T Nation

Deadkong' Prospective Plateau Passing Program


I am a 40+ year old lifter who has been active with lifting regularly for the last 6 years. I must admit that I have plateaued over the last 2 or 3 years in strength levels. My goal is strength for its own sake, and whatever byproduct improvement in physique that goes with it.

A lot of my programs during this time period of course required 8 or fewer reps per set and usually I took 3 minutes between sets, although on program had me switching from 1 minute to 2. I find that my lift maxes and working weights are stagnant. Also, I find I end programs after a shorter number of weeks than I really should. I do well half way through the projected term and then start reaching failure often and realize I need time off.

Not that it always yields symptoms of overtraining, but maybe you see. I am between programs now and noticed an improvement in BB bench press ability over 2 days ago. 215lbs X 4 reps which approximates 235lbs, short of what I could do 6 months ago. I will test again on Sunday, but maybe you see my frustration.

The other relevant factor is my left hamstring strain. I was learning to do cleans, an explosive power move, at a time I was pursuing a vigorously periodized program and started a minute strain. I was gung-ho anyway with my deadlift targets and buggered it. I have tried to rehab it with various professionals but find I still reaggravate it.

So, what I am getting at is I decided to radically shake things up with Chad Waterbury's Quattro dynamo program. The intensity and within week variation in goal reps I hope will help. I might also mention I have been doing flat BB bench press in one program or another for a year straight, so dummbbells are in order. I of course set the leg work to something apart so as to treat my hamstring appropriately. Other variations are to do with equipment limitations as a home user. Barbell is paired with dumbbells because I have no option. My chinnning bar is wrecking a door frame and I am not the landlord, so i switched to pullovers. My suggestion therefore is this:

Quattro Dynamo
Day 1 - Maximal Strength
squats 5 X 5 90 sec
B1 DB bench press 5 sets of 3 @5Rm 60 sec
B2 BB bent rows
C1 DB hammer curls
C2 Bb lying triceps

Day 2 endurance strength 2 sets of 25 @ 27 RM 90 sec
A1 Standing DB shoulder press
A2 BB bent arm pullovers

Day 3 cardio

Day 4 hypertrophy/strength
deadlifts 5 x 5 90 sec
B1 DB incline press 3 sets of 8 at 10 RM 75 sec
B2 Bb upright rows
C1 BB reverse grip Bicep curls
C2 DB triceps

Day 5 Cardio

Day 6 explosive strength 6 sets of 3 at 18RM 60 sec
BB bench press

day 7 off

I will start this sometime next week as stated and keep this thread as an ongoing journal. I just want to bench test again on Sunday and figure out starting weights.

Any thoughts?


do 5/3/1 or we will kill and eat you.

See, 2 birds with one stone. crush your plateau, and don't get killed and eaten



You sound like me. Frustrated with the numbers so in an effort to improve lifts actually go too hard and get nowhere.

One of the reasons I chose 5/3/1 was to prevent myself from maxing out too much in an effort to raise my numbers. I could have chose another program but it seems to work and frankly the program doesn't matter that much at my level...there are many that have been proven to work. The steady progression is more important.

I don't know if this program will work for you. It is not technically a powerlifting program but that doesn't mean you can't get strong using it. But, you need to have faith in the program that you choose and stick with it rather than have program ADD and switch up every few weeks. Don't beat the hell out of yourself, don't train to failure, be in tune with how your body so that you know if you need to back off or go hard and stay healthy.

And the eating side of the equation is at least as important. How has that been going?


How much do you weigh? You may need to shove more food down your throat if you want your bench to move north.


Yes, thank you to both for your answers. I am average of the day very close to an even 200lbs.

diet. I have the general idea of nutrition, I just stopped intensely planning it out and actually weighing portions. I do count total protein, I aim for about 225-250g of complete each day. Yes I eat carbs, I limit grain intake and make sure that I get ample leafy greens in every day (as well as fruits and other veggies), am aware of vitamin C intake and have olive oil every day. I aim for multiple meals every 2.5-3 waking hours apart each day.

I actually have a spreadsheet I designed that doesn't work in microsoft excel that has entry fields for name of the food and the amount in grams and it automatically fills in the 5 macronutrient categories. I would rather not use Fitday.com, I tried it and found it time consuming to navigate. The spreadsheet I got working in Linux and Mac.

I suppose I should be more formally planned with it, I just procrastinate and don't like fiddling with my food scale, the plate for it needs to be cleaned a lot.

This one is intended to run for 3 weeks and the supersetting and intensity I hope will make difference. I will try and find max amounts tomorrow, to start this on Thursday, but along the way I will take a look at 5/3/1 and who knows if I change my mind.

Edit: also, the last several months I have been relying on whey protein powder for about 40% of a day's protein intake. Is that overboard?


Probably need to loosen up the diet and have more protein and overall calories. Try another 100g of protein a day. If you can't stomach eating add 2 x 2 scoop protein shakes between meals. Have a handful of mixed nuts with the shakes.


I know of a BMR calculation, it just got garbbled in the html format or whatever reason. I used to be around 190-195lbs and aimed for 3061 calories a day. I suppose I should be in that near range, assuming the 3rd activity level out of 4.

An extra 100g of protein? Wow sounds like 325-350g. I will put thought to that. I was once told that if I eat a lot of protein and keep carb calories down the body uses up fats more, advice because I was a bit tubby this time last year.

Anyway I just searched for and downloaded Wendler's 5/3/1 and will examine it over the next few days, thanks for the help people. and actually computerize my diet.


I don't use 5/3/1 because I've had a lot of success with my own training. However, a ton of people have seen significant success with it. Like another poster said, once you've selected a program, just stick with it. The program you've outlined above seems to have a lot going on; endurance, maximal strength and hypertrophy strength. You may be experiencing frustration because you're chasing too many rabbits. I'd pick one goal and focus on that. You say its pure strength. Pick a program to build that. Leave the other stuff alone for a while and maybe you won't feel so beat up. I changed up my training over a year ago to stream line and cut out a lot of peripheral, energy draining elements that don't do anything for my goal of building strength. That's when I started seeing a lot more gains. Ultimately I was told to do less and eat more.

With respect to food, unless you're body building, I wouldn't spend a lot of time with the minutiae of diet. Add more protein and see where it takes you. I keep a very close eye on the number on the scale vs. body composition and when it starts to drift north of where it needs to be, I just make a change or two to bring it back in line. The rest, to me, is kind of boring.


I'm fat, so take this with a grain of salt, but 3000 calories seems low if you want your bench to move.


Great post.


I decided I will try the quattro dynamo next, before I go for the 5/3/1. it lasts only 3 weeks and might be a good shake up with its intensity level and exercise selection. I tested for starting weights, but found I was ungainly handling 2 90lbs dumbbells for flat chest press. I got 3 before I thought I would lose control. I was expecting better and wonder if it is partly to do with readapting to DBs. I suppose I should start with the calculated weight as per the test and play it by ear as to how fast I move up when I am better in the groove with it.