T Nation

Daily Ramping Program?


Here's the problem. I've been following a squat, bench, deadlift program of 3 sets of 5 reps across for 4 months now and while I've experienced definite gains in raw strength in all lifts, I seem to have plateaued. Even though I am 5' 9" and 172 lbs, my squat is only 180 lbs for 3x5, bench 175 for 3x5, and deadlift 220 for 1x5.

I know these are 'beginner' numbers but my CNS just can't seem to handle the workload. Since I've been having this problem I decided to start researching intermediate programs with the intent of weekly -instead of daily- increases in load. But I am wondering if I can simply knock two of my working sets off and follow a custom program that looks something like this:

[i]Squat: 5 sets of 5 reps: sets 1, 2, 3, 4 will be sub-maximal loads derived and divided evenly from one top set of 5 reps that will be the effective work set.

Bench Press: --Same as squat protocol--

Deadlift: 1 set of 5 reps at 100% working weight [don't want to overtrain]

Workout will fall on M,W,F with the weight for each lift -on every set- going up every workout day, instead of a weekly progression.[/i]

Well there's a rough draft. My thinking is that my body will be able to handle the reduced number of heavy working sets while still making steady gains every workout. Perhaps I'll throw in barbell rows interchangeably weekly with the deadlift so as not to overtrain that one. --Anyway, please share some of your thoughts. Again, I know my numbers must be in the beginner realm but I know my body and I know I am struggling way too much with where I'm at. This definitely feels like a plateau. --Thanks! Feel free to share a more effective workout program that may solve my problem.


How did you determine that your CNS can’t handle the workload?


Try different rep ranges. For example you can try this for squat: 3x5x180, 4x4x185, 5x3x190, 3x5x185,4x4x190, 5x3x195, etc. You’re keeping the total volume to around 15 reps and changing up intensity. If you feel that you still aren’t recovering then try different volume ranges as well (where you cap off at around 15 reps total), e.g., 3x5x180, 2x4x185, 3x4x185, 4x4x185, 3x3x190, 4x3x190, 5x3x190, 3x5x185, 2x4x190, 3x4x190. If that’s still too difficult then you may need to progress with slightly higher volume where 25 total reps are used, as you suggested. Using more total reps will provide more work and can help open up the intensity range which can help with recovery and adaptation but it’ll take longer to progress as well.

You want to work hard but still provide room for growth. It shouldn’t feel like you’re reaching true failure every single session. As you can see with the above suggestions, over time the 3x5 weight improves. You just need to manipulate the training to allow more time for it to increase since the gains aren’t going up so fast anymore. The above approach has less deviation from your original program since you’ve stuck with straight weights for all sets/reps. If it is too complicated then just try another written program.


I don’t think you’re going to over train. And by don’t think I mean you won’t. Do you do any accessory exercises or just hit the big three every time you lift?


[quote]dt79 wrote:
How did you determine that your CNS can’t handle the workload?[/quote]

What’s your diet, sleep, & overall recovery like?


just do 5/3/1


I don’t do any accessory work and focus on the “big 3”. This is mostly because I don’t have ceiling clearance in my training space to include overhead pushes or Olympic movements.