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Just Started GSS, Lower Back Not Recovering. Reduce Load?

At the end of last week I started the GSS workout. I rarely max out so I estimated 72% of my max. I even calculated more Wendler style where it was more likely 72% of 90% of my max. The first lower body workout felt good and relatively easy, although I was pretty damn sore for the next 2 days. But for yesterdays 2nd lower body workout my lower back felt unrecovered. I wasn’t able to complete 5 sets for deadlifts and RDL’s otherwise I would have been going at about a 9/10 on intensity. From past experience, I didn’t want to push it that hard otherwise my strength plateaus’ real fast.

My question is should I lighten the load next week and start at a lower weight than I did this week so that I can get through the 2nd lower body workout? Or maybe just maintain the same weight on lower body lifts as I did this week and add weight on the 3rd week?


I think you’d be better off dropping weight. You overestimated your numbers. You have to remember that you’re doing squat and Deadlift back to back. I bet your PRs or TMs weren’t set that way.

I made phenomenal progress on this program and never came close to missing a rep until week 12 when I set new PRs.

I suggest deciding the weight you want to hit in week 12. Pick a weight that’s slightly below your PRs. Work backwards from there to figure out your weights.

I jumped by 10 lbs week to week and 20 lbs when changing phases for lower body and 5 and 10 pounds for upper body.

Example for lower body:

Wk 1: 200
Wk 2: 210
Wk 3: 220
Wk 4: 240
Wk 5: 250
Wk 6: 260
Wk 7: 280
Wk 8: 290
Wk 9: 300
Wk 10: 320 (top weight for a single)
Wk 11: 330
Wk 12: 340

Pick your week 12 weight and work backwards. You might find that your week 1/2 weights are lighter than you expected.

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Really good thoughts. Thanks for the reply.

It’s a great program but the lower back recovers slow generally. I switched to sumo deadlifts from conventional and should’ve done trap bar instead of Romanians. Paul Carter and Poliquin talk about how you can get so beat up pushing back squats and deadlifts and the same time. Your lower back is also getting smoked by military press.

I workout my lower back 4x a week. No issues here :slight_smile:

Wife says my erectors look like steel cables running down my back, so maybe that helps haha!

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I’m 2 weeks from being done with this program and I started really light for weeks 1-2. Trust me the program gets tougher and tougher so don’t let the first phase mislead you.

I’d say for week 1 pick a weight you KNOW you can do 4x8 for in your sleep. That way you can generate some momentum going forward. Then add 10lbs per week and 20lbs per phase change like @JMaier31 said. I didn’t miss a rep until my last 5’s week but I’m putting up some big weights so I knew it was inevitable.

This program delivers that’s for sure. REALLY make sure you eat. Otherwise you always going to feel under recovered.

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Good thoughts. I thought I had some good low back development too but man it was fatigued on that second workout. I will lighten the load some more then. Thanks for all the tips!

I found my 3rm for squat, dead, press and bench and used those.

Could this program be done in a push day and pull day manner?

Push: squat, squat accessory, military press, bench, zercher carry

Pull: deadlift, deadlift accessory, chin up, row, curl

Am I reading the GSS program right that you end up going up over 200 pounds over the course of 12 weeks? 10 pounds per week, 20 pounds each new phase and 10 pounds every set of the last 3 weeks?

I did on deadlifts. I think I started with 225 and finished with 460. I was coming back from hip surgery so I started light. 495 was my PR at the time. 465 moved easy so I pulled 500 for a new PR. I went back and pulled 545 the next week.

Wow that big of a jump didn’t seem possible to me in 12 weeks. Might have to give it a try.