3 Day/Week Programming Help


Need a bit of help as to what I am doing, if it is alright, should I continue or should I try something different?

First off my stats - 28years old, 100kg BW. Maxes 235/180/270kg. Been training for powerlifting like for 2 years now.
I started of with which was 5x5 Madcow, or 5x5 stronglifts. Don’t remember the name for sure. All was good for the first year, I gained a lot to my maxes especially in benching and squats as I was doing both twice a week.
After a year of training for powerlifting my first meet I hit 225/175/252.5kg. Then I continued to do the 5x5 routine, but I started getting really tired and my strength went down and I got injured, teared a hamstring (slightly) and had a lot of elbow pain. Took a month or two off and started doing 5/3/1 as I figured the routine wouldn’t be so taxing as it felt it was less volume and less lifting in general. After 6months of 5/3/1 I never felt fatigued and I kinda felt I wasn’t doing all I could, had a lot of left in my tank, went into a meet and hit my current maxes which is 1 year later after my first meet. So kinda 10/5/17.5kg increase in a year which I kinda feel is a very little progress.

Currently switched into something I came up myself - 3day routine (currently into the strength phase):
Deadlifts 4x4 85%/87.5%/90%
Deficit/Paused deads/Box deads 3x6 - rotating these exercises every month
Upper back 4x20
Lower back 4x20
Abs 4x20
Bench 4x4
Incline/Close grip off of board/Paused 3x6 - rotating these exercises every month
Dumbbell press 3x20
Triceps 4x20
Shoulder raises 5x20
Squat 4x4
Front/Paused/SSB - rotating these exercises every month
GHR 3xMax
Leg curls 4x20
Leg extensions 4x20

I do this for 3 weeks, the 4th week is deload where I do speed work and remove the 2nd exercise, after the 4 weeks I raise my training max by 5kg bench and 10kg squat/deads. And repeat by changing the 2nd exercise.
Currently I am in my 3rd month of this. And sometimes I feel really fatigued and the squat feels off because I kinda feel that squatting only once for me isn’t really that great same with benching.

I was thinking about going back to 5x5 as it felt really good with squatting and benching twice a week. But sorta lacks variety. And has a lot of volume.
I can only train 3 days per week because of my work and family. And can’t stay in the gym longer than 2,5h. But I don’t miss out on any workout. So I was thinking about running Sheiko, but it has a lot of sets and I’ve read it usually takes 3h per session. If I would rush it I think I would be too tired on the next day/trianing day and won’t recover as quickly as I would need. Other programs need like 4-5 days per week.

Please help me! Any input is really welcomed. As to what routine should I do or should I stick to what I am currently doing.

This is perfectly good progress. Your bench is very, very good, so it’ll increase slowly; your squat and deadlift are also respectable, just not as impressive as your bench. They will likewise increase slowly.

I would stick with 5/3/1. It works over the long term. Arrange it so you squat and bench twice a week and deadlift and press once. Personally, I would go bench/squat, DL/press, squat/bench. Or, you could take a look at Full Body/Full Boring from Beyond 5/3/1 because that has you doing all three lifts three times a week. If you follow Jim’s advice pull all DL double overhand to limit how much weight you use; and obviously use a very conservative TM.

1 Like

I see the word “fatigued” quite a bit. You just might be too heavy too often or your nutrition needs work. Make sure you get good rest/sleep too.

Most good programs work. As I’ve gotten more and more years under my belt, I’ve found anything for multiple reps in a set over 75% too often has led to fatigue and getting hurt. I used to be able to ramp up pretty quickly to my work sets but now find I need a LOT more of a warm up.

Now is the time to listen to your body and use a program that tailors to each workout. Don’t follow it so rigidly. If it doesn’t take into account workout to workout issues, then it’s not a good program for you at the moment.

Judge the workout by the how the weight is moving whether to move up or lay back and do reps. 3 days/week is perfect for rest/recovery. Get plenty of good food. Don’t sweat it. Just keep working and find your groove. Don’t worry about what the others are doing to get strong. Take it all with a grain of salt.

Most people need to squat and bench at least twice a week to make decent progress, if you can only train 3x/week then you are going to have to train full body. The setup that MarkKO mentioned is good, whether you want to do 5/3/1 or some other sort of scheme to progress the weights isn’t really all that relevant as long as you continue to put weight on the bar.

It seems that the other issue you have is figuring out appropriate volume. If you feel like you aren’t training hard and you aren’t seeing much progress then you need to increase volume, if you are beat up and burnt out all the time then you are doing too much. Here’s a good video for you:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_3q3KnYtYIg

1 Like

Thanks for the advice all of you. Was an interesting video for sure but it is all sorta theoretical stuff of what I understand. Yeah drop the volume if it is too taxing on my body or up the volume if it feels too light. I guess I just have to find it out myself.
Thanks for the advice on a different 5/3/1, looked about a 5/3/1 oriented more towards powerlifting with benching and squatting at the same day and dlifting and pressing on the same day + including a few heavy singles into the 3+ and 5/3/1+ weeks and changing 3+ weeks with 5+ weeks in order.