T Nation

Going Back to Linear Progression. Need Help


just got off 5/3/1 after 14 months since I cant progress anymore. Tried everything, nothing works.
Hoping to get my main 3 lifts up, but also hoping to get my high bar squat, floor press and conventional deadlift some where, since I NEVER do these lifts.

I’ve been in a low volume phase for the last 4 months to bring my numbers back up after getting injured so the reps were low (below 6 reps on accessories)

program aims to build up my weak points (quads, mid back, triceps and stupid abs…) and slowly hit a pr after 6 weeks

following a linear progression approach, so please help and advise!

TM= 90% of 3RM
each week, 5lbs will be added to the competition lifts and accessory lift progression is based on feel.

squat day

  1. 3x3 with TM- competition squat
  2. 3x10 high bar squat
  3. 5x5 SLDL
  4. 3x15 RDL
  5. 4x15 ab work

bench day

  1. 3x3 with TM- competition bench
  2. 3x10 floor press
  3. 4x10 dumbbell bench press
  4. 3x15 lat pull downs

deadlift day

  1. 5x3 paused squats at 70% of TM
  2. 3x3 with TM- competition deadlift
  3. 3x8 high bar squat @ same weight as the first day
  4. 4x8 conventional deadlifts
  5. 4x10 single leg SLDL
  6. 4x10 ab work

press day

  1. 3x3 with TM- OHP
  2. 5x10 dumbbell press
  3. 4x10 close grip bench press
  4. 3x10 tricep press variation
  5. 4x15 cable row
  6. 3x15 tricep press variation
  7. 3x10 lat work



Your program looks fine and should work as long as you add weight. But I have to point out:

5/3/1 is basically linear progression, and not all that different than what you have laid out. You follow a prescribed number of reps of a training max for a cycle and then add a flat amount of weight to your TM at the end (hence linear) and progress from there.

I don’t believe you. How old are you and how much do you weigh?


Your situation sounds exactly like where I was after a year and a half of 5/3/1. I had developed weaknesses and imbalances that just weren’t addressable with assistance work. My main lifts wouldn’t budge until I put my main focus in getting stronger at different leverages. I continued trying to shove a round peg in a square hole for well over 6 months. I would use your variations for the main work. Get stronger in those and your comp lifts will go up. The way you have your variations set up as assistance instead of the major strength focus will leave you running in the same circle as before.


19 years old at a 187 bodyweight. Been bulking since feb from 164 to 187. Going on a cut in a week and hoping to get down to 175-180 in 6-8 weeks.

I should clarify- I’ve been grinding each and every rep for the last 3 months and I cant go past the prescribed reps on the AMRAPs.

I hit the same max this week which I hit last month and it moved it slower than earlier. My form was better though and I didnt use a spot + this is after taking the whole of last week off due to thanksgiving (My college gym was closed, so I only hit the big 4 and did my daily mobility work.). I still feel that I’m going to fail very soon and not be able to progress.


I’ve been told to do that by everyone but my high bar is miserable… not lying, but 135 is a nightmare even for a rep. If my starting TM is 135, I’m going to need alot of time to get it some where…


The quickest, most efficient way to address weak links is to attack them directly, putting the majority of your focus and effort into your weak links.


Then, hopefully you’ve made a long term commitment to strength training like the majority of us here. You’re not going to get weaker focusing on your weaknesses for awhile.


You’re not even done growing yet at 19 dude. Keep eating, sleeping, and lifting heavy. If you want to get stronger you should be trying to get up to 200 not down to 180. @badboy69cancer is right about weak points, they will eventually hold you back. They can be addressed a number of different ways within any program. What are your current lifts and how tall are you? I have a feeling your current weak point is just impatience. It takes a long time to make meaningful progress.


My lifts are low for my bodyweight…

squat- 320
bench- 190
deadlift- 455

I’ve had alot of injuries over this year and they’ve held me back for while…

I am a little impatient as I’m gaining weight faster than I’m getting stronger.

I’ve been running the same assistance for the last 4 months and now I’m just getting fatter


Then, your TM is too high. Have you applied 5up/3 back?


Sounds like working on healing up your injuries and cleaning up your diet are probably better ideas than changing your program. The program looks fine just saying don’t ignore those other things.


5up/3back? Haven’t tried it for sure…


I’m almost back to normal, just sminor hamstring issue. Should I use the same assistance as I put for the linear progression plan? And by clean up your diet, cut down or keep bulking up, but slowly?


1.7xbw squat
1xbw bench
2.4xbw deadlift

That’s far from weak man. Find out why you are getting injured and fix it. Hopefully someone here with more experience can help you out with the nutritional side of things.


If you are getting too fat then reduce calories a bit by lowering carbs and/or fats. If strength is your goal and you want to compete in powerlifting then getting bigger and stronger is always better. At 19 years old you will literally never have an easier time growing in your life.


If you bulk for too long, like over 3 months straight, you are going to start gaining mostly fat and very little muscle. Unless you are a fat slob you shouldn’t worry about cutting weight at 19 years old, cut back on fat and carbs (make sure you still eat enough protein of course) and try to maintain the same weight for now. 5/3/1 sounds a lot better than your program, you need to reset your working weights and change assistance movements.


thanks, but at this weight I was hoping to have hit a 2xbw squat, 1.25xbw bench and 2.5xbw deadlift…

I am in this for the long run, so I can wait for it


I managed to make sure that I didnt gain too much fat, but that was only till a certain point.

I can still run, jump and move or whatever, but I just feel that I’m too heavy for my lifts.

For the cutting part, I wasnt going to take anything out of my diet, but rather do a little extra cardio (10 minutes of walking on a high incline) and let winter take care of the rest (i walk 1.5 miles to the gym 4x a week)

I will take cut my fat intake down though, been getting alot of lately…


Cant be bothered about abs or anything. I just want to be big and strong without a huge gut.

I guess I’ll reset my max and go down 2-3 cycles and change my assistance. I’ve run the same thing for a little over 4 months now


I hear ya. It sounds like you’ve got your head in the right place just be patient. This shit takes a while and noone does it without help. Its best to make small changes with programming, not drastic ones, so that you can see what works and what doesn’t. At the end of the day if you train consistently and add weight to the bar you will get stronger.