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"Easier Strength" Program Plateau

Hi guys, I have been running Dan John’s Easier Strength protocol for the last few months. Try as I may, I cannot seem to get my lifts to progress past:

Front Squat: 135
Deadlift: 205
OH Press: 85

Any tips on busting through plateaus? I am 24 years old, 5’9, 175-180 pounds and am eating relatively clean (lots of ground turkey, rice, eggs, veggies, protein smoothies etc) aside from an affinity for Subway footlongs. I have been sleeping 8-10 hours a night and have a relatively uninhibited schedule for another two months or so. I don’t get sore from these workouts, but often feel neurologically fried afterwards even if I am not grinding out reps. It is especially weird that I was a lot stronger when I was 18 (could pull 325+ at a body weight of 140).

Yeah not the best approach at your level, generally meant for guys who already have a big strength base
With those numbers go for something like Madcow/bill Starr 5x5 or something off this site like this below…


I would be doing some higher volume bodyweight stuff. Go ahead and continue to practice those lifts, but make sure your form is perfect and go at a lighter weight. You could also use some light dumbbells and just do higher reps with those, and again, make sure you’re really working on your form. I would just do some single arm dumbbell presses, single leg RDLs, and maybe goblet squats.
Other than that, it looks like you’re getting plenty of protein, so maybe try getting some carbs in before your workouts so you can get some quality lifting in.
You don’t need to be sore or grinding out every rep, but you should go to the gym with a purpose and attack the workout.
If you do those things, you should destroy those lifts in no time.

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So much here doesn’t add up at all…


Have to agree… Something missing from the equation.


I will check out Thibs’ program. I have tried 5x5 before (still have the book) and kept getting minor injuries (strains) and burning out.

What doesn’t add up??

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This - you might not be eating as much as you claim

This - you might not be sleeping as much as you say so

Unless you have a neurological condition, youre not being neurologically fried.

Pretty much everything.

Either there’s something you aren’t telling us or you’re pissing in our pockets.

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I am eating 2600-2800 calories per day. I measure my portions out and track calories via MyFitnessPal.

I have slept 8+ hours 27 out of the last 30 days (I track this too).

I don’t know if that is the best description but I get really shaky and weak (not in a muscular failure way, more like the aftermath having a super emotional arguement) and often get really sad post-workout.

I am being 100% truthful here guys! It would be a waste of both your time and mine if I wasn’t!

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Ok if this the case scratch the Thib program -stuff like rest pause will set you off.
Do a 5/3/1 template like triumvirate where you deload every 4 weeks and do the deloads religiously.
Also every other week just do the minimum reps for deadlifts on the top set.

This will help you recover neurologically and build you back up over the long term.
From now on stop all compound moves one or even two reps short of failure
After few weeks can add 15 mins beach work one day a week -side delts/biceps curls 3x15 etc

Can also read up on neurotypes and ask Thib some questions as has written about guys susceptible in this way and how to improve neurological recovery


Thanks for the suggestions! A preliminary search of neurotyping has yielded some cool results!

What was you doing at 18? You mentioned you was pulling 345 plus at a significant lower bodyweight. So what has changed exactly?

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I’m no expert, but just a couple of things to ponder:

  • Perhaps stress is a barrier to your recovery. Do you have any high-stress demands in your life (job/family)? Minimize where you can, accept the rest.

  • Are you using a pre-workout? If so, you might want to minimize stimulants in your life like coffee.

  • Have you done a blood test to look at your hormones and vitamin levels? Perhaps there are some deficiencies worth addressing.

  • Perhaps your macro ratios could use some tweaking.

  • What kind of emotional state are you lifting in? Are you psyching up ahead of your lifts or are you calm/cool/collected? Are you aggressive when you lift?

All the best.

I was loosely doing 5x5, but I didn’t follow it to a T. Always would squat, but wouldn’t always do the other lifts every time. Sometimes replaced with chinups/dips depending on how I felt. Still burnt out to some degree with this. I didn’t really workout through university and since I have came back I have been significantly weaker. I don’t know whether this might be related to repeated concussions or not.

No super high stress demands at the moment. Don’t use preworkout, drink tea or coffee occasionally. Basic blood work a few months ago was normal. Generally lift in a calm manner.

This is easily my new favorite expression




That’s all I got man. Best of luck.

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