T Nation

From Beginner to Intermediate


Hello everybody!

I’ve been training for a while and made some progress wich I think took me from a begginer level to intermediate, and also a plateau.

I’ve been doing Stronglifts and right now I weight 67kg and my 1RM are
Bench Press: 70kg
Deadlift: 110 kg
OH press: 60kg
Squat: 95kg

What are my goals? I’m focusing on strengh because I was training BJJ and noticed that my main weakness was strength, and reading some article of Atomic Athlete called “How strong is strong enough” I set some goals that I’d love to achieve:

Bench Press: 87.5kg
Deadlift: 135kg
OH press: 60kg
Squat: 117.5 kg

As you can see, I achieved my goal in OH press and I have a way to go in the others (should improve my bench 17.5 kg, deadlift 25kg and squat 22.5kg). My 1RM were tested last week, but my training was 5x5 Stronglifts and I’m finding out that it’s starting to be quite challenging. In squats I keep going, but in bench press and deadlift I’m plateauing (in OH press, as long as I am where I want to be, I’m limiting myself to do 2x5 once a week just to keep my numbers there).

I thing that my numbers have gone from a begginer level (I started from scratch) to an intermediate, and as long as I’m finding more and more difficult to keep on with this way, I wanted to ask you what is , in your opinion, the best program to follow in order to achieve my numbers in BP, Squats and Deadlift. Do you suggest to change to some 4x5, 3x5, or how would you focus it?

Now I’m not training my BJJ so I see this like a “strength pre season”, I’d like to meet my goals as soon as possible but being reasonable, and then focus my S&C not only in strength but also in power, endurance and other things.

What do you think?


You have been posting in the 5/3/1 forums. I would go with that program. It was built by someone that knows how to get people bigger and stronger, while stronglifts was built by a guy that knows how to design apps.


Yes, I did it for a while, I had to stop, I focused in other things and then I started with 5x5 in order to progress faster.

Wich of the 531 programs do you think that will help me to achieve my goals faster?


Actual meet the guy at a seminar a few years back… yeah nothing to write home about with that guy. Considering he seems like all hes doing is republishing allot of Bill Starr stuff . Kinda makes me cringe that the guy seems to have a following.


what is your height.


The progress of 5/3/1 is determined by the trainee; not the program. The AMRAP sets leave it up to you to progress. The harder and smarter you train, the faster you progress.

Pick whichever one you will committ to the most.


Honestly blows my mind that he has such a cultlike following. Same with Blaha. People just seem attracted to these unsuccessful underperformers, when you’ve got guys like Jim Wendler GIVING away awesome training advice.


To the perennially mediocre they are more relatable than someone who has the discipline to actually achieve something.


How tall are you? What belt are you/how long have you be training? Are you doing BJJ as a hobby or as a competitive sport?

I do judo as a hobby and have some familiarity with grappling on the ground.

Given what you’re capable now in relation to your bodyweight, I’d be willing to argue that strength built by doing the powerlifts probably is not your main weakness.

In any case, I’d second 5/3/1.

The AMRAP set is what makes it special, and it’s a complete misunderstanding of the program to think that you’re not progressing faster in comparison to stuff like 5x5. You’re supposed to be hitting rep PRs across pretty much every useful level of intensity every time you train!

It’s really hard.


I’m 178cm and I do the BJJ justo as a hobby. I know that strength done by powerlifting is not the main goal, but as I feel that Im weaker than other mates, I thought I should put some effort here.

So you think that plain 531 with joker sets por AMRAPs will do the job?



You’re 178cm and you weigh 67kg/147lb.

Your problem is that you’re underweight.

Yes, getting stronger absolutely will help you out but, when it comes to non-strength related sports, pure strength is almost never the answer.

Weight difference between you and your opponent/difference in skill matters a lot more.


Well, in this case I’m never underweight because we’re divided in weight categories. And being taller than my opponents uses to be an advantage :slight_smile:

I know that pure strength is not the answer, but now I’m trying to improve this because is my main weakness


that’s a fair point, but how strong do you think you can realistically get being so underweight?


Well, I think that increasing 17.5kg my bench press and 22.5kg my squat and 25kg my deadlifts is doable , maybe I’m wrong, but it does not sound crazy with my current numbers. Or is it crazy?


Very doable just change program.
Would recommend 5/3/1 BBB


I just reread the books and the challenges and I was doubting between BBB, FSL or the BBS challenge. My goal is mainly increase my strength in bench, squat and deadlift (I’m happy with my current OH, so I’d rather use that time in other stuff), and I’d like to meet my goals ASAP (not that I’m on a hurry, but I prefer to work also endurance, power, other things, and in January I’ll start my BJJ again), so wich program do you think is more laser focused in pure strength? I dont really enjoy the accesories, neither I care on being bigger, just strength.


Is your goal increased strength, or hitting specific numbers on specific lifts?


Specific numbers on specific lifts


I would honestly spend more time just practicing the lifts. Try to get the biggest arch you can on bench, squat as wide as possible on squats to cut down the ROM, and figure out which deadlift stance lets you pull the most weight. You will make your fastest numbers increases witb technique tweaks.


I asked whether you do BJJ as a hobby or as a competitive sport.

You replied saying that you do it as a hobby.

I assumed that meant you don’t compete.

I apologize for misunderstanding you.