T Nation

Continue Slow Progression or Switch to Linear


So I've lifted "seriously" for about a year now, maybe a little more. Before that, I started with just random training, no real rhyme or reason, no structure. Since January, I've been on 5/3/1, trying out the different variations, tweaking volume, exercises, etc. For the past few months (5 cycles), I've been doing the SST template from the 2nd Edition book, and I've progressed pretty well. I must admit that I really enjoy this style of training, and I prefer 4 or 5 days per week (5 has been pretty worn down though, and I need deloads more often; my joints also hate it).

However, I'm wondering how beneficial it might be to switch to a linear progression as my lifts are that high yet. 5/3/1 has increased all of my lifts, but it continues to be slow and steady as Wendler suggests.

Here's my progression for 2013 (January to current):
BW: 146 (lean, probably 5-7% bodyfat) --> 160 (still lean)
Bench: 195x5, 240x1 --> 220x5, 250x1
Press: 125x1 --> 135x3, 140x1
Front Squat: 215x1 --> 220x5; 245x1
Deadlift: 220x5; 265x1 --> 295x6, 325x1
Back Squat: 265x1 (just started back squatting in August)

Also, my current program:

Saturday - OHP
5/3/1 OHP + chins
5x3 Paused Bench + chins
SST Incline Press + DB rows

Sunday - DL
5/3/1 Power Clean
5/3/1 Deadlift
SST Back Squat
2x10-20 RDL + DB side bends

Tuesday - Bench
5/3/1 Bench + chins
SST Close-grip bench + pendlay row
3x20 Face pulls

Thursday - Front Squat (this day is a bit heavy, but I do the pull-throughs and back raises as a light stretch/prehab exercises - not demanding at all)
5/3/1 Front squat
3x5-8 Back squat (with the first working set weight from front squat)
3-5x2-3 Snatch-grip deadlift
3x20 Cable pull-throughs
3x10-20 bw back raises

I was considering the 5's progression that Wendler discusses in Beyond 5/3/1, but not sure how/where to incorporate this, or if that would mean a complete program overhaul. As my progression suggests, I don't think bench and overhead press could progress that much faster (although bench has responded really well to the addition of paused bench on press day), but I think my deadlift and back squat should be much higher.

Thanks for any suggestions and advice.


This should give you the answer you need. Believe me, I tried to do what you contemplate doing... And stalled, hard and repeatedly. Keep doing 5/3/1.


Give this a try...