T Nation

915 Week 3 Failure


#1

Been thoroughly enjoying the 915 program, although I met my match with the third heavy squat day yesterday. 5x6 @ 80% low bar.

When I looked over the program, I suspected this day would be the most difficult for me so it might’ve been a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy, but I bombed it.

I was feeling a bit off to begin with, but I’m on such a tight schedule with a friends wedding coming up (best man here) I couldn’t really afford to wait another day so I went forward with it. Crushed the first 3 sets, actually felt pretty good. Fourth set was tough and had to gut out the last couple reps. Could only get 4 on the fifth set, not ideal but I’ll take it. At this point my body gave me the finger.

I became so tight I had to walk around a few minutes and roll a lacrosse ball over a couple hot spots to become mobile again. I bailed on the workout after my second set of front squats, felt like I was doing more damage than good.

Anyone have an experience like this? In the past I’d have gotten discouraged for a few days or tried to push through the workout and felt awful afterwards - I think I made the right call.


#2

I hear you, I actually just started the program two days ago and it was a lot for me. The first three weeks are going to be the most volume heavy training sessions I’ve ever done in my life. But I expect it to have profound results for that reason as I almost always train low volume at 85%+ like the later weeks. I’m also eating a shit ton and trying out I3G and mPA for the first times, so I have good faith I’ll make it through it.

Each set felt pretty easy but I know I will be going easier on the assistance work. I felt absolutely beat towards end of the workout but like a million dollars an hour or two after and the next day (yesterday) and today I feel like I’m ready to smash the deadlift workout despite the hottest day of the year doing manual labor (I hate heat with a fervent passion). So that tells me that so far the volume is a good thing for me.

I can imagine your scenario being one of the following:

1-you said you’re busy with an upcoming wedding. Not only a detriment to scheduling but most likely causing some stress.
2-not eating enough/not enough peri-WO
3-set up the program with too high 1RM
4-CT himself said the 5x6 day is the most brutal for the majority of people and not everyone will make it through it.
5-the unfortunate thing with planned progression models is they don’t give a **** about your lack of sleep, random sickness, etc. Nobody has a perfect workout every time.

I don’t mean to sound patronizing with 2 and 3, but I’m not sure given what you’ve said. I tested all my maxes two or three weeks ago and didn’t strain myself with any of them and I still knocked down 10-30 pounds off each before starting the program in anticipation of the 5x6 day haha.

I would try to get a few more hours of sleep in the coming days and eat more and keep going.


#3

When you said fail, what happened exactly? Did you complete some of the sets or were they all below 6 reps?

But yes, you are right, planned progression models (which I normally don’t use often) do not take into consideration unplanned events or lac of sleep


#4

Not patronized at all! I think your 5th bullet point probably is the most accurate, a handful of factors came together to give me a crummy day. It happens, not the end of the world.

I’m on to the 90% lifts at lower reps and very excited. I’ve felt great during/after each workout except this one so all signs are pointing up!

That said I’m going to invest in some Plazma soon. I think my Peri is the only thing that’s really lacking a bit.


#5

I completed 4 of the 5 sets, only went below 6 reps on the last set. I’m probably being a little overly dramatic with the word failure since I did fairly well on the main lift that day.

I think having to bail on the two secondary lifts is what had me feeling like a chump.

If I could go back and start over I’d probably change the order of the days so I squat before deadlifting.


#6

Yeah that’s actually a good performance.

It might have been better to rest just a little bit longer if you felt that the 4th set was really hard


#7

I rested about 4-5 minutes and felt pretty good. I try not to rest too much longer than that as I feel like I lose my rhythm but it could’ve been beneficial in this case.

It was the first time my body has ever told me to stop working though which was completely unexpected.


#8

yeah that is limit high more than that would not have made a difference… but you got like 97% of the work done, that is fine… the purpose of that first phase was just to build up work capacity. I would not stress about it.


#9

Thanks for all the input, really appreciate it. I did the bench workout for week 4 yesterday and I could notice increased work capacity - I’m looking forward to deads today and squats Thursday to see how much it’s improved.

Quick question: Are you familiar with landmine pressing? I’m using a 2 handed landmine press in place of incline bench (don’t have an adjustable one yet) for my assistance exercise. I could definitely feel my shoulders working but wondering if there are any cues to follow for form.


#10

Not a bad exercise. Good for shoulders, less transfer to the bench press though


#11

Good to know. I’ll stick with it for this cycle since my shoulders are a clear weak point in my pressing.

Thanks again for the input! I’ll have to make an update to this post at the end of the program to share where my numbers go.


#12

Well as coincidence would have it I too have encountered a failure of a day haha. Week 2 squat strength day and I blew out my back on the second warmup set… Not even a work set, a god damn warm up at about 60% 1RM.

In my case I suspect it’s because this past week I have been doing something at work that falls very outside my usual job description and has me crawling around underneath heavy equipment disassembling by turning very hard bolts and moving very heavy stuff all day long. Parts probably weigh 50-60 lbs each and it’s impossible to move them with proper form as space is so limited.

I’ve been eating a ton and sleeping more than usual and my workouts during the week were solid, including week 2 deadlift day on friday! Although I was tired and it took me over 80 minutes. Today was obviously a complete write-off though, but I’m rather surprised my back held up for the deadlift day just fine but not today. Maybe because I was sitting on the couch all day yesterday and today.

I have felt like my squat form has been solid given that my back never gives me problems afterwards, so I’m also a bit surprised about that too. I guess I leaned a bit too far forward which is what I’ve been trying to fix with the paused squats. I’ve switched to low bar position for 915 and I might be trying consciously to allow myself to lean forward more than low bar allows, or perhaps even with a low bar position my body prefers to be upright.

Anyway, after that warmup set where I cranked my lower back I walked around for 10-15 minutes, did some bodyweight squats, bumped it back down to my first warmup weight and threw a belt on. Back felt pretty good then. Bumped up the weight to the same where I hurt myself and cranked out a few reps. Using the belt I felt no pain in my back. Went up to my work weight of 80% and did a couple sets of 3. I couldn’t go on though, something about hurting my back took all my energy out–I was exhausted at this point and felt extremely weak.

Not sure if I should…
-try this squat workout again in a couple days and move the whole program back
-skip it, go on to high pull day next
-start using a belt more? It felt really good to brace against something. Made me feel the movement more in my abs and lebs.

Aside from this my results have been great. I didn’t think the mPA and I3G were doing much but now… 1.5 weeks after starting them I’ve gained 7 pounds and have more ab definition. The volume work feels great too. I would never have thought I’d be able to survive so much volume with squats and deadlifts but I am loving it rather.

Really bummed about this workout but there are lots of good things to look at too.


#13

Sorry to hear about your back! I’m not in the business of giving professional advice, but in this case I’d air on the side of caution with something like that. No sense trying to get stronger if you cripple yourself doing it right?

Perhaps CT can weigh in with some sage advice for ya.


#14

pretty sure I’ll be bowing out of 915. I would be jeopardizing my back if I tried to lift today, and possibly tomorrow. My job is too varied to follow a planned progression model, anyway. I will however be lifting with a similar periodization, and follow each main lift with a variation to target a weakness which I will rotate every 3-4 weeks. But having to conform to a completely laid out plan is not going to work when some days I work 14 hours or end up doing something extremely taxing. the first 2 weeks have definitely taught me that I can handle more volume though.

I’ve been reading some threads around here and really like the looks of the EMOM and press/squat/bench/deadlift split ideas. I miss pressing already. Going to throw together a plan like that, just need to figure out pressing assistance exercises. I miss ramping–it’s something that I’ve always felt really good about. So taking that, the higher volume and assistance exercises from 915 which are two things that I now know work for me, and I’ll give some EMOM stuff a shot too.


#15

Recovery is a huge part of 915, there’s nothing wrong with bowing out if you can’t pull it off. The program isn’t going anywhere, you could always try it again!

That said, I probably made a mistake with my timing for 915. I’m so busy in the summer it gets difficult to factor in enough recovery time. I should’ve gone with something that leans toward frequency over intensity but I’ll stick with this through the end.

Good luck with the back man!