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Program Critique


Hello all, I am an intermediate powerlifter(at best lol) and just created a new program and would like to get some insight from more experienced lifters. The program is loosely based on Jim Wendler's Advanced 531 program along with some ideas I have seen from Chad Smith and Josh Bryant. I am kinda proud of this program but it seems I may have too much going on in it. This is also my first program since deploying and my work capacity and strength have dropped. Anyway please let me know and suggestions:

This is just the first week of 2 cycles, the alternate cycle are just using similar exercises such as using front squats instead of squats. Week 1 is 5x5@75% as stated, 2 is 5x3@85,and 3 is 5x1@95%. I will be using a 90% or maybe 85% training max.

CYCLE1/Week 1- 				Cycle2/Week 1(5)

Squat:5x5@75%-- Front squat:5x5@75
Speed Squat: 10x2@60-- SS:10x2@50+bands
Defecit Sumo DL: 3x5@70-- Defecit DL: 3x5@70
RDL: 3x10-- Goodmornings: 3x10

Pause BB Bench: 5x5@75-- Close grip Floor press: 5x5@75
Bottom end drive: 3x5@55-- Double Pause bench:3x5@55
Dips SS/ rolling db ext: 3x12-- JM press SS/ tricp ext: 3x12
DB OHP: 3x10-- Bradford Press: 3x10
Supported rows: 3x10-- Supported row: 3x10

DEADLIFT:-- Deadlift:
DL: 5x5@75-- Sumo DL:5x5@75
Speed pull: 6x1@60-- Speedpull:6x1@50+bands
Deadsquat: 6x1@55(30sec)-- Deadsquat:7x1@60(45 sec rest)
DB stiff leg: 3x10-- Leg Curls:3x15

Bench: 12x3@60-- 12x3@50+bands
DeadBench: 8x1@60-- Deadbench: 9x1@65
INC DB: Rest pause-- slight inc DB: rest pause
Kaz press: 5x12-- Dips: 5x12
Rear delts:4x35-- Rear delt: 4x35
Front raises:3x12-- front raise: 3x12
Meadows rows: 3x10+DS-- Kroc row: 2x10, 1x20


Maybe post this in the BiggerStrongerLeaner sub-forum, as you don’t seem to want to train the powerlifting lifts…
Seriously: If your goal is related to powerlifting, then I would say start again. For strongman or general training, maybe.


i am no near to an advance PLer, but it seems too much volume to me


I see where you are coming from Halcj. But my logic behind my assistsnce work is using the alternate lift to strengthen weaknesses in my competition strength. Such as using sumo dl to build my conv dl, if my conv is 455 and my sumo is 385 than obviously there is a weak link somewhere that could be addressed. That is why I use the alternate cycle and different assistances. And the bench days are based on a josh bryant program outline


To be honest, don’t listen to me if you feel this type of non-specific training will be most effective. To me, weak points are trained every time you train a main lift - you fail somewhere, and get stronger to overcome this. So far, I am yet to meet anyone who has stuck with main lifts and little else and had a legitimate and long-term stall in progress.

The way I see it, any attempt at adapting training to a non-linear form to allow continued progression is flawed. Sure, if you keep training the same lift every time progress will plateau, but when this is the only lift that matters this is not a sign that the training has to be changed. After a certain level, it is simply required to lift more, increase frequency/volume, or just plough on with determination if these have been addressed. Lifters tend not to accept that: 1.) progress can stall without them planning it, and 2.) THIS CAN BE OK.

With your example of DL variations, consider that it may not matter as long as your competition lift is increasing. The only reason to aim for a certain level of balance is injury prevention, and this seems to depend less on balancing assistance lifts and more on stability, posture and pelvic alignment, at least according to many injury specialists.


I am not against all assistance by the way, but I feel that each main lift should be trained at least ONCE a week, and probably much more.


Thanks for your insight Halcj. After ready your comments and talking with some more experienced friends of mine I have revised my program. I am pretty much scrapping the advanced 531 base, perhaps I will revisit it in the future. I am using wendlers Strength challenge program from beyond 531. I am getting rid of the deadstop training and using extended paused training, and using them as a first set last approach.