T Nation

Please Help w/Adjusting Training


I've been doing Rippetoe's workout for about 3 months and it's going great. I've gone from 180 5x squat to 290. My bench, and press are both up about 30 lbs. The thing is, on the squat-bench-deadlift day, I'm just too tired to really deadlift and I end up failing on weight I should be nailing no problem. I was thinking about switching to doing cleans on both the "A" and "B" days, and then adding a friday (4th) workout with deadlift, overhead dumbell pulls, , curls and some ab work like hanging leg lifts.

My current body weight is 250 at 26% fat according to the electric grab-it-machine (yes I know it's lame). I'm type 1 diabetic - this appears to actually help with strength gains but makes fat loss seriously hard. I'm 5'11" and 34 years old. My 3x5 lifts are currently:

Full Squat - 290
Bench - 235
Deadlift (1x5) - 335
Press - 155
Clean - I'm using 165 but am underweight because I'm not so comfortable with the lift yet

My current program is:


A - Squat 3x5
Bench 3x5
Deadlift 1x5
2 sets each of chin ups, bar dips & push ups to failure

B - Squat 3x5
Press 3x5
Clean 5x3
2 sets each of chin ups, bar dips & push ups to failure

I'm pretty sure I could deadlift 405 no problem if I came in well rested and did it first - which was why I was thinking about adding a 4th Friday workout. My main goal is to keep my numbers going up, which they're currently not doing on deadlift since I'm too tired to max deadlift after setting a PR on squats and Bench. Any thoughts?


It sounds to me like you may be getting to the point where youve milked this for all its worth and its time to move on. Rippetoe's is great for beginners just starting out to get their strength up quickly, but there comes a point where you wont be able to recover from the heavy weight in all the lifts every session.

My sugesstion would be to look into switching your program to a more intermediate friendly one, if you want to stay with the Rippetoe/Starr type of training, they have some intermediate programs available.

My personal suggestion would be to look into 5/3/1.


Thanks for the advice. It makes sense - at a certain point linear progression has to crap out. My squat is still going up 5lbs every workout no problem, and I'm making steady gains on my bench and overhead press every workout too. Shouldn't I keep going until I can't keep progressing workout-to-workout?

Thanks again!


I'm sure you could press more if you did them before your squats, too. And I'm sure you could powerclean more if you did them first as well.

Have you hit the end of the linear progression with your deadlifts (doing the program as written)??

Is there anything you can change up OUTSIDE the weight room? E.g., how is your nutrition doing? Are you getting enough sleep?

If you have got to the end of linear progression (and your other stuff is in order) then, yeah, time to move to something for your deadlift that has some periodization / lighter days built in (e.g., 5/3/1).

It is odd that you hit the end of linear progression on your deadlift before you hit the end of linear progression on your overhead press, though. Most people find that overhead press is the first to stall...

Are you jumping your deadlift weights up a little too quick?

(If you want to get into powerlifting remember that deadlifts occur after 3 attempts at squat and 3 attempts at bench so you never get to do them in competition when you are fresh, either...)


Maybe cut the extras (chin-ups, bar dips, push-ups to failure) if you are having trouble recovering enough to do the weights you are supposed to do for the linear progression.

Why you doing push-ups anyways?? You got bench already. I would have thought horizontal row if anything...



Thanks for the tips - I've been that guy "jerking around in front of the dumbell rack" for a lot of years on and off without any real program. My bench and biceps are really my weak points because I've always viewed them as beach exercises. I'm pretty sure I'll get to a 185 strict overhead press with some patience and I'm pretty confident I'll get to a 3x5 squat at very least 315 on a linear progression (ie 2 more weeks). I'm doing pushups because I just feel like my chest is a weakspot and they seem to double as a planks/abs finisher.

I guess I'm frustrated with being too tired to deadlift because I really want THAT type of strength - that thick-as-crap back strength that just exudes raw power. You don't need bicep peaks if you can deadlift 500. Everyone just knows you're strong as a bull. From what everyone says on this website, it seems like deadlift is the ticket to that kind of strength. I question whether I should add something more for the upper back though - deadlifting doesn't seem to hit this area so hard and my clean isn't heavy enough to really be doing the trick either.

I really don't know what I want to do with lifting - I don't really think of myself as anywhere near strong enough to ever get into competing. I think of myself as pretty genetically average - not one of those dudes who's cranking out dips with a 100lb plate dangling from his nuts.

RE 5/3/1 - this seems like a great program but probably too advanced. Going from a workout-to-workout progression, shouldn't I switch to week-to-week, like Madcow or Texas method rather than a month-to-month progression like 5/3/1?

Thanks again for the input!


What did you mean by 'jumping my deadlifts too fast'? You mean not doing enough warm-up progression? I wonder if maybe I am. I typically do 2 sets at 135, a triple at 185, double at 225, single at 275, then the 1x5 set at the working weight (low 300's now which seems lame). Is this inadequate?


I would say think about having a day with deadlifts but no squats. Throw everything at the deadlifts. I had the opposite problem to you. I was squatting only 240, but could deadlift 400. I trained my deadlift on its own day, with a powerlifter who I used to train with. I would get a big sniff of his ammonia, have some nasty metal (like Converge) loud on an mp3, and get really psyched. I think that's the main thing. A big deadlift has a pretty big psychological part too. you have to somehow find a reason to lift more.


I have had trouble with this routine over the long-term. Using scheduled deloads in place of resets has helped me progress so far. Every 6-8 workouts, have days where instead of the 3x5 you keep the weight the same and do everything 3x3 instead. Do this for both A and B day. After that, continue to progress as usual.

This is most effective in the prevention of a stall. If you are already stalling, then it might be a little too late to help, but it might not hurt to have these deloads in your program anyway if you are still going with linear progression. IIRC, they are a part of Pavel's recommended routines.


I was thinking this too. Dips and pushups to failure seems like overkill and isn't going to help your CNS any. You might be able to keep progressing with the main lifts if you just drop those.


Powerlifting isnt about being stronger then everyone else, it's about imrpoving yourself, beating your total each competition. Don't get caught up in what other people are lifting and therefore not competing.

about 5/3/1, it is a great program and no its not too advanced. It workes for every level, from beginners to the most advanced. If you wanted to do a weekly progression like madcow or texas method, then by all means do it. These are great programs as well. You could milk one of these before you switch, or you could do 5/3/1 now, its up to you, both are great options.

Another note, dont think that you wont make great progress on 5/3/1, because you will. You can gain up to 60 pounds on your bench and press, and 120 on your squat and deadlift, per year.


good advice