Help Needed from Experienced Powerlifters!

Hi guys, i’m hoping to enter my first raw powerlifting comp in December. My current maxes are: squat - 341, Dead - 473, Bench - 264 and my weight is around 90kilo (not great maxes i know!). Here’s the thing, I’ve ran madcows intermediate 5x5 program for 14 weeks, and to be honest its worked, but my 1rm hasn’t increased as much as i’d have liked it to. For instance my bench increased by only 5 kilo, but my 5 rep maxes have all increased by a huge amount!

The gap between my 5rep maxes and my 1rep maxes has shortened but i haven’t seen a large increase in my maximal strength. To cut to the chase, i feel sort of in ‘limbo’ at the moment and i’m not sure whether to continue with another cycle of 5x5 (all my lifts have now stalled). Would you guys recommend a different style of training/program that may be more beneficial to increasing my 1rep maxes. Should i consider working with lower rep ranges? Any help would be greatly appreciated! This site has been a great source of information for me over the last few years!

You have been training five sets of five and your five rep max has increased, this would be expected. I can benchpress 225 around 20 times but I imagine if I started training my 225 rep max then that would increase. I would do some sort of progressive overload leading up to the competition. Include a deload week the week of the meet and maybe one or two along the way so you don’t stall. For figuring out reps and percentages use a number close to your true one rep max, not a calculated one. I always then add a certain amount of weight I would like to do more. The more you handle loads closer to your one rep max, the more comfortable you will get with it. You can’t go from doing sets of five one week to maxing at a meet, you have to work up to it. I could share some percentages and numbers or someone else on the forum could share something that has worked for them.

Hey smiley, cheers for the fast response!
That makes sense, so would you advice i start slowly working up to around 90 -95% of my 1rm maxes leading up to the the comp? I take it this would entail working with weights for doubles and triples? Thanks

I usually start in the 5 range and work my way to heavy singles the last workout before the meet. Lots of doubles and triples between there. You kinda have to know what works for your and what you can handle and need. I work up to the 95-97% ranges hoping to peak on meet week saturday after not lifting since that tues. I prefer certain exercises as accessories leading up to the meet as well. Typically I do a four day a week routine consisting of squat, heavy bench, deads, and speed bench/shoulders. I like to hit a deadlift variation as my second lift on the squat day and a squat variation as my second exercise on the deadlift day.

Yea jsmiley is right. You’ve clearly gotten stronger so now you just have to trasfer that strength to a 1rm. Don’t worry about the 1rm not being where you think it should be for now. Once you get conditioned to the heavier load you’ll ‘realize’ your new strength.