When you've just completed a 5x5 program like Strong Lifts, then it's time to move to the next level with a program like Madcow 5x5.
Inspired by the original Bill Star 5x5, the Madcow 5x5 is designed to increase strength while maximizing size through bodybuilding style exercises.
While this is made for strength and hypertrophy, this can be used as a powerlifting program through the off season.
The weight is increased weekly with a deload period in-between.
If you've just completed a program similar to the Texas Method, Strong Lifts or Starting Strength then you'll likely make the most out of Madcow 5x5.
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If you're a late novice or early intermediate lifter looking to break through your strength plateau, the Madcow 5x5 program might be just what you need.
Originating from the powerlifting and bodybuilding communities, this program focuses on linear progression and strength gains, making it an effective tool for those looking to take their training to the next level.
But instead of using the same weight for 5 sets, you'll be increasing the weight for every set.
Generally, if you're able to squat near 300lbs, then Madcow 5x5 should be a suitable program for you.
And you won't be adding weight by workout, instead you'll progress weight on a weekly basis.
While StrongLifts is made to increase squats by 120lb in just 8 weeks, realistically you'll be increasing squats by 10lbs per month with Madcow.
If you can squat less than 280lb / 125kg then you'll want to stick with Strong Lifts 5x5 or a similar program until you can squat more.
The Madcow 5x5 is a strength training program designed for late novice and early intermediate lifters. It focuses on linear progression and strength gains, with a structure built around the Big 3 compound movements and accessory work.
The Madcow 5x5 program is built around the Big 3 compound movements: squats, deadlifts, and bench press.
These exercises form the program's backbone, with each workout session designed to push your limits and help you achieve new personal records.
But the program isn't just about these three movements.
It also includes various accessory work designed to complement the main lifts and ensure a balanced and comprehensive training program.
This combination of compound movements and accessory work makes the Madcow 5x5 a well-rounded program that targets strength gains and promotes muscle growth.
For more information on how to build muscle, check out our Ultimate Guide to Bodybuilding.
How the Madcow 5x5 Program Works
One of the key features of the Madcow 5x5 program is its focus on linear progression.
You'll add weight to your lifts each week, pushing your body to adapt and grow stronger.
The program is designed to help you break through strength plateaus and achieve new personal records, making it an excellent choice for lifters who feel they've hit a wall in their training.
But the Madcow 5x5 isn't a one-size-fits-all program.
It offers both an Intermediate and an Advanced version, allowing you to choose the approach that best fits your current level and goals.
If you're interested in exploring other training programs, take a look at our Definitive Guide to Training Programs.
Benefits of the Madcow 5x5 Program
The Madcow 5x5 program offers a range of benefits for those looking to increase their strength and muscle mass.
By focusing on the Big 3 compound movements and incorporating a range of accessory work, the program ensures a balanced and comprehensive approach to training.
And because the program is designed for linear progression, you'll constantly push your limits and achieve new personal records.
This makes the Madcow 5x5 an excellent choice for those looking to break through strength plateaus and take their training to the next level.
To understand more about the supplements that can aid your strength training, check out our Definitive 2023 Guide to Bodybuilding Supplements
Using the Madcow 5x5 Spreadsheet
To help you track your progress and stay on top of your training, the Madcow 5x5 program comes with a handy spreadsheet.
This tool allows you to easily record your lifts, monitor your progress, and ensure you're consistently pushing your limits.
But remember, the spreadsheet is just a tool.
The real key to success with the Madcow 5x5 program is consistency, effort, and a commitment to pushing your limits every workout.
If you're struggling with gaining weight for your strength training, our Skinny Guy's Calculator For Calories might be helpful
NOTE: Please make a copy by clicking File > Make (requesting edit access is incorrect). For how to save spreadsheet instructions, click here.
This is the intermediate level spreadsheet with 1RM and 5RM starting inputs.
Again it's an excellent choice if you've just completed a program like Strong Lifts or Starting Strength.
You'll progress on a weekly basis, averaging 10lb weight increases per month.
The general rule of thumb is that if you squat less than 280lb or 125kg then you'll want to stick with the Strong Lifts program or Starting Strength until you can.
There's also an advanced version in the next section.
Here's the intermediate level spreadsheet:
If you're at an advanced level then the advanced variation of Madcow is available as well.
Made by the same creator as the intermediate variation, "Madcow" also made this advanced version.
It's a 9 week program that can be run continuously, as desired.
Starting the Madcow 5x5 program requires a clear understanding of your current strength levels. You'll need to know your 5 rep max for the Big 3 compound movements: squats, deadlifts, and bench press.
Once you have these numbers, you can input them into the Madcow 5x5 Spreadsheet. This tool will then generate a personalized training program for you, outlining the weights you should be lifting each week.
Remember, the key to success with the Madcow 5x5 program is consistency. Make sure you're sticking to the program and pushing yourself each week.
Like any strength training program, the Madcow 5x5 program can present some challenges.
One common challenge is the intensity of the program.
The Madcow 5x5 program requires you to push your limits each week, which can be physically and mentally demanding.
To overcome this, it's important to ensure you're eating enough to fuel your workouts.
Our Macros Calculator can help you determine the right amount of protein, carbs, and fats you should be consuming.
Another challenge is the potential for injury.
The Madcow 5x5 program involves heavy lifting, which can put strain on your body.
To minimize the risk of injury, it's crucial to use proper form during your lifts. If you're unsure about your form, consider working with a personal trainer or experienced lifter who can provide guidance.
The Madcow program was created by a user that was well known on EliteFitness.com.
He frequently communicated with a legendary strength coach, Glenn Pendlay MS.
While his true identity was never revealed to this day, his program Madcow 5x5 has remained popular among intermediate and advanced lifters since it was created in 2005.
It's similar to the Texas Method, which was created by coach Glenn Pendlay MS himself.
The Madcow 5x5 program uses 3 sessions per week to maximize strength training.
It uses linear periodization and progresses weight on a weekly basis for the intermediate version, and the advanced version sets a new 5RM in the 4th week with a deload period in the 5th week, followed by a 3RM in the 9th week.
The main difference between the advanced and the intermediate version of Madcow 5x5 is that the advanced version removes squats on Wednesdays after week 4, reducing the squatting frequency per week to 2 instead of 3.
There's two main blocks in the advanced version, one with more volume, and the other with less volume.
At the end of week 4, it sets a new 5RM max, which is a +5lb/2.3kg followed by a deload week on the 5th week.
Then on week 9, it sets a new 3RM at the end of the next 4 week cycle.
The intermediate version has a ramp week, which consists of 3 weeks before setting a new 5RM on week 4 then each week will progress by adding weight.
If you can make progress weekly, then the intermediate version is suitable for you.
But if you plateau and it happens regularly, then the advanced variation is likely at your level.
If you're unable to make progress on a workout to workout basis, then Madcow 5x5 may be the appropriate transition for you.
Madcow is a 5x5 program, where it focuses on 5 sets of compound lifts of deadlifts, bench press and squats.
You'll likely to find this program to progress too slowly if you're still a beginner.
Madcow 5x5 is made by strength enthusiasts but it's also fantastic for bodybuilding because it uses compound lifts with high volume.
Although it's focus isn't in bodybuilding, if you're looking to maximize strength over muscle then you should consider this program.
It's one of the best.
However no one can suggest this to be the best program for you because it depends on your preferences.
If you try this program and you find yourself bored then you can consider other intermediate strength programs like these.
You can use our program finder as well if you want to filter programs.
Since this is a 5x5 program that uses mostly compound lifts, you'll want to take your time between sets.
This means taking at least 1 minute rest periods, or up to 5 minutes if you really want to put full effort into heavier sets.
It's not uncommon to take 3-4 minutes rest periods as it takes this much time to properly recover between heavy sets.
In Madcow, Wednesdays are generally lighter days, which will help your body recover between high effort sessions.
Both of these programs are made by highly respected creators.
The Texas method however does use more volume and power movements while focusing on muscular development.
And the Madcow program puts an emphasize on strength gains as it revolves mainly around compound lifts.
Many will view the Texas Method as a more balanced program since it doesn't just focus on strength but muscle development as well.
The Madcow program spreads volume evenly throughout the week while the Texas Method sets the most effort in one workout session.
Madcow is one of the best programs for strength training that also has benefits for bodybuilding.
Remember to start light and build up your weight as you can increase risk for injury by starting too heavy.
If you're preparing for competition then you should consider using another program that will help with that.
Otherwise Madcow 5x5 is an excellent program.
How do I start the Madcow 5x5 program?
To start the Madcow 5x5 program, you'll need to know your 5 rep max for the squats, deadlifts, and bench press. Once you have these numbers, you can input them into the Madcow 5x5 Spreadsheet to generate your personalized training program.
What if I find the Madcow 5x5 program too intense?
The Madcow 5x5 program can be intense, but remember, the key to success is consistency. Make sure you're eating enough to fuel your workouts and consider using our Macros Calculator to help determine your nutritional needs.
How can I avoid injury while doing the Madcow 5x5 program?
To minimize the risk of injury while doing the Madcow 5x5 program, it's crucial to use proper form during your lifts. If you're unsure about your form, consider working with a personal trainer or experienced lifter who can provide guidance.
What kind of results can I expect from the Madcow 5x5 program?
Results from the Madcow 5x5 program can vary depending on factors like your consistency, diet, and current fitness level. However, many users report significant strength gains and improvements in their lifting performance.
Can beginners use the Madcow 5x5 program?
The Madcow 5x5 program is primarily designed for late novice and early intermediate lifters. Beginners may find the program too intense and may benefit more from a program that progresses at a slower pace.
How long does each Madcow 5x5 workout take?
The length of each workout can vary depending on your rest periods and the number of sets and reps. However, most workouts should take around 60 to 90 minutes.
Can I do cardio while on the Madcow 5x5 program?
Yes, you can incorporate cardio into your routine while on the Madcow 5x5 program. However, it's important to ensure that your cardio workouts aren't hindering your recovery or performance on your lifting days.
What should I do if I miss a workout?
If you miss a workout, it's generally recommended to simply continue the program where you left off. Consistency is key with the Madcow 5x5 program, so try to avoid missing workouts whenever possible.
Can I modify the Madcow 5x5 program?
While the Madcow 5x5 program is designed to be followed as written, it's important to listen to your body. If you need to make modifications to fit your needs or address specific concerns, it's generally okay to do so. However, major changes should be made with caution, as they could affect the effectiveness of the program.
How should I warm up for the Madcow 5x5 workouts?
A proper warm-up is crucial for preparing your body for the intense lifting sessions in the Madcow 5x5 program. This could include light cardio, dynamic stretching, and performing warm-up sets with lighter weights.
What should I eat while on the Madcow 5x5 program?
While on the Madcow 5x5 program, it's important to eat a balanced diet that supports your training. This should include adequate protein for muscle recovery and growth, carbohydrates for energy, and healthy fats for overall health. You can use our Macros Calculator to help determine your nutritional needs.
Can I use the Madcow 5x5 program to lose weight?
While the primary goal of the Madcow 5x5 program is to increase strength, it's possible to lose weight while on the program, depending on your diet. To lose weight, you'll need to create a calorie deficit, meaning you burn more calories than you consume.
What equipment do I need for the Madcow 5x5 program?
The Madcow 5x5 program primarily uses free weights, so you'll need access to a barbell and weight plates. Some exercises may also require a squat rack or bench. If you're working out at a gym, you should have access to all the necessary equipment.
The Madcow 5x5 program is a powerful tool for late novice and early intermediate lifters looking to increase their strength and break through plateaus.
While the program can be challenging, the potential benefits - increased strength, muscle growth, and the satisfaction of hitting new personal records - make it a worthwhile endeavor.
Remember, the key to success with the Madcow 5x5 program is consistency, effort, and a commitment to pushing your limits each and every workout.
So,are you ready to take your training to the next level with the Madcow 5x5 program?
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