T Nation

Chest Problem In The 5x5

well, im on the 4th week of the 5x5 and in my last workout (monday) i faild to do my 5rm in the bench, i needed the help of my spot…
in addion it seems that my chest size is shrinking and getting smaller…

all my other muscles are good, legs are great and i continue up the weight, arm size has gone up in 0.5 inch, sterch marks on my back…only the chest gives me problems and im pissed…

what do i do? maybe i should add some flyes or something to give more stimulation??? i fear that the next week ill fail reach my 5rm in the bench again…

and the fact that it seems to me that my pecs getting smaller…
advice some1??

not a clue I had this problem too but after week 6

I don’t know which 5x5 program your talking about because there is a lot of them, but if something is making a bodypart smaller, I’d quit doing it.

I’ve done 5x5 on certain lifts in the past and I think its ok, but it isn’t the be-all end-all of lifting.

madcow/eclipsegym version of 5x5 is what i’m talking about, it has done wonders for me as far as strength and size but my chest has always been a problem of mine and doesn’t build as fast as the rest of my body

If your numbers are going up then your fine

also, you shouldn’t be failing before week 4. after week 4 you hit your maxes. therefore you have failed on a rep that wasn’t your max or you calculated wrong or you did the program wrong

anyways, if before you started you were benching 175 and now you are benching 250 your pectorals have grown no matter what your eyeballs say

maybe your fat moved to a different spot?

Is 5x5 bench press the only work you’re doing for your pectorals? If so, that could be the reason you’re losing mass.

I would bet that your chest has just lost fat. Stick with the 5x5. Four weeks is not very long on one program, esp when it is one that incorporates varying reps later in the program.

You could always do a chest specialization program when you have finished the 5x5. CT has a good HSS100 version if I remember correctly.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was Ronnie Coleman.

What exercises are you doing for the 5x5? It could be a few things. You could be pushing your chest weight more than your leg or back weight and interfering with normal strength progression.

Also, chest size and low reps dont necessarily go hand in hand, you would be better off getting some higher TUT in one way or another. One way is to superset dumbell bench and dumbell flye but use sets of 5.

Day 1: Squat, Bench, Row (Pyramid on bench to a new 5RM, 90% of last weeks 5RM on squat and row)
Day 2: Deadlift, Powerclean, Standing Military Press
Day 3: Squat Bench Row (Pyramid on squat and row to new 5RM, 90% of 5RM for bench)

This is the one I’m doing at least, Chest just seems to be lagging behind the rest.

My guess you started to high, I did and failed completely on week 7 on just about all lifts. I still upped all my maxes though… Chest getting smaller? Hmmm possibly just fat as previously stated. I never got smaller on the 5x5 (just knackered!) so im not sure what to suggest there. Why dont you reset the program again?

I agree that you probably started too high. I took 10lb off my 5 rep max for bench when I did this program and I still stalled at week 10. Never stalled on the other lifts.

What is your 5 rep max for bench?

If your not benching +200lb for 5 reps than a 5lb increase is more than 2.5% and that is a lot to ask for each week.

I was right at 200 for 5 when I did the program, so I started at 190(this was my target for week 4). I didn’t stall until I hit 225…couldn’t get passed 3 reps.

I am convinced that my other lifts didn’t fail because 5lb was much lower than 2.5%.

so possibly set the percentage to 1.5% or so?

It looks like you are only doing bench for chest?!!

Do atleast 3 exercises for chest, flat/incline/flys. Especially if you want your chest to get bigger.

Instead of 5x5’s for flat, try 4x5’s and a set of 20-25(at a lighter weight).

I love this, and my chest stays sore for 3-4 days! After 2 or 3 weeks I go up in weight!

[quote]LiquidMercury wrote:
so possibly set the percentage to 1.5% or so?[/quote]

Maybe…my point was that at the time I was doing the program a 5lb(2 2.5lb plates) was more than a 2.5% increase week to week until I crossed the 200lb mark. i would have liked to have smaller denominations.

I suppose that I could have used extra collars to make 2.5lb jumps instead of 5, but I didn’t think of it at the time. I believe that my weight progress was too aggressive and that’s why my bench eventually stalled. I don’t know where your bench is (or what size plates you have available, so I don’t know if this theory is applicable to you.

hey, tnx for the post guys,
i used the excel file that is on the macdow 5x5 site to calculate the weights…so i guess the weights are ok…

well i only do 5x5 of bench press, and 2 sets of dips once a week, as macdow said: “dont fuck with this program” of something like that, so im afraid to add any exercise,

do u think it will be ok to add 3 sets of flyes???

everything is going well in this program for me except my chest …

[quote]BiG BeN wrote:
It looks like you are only doing bench for chest?!!

Do atleast 3 exercises for chest, flat/incline/flys. Especially if you want your chest to get bigger.

Instead of 5x5’s for flat, try 4x5’s and a set of 20-25(at a lighter weight).

I love this, and my chest stays sore for 3-4 days! After 2 or 3 weeks I go up in weight![/quote]

This is not a bodybuilding routine…plus he is already doing chest work 3 times a week.

To the OP…

I suggest taking the advice on the website about stalls. Reset your bench back 2 or 3 weeks and take another crack at it.

Pretty much the same for me. I’m at 195 for 5 reps. And have 2.5, 5, 10, 25, and 45 lb plates. So maybe I’ll go with 2.5 lb increases instead of 5 each week.

Some good advice here. Its a great routine and you’d be well advised to get as much mileage out of it as possible. In the long run, the strength gains you make on the big lifts through this will make just about any program you choose to do in the future that bit more effective. Just reset your bench numbers by a week or two and have another crack at it. Also, read plenty of bench press technique articles on this site just to try to ensure there aren’t any glaring problems with your form.

I know Madcow was fairly insistent that you shouldn’t tweak the routine, but if the lagging chest really is a problem then a couple of sets of flys once or twice a week isn’t going to do much harm and may do quite a lot of good, if only psychologically. Good luck.

More than likely you started the 5x5 program too close to your 5rm.

Also most 5x5 programs don’t tell you all the accessory exercises these guys do.

And most importantly you might not have built a solid base of strength to do the program.

You said you did the program before. After you do a program like that and your strength goes up, it is best to recondition your muscles by doing a few sets of higher reps for a few weeks. Specially for the upper body. The upperbody has a lot lower work capacity then the legs and gets alot less blood and movement throughout the day like the legs.

If you have a stubborn body part simply put you have to give it more unless its overtrained you have to give it more attention.

yes I did this before but than I also did GVT and texas style progression in the 2 months or so after and had a 2 deload sessions in there. Generally my chest has just always been my weak point.

Squat: 425
Deadlift: 405
Bench: 215

Kind of seems off by a good bit huh? I guess I’ll tweak it, maybe make the % increase a little lower to 1.5-2% or possibly reset a week or two.