Looking for Upper Body Focus Plan

In a few months from now I want to go on the 5/3/1 for beginners routine. I want to stick with this routine until I can do 5 sets of 20 reps of push ups, chin ups, dips, inverted rows, lunges and maybe pull ups also. If you know the routine you’ll know that you do three body weight exercises in 5-10 sets for 50-100 reps after the fsl lifts.
This should last me 2-3 months, maybe more until I reach this goal. Il then probably progress to 5/3/1 BBB.

Before I start this routine, I really want to get my bench and overhead presses up so that they are on the same level as my squat and deadlift.

136 pounds
5 feet 9 inches
18 years old
Squat: 224 lbs
Deadlift: 235 lbs
Bench: 121 lbs
Overhead: 88 lbs

Even though I am still weak, I prefer to not start the 5/3/1 until I have alittle better bench and overhead presses since 5/3/1 has a very slow progression.
I looked at starting strengths and the Texas method, but they both put more favour into the squat and deadlift.

Which program can I do that puts more focus into increasing strength on the upper body lifts?

(I did post a workout plan about 1 week ago in paul Carter’s group, that is a program that I can do now in a limited gym while I am studying abroad, so please ignore that)

Your lifts are already on the same level - all weak. Not an insult or a flame, but there’s no “level” that your dead and squat are at to reach.

Your solution to speeding up a slow progression is taking longer to start the program?


Are there any programs I should do before I start 5/3/1 to get my lifts up alittle quicker?

they already are. Those aren’t weird ratios. just start the program.

Do you think any program that has ever been written has intentionally slow progression built into it?

If there were more efficient ways to build muscle, people would do those programs forever.

The only reason any program should be labeled as a ‘beginner’ program is if it suits a lot of generic goals, and is limited to lifts that are simple to execute. The only thing that makes a particular program more advanced is if it’s aimed specifically at competing in a particular sport, or if it involves more complicated lifts. No well-constructed program is inefficient for anyone. Any version of 5/3/1 is an excellent starting point, as it is written.

1 Like

But shouldn’t someone at my level focus on improving my lifts alittle quicker at the beginning until regular progression stalls? And then follow something like 5/3/1?


Thats the point of 5/3/1 - all your lifts will improve.

1 Like

please explain what that even means. You think there’s something about 5 3 1 that will slow you down?

The progression is slow, this is why many people say 5/3/1 is not for beginners.
Since beginners are capable of having a faster progression.
At my level I still think I can add about 5 pounds to the bar each week. 5/3/1 only increases the weight every 3 weeks.

false. you don’t understand how 5 3 1 works if you believe that.

The weights you use in training do not increase quickly, but the strength gains are not slowed. You simply are using lower weights than your true max. Which is how all training programs should be structured, for anyone.

You need to read a little bit more before you come in here telling us what a program is and what it isn’t. Or perhaps ask questions rather than make very silly statements. Did you actually read the pdf documents for 5 3 1, or just find someone talking about it on the internet?


You’re not increasing the weight, but you should be pushing past the rep range, whether is 5+, 3+, 1+, every week. If last week you could do 95 for 3 reps, and eventually you can do it for 7, that means you got stronger

I find myself getting impatient with these threads faster and faster. Every 18 year old wants to come in here and tell us what they already know about training (which is essentially nothing). I WISH I had this sort of advice at my disposal when I was that age.


I have read it.

Ok, so I guess il start 5/3/1 then.

BBB Is the best accessory program for muscle gain right?
Also, is what I originally wrote a good way to know when to progress to regular 5/3/1?

BBB is how I started. I wouldn’t know tho, I’ve only done BBB, Rest Pause, and just 5/3/1 with nothing else (whatever its called).

I’d keep up 5/3/1 for a while

1 Like

Its very simple man.

You need in to increase your bench, overhead, rows, chin-ups to have a bigger upper body. But you need increase your squat and deadlift too.

You are 5’9 and weigh 136lbs. You need to get to 170-185lbs to really even look like you lift. Just keep eating clean, bust your ass in the gym and slowly add to your lifts.

You can most likely add 60lbs to your upper body lifts and 120lbs to your lower body lifts in one year. You will need to lift consistently for 2-3 years before you have “big” arms.

Honestly these are the ONLY lifts you need to do:

Bench Press, Overhead Press, Row, Pull-Ups, Curls, Dips/Push Ups
Squat, Deadlift, RDL, Lunges, Abs, Back Ext

Just FOCUS on these exercises only and keep adding weight/reps to these lifts. You don’t need anything else but those.

Aim for a 405x5 deadlift, 315x10 squat, 225x10 bench press, and 135x10 oh press and be able to do a shit ton of rows and chin-ups. Once you hit those numbers you can reassess and go from there.


Really appreciate this man.
When I did CT’s guaranteed strength and size I kind of plateaued with my bench and overhead presses, my squat and deadlift continued to increase, I was having 2500 calories a day, any idea why this happened?

No one gains forever. You hit plateaus and have to work through them. You don’t need to worry bout 3’s or 54321 type rep schemes right now. You need to build in the 5-10 range. 2500 cals is low for you to gain weight most likely. But at the weights you are handling you should not be plateauing at all.

What does a typical day of eating look like for you? Be honest.

That’s why I was confused when I plateaued, at my strength, I should be increasing weight fairly easily.

Right now I am not living at home and studying abroad.
My diet here looks like this from today, this is not really what I would be doing at home but similar:

Leket Leof is a mix of carrots, onions and zucchini.
All my food is weighed, I know I don’t have to at my level, but it keeps me sane.

Your not the only one.

Looks like you gotta up the carbs somehow.

White rice, pasta, cereals, bread, etc. Good that you’re getting lots of vegetables, but simple carbs are easy calories to put on size.

Also, 2100 calories is kinda small even for your size. Just push it over time. Bench is a lift that’s most affected by bodyweight. Even gaining fat and water will help your bench