T Nation

5/3/1 Trouble Off the Floor


#1

Jim, 5/3/1 is great! Thank you for sharing it with the world. All my lifts are going up except my deadlift.

I am having a lot of trouble with getting my deadlift off the floor in the 90-95% range. I have gone through 4 cycles. I stalled on week 3 of my 3rd cycle on the final set 95% x 1+. So I started a new cycle with 10% lower of my TM. The same thing happened when I hit 95% x 1+ on this new cycle. I was only able lift the the weight about 2 inches. After a 3 minute rest I was able to do 80% of my TM x 12 no problem the same day.

I am following Boring But Big from the first 5/3/1 book. What do you suggest can help with speed off the floor?

Instead of doing 5 x 10 @ 50% dead for assistance Should I do singles? Or would doing deficit deads or Snatch grip deads 5 x 10 @ 50% help with speed off the floor?

Should I drop my TM another 10%?

Pause squats?

Jumps?

Any help is appreciated.


#2

There are many things that could help with that. In beyond 531 Jim has a dynamic work template that could definitely help. Also pulling from a deficit has helped me off the floor greatly. I usually pull from a 3 or 4 inch deficit but you could start at 1 or 2 inches. Just stand on a plate and pull. Pause squats could also work for you. Pick one and give it time to work dont get frustrated in a week and move on to something else. Give whatever you pick time to work for you


#3

Have you possibly over-estimated your 1RM? Are you using a true 1RM or estimated? If estimated, what’s the estimation based on? 2RM, 3RM, etc?

I would say, buy Beyond 5/3/1 (it sounds like you only have edition 1), start fresh with one of the BBB variations, use an 85% TM, use Joker Sets on days when you feel good, and use First Set Last (FSL). It’s all explained in the book.


#4

Lower training max. This is the template I would follow.

Box Jumps 5x3
Squat 5/3/1
Deadlift 5x2 - 70%
A few assistance exercises.

Box Jumps 3x3
Deadlift 5/3/1
Squat 5x whatever.
A few assistance exercises.

This will give you the opportunity to pull twice a week, which will improve your technique if you are cognizant of trying to improve the form. When you correct your form it’ll make everything easier, and the “speed” pulls will also increase your speed overall. Mostly though it’s the fact that you practice it more.


#5

try snatch grip for assistance, or switch to periodization bible for assistance


#6

All great advice from the people before me.

My two cents: strengthening your quads should help you break the floor. Things like front squats, hack squats, and leg presses should be considered options in your arsenal.

To put it all together: I would reduce your training max, pull from a 1-2" deficit, and use front squats as an assistance movement.


#7

Some good advice to take on board here. Lots to bear in mind for when mine inevitably stalls. I find mine comes away from the floor a lot quicker when I can focus my aggression into really ripping the bar from the floor and pushing my feet through the deck. I try doing this in all of my warm up sets, so the first few sets of the day are almost like speed pulls.


#8

Trouble off the floor is pretty common. I started using a snatch grip on by BBB sets. I dropped the weight a tad and focused on being fast off the floor. I also would use a snatch grip on my warm up sets on my regular DL days. That worked like a charm for me


#9

I wouldn’t get too caught up in the mindset that these kinds of “problems” are best addressed with assistance exercises. My deadlift has always been like this, anything I can get to the knees I can lock out no matter how slow the bar is moving. My pull has skyrocketed over the last few months, basically from cutting the ballast out of my training.

The more frequently you hit the main lift, the more time you spend straining in the weak position in a way that is specific. That’s the best training you can do for the weak range, and it’s almost never a good training value to replace this work with something less specific. The takeaway is that if you’re going to do something that isn’t a powerlift, you need a very good reason. Presses qualify for me, and lat work, and prehab work, and that’s pretty much it.

An assistance lift, even a closely related one like snatch pulls, extended pulls, paused pulls, rack pulls or whatever, might work, but more of the main lift is pretty much a sure thing. Be more specific with your loading parameters too. If you can’t hold your form when the weight gets heavy, you need more heavy work with a weight that’s on the cusp of what causes you to break form, but not over that line.


#10

You aren’t doing the program.

“I have gone through 4 cycles. I stalled on week 3 of my 3rd cycle on the final set 95% x 1+.”

The reason why you have trouble off the floor is because you aren’t doing the program correctly and chose the wrong TM - no special exercise is going to help a heavy weight.

Take a max during training (not a meet) - now take 85-90% of that. If you did 3 cycles and stalled that means you either deadlift 85 pounds or WAY overestimated your TM.


#11

Thank You All for the feedback. It really helps. My current 1RM TM is 365 which I did Wednesday. Based off of 365 I am starting a new cycle next week with 85%.

Below is a picture of my spreadsheet which is what I will be starting next week.

Thank you all again.


#12

[quote]CHARGEDanimal wrote:
Thank You All for the feedback. It really helps. My current 1RM TM is 365 which I did Wednesday. Based off of 365 I am starting a new cycle next week with 85%.

Below is a picture of my spreadsheet which is what I will be starting next week.

Thank you all again.
[/quote]

Yeah that sounds much better. Now just program in some Joker Sets and FSL for days you’re feeling good and can push yourself. :wink:


#13

[quote]CHARGEDanimal wrote:
Thank You All for the feedback. It really helps. My current 1RM TM is 365 which I did Wednesday. Based off of 365 I am starting a new cycle next week with 85%.

Below is a picture of my spreadsheet which is what I will be starting next week.

Thank you all again.
[/quote]

What is the most recent amount of reps you did for a weight close to 300lbs? I’m using that number since its close to your next scheduled week 3 weights.


#14

[/quote]

What is the most recent amount of reps you did for a weight close to 300lbs? I’m using that number since its close to your next scheduled week 3 weights.[/quote]

The most recent was 315 x 12 x 1 which was last Wednesday. That is what frustrates me the most. 315 feels comfortable but once I do 360 or over it might as well be 1000.


#15

Heres the fix dude. Try doing 10 reps with a weight as close to your max as possible without losing form. (i.e. 10x1reps) this will acclimate you to near maximal efforts and dial in maximal effort technique.


#16

All good stuff here - reminded me of a few things I have lost sight of. I want to second ‘little bones’ though. After you do what Wendler and the rest have suggested, consider this because it has really helped me: the QUADS are really important in separating the bar from the ground and getting it to the knees. I overlooked my quads for years and suffered because of it. I squat of course but I mainly focused on my posterior chain like the deadlift gurus say. Then I started lifting with a guy much stronger in the deadlift than me and he suggested that I a) sit back on my heels on the way down - nothing new, but - b) after the initial break drive my knees through my toes and my toes through the floor. He also suggested I try to pull in my olympic squat shoes with raised heels. He said this is would work for me and my style - raw and conventional. It activates the quads big time. The extra few inches from the raised heel are meaningless compared to the leverage improvement. It was just what the doctor ordered.


#17

Are you doing touch-and-go deadlifts? Bouncing off the floor could inflate your lower weight rep maxes. I’d recommend deficits, too, if you can maintain a neutral low back while reaching down.


#18

[quote]Rave2.0 wrote:
All good stuff here - reminded me of a few things I have lost sight of. I want to second ‘little bones’ though. After you do what Wendler and the rest have suggested, consider this because it has really helped me: the QUADS are really important in separating the bar from the ground and getting it to the knees. I overlooked my quads for years and suffered because of it. I squat of course but I mainly focused on my posterior chain like the deadlift gurus say. Then I started lifting with a guy much stronger in the deadlift than me and he suggested that I a) sit back on my heels on the way down - nothing new, but - b) after the initial break drive my knees through my toes and my toes through the floor. He also suggested I try to pull in my olympic squat shoes with raised heels. He said this is would work for me and my style - raw and conventional. It activates the quads big time. The extra few inches from the raised heel are meaningless compared to the leverage improvement. It was just what the doctor ordered.[/quote]

Thanks for the props man. For most either pulling from deficit or targeting the quads does the trick, in my experience at least. Good to hear you sorted out a similar problem, I pulled in my weightlifting shoes for a period of time and it made it easy to break the floor because of my quad strength. My problem was mostly lockout, and doing a bunch of upper back work actually worked miracles (literally started killing deadlift PR’s after including Kroc rows like Jim did) - I shattered a multiple month plateau with a string of huge PR’s.


#19

bulking247 I do touch and go. At first I did bounce the weight but I quickly learned not too since it would destroy my lower back. So now I make sure to control the weight down to avoid the bounce and keep the bar close to me. The first rep is always hard off the floor.

This week I started doing my sets by resetting in between reps.


#20

[quote]CHARGEDanimal wrote:
bulking247 I do touch and go. At first I did bounce the weight but I quickly learned not too since it would destroy my lower back. So now I make sure to control the weight down to avoid the bounce and keep the bar close to me. The first rep is always hard off the floor.

This week I started doing my sets by resetting in between reps.
[/quote]

Resetting is basically how you do it. Put the weight down, make sure it’s not bouncing LOL, take your breath, and pull. It’s not hard once you get into it. My gym does have bumper plates and it’s never an issue for me.