I liked your 5x5 article on elitefts.com. You reference moving to a more intensity based routine if you meet certain criteria. Are you referring to a program such as Westside?
Absolutely Rick - while I have no doubt that Westside can get you super strong, some people simply aren't ready to train in this intensive of a fashion.
In his book "Science and Practice of Strength Training," Zatsiorsky mentions that trainees should focus on repetition method work for 3 years before seriously employing the maximal effort method. Now, this doesn't mean you have to be doing 12's the entire time, but I wouldn't be doing heavy singles in the beginning, either.
You need this "base" for several reasons:
- Development of connective tissue strength
- Development of optimal technique
- Development of confidence
I think the guys who have probably seen the best success with Westside have exhausted their success using other methods. I think most lifters follow a path like this:
Beginner - High rep stuff (8's, 10's, etc. basically newbie gains)
Intermediate - Moderate volume with increased intensity (i.e. 5x5 or 3x3 methodologies)
Advanced - Sheiko, Westside, etc. - basically high intensity stuff. I could get into how Sheiko and Westside are different w/regards to how they go about intensifying the workouts, but that's a whole 'nother blog post ;)