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How to Improve My Training? Primary Goal: Strength


I’m 40 years old, weight 176 lbs and heigh 1.75 meters; I’ve been training a few years ago and my primary goal is strength. I do 3 days training:

My 1 RM: (I’m think I’m an intermediate lifter)
Squat->308 lbs
Deadlift->440 lbs
Shoulder press->121 lbs
Weighted Pull ups-> 80 lbs

Day 1: (At home)

  • Squat 3x5
  • Shoulder press 3x5
  • Row (I use olympic bar and again 3x5)

Now, as auxiliary, I’m training weighted pull ups (I want to reach to, at least, 80 pounds for 5 reps)

Day 2 and 3:(Gym)

  • Crossfit…here, I usually train basic lifts (deadlift, squat, clean, jerks, etc.) and search 1RM, finally I do a wod (depend on the day used to be 20/30 min length).

I want to leave the gym and train everything at home, (somedays I think the wod is not well design, I usually lost quality in the exercise when I do the wod cause the goal is to do as many reps/rounds as possible, don’t work the eccentric part of the movement (by the same, you should be fast as possible))

I have dips bar, push up bar, ketlebells, olympic bar, 400 pounds in discs and a power rack cage…My primary goal is strength and to be as functional as possible (that is the reason that I don’t train bench press and even I don’t have one, cause that level it’s no use in real life (sorry, I’m not English and I’m not sure if the correct word is ‘level’))

What can I do for a 3 days training?? (I could buy more stuff for my garage gym if it’s necessary)


Any 531 variation set up for three days/week training.


Why do you think bench press is not functional? Having to push a tree that’s crushing you away seems about as functional/likely as pulling yourself up from a cliff. A strong chest is very functional.


Maybe it’s for me but I dont push something in that plane in my life, I prefer invest, for example, in shoulder press (it’s more useful: you carry a bag in the wardrobe, put a suitcase in a plane,etc.) and chest is train with olympic lifts (maybe is not the primary muscle but it works)
And, on the other hand, I’ll check 531…but I think in this training bench press it’s always train in 1 day. Is it possible to change by another?


People seem to have forgotten in this day and age that “functional” or “dysfunctional” (that’s the correct term, right?) can only be seen through the lens of “function”. What is the function of your body? For some people, this is living a long, healthy life, for some people it’s to stand up on stage coated in creosote with a man thong on. Each of these will make different muscles “functional”.
Long story short, can we stop with this whole functional muscle bullshit and just put it on the “5/3/1 progresses too slow” bonfire? Instead we could talk about goals and whether a specific exercise will move you towards them or not.


I noticed that the bench press builds my overhead press, and vice versa. But if you do (weighted) dips, you still train your chest and triceps hard.

5/3/1 is a good idea. You might try doing 2 shoulder press days, but that might give you issues. If you can be REALLY disciplined with mobility work and soft tissue work, and train your upper back really hard, you might can get away with it.


I also vote for the 5/3/1. It is used by many athletes, as an example of “functional” strength.


Ok, I’ll do a 5/3/1 then…as suggested I could change bench press by weighted dips??
Another exercise maybe??


kinda weird that you don’t think there’s any use for the bench press.

The human body evolved to have pectoral muscles for a reason, and it’s not like you ever need to do ten billion snatches in your day-to-day life so the argument could quite easily apply to your crossfit WODs too


People tend to forget that stronger is stronger. Getting better on the base movements will carry over to everything.


I don’t think bench press is usseless but I haven’t got a bench to do a bench press in my home gym; yes, I could buy one but I prefer not doing it and invest the money in other stuff (if I need of course)


@Yogi1 I always snatched with the idea it would get me more snatch, which seemed quite functional. Seems like chicks don’t dig it when you hurl them overhead. Who knew?

@pedrotronic If you can afford it, (and chances are, if you quit Crossfit, you have some money left) you should buy a simple bench. If you have a bench, you can bench press, and run 5/3/1 the way it was meant to be ran.
If it helps, don’t think in ‘vertical plane’ and ‘horizontal plane’, but a bit more like in carry over. When you squat a lot of weight, you probably will deadlift a lot of weight, because your body knows how to handle the load, and squatting gives you a strong midsection, back, glutes and hamstrings…and you need all those things to deadlift! Same as bench pressing would help you overhead press more: you will be more experienced with pushing away heavy weight (you can bench more weight than you can overhead press) and you will get stronger shoulders and triceps.

Carry over is a big deal when trying to get strong all over.

EDIT: I hadn’t seen your last reply because we were typing at the same time. You don’t need to buy a bench if you don’t want to. There are people who got strong without benching. It is nevertheless an excellent exercise and a staple of 5/3/1.


@pedrotronic floor press?


Great template and no bench…


I’ve stopped benching because of RC issues and replaced them with dips and I’m not looking back. Same bennies, but without the hurt. They don’t do much for my anterior delts like bench did, but I’ve been meaning to put more weight over my head which I’ve recently started working on and I like the more rounded and powerful look of the delts push presses and standing presses give me than bench press.

By cutting bench press out and subbing in dips, I now have the recovery capacity to work my overhead hard and hit my pecs just as hard. Actually, if I use the wide grip, flare my elbows a little, and lean some I can hit my pecs better with moderate to heavy weight than any bench variation safe for my shoulders including dumbbells.


This is a great post. “Functional” doesn’t mean much more than “healthy” or “wholesome” these days. If you don’t want to bench, don’t bench. It’s a good lift to do because you can load it heavier than any other full-range upper body movement.

Lifting weights is GPP for any real life “function” that is not lifting weights. Whether you do a lot of pushing in that plane in real life or not isn’t really the issue. In any event, how much heavy pushing do you do overhead in real life?


I bench more than your squat for reps. I’m not functional? How much do you think I can overhead press without even training for it?

Surely. despite any language barrier, the silliness of this logic should sink in?

Anyway, if you want to be REALLY functional…

  1. Build muscle EVERYWHERE. Make sure you have no weak links. A lot of “strength gained” from gym lifts is technical and movement specific. The ability to express that strength in various other activities will vary greatly. Maximising muscle mass is making sure you are maximising your potential base in which strength can be expressed.

  2. Build your core and grip strength by pushing and carrying heavy shit around.

No, you will not suddenly become the size of an IFBB Pro Bodybuilder by training for maximal muscle mass.

No, I am not telling you to curl 3 times a week or do high rep pump dropset nonsense for every exercise.

No, you will not have trouble climbing up a flight of stairs unless you become a fat fuck.

No, I am not telling you to become a fat fuck. You can gain muscle while remaining relatively lean.

Yes, you have to use your common sense.

Good luck.