I'm currently doing Madcow 5x5 and seeing good gains on my 3 and 5 rep maxes for all my lifts. Usually this would mean my max would increase accordingly. So this week I tested my maxes and all have gone up tremendously EXCEPT for my bench press. This strikes me as odd because I've increase my 5 rep max by 20 lbs but my max has gone up only slightly. Anybody know why this might be?
Most likely it's a technical issue either that or you have a sticking point that you didn't notice while doing reps and/or you are slow. A form check wouldn't hurt.
I think you hit the nail on the head saying it could be speed. Got any ideas how I could work some speed work into Madcow? Thanks for your help
Extra warm up sets used as speed work before your work sets (these double as technique work as well) and just trying to be as explosive as possible everytime you bench. I believe true explosiveness is learned not inherent. Some people are better at it than others, but everybody needs to practice to improve.
pull/press/squat everything as fast as possible.
I found after a year on 5-3-1 that I was having problems with 1RM's. It appeared that after so long of working on rep strength, my CNS was not quite used to handling maximal weights. I failed a bunch of times, especially on bench. What seemed to help me through it was a 6 week run on Thibideau's HP Mass, where you are essentially working a ton with your 3 RM's. This seemed to help carry over with my 1RM significantly.
A better solution though may have been to implement 5-3-1 for Powerlifting, where you work up to heavy singles in the 3's and 5-3-1's weeks (after switching the 3's and 5's weeks around). This would allow a lot of rep work, as well as circa ME work as well.