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Program Advice?

Hey guys. Kinda new to the game of programming. Currently on SL 5x5 (some of you can stop reading now, it’s alright. LOL) and I’m anticipating an inherent problem with it, that being I would be doing max effort squats and max effort deadlifts on the same day sooner or later. My current lifts aren’t that heavy yet specially now that I’ve recently lowered my deadlift weight in an effort to fix a form issue. But I know sooner or later I’ll run into that problem of having to lift maximally on those two lifts on the same day. So my question is, how do I modify SL 5x5 so I can prolong the time using it without me burning myself out on squat and deadlift days? Any ideas on this problem would be appreciated, as well as other general advice on what I’m doing in the gym if you see something else wrong.

In case you might ask:

Goal: just general strength, not looking to compete in PL but I hands down prefer the strength/PL approach rather than the gym bro hypertrophy focused approach
Experience: just a little over a year (no experience with weights at all prior to) with a usual commercial-gym-bro-approach trainer. Had to stop for 3 months. When I came back, I ditched the trainer, and took barbell training seriously since November. Picked SL 5x5 for its simplicity and use of barbells.

Workout A
Main: Squat, bent over row, bench press
cable lat pull downs, one arm seated cable rows or face pulls
incline dumbbell press or incline dumbbell flyes. both in one session if I’m not lazy that day

Workout B
Main: Squat, strict overhead press, deadlift 1 working set conventional 1 working set sumo
Accessory: dumbbell lateral raises (if there’s anything I want to get hypertrophied, it’s really just the shoulders to be honest), calves when I remember LOL

I can only workout three times a week to be honest, so adding an extra day to split the lifts isn’t really viable as of now

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

I’d love to hear from you guys @chris_ottawa, @bulldog9899

Also, I was looking to transition it into 5/3/1 afterwards but I don’t know how that will look like on 3 days using the 5 main barbell movements. Most of what I found so far dedicate 1 day for training each lift per week, barbell rows not included. I don’t know how to squeeze the 5 main lifts into 3 days in a 5/3/1 template. Help?

Maybe try flipping them. One max day for squat and more of a volume day for deadlifts (low weight more reps). Then switch it on the other day, max day on deads and volume day for squats.

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Alright, will try that out when the weights get heavy. Thanks! On a volume day for deads, what rep range are we talking about? Never tried high volume deadlifts to be honest

Are you progressing towards your goals with Stronglifts?

I was doing 5x10 at 60% of my max. It helped me to practice the movement and concentrate on form instead of focusing on moving a lot of weight.

I may be wrong, but that’s how I was doing it. I’m sure others will respond as well.

Edit: just saw you said something about 531. Maybe post on Jim’s forum and ask him what that would look like. I’m not sure if his newer book has a template for all 5 lifts.

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So far yes, as expected of every true beginner. I’ve only deloaded twice or thrice at the most but it was because of trying to fix form/technique and a minor injury in sports once, not because I’ve failed consecutively at a given weight three times in a row. I’m starting to see some weaknesses of the program though.

Ok, got it. I’ll give this a try. I could never figure out what percentage I should do at a lighter weight for higher reps. It’s a start. I’d love to have that chance of fixing form too through higher reps lighter weight.

As for the 5/3/1, I’ll try to read on it more first. I admit I haven’t done my homework on it as extensively yet. Thanks man!

Then I would recommend you keep doing the program while it keeps working for you and worry about what to do after when it stops working.

Yeah, will do. Was asking about 5/3/1 as something to transition into after maximizing SL. Thanks man!

In 5/3/1 Barbell row isn’t a main lift. I personal view it as a secondary movement.

That would be your best option.

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Don’t. If you prolong the progression then most likely you will just slow down the rate of progress, there is no benefit to that. Once you stall just change up the program.

First of all, don’t look at barbell rows as a main lift. Second, if you actually read some of the 5/3/1 books like “Beyond 5/3/1” and “5/3/1 forever” there are a whole bunch of different templates that aren’t an upper/lower split with one main lift per day. If you want to train full body 3 days a week then you could alternate squat/bench on day one, deadlift/OHP on day 2 with assistance work (which can include barbell rows) after the main work. You could squat 3 days a week too, although I wouldn’t recommend pushing it every workout.

Since you haven’t been doing this for long and your technique isn’t too solid I think 5’s progression would be good for you. What that means is you use the 5/3/1 percentages but do sets of 5 for all work sets, no AMRAP set, and if you feel good then you can make 10% jumps beyond those numbers for further sets of 5. AMRAP sets are not a good way to perfect your technique, I did 5/3/1 a few years ago when I was really just learning to squat properly and although I got stronger my technique was complete shit and it took a while to unlearn the bad movement patterns. It’s better to save the high rep stuff for assistance exercises that don’t require much technique, like leg press to build your quads for example.


Good point. This will get me away from the weaknesses of SL 5x5 quicker. We’ll see how it goes in about a month’s time or two. That should give me enough time to read up on 5/3/1

I’ll try to look into that, thanks! I’m guessing the 5/3/1 forever would be more comprehensive than beyond 5/3/1?

So just to be clear, I would be using percentages of 5/3/1 but using 5 sets of 5 reps for all weeks 1 to 4 instead of doing stuff like 3 sets of 3 on the second week and so on?

Yeah, I wasn’t too excited about doing AMRAP sets anyway. I know it’ll reach the point that I’d just be pushing it to “complete” the reps with shit form.

Thanks for all the input guys!

Just the heads up if your talking for 5/3/1 those sets are not taken to form failure.

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Oh I see. So form will still be the limiting factor for AMRAP sets. Got it! Thanks

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From what I have heard it is. I haven’t read it, it’s also only available in hard copy format too last I heard.

No. Whatever sets and reps you have from the standard 5/3/1 set/rep scheme you do 5’s and then you can do more heavier 5’s after that, but this requires using your own judgment whether to go for it or not. Don’t attempt sets that you aren’t confident you can do without it looking like crap and if technique falls apart then stop the set.

In theory yes, but in reality it doesn’t usually look that way.

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true… I think allot of inexperienced guys will tend not to know when to end a set.

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Alright, got it. Thanks!

Yeah, I’m sure my threshold for poor form isn’t as good as it should be. All this kinesthetic awareness and stuff. I guess I’ll be recording most of my sets on phone for good measure while I develop that kinesthetic awareness.

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Well part of it is that.The other part is some will let ego override common sense.


That is very good idea.

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