T Nation

Hit a Stall and I am Injured

Background, been lifting for 2 years and 5 months, on and off.

Recently I cut a lot of fat off while having caloric deficit and using the wendler 5/3/1 programme (4 days a week with bodybuilding accessories).

For the past few weeks I have hit a stall on the squat. I could not do 107.5kg for more than 3 reps when I was meant to be doing 5 reps at least as the final working set.

For rest and recovery I don’t feel like missing my meals sometimes is helping me (its difficult to eat all the time when i am busy). I often feel tired with DOMs. My target calories currently are 2511 a day, and I weigh 159 pounds (with about 4 pounds of water weight gain recently).

Today I had the squat workout and badly pulled my back, also i was never going to hit the reps. I am really struggling on the programme as i have reset the weight on squats and yet keep stalling.

Should I change to a different programme like the texas method (3 days a week) and adjust my calories/commitment to eating?

Here are my stats currently and my picture.
Deadlift : 140kg
Squat: 120kg
Bench Press: 85kg (db bench 35kg’s, 12 reps)
OHP: 62.5kg

Not great, I know. I am very happy that I cut away a lot of fat, but strength and reps now aren’t good at all. Also now i am injured/stalled because of missing meals/lack of sleep.

I realise at this point I can’t afford to miss meals or have too little rest. Also, I am only on a 100 calorie surplus since I have started reverse dieting away from my cut. So that must also be a contributory factor in my lack of progress.

I will take a week out to rehab from this injury, hopefully it does not take longer than that. What would you recommend I do in terms of programme after i heal ?

Were you doing the 5 forward/3 back approach that Jim recommended for 5/3/1? That and taking deloads as prescribe tends to prevent stalls with that program.

Hi, no I was not doing the 5 forward and 3 back. I just kept going and reset 2 waves once or twice. I have a bad injury to worry about now though, I can’t even walk without great pain with my lower back.

When you heal, I would give that a try. I have been running 5/3/1 for my upperbody for the past 8 months while recovering from ACL reconstruction and have yet to stall as a result. Hit some PRs even.

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Its going fine for bench, ohp, deadlift (to some degree) but for squats I don’t feel like I am getting a lot out of the programme because of my recovery issues.

Given those numbers, I’d say you had some weakenesses and the squat was able to progress despite them. Now youve hit the point where your weaknesses are hindering your squat.

Good news is your other lifts are catching up now and progressing 3 of 4 lifts is a great outcome. I wouldn’t be surprised if you began to see movement on your squat again soon.

After recovering, my approach would be:

  • lower your TM so there is no doubt you’ll hit 5 reps on your 1+ week
  • eat a bit more
  • ensure you complete all the assistance work including jumps, mobility etc
  • pause your supplemental work on squats

BTW if you’re hell bent on a change, I’d do the Boring but Strong ahead of Madcow if I were you.

Right, and I am saying you will recover better when you run the program as Jim intended, which will most likely allow for the progress you desire.

Hi tsantos,
Yes, you make a lot of points that I felt were affecting me but I never addressed them as I was still progressing.

Now, I would say my feelings are as follows:

  • Things feel much harder at this lower body weight (in reality I am 155 pounds with water weight added on in the past few days). I was 195 pounds before and lifting generally felt easier back then but pound for pound I was much much weaker.
  • Yeah, I have to eat a bit more
  • I feel like my mobility has drastically decreased these past year or so. Even when I warm up with a squat bar, I just feel rusty and immobile instead of flexible like I used to. Bar speed used to be so good and now it is just rubbish. I have never really done any jumps or mobility work.
  • Yeah, I feel like the leg presses and leg curls/extensions are not helping me.

I have got to the stage where I am spinning my wheels because I have not been training intelligently enough, I have just been going through the motions without really looking at my recovery. Also eating/sleep has been lax too, i have not been taking this seriously enough and at this level this is bad.

I worry now, I am at a good stage strength wise pound for pound, intermediate on everything. Sure the lifts don’t look like much weight but I am a light guy with a light frame/bone structure. However, I don’t know how bad I am injured and what I should do until I am fully recovered. This injury setback is totally frustrating at this time.

My concern is that i will keep adding bodyweight but my squat will keep stalling. I have no doubts that my weakness is my lower back, it has been injured before.

If you want a bigger squat, I probably wouldn’t do BB accessories.

Have a look at hard gainer, boring but strong, building the monolith or any number of more modern templates.

Thanks, I will look at those routines, they seem like they have the mobility exercises as warmup which is good.

Also, how would you recommend I keep as much of my gains as possible while I am injured?

Ok but where you stronger at a heavier weight? You lost 40 lbs of bodyweight and the hard reality is you probably also lost muscle in the process. Since you didnt mention your Bf% for before and after no way of guessing the actual fat to muscle loss ratio.

I was stronger. I was lifting around 15 kg more on deadlift with 4 more reps… so strength loss was notable. I made some mistakes at the start of the cut.

Bodyfat was 35-40% prior to the cut, I was really fat lol.

What method did you use to measure your BF%?