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Inefficient Nervous System?


I find if im ramping weights up specifically in bench press I can keep going for so long in smaller and smaller increments. Does this mean I have an inefficient nervous system if so what can I do to improve it or does it mean I have an efficient nervous system that lets me train with increasing loads for considerable time. Lifts are just done in gym, tshirt and shorts.

EXAMPLE ( I am converting kilos to lbs roughly in my head)

Bench 135x10, 160x10, 185x10, 205x7, 215x5, 225x5 (hard could get 6 maybe 7), 235x5 (just get 5) 245x3 255x2 265x2 275x1 280x1 285x1

Now 235x5 is quite hard, as in I could maybe get 6 but if I skip any of the above steps I cant reach 285bs I really have to creep to get there, 275 is hard I couldnt get 2 to save my life. Im absolutely shattered after 285 visibly shaking but could get a 275 in that state.

This is just for a max effort attempt at the end of a 5/3/1 cycle but I would like to compete in powerlifting in the future. Do I have a high work threshold or an inefficient nervous system?

Edit: Reason for asking is trying to find the best way to reach my max for a competition, I use much more sets than the lifters I know.


If you can get 225x5 which is hard yet can do a single with 285 after doing too many warmups, I would think the opposite is true.

I remember doing 225x6 once (no way I could get a 7th), rested about 5mins and tried 265 and only got it up halfway.


5/3/1 is not for powerlifting. That being said, here is your problem:

Your warm-up is nuts. Let's say your true 1rm is 285lbs. 90% of that is about 255(rounding down a pound). You are doing 5 attempts above 90% and that is after going to failure on, essentially, a 5rm. This has nothing to do with work capacity or your nervous system, it is just not a good plan. Your warm-up should be just that, a warm-up.

If you goal is to find out where your max is at, you only have one work set... the last one. Nothing else should be too stressful. I max out twice a week, every week, year round and this is the basic warm-up I use (not saying this is the end-all be-all most perfect strategy but, it works and I don't feel like shit 95% of the time).

Warm-up- Max Upper Body

Shoulder Mobility work for 5-10mins

Bar for 2-3 sets of 10-20
Slow jumps in weight up to 50% of my previous max then:
60%x3 or 5 depedning on how I feel
70%x1 or 3 depending on how I feel
90% or 92%x1 depending on how I feel
95% or 97%x1
100%+ x1

This way, the actual warm-up isn't killing you and you are only going over 90% 3 times at most. Especially doing 5/3/1, you don't have to worry about things like your nervous system. You already recognize you do more sets/work or whatever than other people... maybe that isn't a good thing.


Thats the issue stormthebeach, I wont get 285 or probably even 275 if I dont ramp up so slowly. Ive tried various combinations recently but seem to need the continued ramping, i dont feel very fatigued before 285 even though the other sets have been hard, perhaps psychological?


Definitely. What was your previous max before you got 285?


275, was stuck there for a while, I could do singles all day with 275 now, once i get there haha.


I'm not sure I see the problem. If you've foudn the most efficient way for you, personally, to warm up, what does it matter if it's "too many" sets? I'm not trying to be a jerk, I just don't understand why you'd care if someone says you're not "supposed" to be doing this much work, why you'd care if it's an inefficient nervous system, efficient nervous system, whatever. Just do whatever lets you lift the most weight - isn't that what we're all after?

All that being said, if you want to tinker with your system, have you thought about taking only singles to warm up? So 135, 160, 185, 205, 215, 225, 235 245 255 265 275 280 285, each for a single. Should save you some fatigue.


First, there's no max effort in 5/3/1, because the max you work off of is 90% of your any-day-i-go-to-the-gym-i-can-lift-this max so I'm assuming you mean you're testing you maxes after you've done several cycles of 5/3/1.

I'm about the same strength level as you, and I think the only thing your nervous system has to do with this is you're psyching yourself out. Most of your posts are telling us that you HAVE to do something one way and that you CAN'T do something a different way. That is simply not true.

Do what StormTheBeach says for several weeks for your max effort bench days and see if you can get past 285. Maybe skip it all together! I remember 225 being a huge milestone, and it was tough because I made it a huge milestone. Go for 290 next time you max, just skip over the 285 boogeyman completely.

If you can put in all the work that you outlined in your first post then you definitely do not have a "inefficient nervous system," if anything you can handle more work than most people can and you are more accustomed to the stresses of lifting. Now use that to your advantage


Just a piece of advice that helped me, warm up sufficiently to where you feel comfortable to go decently heavy 70% max or around there and just do One and Dones. One slow controlled powerful lift, like you do on your heaviest sets, but do this ramping up to 285 with larger jumps in weights than you do now, but only once you feel warm so you don't hurt yourself (get a spotter if you don't have one). If you warmed up sufficiently your 1RM should not be only achievable by slowly working to it, maybe your warm up is taking TOO much energy, or not getting you warm enough. There is definitely no reasonable explanation for why you can only move that way warming up with that specific pattern, could just be one of those mental things. Try having a buddy spot you heavier than you can actually lift, concentrating on what it feels like while he gives you the little bit of help you need.

Just trying to give a few different scenarios to help!


I am so glad someone finally came right out an said this. IMHO 5/3/1 is better suited for those who are beginners and need a foundation. Thats all.

Its just a copy of an old program anyway, marketed by Wendler.


Tate has a good article on warmups you should look at. I played around a long time ago.. thought that tons of volume warming up was best, but I was wrong.

If you insist on making those small jumps, start with the bar, then do no more than 5 reps on the 135 and 165, then all singles the rest of the way up.

I always figure up 10% of whatever I took last, then add that to what I did. For example if my last set was 700, next set will use 770.

Thats the basic rule I use when I am done with warmups.


Cheers for the responses, I will try with singles all the way up.I guess I had hoped for an answer like do more dynamic work that will enable you to get 285 without so many sets, ahwell will keep experimenting with reducing volume.


Make sure it's not a head case thing .