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Bench and Deadlift Stalled for Years, Program Advice?

Really Need Some Advice From Experience Lifters

Where to begin…

Im currently doing layne nortons PH3 program. Im on the second phase and long story short im seeing little progress. Im thinking about dropping it entirely because the volume combined with intensity is destroying my body despite having the recommended wilks score to start the program.

My lifts are somewhere around 440/315/450

Ive done 5/3/1 in the past and my squat exploded, but deadlift and bench stalled. Basically to sum up my entire question, where do I go from here? My bench hasnt moved in literally years, niether has my deadlift. Getting stronger at this point seems like a lost cause for me because i cant really find a program that works for me. Any advice would be helpful, as getting stronger seems like an impossible feat right now in my life.

The problem is that you are doing more than you can recover from. When one thing stops working the best solution is usually to make small adjustments rather than throwing the whole thing out because you then end up in your current situation. Another thing is that you are just looking for a program that will work but you have to take into consideration what you actually need to progress and how much you can recover from. I would suggest starting with low volume and gradually building up so that you can assess how much you can actually handle. Something that has you squatting and benching at least twice a week would be a good idea. 5/3/1 is a system of progressing your working weights but there are a lot of different templates to suit different people’s needs, I sure you could find something appropriate. Otherwise Juggernaut and Renaissance Periodization sell powerlifting templates that is another option. Or just hire a coach.

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I was recommended the RTS training program? Im new to powerlifting so any opinions on this? From what ive heard is its very sought after

Google “powerliftingtowin rts” for info on RTS.

Don’t know the program you’re on but whether it be a program from Layne “The Injury Norton” or Boris Sheiko himself too much work is still too much.

Volume and intensity are just some of the variables which need to be controlled for a program to be successful. A poorly written or inappropriate (for the individual) program needs to be modified or discarded. Persisting with such a program won’t make it magically work.

If you’re with a coach, use a program that uses auto regulation or do your own programming you can adapt and modify your own training easily. All the high level dudes are running custom programs, either doing their own programming or having a coach do it, for a reason.

May be time to do your own programming or at least modify your favourite program/cookie cutter/template. No need to find a program that works for you when you can just write a program that works for you.

A great intermediate step is getting a coach. You can watch what they do with your programming and learn from them. All the while you can read articles and watch YouTube videos on programming until you’ve a firm grasp of the principles e.g. Overload, Fatigue Management and SRA all of which you seem to be having issues with

Stop doing programs and start following principles. Find a baseline and work from that. Programs are worthless. They were never meant for you.


okay thanks man that helps a lot. Im very close to the avatar that mike describes on the RTS site for the generalized intermediate program so i think im going to just run the 9 weeks exactly how is to get used to RPE training. So once those 9 weeks are over should I just keep doing RPE type training and implementing RTS style training but switch the assistance exercises based on where my sticking points change over time? Is that what you mean essentially by “programming for myself”? If so then how do I go about implementing rep and set ranges?? A coach isnt really an option as im a poverty college kid.

It’s a style of training. Give it a go and see if you like it. Try all the alternatives e.g. Percentage based training if you haven’t already. Then you can use what works for you.

Personally I don’t use RPE because I’m too ill disciplined to do anything less than an RPE 8. Probably a remnant of my bodybuilding days with sets to failure than assisted “all you bro” reps.


You’ve no idea what you’re doing including how to go about modifying programs to better suit you. Until such time as you have a clue: Nah mane.

If it works well for you the first time why not run the cycle again and adjust starting weights up a bit.

Sticking points for raw lifting don’t really change over time. You can have various weaknesses which can be addressed or just forever worked at but unless you go equipped your sticking points are staying put. You just need to get better at generating more bar speed to plough through them.

Lot of it is semantics but for more info on assistance exercises refer to Elitefts’ article "The Powerlifters Guide to Assistance Exercises & Training"

If you can’t answer this you’re not ready.

To conclude: get read up. Ima point you in the right direction cuz you should learn this shit sooner or later. Don’t watch all at once because you’ll be overwhelmed by info:


RTS is mostly a coaching service, they get good results for a lot of people and coach several elite lifters but the tendency is to push volume to the limit. There is a sample program call the Generalized Intermediate Program, you can find it on their site.

That’s pretty much the best solution. Unfortunately most people have no idea where to start.

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Most strength programs basically offer the same thing. Tried and true is training in the 70-85% range in the 1-5 rep range. Work this. Learn to listen to your body. There is no magic program.

The only time I’d say follow a program is if you are a beginner. Even then, you need to use your head and think: “Is this working? Am I getting stronger? Am I recovering? Am I eating enough to recover? Am I getting enough sleep? Do I need more intensity? More volume? Is the weight moving easy today? Is it heavy today? Is my head in this today?”

If you follow a program, do not follow blindly. Learn what works and discard the rest. That’s how you build your own program. That’s where you learn principles over programming. It looks to me like you’ve run a couple of things. You should have an idea of what works for you and what doesn’t. If not, start paying attention so you can grow.