seventy seven and a half percent you hit

fives all the way up to a top three you

drop the weight you do a set of eight

these exercise accessory movements these

supplementary accessory movements are

exactly the same dips curls and tricep

work sit-ups weighted sit-ups back

extensions 100% exactly the same

I don't think mad cow was being

disingenuous I don't know because I was

on the forum but this is known as mad

cow this is 100 percent bill stars

routine it's not mad cow which bill

stars power program so it's important to

know that so I don't think any real

funny business was going on with Mad Cow

but I think the whole interpretation of

how this came about it's just a matter

of fuzzy information being passed around

just entropy the information gets lost

this time goes on so I think that that's

just a natural evolution of

misinformation on a platform like the


however I am a little bit more

judgmental of medi because Mehdi was

obviously optimizing his website to be

an authority site he had a decked out

for search engine optimization it still

ranks today even though it's kind of

very very old very plain information to

saw something he's actively kept up for

a long period of time and this is a very

obvious twist he named it strong lifts

he called it strong lifts he says very

plainly his write-ups he didn't invent

5x5 but he leaves out and all of that

starting strength and my belief is that

starting strength was knew enough

there's only a year to removed before

starting strength really developed the

following that it has today I don't know

if he thought he could get away with it

or if you thought that just adding a

couple sets maybe get a 5x5 instead of a

three by five and swapping out the

cleans was a big enough change to rename

it this is not proprietary this is a

pretty blatant copy so I take issue with

referring to strong lifts as anything

other than a starting straight knockoff

so I think it's important you guys know

that I have another video that compares

starting strength with the Texas method

again Texas method is a little similar

to Bill Starr's power program

differences between Bill stars power

program and the Texas method are not

substantial the main difference is

you're working up to a ramping five so

five sets leading up to 100% of a fiber

at max I would actually biased towards

the Texas method to do your sets across

so you actually have a clear cut volume

day and a clear cut heavy day and then

progressed accordingly everything else

is so damn similar it's not even worth

discussing I believe that that's an

example of convergence I don't think

that pen lay ripped off bill Starr's

power program I think you have enough

good ideas that are out there in the

ether and it was far enough removed and

there were influenced by the same types

of people eventually you come you end up

good ideas you end up coming to

accidentally on your own anyway so it's

very validating when you get a really

good idea on your own and you find them

to just happen to converge with the

other old wisdom from the past so I

think that's a pretty clear-cut example

of that I would bias towards Texas

method over this but try both there are

some templates that give you some good

recommendations on where to start

exactly how to progress it's a little

more cut and dry and I think anybody

that follows any of these routines

diligently is going to benefit if you're

a little doer start here for several

months and then you move to the to the

logical advancement which is to go to

something a little more intermediate

that spreads those difficult efforts

apart so it's not a Bab where plus five

pounds plus five pound PR PR PR PR you

have to spread those apart so you're

getting more time in between each

training session so you can recover and

so that you can add weight again to

expose yourself to that greater stimulus

because when you start to hit that brick

wall and you will it's because you

either can't recover or because you

can't perform with more weight on the

bar to expose yourself that greater

stimulus so that's why we have

ever-increasing gaps between substantial

attempts that's what makes it an

intermediate program so this is just a

breakdown of the history of these

programs I strongly encourage you to pay

homage to the wise elders that came

before you to no longer refer to these

as strong lifts or Mad Cow because they

are very clearly not so if you have any

questions anything else you want to add

go ahead and leave in the comment box

thanks for watching guys and

next time this Bromley Dunbar barbell

I'll see you