T Nation

5/3/1 Stalled at 8-9 Month Mark

Ok,so after a few years layoff I decided to get back to the gym and rather than falling back into bodybuilding type workouts I decided ( at 46 yrs old )that I would focus on powerlifting instead.

After doing some reading and working out for a few months I decided on 5/3/1 (the original). I spent 3 months on it before having to quit to have an old hernia taken care of. After the recoup was done I jumped back into it.

My question is regarding “stalls” and what to do next…

I blew through the first 4 months pretty well. All my weights went up and I was able to continually set new PR’s each workout. I retested my maxes after 4 months and kept going.

However as months 5,6, and 7 progressed I found that I wasn’t able to set as many PR’s (which I expected…pretty hard to beat a PR with a heavier weight as compared to repping out a lighter weight) but I continued.

Month 8 (and now month 9) I am finding it difficult to even make the actual “5’s”, “3’s”, or “1’s” on a consistent basis from week to week.

I think I read that if I stalled I should repeat the weight next month and see if I make any progress. Nope…If anything I have been getting weaker. I am finding that even my lower weights are being performed for less reps than they were when they were my “heavier” weights from months earlier (which is frustrating to say the least)

Kinda at a loss and wondering how to proceed. I just saw a few posts regarding stalling and 5forward/3back and a couple other techniques. Is this something new added? (I have 5/3/1 …haven’t read “beyond” or any other variations…

like I said, I’ve stalled/regressed on 3 of the 4 lifts and need to get things moving forward again. thx

these were my numbers at the 4-5 month mark:
315 bench, 365 squat, 405 deadlift
and even though I’ve moved 3-4 months past those numbers by adding 5-10 lbs each month to my training max (because I’ve managed to hit the “5 3 1” at a minimum) I think I’ve actually regressed.

sorry, long post…

The 5 forward, 3 back approach coupled with volume/intensity phases…

This is what I try to do, YMMV

Cycle 1&2: 5s pros & FSL (5 sets)
Cycle 3&4: 5/3/1 & SSL (2-3 sets)
Cycle 5: 5/3/1 + 1 set at TM (jokers last week)

When you drop your TM back 3 cycles at the end of this block, you are now doing 5s pro with a weight you were previously doing 5/3/1 sets with.

Change the assistance as you see fit.

5 forward/3 back - this is not new as it has been talked about/written about for a couple years now.

Reset and employ the 5/3 now - stalling is inevitable and one thing that rarely gets talked about is this: the stronger you get, the harder this strength stuff becomes. Because you fight and claw and scrape for every pound. That is why there is so much turnover in this world: people get excited with their (and this term is so fucking horrible, I cringe every time I write it) “newbie gains” and once they are over, they do not possess the skills to move forward, mental or physical.

Do things right from the beginning, the total program approach, and set people up for success for decades.

thx, will do a bit more forum reading to get details about the 5/3 (probably pick up a copy of “beyond”) and push forward…

ok, so did some reading. thx for the advice guys.

Since I had a good run up to the 9 month mark (It was during my 9th run that i was only able to squeek out the minimum 5/3/1 numbers) i will jump back to my month 7 weights and start a 5forward/3back stretch from there.