T Nation

Bench/Squat Going Up, DL/Press Stalled

I’m on 5/3/1 and I can’t figure this shit out and it’s driving me nuts.

Here’s my program:

Day 1: Squat

  1. Squat: 5/3/1 scheme
  2. Stiff legged deadlifts: 3-4 x 8-12
  3. Walking lunges: 3-4 x 8-12
  4. Leg raises: 3-4 x 8-12

Day 2: Bench

  1. Bench: 5/3/1 scheme
  2. Incline flies 3-4 x 8-12
  3. Dumbbell rows: 3-4 x 8-12
  4. Tricep pressdown 2-3 x 8-12
  5. Incline dumbbell curls 2-3 x 8-12

Day 3:

  1. Deadlift: 5/3/1 scheme
  2. Hack squat: 3-4 x 8-12
  3. Hyperextensions with light bar on back: 3-4 x 8-12
  4. Ab wheel or barbell rollouts: 3 sets x AMRAP

Day 4: Press

  1. Press: 5/3/1 scheme
  2. Dips: 3-4 x 8-12 supersetted with
  3. Chins and pullups: 3-4 x 8-12 x AMRAP (3 or 4 different grips)
  4. DB shrugs: 3 x 12-15
  5. Skullcrushers 2-3 x 8-12 supersetted with
  6. Bar curls: 2-3 x 8-12

Three days a week of conditioning: jump ropes, heavy bag or battle ropes. Will resume sprints in warm weather.

Any tips or criticisms? Whiteflash, Csulli, Infinite, Colucci? Anyone?

On your bench day, you aren’t doing any sort of pressing assistance work from what I can see. So whereas you are doing horizontal pressing twice a week, you are only doing vertical work once a week. Were I you, I would add in some vertical pressing work on your bench day. It can just be pressing for 5x10, or dumbbell pressing, seated pressing, swiss bar, log, axle, etc.

When you say 531 scheme, is that just the basic program? No joker sets or first set last sets? Because I know that I’ve responded best to moderate to high volume, and it looks like you have fairly low volume for your squats.

5/3/1 is all about big basics. There is not a lot of room for a lot of assistance exercises and it is normally suggested that you focus on big compounds that give the most bang for your buck. I can understand your reasoning behind including arm exercises but why the flies? I would sub those out for some kind of incline press. I feel that incline is a good assistance for bench and ohp.

[quote]nkklllll wrote:
When you say 531 scheme, is that just the basic program? No joker sets or first set last set?[/quote]
That’s what I wanted to ask. There is almost infinite variability in the 5/3/1 scheme itself. I was always a fan of doing a lot. Go for however many reps you could get that day with your top 5/3/1 set, then go up and do a couple joker sets, then drop back down and do some volume like a 5x5 or 3x10 or something. You could probably get away with less volume at the end depending on the day and how your own body responds.

Not quite sure what the exact question is…Anyway, I would change the whole setup, but you probably don’t want that, eh?

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
On your bench day, you aren’t doing any sort of pressing assistance work from what I can see. So whereas you are doing horizontal pressing twice a week, you are only doing vertical work once a week. Were I you, I would add in some vertical pressing work on your bench day. It can just be pressing for 5x10, or dumbbell pressing, seated pressing, swiss bar, log, axle, etc.[/quote]
I concur. I do dips on bench day and incline press on OHP day. I feel they are more similar that way. But I like to vary my assistance work a great deal.

Agree with everyone so far. Find a way to up the volume of the main lift, switch out some assistance work (I’d drop the flyes for inc db presses), do more back work (5x10 main move, rep goal for secondary move) and maybe eat more. Overall I like the look of your split, just maybe make some mods to get more bang for your buck.

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
Not quite sure what the exact question is…Anyway, I would change the whole setup, but you probably don’t want that, eh?[/quote]

Yeah I can’t tell from the OP what the issue is, other than that he’s apparently being driven nuts.

The thread title was edited from it original. If you check the link title you’ll see that originally he was talking about how squat and bench were going up by deadlift and press is stagnant.

[quote]BrickHead wrote:
Three days a week of conditioning: jump ropes, heavy bag or battle ropes.[/quote]
Heavy bag work and battle ropes can be pretty demanding on the shoulders, depending on volume, intensity, and frequency, so you may be just fatiguing your shoulders throughout the week before training them directly.

But as was mentioned, you’re not really doing anything for shoulders/OH press other than the one exercise, so it might not be a wonder it’s not going anywhere. Simply switching the DB shrug for something like laterals or a one-arm db shoulder press may help. Or, as a temporary cure, swap your press for a variation like thick bar, heavy dumbbell press or push press (though it gets mixed reviews, some people see carryover to strict press and some don’t).

As for the deadlift, it jumps out at me that you’ve got a lot of glute/ham/posterior chain work in your squat session (SLDLs and walking lunges) then going for the deads later in the week. It “shouldn’t” be causing an issue DLing a few days later, but it might be worth thinking about more quad-based assistance work after squats and save the hip-dominant/posterior chain stuff for after deads.

Brick, didn’t you mention you’ve found some merit in Waterbury’s stuff in the past?

How about trying his new program that specifically is made to target lifts you want to improve at.

How long have you been stalled?

[quote]infinite_shore wrote:
Not quite sure what the exact question is…Anyway, I would change the whole setup, but you probably don’t want that, eh?[/quote]

Where did I imply this?

What would you change?

Brick, you may just need to be patient. I don’t run 5/3/1 and don’t deadlift anymore and only got to 500 when I did deadlift but I’d note this:

I’m of a very similar build to you. Same height, same weight, similar shoulder proportions. I don’t know about you for a fact, but I’m a natural squatter. As in, I could take a months off and still squat 275 for a few first time back.

Also, I have what are probably shorter arms than normal, which helps in bench but hurts in DL. My DL took some real time to move after I got up to about 450. It was frustrating. My squat progresses fairly steadily.

It may just be a matter of leverages.

I feel like the most common way people approach sticking points is to say “What’s wrong with my routine,” when the routine probably doesn’t matter a whole lot. It’s probably an issue of form, leverages, or recovery.

To follow up on one additional point: the reason I don’t deadlift may apply to you in some respect–aside from the fact that I lift on a 3rd story apartment, I find the risk/reward of deadlifting to not make sense for my body type relative to alternatives. I have a fairly short torso with not a lot of space between ribs and hips relative to a longer person.

When I wear a belt and deadlift, for a couple of years I would always either break a rib or pop cartilage when doing heavy weights [EDIT: this was due to the compression in the reaching down movement]. Having to deal with that made it not worth it to me when there were alternatives to back development for a non-powerlifter.

[quote]DoingWork421 wrote:
To follow up on one additional point: the reason I don’t deadlift may apply to you in some respect–aside from the fact that I lift on a 3rd story apartment, I find the risk/reward of deadlifting to not make sense for my body type relative to alternatives. I have a fairly short torso with not a lot of space between ribs and hips relative to a longer person.

When I wear a belt and deadlift, for a couple of years I would always either break a rib or pop cartilage when doing heavy weights [EDIT: this was due to the compression in the reaching down movement]. Having to deal with that made it not worth it to me when there were alternatives to back development for a non-powerlifter.[/quote]

The belt part being a bitch is true, but your short torso (relative to your legs) should actually make you a good deadlifter.

For the OH Press, I really like the 5x10 work. I was really stuck for a couple months on that and since I’ve added the 5x10 work I started doing better on the 5/3/1 sets again. It helped grease the groove a bit and with lighter weight you can really play around with your form and you might find a small tweak that makes a big difference, which is what happened for me. I went from 135 max to 155 in a month after being stuck for quite a while.

For the Deads, I would just try switching your hack squats and your Stiff Leg Deads and if that doesn’t do much for you, drop some of the assistance volume i.e. less sets or get rid of some of it altogether at least until you start increasing the main lifts again. That goes for the OH Presses too, like Chris Colucci said the ropes and heavy bag work may be wearing your shoulders down too much so the assistance work may just be adding to much. I find my OH Press and Deads much more sensitive to fatigue than Bench and Squats. Just my 2 cents.

If this is all done in 1 week like M-T-TH-FRI it is too much work unless your recovery is spot on and your diet is in surplus.

I would do the lifts M-W-F-M as 1 week.

When is the conditioning performed on off days or after the weights?

[quote]FISCHER613 wrote:
If this is all done in 1 week like M-T-TH-FRI it is too much work unless your recovery is spot on and your diet is in surplus.

I would do the lifts M-W-F-M as 1 week.

When is the conditioning performed on off days or after the weights?
[/quote]

You really think that’s too much? I personally don’t run 5/3/1, but run a similar set up with a bit more volume and I’m progressing fine.