T Nation

Loss of Strength After Meet?

I just competed in a powerlifting meet on November 15th. Since then, I felt like I have been getting weaker on my squat. I had a light week the week after the meet. I then ran the 531. On the first 2 weeks, I missed my last sets by 1 rep, but was able to bang out the single rep on the 3rd week. I then did the de-load. I ran the 531 again. On the 1st week, I missed the last set pretty bad, which was suppose to be 415 for 5 reps. I only hit 1. I think it had to due with the fact that I was pretty tired since it was at around 2 in the morning. I then decided to start over the cycle by only using 90% of my max. I hit all 3 sets pretty well.

I just feel tired in my legs. Idk, no mojo, I guess. Should I get back to running a cycle using my original max instead of 90%? just finish out the cycle using 90% of my max? or maybe do something completely different for a couple weeks to maybe get out of a possible plateau?

Your intensity clearly isn’t high enough. I suggest using 105% or 110% of your max for your next cycle.


That’s a bit of tongue-in-cheek from Burt, I assume. The max weight used in 5/3/1 should be 90% of one’s actual 1RM in order to prevent this kind of thing. Stick to this principle and increase your maxes with each cycle (10 lbs for the lower-body lifts, 5 lbs for the upper-body lifts). This is the program’s version of progressive overload; use it to your advantage, as you’ll catch up to your real 1RMs by the third or fourth cycle.

For your next meet, take a full week off after, and then for the following week do light weights.

Take some time off after the meet and reset weights. If you hit a PR at the meet, don’t base your next training cycles off of that, especially if you were peaking for it. Go lower and work back up.

And you don’t do 5/3/1 with a true 1RM. As kg already said, you’re suppose to base percentages off 90% of your max. Keep going with what you have done. Don’t plug in your original max.

I can’t fathom how someone can decide to run two cycles of a program and not understand one of the most basic aspects of it.

What to do the entire week after a meet: eat, sleep, and eat some more.


This cycle I have done 90% of my max on squat (485). The first week was 370 for 5 on the last set. The 2nd week was 390 for 3 on the last set. It felt extremely heavy on my back and it seemed like I had no drive, so I did 1 and racked it. I just feel really beat up right now.

I was thinking of maybe doing something with a lot more reps for a week or two (something like a 15, 10, 8, 6, 4 rep scheme) because that has seemed to help me in the past to straighten me out and get me out of a plateau. I just feel stuck right now. I don’t feel good. Anyone have an idea for this?

What I recommend to do is cut back even further. Like take 90% of 455 and use that as your training max and work up that way. You should be able to hit a lot more reps instead of just the 5, 3, and 1. This will increase the amount of reps you do, but you will stay on the same program. After two cycles you should be able to hit much more then just the base reps.