T Nation

How Much to Back Off?


Howdy: I'm pretty new to lifting. Over the past year I spent a couple of months building up squats/bench/ohpress/deadlift 3x weekly. Two weeks ago I decided to get back to it with regularity and think I've ramped up my squats too fast. I've done 5x5 3x's a week for two weeks, increasing the weight each time. Started out at 200 and then 205 and they were heavy but very doable. I then jumped to 225, 230, 235, and 240 for the next sessions, and I am barely getting through the sets; I feel absolutely crushed under the weight. Should I back off? If so, then how much should I back off? All the way to my first starting point and do a more gradual progression this time?


male, 6'0", 185#


So you know you were supposed to progressively add weight but then just ignored it and increased the weight? I understand that you thought it was too easy, but with your 5x5 program, you are most likely doing squats 2-3x a week anyways, so whats the rush?

Work your ass off in the gym and just keep gradually adding weight each workout. Of course, make sure you are doing the 5x5 with good form and not cheating yourself out of reps. 5 sets of 5 solid reps. Then increase the weight.

Go back to 205/210 and just go from there. It will only be a couple weeks until you get up to 225 and you will be ready for it. Starting too heavy, especially as a beginner, will just get you into the bad habit of sacrificing form just to throw around more weight.


You're making it through all the sets, I wouldn't back off at all. What you're feeling is hard work. If you start missing reps, back off by about 10% and ramp back up in 5 lb increments.


Yeah, dude. Why would you back off? Because the weights are getting heavy? That's kind of the idea.


laujik wrote:

greed and pride.

I backed down 10% to 215, got the relief I needed, and will work back up from there. Thanks.