T Nation

No Progress on Squat


I started on 531 BBB a few months ago after being on a 5x5 programme

I’m currently on cycle 9 and my bench and press has made great progress.

My deadlift has made no progress but I changed to Romanian dead-lifts on cycle 8 and they seen to be less taxing.

My squat has actually gotten worse since starting. On cycle 7 I changed to pause squats at 45%, but they don’t seem to be doing anything for me.

Is this a common problem and what would be the best change to make to start progressing?

Have you been doing the 5 cycles forward/3 cycles back approach?

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Not Jim but bbb may be too much for you so maybe change to fsl. Make sure recovery is in check look at sleep, diet, conditioning, mobility and the appropriate tm. Keep deadlift as your main strength work rdl’s is a supplemental movement. If you are still struggling to recover from deadlift and it is affecting your squat you could put both on the same day early in the week. Follow a template out of jims books that best suits your goals and have at it.

Just keep in mind that BBB is primarily for gaining mass, not strength. That’s certainly not to say that you won’t get stronger but the sheer volume will definitely impact recovery and your ability to get stronger. Maybe consider cycling back 3 on your TM and changing to SST of 5s Progression template. Once the weights start increasing then jump back on BBB.

sorry that should have read “changing to SST OR 5s Progression”

@T3hPwnisher I have just added 2.5kg and 5 kg to my training max until It gets too much and then reset.

@Shaun87 My recovery diet and sleep is good right now. Conditioning could do with more work and sometimes mobility gets chucked to the side. Something I defiantly need to get more consistent with.

@kleinhound I’m reading the book and I’ve been thinking of 5’s, but just for squat. That should work, correct?

I’d get clarification from Jim, but I don’t think 5’s progression combined with BBB assistance is recommended. I’d have to go back and check the eBooks.

Thanks @kleinhound. I’ll do some research in between work for a more definite answer and in the mean time Jim might be bale to chime in.

This is most likely why you are stalling. The 5 forward/3 back approach should help solve that.

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What do you mean by no progress? Are you still hitting the prescribed reps?
If you are increasing squat and deads by 10 each cycle, isn’t that 90 lbs? What do you mean by “gotten worse” exactly? Do you use the formula?
Also- it’s rare people progress on all 4 lifts at once.

@T3hPwnisher I will look into that. I made the decision to reset my TM for the press and bench beasue it was just getting too difficult. This should help that.

@Rave2_0 it wasn’t a full failure, but it was a very messy squat that turned into a good morning. The first three months was the BBB challenge so the TM max didn’t change. After that I increased the TM for 3 months and then failed my reps and reset my TM max. I now struggle with the weight I would have easily been able to squat pre 531.

I’ve also noticed that not all lifts progress at the same time. I’m just getting frustrated as my squat was one of my better lifts pre 531 BBB.

I have had this happen with my bench. You have some options though as many have said. What I did was stay with 5-3-1 but try out variations- I remember trying the “75/85 variation,” “Advanced,” etc…I plugged the variation into my overall program- I didn’t change my entire program.
I have never been able to get very far with rep records on my bench - everything else the concept works great. That’s why “advanced” is my go to program for the bench- from “Beyond” if you have it.
Also, I have made great progress just hitting prescribed reps and banging the hell out of “FSL.” There are many ways to "progress’ though and eventually they will result in YOU getting stronger in the lift.

One more thing- if the squat is turning into a good-morning then there’s a huge part of your answer - It’s kind of like your body telling you what it needs to do: Good Mornings. Strengthen your lower back- work it diligently, even maniacally. And try to include heavy weights- like good mornings for heavy triples/ Romanian Deadlifts/ Dimmel Deadlifts (my go-to btw- did them today and they were brutal), and see how you do.

I also had zero progress for years but I started really hicing my abbs with weighted sit up 5 set 10 to 20 dumbell side bends goodmornings with proper form I also got a good belt but u program the above properlly save a rep or 2 on your last set you can choice if you want to do pause squats lunges leg presses ect the main thing is you really got to build the lower back and the abbs as much as you can

I forgot to mention that I am alternating my lifts. So I’m doing the 53/1 lift on one day and the 5x10 sets on another.

You guys have all given great information. I will change to the 5 forward and 3 back approach.

Can I use 5 progression as a supplemental exercise? I only have the original 531 so my knowledge is a bit limited.

I will include good mornings to strengthen up my back. I don’t like doing them, but maybe that’s because I need them.

Yes, the 5’s PRO written in the Beyond book indicates its primary use is for supplemental lifts and returning from injury. Obviously it has evolved since but those two concepts remain.

If it is just your back that is weak, and not your hamstrings, try doing good mornings with and arched back. These are too much for some people, too much soreness, so start light and progress slow.

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Excellent guys. So, This is what I have.

I have reset my squat TM and I’m going to implement the 5 forward and 3 back method. My upper days have stayed the same and changes have been made to the lower days.

Day 1:
Bench- 5*10 + Super Setted with band pull aparts.

Day 2:
Good mornings- 5/3/1 (Not sure if this would work? Maybe Just go with triples)

Day 3:
Dumbell Row-5

Day 4:
Romanian Deadlift-510
Leg Curl-5

Any reason in particular you want to go so heavy on good mornings?

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No, mate.

I just presumed I should go low because rave mentioned it. Would you recommend a higher rep range?

Yeah. That’s already a REALLY heavy day you have going there with 5/3/1 deads and 5x5 squats. I’ve been doing super heavy seated good mornings to work around an ACL rupture, and those’re really fun, but in terms of getting the benefits of good mornings they’re pretty lacking. Much better to go light and really try to stretch the hamstrings/glutes on the movement.

In truth, looking at the program, you’re doing a lot of work for your hamstrings on your lower body days but nothing for your abs. I’d let the squats work their magic on day 2 and hit some heavy abs, but if you’re set on GMs, I’d go lighter.

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