T Nation

Can't Increase SQ and DL ( progress)


im 43 been trainin serious for about 5 years i started at 135lb-61 kg squatin 66lb - 30kg im now 175lb-80 kg at about 15% bf .i squat 220 lb-100kg for 5 reps n DL 286lb-130 kg for 3 reps both with good depth and form.
ive been stuck at these numbers for about a month and a half.
any ideas how i can progress , ive tried what i know, micro increase's etc and ive up'ed me calories to about 3500 a month and a half ago.

i'll be grateful for any advice you guys can give .
PS im squatin twice a week n dl'in once a week . is squatin twice weekly to much at my age ?
thanks again


First bit of advice would be to upgrade your computer with a shift key...

Next, more details about your program would be helpful here. Are you doing the One True Religion, AKA 5/3/1, or something else? I'm guessing the answer is no because of the fact that you're squatting twice/week.

I find that if I do one heavy day of DLs and one heavy day of squats per week I'm walking around with sore legs most of the time, so adding in another set wouldn't really buy me anything.

Also, I find that the Boring But Big assistance work seems to help with these lifts, as you mix up a small set of heavy lifts with a larger set of somewhat lighter lifts, giving you the best of both worlds.

By way of comparison, I weigh 220lbs, am 46 years old, and can squat and deadlift ~300lbs for 2-4 reps; this is after roughly a year of training. In my case I've been able to consistently increase these lifts with few problems, but have been having real trouble moving my military press upwards.


i saw your squat and dl video , hats off to you sir for that.
i started 5x5 but i knocked it down to 4x5 when i started with the heavier weights as my progress stalled a bit.
i think you hit the nail on the head with what you said about too many big lifts in one week .


I'll second the opinion for the big lifts once/week. I don't train 5/3/1. I have my own template. However, I squat, deadlift and bench heavy once per week. I'll squat light a second day as an assistance. For instance, my typical training template looks like this:

deadlift heavy
deadlift light variation such as deficits
various other assistance

Bench heavy
squat light variation
good mornings
DB press

Squat heavy
bench light
OH press variation
Row variation

That's it. That's all I do. For reference, I weigh 60 kg and can squat 220 for a double raw and am 46 years old.

I had it drilled into me that less is more.


I am one of the believers in 5/3/1, dont know if you have looked at my log on here. Since I got back into the heavy weights last year around August have been steady going up. I have to agree that basically havin 3 days a week of heavy leg work not surprising you are stalling.

You are frying your CNS, if you are going to stay with the same program I would say back off on Squat to once a week. You will be suprised how recovery and doing heavy weights with a fresh CNS you will see better numbers.


Do you do any sort of GPP at all?


i do bb complex's n mountin bikin for conditioning .
i'll post my trainin schedule later when ive got more time .
thanks to you all for the input so far



Age has nothing to do with it! It's not like you age a day and you're suddenly too old to do it. It might just be that this programme has run it's course for you. This type of programme,(where you increase the weight every w/o) can be very productive, but will only work for a certain amount of time, otherwise we would all end up squatting 2000 lbs.

I use this sort of programme (deadlifting, front squatting and back squatting 5x5 all in 1 week) quite successfully for several months each year, but when I finally hit a wall with it I drop down to triples, doubles and singles for a while, build up to a new PR (hopefully) and then go back to it. But if I tried to stay on it indefinitely I would just crash badly.

There's nothing wrong with squatting 2x, and deadlifting 1x a week in principle, it's probably just time for a change or you could try cycling your intensity so you have 1 hard, 1 medium and 1 light/speed day and carry on with it.


Progress ebbs and flows and sometimes doing more work, less work, or staying the same will result in progress over time. 45 days does not sound like an overly long time to get stuck, but I know its frustrating. Sometimes just any change in your routine will help get you out of a rut. The above posters had some good suggestions for variation.

How much fat are you willing to risk gaining? Your calories seem low to move your lower body lifts if you have some training experience under your belt. I was taking in probably 8-10 thousand calories a day during Smolov, and my squat and DL went up, but so did my body fat.

Which brings me to sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures: Smolov. Google dragondoor and Smolov. If you want your squat and DL to move, run Smolov, eat enough, and get enough sleep. Your numbers will move, but Smolov is no joke.

Just some thoughts.


Recommending Smolov! Now that's just plain evil!!


Muwaahahahahaha! (said with pinky pressed against chin)


from what you guys have said i think i'm exhausting my cns and need to rest more and squat once a week and d lift once a week .

here my routine -

mon - squats , inc db press , weighted dips, calves.

tue- weighted pull ups , weighted chins, bb row , conditioning ( bb complex or bike riding depending on the weather)

wed- d lift , abs .

thur- rest .

fri - sqauts , bb curls , calves.

sat - military press ,chest supp/d wide grip rows , abs.( conditioning as above)

sun - rest

all lifts are 4 x 5 .
squats are ramped to 4th set which will be max weight for 5 reps .
d lifts are ramped 4 sets ,the 4th set is max weight


Ah, a small sized guy...welcome says the old goat who weighs in at 174..screw age!!choke the shit out of it and kick it the curb..At 50 the only thing I recognize is it takes a little longer to recoup..so rest between heavy sessions is key..and drink a helluva lot more water than you think you need or do..it helps..alot!!

everyone stalls so don't sweat the 1.5 months..gains are rarely linear..they seem for most to come in bunches and than flatten out..unless of course your name Strick in which case they keep going and going and going!

Look forward to seeing your PROGRESS.


Now we see the culprit!

You're doing BB complexes and mountain biking on the days inbetween squatting and deadlifting as well.

I'd drop the complexes right now that's just another leg day in a different form. No disrespect but ramping up to one set of 5 on squats is not that much work. I think your CNS is just fine. Seems to me "CNS fatigue" is the new "over-training" and is used these days as the catch all excuse for lack of progress.

Drop the complexes, tone down the conditioning and up your calories and see what happens.


from what ive read so far i think i squat once weekly with more working sets eg- 2 warm ups n 4 working sets.
d lift once a week keeping my sets n reps the same as they are now and drop the complex's and back off on the riding plus ill up my cals to 4000 .
also try to incorporate 3 rest days .
thanks guys


But it works if your goal is to drive up your numbers in short order.


hi every one , just to say thanks to all that gave advice with my sticking squat n d lift.
i cut out the bike rideing ( its too cold for that nonsense) ,
up'ed my cals to 4000 a day ,
squat once a week with 2 warm up sets , 4 workin sets '
dead lift every 10 to 14 days ,
i now have 3 rest days .
yes eventually i've learned less is more .
thanks again
SQT up 22 lbs 10 kg
DL same up 22 lbs