My deadlift and OHP are stalling out for the second or third time on SL5x5 at about the same weight. My squat still has a lot of room to grow due to a knee injury in June (1 month off squats and restarting at a very conservative weight). I want to keep milking gains on the squat before switching programs. I am squatting 250 right now, was squatting 290 prior to the injury, and I had room to grow back then...
Should I look at doing lower reps, say doing sets of 3 reps instead of 5 and ramping instead of constant across the sets? or should I drop the weights and try doing 5x5 on DL's (normally its just 1x5)? I'm lifting 405 and can't quite get out the fifth rep in the set. OHP is a pathetic 110 (5x5).
My plan was to switch over to 5/3/1 after maxing out on SL5x5.
If some lifts are still gaining, then keep it going. Of course some will stop before others, that's just how it goes. Make a few tweaks and milk the linear progression.
There are a number of ways to manipulate the basic 5x5 set-up. Reg Park and the 50s/60s guys recommended doing 2 ramping (warm-up) sets then 3 sets across, which is basically starting strength. I believe Stronglifts has you switch to 3x5 once you stall a couple of times, so that should be your first move.
At this point, squatting heavy three times a week should be pretty hard to recover from, so reducing to two times a week, or including a light day can also help increase recovery and ensure a few more weeks progress.
The next move should be to reduce volume even further, but increase intensity to one all-out set of five. So use the five sets as heavier warm-ups, ramp up the weight and PR on the last set of five. This will keep you going for slightly longer and will also get you used to doing true max attempts, which will be useful when you test 1RMs at the end of the program.
Another thing I've seen recommended recently is reducing the deadlift to a set of three reps when you're in the final weeks and things are getting really tough. This way you get to lift slightly more weight for a bit so it feels like you're making progress again. So next time just lift the 405 for an easy 3, then go 410, and so on. If you drop squatting to twice a week, then on the deadlift day, you can also add in one or two back-off sets of SLDLs or RDLs for about 8 reps, which helps vary the stimulus without overtraining.
I'd recommend getting Practical Programming by Rippetoe and Kilgore as it goes into how to program these things in a very clear, straightforward way. I'm no expert, but I got a much firmer grasp on how to make routines and more importantly, how to adjust them, from reading that book.
Last edited by J.C.; 08-26-2011 at 08:06 AM.
Why do your lifts keep stalling in the same place? That shows zero progress. I'd find out why you didn't make any progress before you go switching routines.
Also, 300/400 isn't a bad result if you started from nothing. So well done.
Although I once read about a guy who had some weightlifting/body-building experience but had never really pushed his strength and decided to do SS. He started squatting 315 and got up to about 465 for 3x5, with a 500lb 1rm. And people say it's only for beginners...
Last edited by J.C.; 08-26-2011 at 08:53 AM.
Your OH Press is not as out of balance as you think. You are well within normal range for your lifts.
14" Box===240x5 (09/02/11)
Press==== 115x6 (08/21/11)
squat: 250 (5x5) [was 290 prior to injury; 315 in reach]
deadlift: 405 (1x5)
bench: 165 (5x5)
OHP: 110 (5x5)
Row: 185 (5x5) [some room to grow]
I'm happy where I am, I was shooting for 315 squat (which I think is feasible) and a 405 DL (done) by December.
I don't think you will progress without gaining weight (ie. eating more). You will be stuck at the same weight. Ask me, I know from experience.
Right now I just want to hit my maxes for where I am. Once the squat and row catch up to the other stalled lifts then yes, I think I will try to bulk/recomp slowly... I'll never be a power lifter, I'm too old and waited too long, so my focus is to be a strong dad for my kids, and hopefully easy on the eyes for the ladies...
H: 5'7" W:185
Goals: 495 -315 -585
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