T Nation

I've Read More Than I've Lifted


Hey all,
Looking for some newb advice. I've been lifting for 7 months (split in half by an unfortunately long break), and made some pretty decent gains. At 6'2", I've gained 20 lbs (170-190), and brought my squat, bench, DL from nil to 275/205/315. I've done most of that on Starting Strength (with occasional substitution or augmentation, such as alternating power cleans with bent rows or adding pullups/ dips at the end of a workout).

However, I have stalled out hard on deadlifts, and feel like squatting 3 times a week isn't helping me much anymore. I'm focusing primarily on being increasing my total, but I want to be a lean 200+lbs by the end of May. It seems like every time someone like me asks for advice, they are met with a chorus of 5/3/1! or, "Don't stop SS until you absolutely have to!".

Can anyone make any other suggestions that will let me add weight to my 1rms faster than 5/3/1, and keep me from squatting every. fucking. workout. like SS, and still take advantage of my newbie status? Thank you all.


If you've been lifting for less than 2-3 years, any reasonable training program performed with intensity, progressive overload and and eating 1-1.5 grams of protein per pound of bodyweight will take you to gains.


Move on to a proper bodybuilding split like one in the stickies or as advocated in other threads and keep eating. Ditch arbitrary goals like 'lean 200 by the end of may' if you're about to start another program.


Why are you worried about adding weight to your 1rm if your goal is physique oriented? Gaining size and increasing your 1rm don't have any real direct correlation.

Work on improving your working weight in the 3-5 rep range and the 8-10 rep range and eat more calories than you burn and you will gain muscular size. If max lifts really mean something to you test your 1rm every few weeks.

I dropped starting strength a long time ago because my joints had a hard time keeping up with the repetitive nature of the program. Today there is no way that I would squat and deadlift on the same day with any kind of real weight.

People recommend 5/3/1 because it works. If you don't want to do it look into a push/pull/legs type split or any of the other million routines written about on this site.


ws4sb got me from 170 to about 190 at 6'1 and decent bf (est 11-14%). eventually, i found my squat didn't really progress that much past 300 by going for a 3rm pretty much every week, and then getting my volume on assistance work.

before christmas, i started implementing 5/3/1 loading scheme (within the ws4sb framework) after hitting 335 for a difficult single. while on the "5" week, you mostly hammer out reps in the semi-difficult range, within a few cycles, repping out with a relatively heavy weight becomes a fun challenge. last week i hit 295 x 7, all of which were quality reps. i like the 5/3/1 loading scheme because it's one that i trust, and i know i'm getting enough work in the right strength ranges to make gains.

of course, bastardizing a whole bunch of programs can lead to a ton of problems, but i think the 5/3/1 on main lifts is generally recognized as compatible with ws4sb. i've currently got my weight up past 200, and am looking to get to 210 or so before i start concerning myself more with diet. i know i'll still be below 15% bf by 210, so i'll still look good enough with my shirt off.


For squatting(I full squat), I like to do heavy-light(all triples) sets one day, and 20 rep breathers the other.
I feel the 20 rep breathers, supply the base for how heavy you're able to go.


Crushkilldestroy and atg410- I definitely overemphasized my physique goals; I'm no bodybuilder and probably never will be. I'm mainly interested in getting stronger, but I see no reason why I can't gain 8 pounds of muscular bodyweight in the next 4 months. Muscle helps us perform better, doesn't it?
Everyone: thanks for the advice. I'm looking hard at 5/3/1, but I feel like I would miss having workouts with more than 1 main lift and a few accessory lifts. WS4SB might be right up my alley.


Maximum Strength by Eric Cressey


Huh? Who's going to induce more hypertrophy while bulking...the 170 lb kid who can squat 300 for a set of 10, or the one who can squat 200? Who's going to burn more calories during a cut? Improving your max strength will directly carry over into more effective bulking and cutting. To quote Ronnie Coleman...oh hell, you know the quote!


who is that in your avatar?


You are absolutely right. Still doesn't mean that you can't improve your 1rm without gaining significant weight and can't gain weight without working below 3 reps. If his goal is improving his 1rm he probably shouldn't worry so much about the 200 and cut thing, if his goal is 200 and cut strictly focusing on his 1rm may not be the best way to get there. Pick a goal is all I'm saying.




Post of the year




Do you think it's everything the OP needs to add weight to his 1RM?


What are we talking about again?


That's not April O'Neil, it's Shay Laren.


Kids these days....


that avatar made me forget everything I read in this thread


A+ AND extra credit!