T Nation

Getting Weaker?

For the last few weeks my squat, bench, and deadlift have all been going down. I have no idea why they are dropping though. All my accessory lifts seem to be going up. For bench i’m hammering my chest and triceps. I’ve been training my squat and deadlift more consistently than ever, yet they are still going down. I don’t have any symptoms of overtraining, other than those lifts going down. My weight is staying the same, food quality and quantity is good. Here is what my current training program looks like.

Monday:
Bench Lockouts: 3x3 (work up to max force set)
Bench: 6x3 (work up to max force set)
DB Bench: 3x10 ramping
Flies: 2x10
HS Incline: 2x Max reps

Tuesday:
Rack Pulls: 3x3 ( work up to max force set)
Deadlift: 6x3 (work up to max force set)
Chin ups: 3-5x10 or 6x3 weighted
Machine Rows: 4x10-12
Curls: 3x8

Thursday:
Top Half Military press from pins: 3x3 (max force)
Strict Military: 3 rep max
Close Grip seated military in smith machine: 3-5x10
Cable tricep Ext: 3x12
Lateral Raises:3x15
Rear Delt Raises: 3x10

Friday:
Squat: 6x3 (max force set)
Olympic Squat: 3x10
Low Pulls: 5x5 Ramping
Leg Curl: 3x8
Leg Ext: 3x12-15

For reference: I was benching 300x3 and 265x8… I only managed to get 265x3 today, I may have been able to get 275x3 for an all out max. I hit 335x10 on squats 3-4 weeks ago, and now i’m at 335x5. Deadlift went from 345x12 down to 375x3. However, my rack pull is up, olympic squat is getting easier, top half military is way up. close grip military has gone way up and DB bench is up. Anyone have any ideas whats going on with me?

unless i don’t understand what a ‘max force set’ is you are maxing on 7 different big compound exercises a week. seems very taxing to me. how long have you doing this routine?

[quote]critietaeta wrote:
unless i don’t understand what a ‘max force set’ is you are maxing on 7 different big compound exercises a week. seems very taxing to me. how long have you doing this routine? [/quote]

Max force set is discussed in the “Perfect Rep” article part of the “I’Bodybuilder” program. its not a true 3rm. Its basically when you can no longer perform 3 reps with decent speed.

I’ve been doing this for about 3 weeks. I started doing it when my lifts began to stall/ regress while doing 5/3/1. When I did this with I’ Bodybuilder, i got really good results out of it, and I was hoping it would work again for me.

Who wrote that program? You should be doing the full range stuff before the partial range. I’m not sure about this max force set thing. It doesn’t sound optimal for someone that wants to be strong.

When was the last time you deloaded? You may just need some rest

i agree with astar you prolly just need to deload. i feel a lil weaker on my bench but im about to enter the deload week for 5/3/1

i deloaded 3 weeks ago, and i’ve continued to get weaker/stagnate on my lifts.

Christian Thibaudeau wrote the I’Bodybuilder program. However, most of the program that I am doing is my own, based off of what my weaknesses are. As far as putting the partials in before the full range stuff, it would be a bad idea if i was taking the partials to failure or near failure. the theory behind it is that it will ramp up your CNS, and since i’ve been doing it, its helped my full range of motion lifts.

[quote]legacyfighter wrote:
i deloaded 3 weeks ago, and i’ve continued to get weaker/stagnate on my lifts.

Christian Thibaudeau wrote the I’Bodybuilder program. However, most of the program that I am doing is my own, based off of what my weaknesses are. As far as putting the partials in before the full range stuff, it would be a bad idea if i was taking the partials to failure or near failure. the theory behind it is that it will ramp up your CNS, and since i’ve been doing it, its helped my full range of motion lifts.

[/quote]

Figure out what you’re trying to accomplish.

Just pulling from your posts you say you’ve been doing your modified program for 3 weeks. 3-4 weeks ago your lifts were higher than they are now. If you’ve deloaded and your nutrition sleep and stress are still in line then my only conclusion would be that your adhoc program isn’t ideal for your needs. There is reason and purpose behind I,BB but it’s not a strength focused program its a mass program.

So are you trying to get big or get strong?

You must have missed part of the previous post. My lifts began to regress/ stagnate while doing 5/3/1. The program i’m using now is not I’BB, i just use 2 concepts from the program. My goal is to get strong, if I get bigger congrats to me, but i really dont care about gaining mass. CT himself even said that these concepts are more for strength than they are for gaining mass.

[quote]legacyfighter wrote:
The program i’m using now is not I’BB, i just use 2 concepts from the program…[/quote]

This is why i said Adhoc.

5/3/1 has pretty simple steps to take when you stall, and it works. I get that you may want variety and to experiment but frankensteining programs together doesn’t really work if you don’t understand the mechanics/reasoning behind the original program especially if they’re not widely used/understood concepts. All I’m saying is obviously you’re not getting your desired progression from your current program, either rethink it or go back to following 5/3/1 for simplicity and proven efficacy.

I’d normally agree with you, except that i do understand the mechanics/reasoning behind the original programs, probably much more so than most people. 5/3/1 for me builds strength endurance. I didnt get much if any maximal strength out of 5/3/1. When i used max force sets before, I increased my maximal strength. Thats why I switched.
Low reps have generally worked for me to increase strength. Partials used to ramp the nervous system have worked for me before. The higher rep/ lower intensity accessory work allows me to get some more volume in on the muscle groups i’m working that day without affecting my recovery.

Also, the program is working for EVERYTHING except my squat, bench, and deadlift. This is the part that is confusing me. If my front delts, chest, and triceps are getting stronger, then why isnt my bench going up. Same for squat and deadlifts. I honestly think it may be due to working in the heat all day prior to lifting, but if that were the case, then I would think that my accessory lifts would be stalling as well.

So, has anyone experienced a similar problem to this. Where all of your lifts got stronger except your squat, bench, and deadlift, which stalled or regressed?

This is PL forum, you mention I,bodybuilder but my answer is based on PL principles. See below.

[quote]legacyfighter wrote:
For the last few weeks my squat, bench, and deadlift have all been going down. I have no idea why they are dropping though. All my accessory lifts seem to be going up. For bench i’m hammering my chest and triceps. I’ve been training my squat and deadlift more consistently than ever, yet they are still going down. I don’t have any symptoms of overtraining, other than those lifts going down. My weight is staying the same, food quality and quantity is good. Here is what my current training program looks like.

Monday:
Bench Lockouts: 3x3 (work up to max force set)
Bench: 6x3 (work up to max force set)
DB Bench: 3x10 ramping
Flies: 2x10
HS Incline: 2x Max reps

Tuesday:
Rack Pulls: 3x3 ( work up to max force set)
Deadlift: 6x3 (work up to max force set)
Chin ups: 3-5x10 or 6x3 weighted
Machine Rows: 4x10-12
Curls: 3x8

Thursday:
Top Half Military press from pins: 3x3 (max force)
Strict Military: 3 rep max
Close Grip seated military in smith machine: 3-5x10
Cable tricep Ext: 3x12
Lateral Raises:3x15
Rear Delt Raises: 3x10

Friday:
Squat: 6x3 (max force set)
Olympic Squat: 3x10
Low Pulls: 5x5 Ramping
Leg Curl: 3x8
Leg Ext: 3x12-15

For reference: I was benching 300x3 and 265x8… I only managed to get 265x3 today, I may have been able to get 275x3 for an all out max. I hit 335x10 on squats 3-4 weeks ago, and now i’m at 335x5. Deadlift went from 345x12 down to 375x3. However, my rack pull is up, olympic squat is getting easier, top half military is way up. close grip military has gone way up and DB bench is up. Anyone have any ideas whats going on with me?

[/quote]

My opinion, your volume too high for strength gain. I’m sure is fine for mass etc but on your bench i’d lose the DB volume and do a single heavy set post bench, lose the flies; this isnt a strength building move. I cannot fault the deadlift day too much, but again on your leg work way too much volume, lose the leg curls&extensions OR the olympic squat, and whichever you keep half the volume.

Looking at your numbers i am assuming your hitting failure alot in your sets? Cannot hope to increase strength with this volume without PEDs i think…

i never go to failure, i usually stop one or two reps shy. i only mentioned I’BB so that someone would know where to look for the two priniples i mentioned, both of which are strength related principles. if i dropped db bench and flies as you suggested i’d be left with bench press and lockouts. and that would not be enough volume.

i’m considering using a periodization approach similar to that of which olympic lifters use. I have access to some of the top periodization coaches in the world. i’m going to try to take advantage of it. maybe it would solve my issue.

[quote]legacyfighter wrote:
i never go to failure, i usually stop one or two reps shy. i only mentioned I’BB so that someone would know where to look for the two priniples i mentioned, both of which are strength related principles. if i dropped db bench and flies as you suggested i’d be left with bench press and lockouts. and that would not be enough volume.

i’m considering using a periodization approach similar to that of which olympic lifters use. I have access to some of the top periodization coaches in the world. i’m going to try to take advantage of it. maybe it would solve my issue. [/quote]

It would be enough volume if you’re going for stength. It’s not about quantity it’s about quality; i can grow off 2 sets per bodypart in strength & size; and you have much more than that. 6 Sets on Bench & a further 3 on lockouts. 9 Sets before you add in the flies and DB work; far too much.

This is ofc, if you want strength. If you want size only…

As said, to much work.

I’ve seen and trained with plenty of very strong powerlifters and strongmen. Not once did any of them do a partial ROM exercise first to “prime” the CNS. I know you said it has worked for you in the past, but it’s clearly not working now. I would also echo what everyone else has said trying to do too much.

If you are going backward on the SQ, BP, and DL then what other noteworthy lift are you gaining on? The only big movements left are overhead press and pull-ups. Focus on the big movements and maybe a very small number of targetted assistance exercises. Since you are stalled or going backward, then start light and build back up slowly over time.

[quote]legacyfighter wrote:
For the last few weeks my squat, bench, and deadlift have all been going down. I have no idea why they are dropping though. All my accessory lifts seem to be going up. For bench i’m hammering my chest and triceps. I’ve been training my squat and deadlift more consistently than ever, yet they are still going down. I don’t have any symptoms of overtraining, other than those lifts going down. My weight is staying the same, food quality and quantity is good. Here is what my current training program looks like.

Monday:
Bench Lockouts: 3x3 (work up to max force set)
Bench: 6x3 (work up to max force set)
DB Bench: 3x10 ramping
Flies: 2x10
HS Incline: 2x Max reps

Tuesday:
Rack Pulls: 3x3 ( work up to max force set)
Deadlift: 6x3 (work up to max force set)
Chin ups: 3-5x10 or 6x3 weighted
Machine Rows: 4x10-12
Curls: 3x8

Thursday:
Top Half Military press from pins: 3x3 (max force)
Strict Military: 3 rep max
Close Grip seated military in smith machine: 3-5x10
Cable tricep Ext: 3x12
Lateral Raises:3x15
Rear Delt Raises: 3x10

Friday:
Squat: 6x3 (max force set)
Olympic Squat: 3x10
Low Pulls: 5x5 Ramping
Leg Curl: 3x8
Leg Ext: 3x12-15

For reference: I was benching 300x3 and 265x8… I only managed to get 265x3 today, I may have been able to get 275x3 for an all out max. I hit 335x10 on squats 3-4 weeks ago, and now i’m at 335x5. Deadlift went from 345x12 down to 375x3. However, my rack pull is up, olympic squat is getting easier, top half military is way up. close grip military has gone way up and DB bench is up. Anyone have any ideas whats going on with me?

[/quote]
Too much overload! Assitance work is designed to work your weak points in the movement not just replicate the movement with different exercises. Where are your weak points in the three powerlifts? Focus on accessory work for weak points. Do not turn everything into max effort. What is your general level of conditioning? Can it handle the volume you are using. People typically fail with programs from too much max work/overload/volume. If your accessory work is going so well and you are not seeing carry over to the 3 lifts then ask your self, Am I using the correct accessory exercises or am I too beat up from the accessory work to recover and progress at my current level of GPP?

[quote]legacyfighter wrote:
For the last few weeks my squat, bench, and deadlift have all been going down. I have no idea why they are dropping though. All my accessory lifts seem to be going up. For bench i’m hammering my chest and triceps. I’ve been training my squat and deadlift more consistently than ever, yet they are still going down. I don’t have any symptoms of overtraining, other than those lifts going down. My weight is staying the same, food quality and quantity is good. Here is what my current training program looks like.

Monday:
Bench Lockouts: 3x3 (work up to max force set)
Bench: 6x3 (work up to max force set)
DB Bench: 3x10 ramping
Flies: 2x10
HS Incline: 2x Max reps

Tuesday:
Rack Pulls: 3x3 ( work up to max force set)
Deadlift: 6x3 (work up to max force set)
Chin ups: 3-5x10 or 6x3 weighted
Machine Rows: 4x10-12
Curls: 3x8

Thursday:
Top Half Military press from pins: 3x3 (max force)
Strict Military: 3 rep max
Close Grip seated military in smith machine: 3-5x10
Cable tricep Ext: 3x12
Lateral Raises:3x15
Rear Delt Raises: 3x10

Friday:
Squat: 6x3 (max force set)
Olympic Squat: 3x10
Low Pulls: 5x5 Ramping
Leg Curl: 3x8
Leg Ext: 3x12-15

For reference: I was benching 300x3 and 265x8… I only managed to get 265x3 today, I may have been able to get 275x3 for an all out max. I hit 335x10 on squats 3-4 weeks ago, and now i’m at 335x5. Deadlift went from 345x12 down to 375x3. However, my rack pull is up, olympic squat is getting easier, top half military is way up. close grip military has gone way up and DB bench is up. Anyone have any ideas whats going on with me?

[/quote]

Maybe try overhauling your diet. Something you haven’t tried before as far as macro nutrients like the Mountain Dog diet or something.

As far as training, I’m sure you’ve read the Eight Keys by Dave Tate since it seems you do a lot of reading.

Maybe get rid of the flies on Monday and use the DB bench as a finisher (a couple max rep sets) then spend the remainder of the workout on strong tricep movements since this seems to be your push day.

On Tuesday lose the rack pulls. I used them too for the same reason you are but it just never carried over for me. Defecit pulls and singles worked really well for me (2-3 in.). I would also drop the volume on rows and do them before the pull ups. I normally ramp up to a heavy set of 5 for rows leaving the sets at 3-4.

Thursday is honestly too much shoulder work. Thats also two push workouts a week. Push press and some lateral raises would be fine then get some more pulling in.

Friday drop the OL squats, leg curl and leg ext. Sub in some different squat variations with boxes and add some speed squats on occasion. Lunges would help a lot. I push my truck down the street as a finisher for legs. Oh and GOOD MORNINGS.

Mejho: I’ve never had a problem recovering from these type of workouts before, and there are no max effort lifts, as i’ve explained 3 times. My lockout strength is going up in both seated overhead press lockouts and bench lockouts. Military press is going up, Rack pulls are getting stronger, db bench is going up, rows are going up, pull ups are increasing, all tricep exercises are going up, and my olympic squat is going up.

My weak points seem to be: quads during squat, chest and triceps on bench, and off the floor on deadlift. Quad strength is being addressed with the olympic squats and leg ext., chest and triceps are being addressed in many ways, strength off the floor during deadlift is also being addressed by olympic squats. I feel like I am still able to recover from these accessory lifts. I do feel that I should add in good mornings, but they can be fairly taxing for me, and I would obviously have to drop some other lifts.

Chazdaman: I think you’ve given some of the best advice so far. I’ve been in the process of changing my diet up a bit for about 2 weeks now. I’m taking in much more carbs. I have to get in at least 4000-4500 cals a day to keep my weight up, and i honestly can’t afford to eat much more than that right now.

I’ll probably take your advice and stop doing flies, and use db bench as a finisher. The close grip military is actually a tricep movement. I’m probably going to continue to keep two tricep days a week, because they are a weak point and they recover very quickly for me, but I will lower the volume of tricep work.

Monday:
Bench lockouts: These do help my bench. Tried without them monday, and bench was really shitty
Bench:
Db Bench:
Tricep ext:

Tuesday:
deficit deads:
Deadlift:
Machine Rows:
Weighted pull ups:
Curls:

Thursday will probably change like this:
Overhead lockouts: Sorry I cant drop these, these are increasing 10lbs/week right now
Military:
Close grip seated military
Seated Rows
Facepulls

Friday:
Squat:
Oly Squat or Box Squat:
Good Mornings:
Split Squats:

This would slightly drop the volume, and address my deadlift weakness a little more. I’m going to keep the lockouts in, because they do increase the performance of the following lift for me.

Your program in the OP is completely fine.

Two words:

Eat more.