Are My Squat, Bench, and DL Balanced?

I have been lifting for 13 months but only focusing on actual strength training for about 5 months, and I need some advice on my SBD total.
My biggest bench has been 97.5kg, it moves kinda easy, but when I try to bench 100kg, I fold like a paper, my arch becomes non existent. I’ve been stuck at this weight for maybe 2 months.
My best squat is 165kg. This was an RPE:11. I failed 170 and broke a safety.
And my best deadlift is 190kg, at an rpe of maybe 9/9.5.

So to sum up SBD 165/97.5/190ish.
I have been squating and deadlifting 1x per week since the beggining and 2 months ago I started benching 2x a week trying to bring up my bench, and my top sets are really feeling easier, but the weight is not increasing.

I work up to a heavy single every workout, for example, on bench it goes, Warm up. 85/90/92.5/95 and depending on how it felt maybe 97.5. on squat it goes 150/155/157.5/160 (my most recent session)
and deadlift 180/185/187.5/190 (again, depending on how it feels)

With this strategy I’ve added 20kg to my squat, 35 to my DL but none to my bench.

I’ve also found out this is the only way I can bench with actual intensity, because if I try to bench maybe 85, on the second or 3 rep my arch goes nonexistent and the bar goes down, but I can get an easy-ish single with 95/97.5.

Also, any tips that could help my arch are welcome (appart from the classic ones like squeeze the shoulder blades, activate the lats, and put the feet as back as possible, I’m talking about increasing flexibility and such)

Do you have a moment to talk about our lord and savior Jim Wendler?


I’ve tried 531 before but i feel the % are way too low and it gets me bored and i dont really feel Challenged

Run it like this


Okay but…

This is pretty unsustainable I think, and you’re certainly at a point where mesocycles are more warranted than “every day is PR day”. BUT if you care more about training than progressing, I understand.

There are other systems that can make this more enjoyable for you though, like West-Side Conjugate training, for example. I’ve no experience with this method and I’m not a powerlifter, just worth considering to expand your repertoire of training.

In all seriousness though, training for max lift every time works okay - until you start lifting respectable weights… then it goes downhill quickly. (Hint: you’re lifting respectable weights, ie you might want to stop max-lifting every session)


I did the same years ago and there were two things that I changed which got my bench up to 120kg from 100kg.

Firstly no grindy slow reps. Anything without great form just didn’t help at all. It might have helped my ego but not my progression.

Secondly was more volume at lower weights. Adding in some more volume with perfect form in the 8-12 rep range worked wonders for my overall max. I think I was not getting enough stimulus to grow when ramping up to a heavy single.

A 1 rep single is a test, it’s not a ‘growing’ set.

But I would say, however much my advice helped me, 531 is guaranteed to help you.


This is such a good point! A lot of the value of following a program for me is not about getting me to work hard, it’s about somewhat containing my self-destructive habits (or at least mitigating them).


For balanced, I’d prefer to see your max squat and deadlift closer in weight. IMO, when your squat lags your deadlift more than 10%, it is usually because your squat form is inefficient.

There is an argument that some people are better built to deadlift than squat. I felt I was built that way but got my max squat and deadlift nearly equal. I found a more efficient movement in the squat. But I did need to prioritize my squat training over deadlifting. (I had always been thigh-lean and bodybuilding was my quest.)


This is a terrible strategy. My recommendation is to never attempt max singles.

A consequence not related to muscle growth is that every time you miss a max attempt you are “learning how to miss.”


More than a year ago, I did Smolov Jr. for Bench Press. You can also apply it to the Squat. My Bench Press 1 RM in 3 Weeks went from 105kg. at 117.5 kg. He trains 4 days a week. This is what the program looks like at 95 kg. 1 RM with 2.5 kg. an increase of 5 kg. raise. I guarantee you that in just 3 weeks you will overcome your current weight by at least 7-8 kg. But during those 3 weeks, don’t do anything other than lighter squats or pull-ups to get moving.

And I did it with an increase of 5 kg. on a weekly basis.

The first 3 photos are with an increase of 2.5 kg, and the second 3 photos with an increase of 5 kg.

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Is this all you do for bench every session. No reps at lower weights, no volume ?

Do you do any other accessory work for bench ? Any over head press, any dips, any tricep work.

My immediate though is that your bench could use a lot more volume ar lower weights. If you hold position at 85 for 3 reps it tells me you need to practice more.


A single every time? Only been lifting for a year? You won’t get anywhere without building a base first. 5s and 3s. Moderate singles are ok once every couple months but you are wasting time with singles every session.

Lots more bodybuilding stuff. Quickest way to get stronger is gain leverage thru size. You need volume at this point in main lifts and accessories. Learn to work. It sucks. Its hard and that’s why most get discouraged because they want it all now. Put in the work at get rewarded.

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I think everybody here gave good advice. Up your volume, and stop doing singles.

Fwiw, I did your approach, and it got me sorta strong.

Running many good programs (many good ones recommended in this thread), often starts off seeming to easy. Use that time to perfect form. Don’t worry, it might be several months, but it will get harder.

Sub maximal lifting works for many people.