How to Log Madcow 5x5 with StrongLifts

Here's how you can log Madcow 5x5 with the StrongLifts app. 

Creating Three Workouts A/B/C

  • Madcow 5x5 consists of three workouts A/B/C with different sets/reps/weight and/or exercises in each workout.
  • To create the three workouts, go to home - edit. By default workout A and B show here.
  • Tap add workout to create an extra workout C (you need StrongLifts Pro for this).
  • After this you'll have three workouts A/B/C

Adding Exercises to Each Workout

  • Madcow has Squat/Bench/row in workout A, Squat/Overhead Press/Deadlift in workout B, and Squat/Bench/Row in Workout C
  • To set this up, go to home - edit - tap workout A - swipe left to remove an exercise. Then tap "add exercise" to add the proper exercise back.
  • Repeat this for each workout

Settings Sets and Reps, Ramped Sets and Light Squat Days

  • Madcow uses differnet sets, reps and weights in each workout
  • Squat workout A is 5 ramped sets - progressively heavier sets of 5 until a top set of 5.
  • Squat workout B is 4 ramped sets - progressively heavier sets of 5 until two top sets of 5, with weights much lighter than workout A
  • Squat workout C is 4 ramped sets with back off set - progressively heavier sets of 5, then a top set of 3 reps, then a lighter set of 8 reps
  • You can set this up by going to home - edit - tap the exercise - disable "Straight Sets". You can then set different reps/weight for each set.
  • StrongLifts will automatically increase the weight of each set next workout if you achieved all sets (according to your increment setitngs)

Remembering The Sets/Reps/Weights

  • Currently it's not possible to set different sets/reps/weights for an exercise that shows in several workouts
  • Meaning: if you set 5x5 Squat in workout A, and 4x5 Squat in workout B.. and then you log Squat workout b, the setsxreps will reset to 4x5 next workout A.
  • For now, one easy workaround is to create three different Squat exercises, one for each workout, each with its own sets/reps/weight
  • => Home - edit - workout A - swipe left on Squats to remove it - tap add exercise - create. Then make Squat A with 5x5 ramp sets.
  • => Home - edit - workout b - swipe left on Squats to remove it - tap add exercise - create. Then make Squat B with 4x5 ramp sets light.
  • => Home - edit - workout C - swipe left on Squats to remove it - tap add exercise - create. Then make Squat C with 5/5/5/3/8.
  • => You'll need to do the same for Bench and Row (Bench A and Row A in workout A, Bench C and Row C in workout C)
  • => After you do this, sets/reps/weights will remember fine, and the app will progress your workouts correctly
  • We plan to improve this in a next version of the app, so you can set different set/rep/weight for the same exercise showing in several workouts

5 Work Sets Limitation

  • Currently it's not possible to log more than 5 work sets. We're considering making that possible in a future version of the app.
  • For now, this limitation does not prevent you to log Madcow 5x5 using StrongLifts.
  • One misconception is that the workout C of Madcow 5x5 requires 6 work sets. It's actually 5 work sets. 
  • Consider: in the Madcow 5x5 spreadsheet, the Squat in workout C goes from 5x135lb to 5x275lb.
  • If you do 275lb for 5 reps, then 135lb for 5 reps is less than 50% of your top set.
  • This set is therefore not a workset but a warmup set. It doesn't need to show in your work sets.

In fact, the app will handle it that way:

  • Enter the weights for week one Squat in workout C
  • But skip the first set at 135lb. Make the first set 170lb, and then add the 4 next sets.
  • Then go back to your workout and look at the warmup - the last warmup set is 135lb.
  • => so StrongLifts already properly handles this like a warmup set already.
  • => there is therefore no need to create 6 work sets. Make 5, and let the warmup take care of the first light set of 5 (which is a warmup anyway).

If you have any questions or issues setting up Madcow with StrongLifts, email us and we'll be happy to help!