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  1. #1
    Slevn81 is offline Junior Member
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    Default From Starting Strength to PTTP: 3 days a week

    I've done 4 weeks of Starting Strength and the results were okay (the program works but I put too much weight on the squat and didn't eat correctly). I'd like to get really strong at the deadlift and press, and I understand why those two lifts work so well on their own.

    How can I adjust PTTP's awesome formula for minimum fatigue and maximum intensity to a 3-day a week schedule, if I can't get in the gym 5 days a week? I'm going back to college in the fall and 5 days a week, even for 20 minutes, is not going to be viable.

    On one thread (Commander?) Tsatsouline told someone doing 3 days a week that it was okay to add squats and pullups--but is that all there is to that kind of schedule? just add those lifts, on the same progression routines as the others?

    I'm 18, 6'2" 190 14% and my goals are serious strength and body recomp. I tried hard to search for this question and the above answer was the closest I got.

    Thank you for your time,
    Dan

  2. #2
    JasonL.Ac. is offline Senior Member
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    Hi Dan,

    Don't worry if you can only do three days a week instead of 5, that's still sufficient and you'll still make good progress. When I've done PttP, I often start out with 4-5 days, but as the weights get heavier, 3 days a week works better for me, and sometimes near the very end of a cycle it might only be twice a week (I wouldn't do twice a week for very long however, not with pttp).

    Two things that may make it a little easier to fit the workouts in and get 4 or 5 days a week of practice on the lifts (and do look at it as practice):

    1. If you need to, you can split it into two workouts during the day; e.g. deadlift in the afternoon and side press in the evening. Is it what I would do in my perfect world? No, but sometimes the world is imperfect, and getting the training in is almost always better than not getting the training in.

    2. If you don't have 20 minutes, you might still have 10, so just do one lift that day instead of 2. As Pavel says in the book, treat the 2 different exercises as 2 different cycles, they're very different lifts, so don't expect to always progress at the same rate on in the same way with both of them. The logical extension of that is that its not the end of the world if you end up deadlifting 4 times in a given week and side pressing 3, or vice versa. Plus, you might end up with something like this: 3 days of both, 1 day each of only 1. That's ok too.

    Adding pullups is fine, you can either do weighted ones following a similar scheme to pttp, weighted following the ladders in the fighter pullup program, or unweighted ladders (I usually do one of the latter two, but that's because it suits me and my goals). Also, since the main program lacks variety (and that's a good thing), if you want to you can be a little more flexible and creative with the pullups, and vary how you do them. Pull, chin, weighted, unweighted, towel, etc. This is often a good way to train pullups if your pull-up related goals are not as specific (mine are, so I don't do as much variety, but I still incorporate some).

    Adding squats is something I would be careful of; can you link or quote the post of Pavel's you mentioned? If Pavel says you can do it, you can do it, but I wonder if there might have been more specific context. If you really want squats, I would suggest pistols, bodyweight squats, or goblet squats rather than barbell back squats.

    Also, can you be more specific as to what kind of body recomposition you have in mind? E.g. do you want to lose weight, get more lean, bulk up...? The more info we have, the better advice we can give you.

    Lastly, consider the modified pttp that's in the Russian edition; instead of doing a second set at 90%, do one set of 5, then a set of 3, then a set of 2, all with the same weight. This variation works really well for me and a few others I've worked with. If nothing else, it gives you a variation to play with if you get stuck, or bored. "Same but different".

    hope that helps,

    best,
    Jason

  3. #3
    RJ79 is offline Senior Member
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    Dan,

    You said your goals are serious strength and body recomp. If you are doing pttp because you want to maintain or maybe gain strength in a couple of exercises while shedding fat and doing other work I say great. if you are looking to build slabs of muscle and drop fat it isn't going to work.

    People will then reply to do the bear if you want mass. You have 1 month of weight training under your belt as far as I read. I don't believe the bear will be all that useful to you yet. I'd think you'd be better off building a base of strength to work from.

    As a beginner I do believe you will be better off doing starting strength or 5/3/1 if you can make it into the gym 3 days a week. Both programs are based on time tested basics. You can change things up a little if say you don't want to bench. If those 3 days are limited to 20 min maybe pttp is the best fit for you but you have to be realistic about what you want it to do. It is a skinny strong kind of program. It def works for that and def is smart if you are trying to maintain or gain strength and lose weight or not gain any.

    IMO - You are 6'2" and 190 @ 14% bf. You aren't fat. Adding muscle and getting stronger is never a bad idea though.

    Good luck to you and remember to keep whatever your goal is in mind when you choose your program. Once you choose, stick to it for awhile. If you change things up constantly you'll never get good at anything.

  4. #4
    Kai Johnson is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Slevn81 View Post
    I've done 4 weeks of Starting Strength and the results were okay (the program works but I put too much weight on the squat and didn't eat correctly).
    I just want to weigh in and say that 4 weeks isn't enough to judge results. SS works great. You have to stick with it though just like any strength building routine. Rip I think mentions that you want to work it hard for a minimum of a few months and optimally for at least 6 or more months.

    PTTP is great also in a different way, but just like SS won't work if you just jump to another program after 4 weeks.

    I'm going to agree with RJ79 and say that if you have 3 days a week to train then something like SS is hard to beat. Make sure you are doing the program and that you know what that means! You don't have to eat crazy amounts as long as the weights are moving up consistently. Try to keep your weight moving up slowly and don't start GOMAD right off the bat. If the weights get heavy and you feel like your recovery is starting to suffer increase your calories.

    The important thing is that you pick a program in line with your specific goals and stick to it. 4 weeks is not sticking to it.

  5. #5
    RJ79 is offline Senior Member
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    KJ you are HKC now - congrats!

  6. #6
    Slevn81 is offline Junior Member
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    Default

    Wow--thanks for the replies!

    I'll stick with Starting Strength. I had cut out the bench and instead overhead pressed all the time, because my bench is now equal to my squat for sets of five. I consider that bull**** and have no ego about benching power, so I'm pressing every workout and adding incrementally.

    I realize now that I probably should get more muscle before this skinny strength deal. I know my ketogenic Paleo diet (+whey post workout), which I fully started 5 days ago, is really going to screw things up for now as I adjust. It's most likely why my lifts are slowing and my squat has stalled. But I'm doing this program to get healthier and stronger, and what I've found suggests that keto living is a lot healthier in the long-term. Without GOMAD I know I can't expect the lift numbers to climb like crazy, but I'm doing everything I can to get a lot of calories--almost a pound of ground beef for lunch and so on.

    This was the thread I was referring to earlier--I realize now I misunderstood it. He was talking about just squatting one day, then deadlifting and pressing the other and alternating.

    I hope this sounds more or less okay to everyone; I'd like to hear your thoughts. I imagine someone's going to flip out about trying to gain mass keto-style, but when I'm adjusted I'll try a cyclic Anabolic Diet deal.

  7. #7
    Steve Freides is offline Senior Member
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    One variation on PTTP for 3x/week is to keep the total weekly volume about the same, just spread over 3 days instead of 5. One approach: add a third set of 5, knocking off another 10% for that third set. Another approach: Pavel's "54321" - one set of 5 to start, then add a little weight while taking off one rep, and so on, until you end with a single rep that is your heaviest weight for the day. Both these approaches get you 45 reps per week, about the same as the 50 weekly reps you'd get on the basic 5-days-a-week program.

    -S-
    KBNJ.COM - Steve Freides, RKC Team Leader

  8. #8
    Kai Johnson is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by RJ79 View Post
    KJ you are HKC now - congrats!
    Thank you very much!

  9. #9
    pesce is offline Senior Member
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    Default

    Wanted to second 5/3/2 as a time-saving alternative, and offer one other...2x5 at the same weight. I know it's not strict PTTP, but it saves a minute or two. Caveat: not doing PTTP right now, using the 2x5 DL in Pavel's 40-day program.

    Good luck with your training, you've gotten a lot of good advice in this thread.

  10. #10
    Jethro is offline Senior Member
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    Default So simple

    I second Steve's post.

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