T Nation

Programming and Progression


a while back I posted about my squat being the same as my deadlift… they aren’t. lol. I was humbled about hitting depth, and now hit depth consistently. my sumo deadlift, which was helped out a bunch from videos you guys referred me to, is rocking. and I’ve stopped doing touch and go’s for bench completely. but that’s more of a precursor than the point of the post as just a general update on my training.

Stats: 23 y/o BW 207-212lbs
Program currently running: GZCL UHF9, week 7 starts Monday.
I put my TM (what you could hit for a double) for week one at 425/305/500.

the training frequency is too much for me. or maybe, i just went in too fast and didn’t allow my body to adjust after only doing a three day split of 5x5 prior to this program.
recently i did 415 for 3/300x3/475x9 on my week 6+ sets, and now begins a lighter two week period before the testing period (reps) at the end.

my deadlift has exploded, i’ll probably hit 425 for 4 or 5 and ill probably hit 305 for 4.

great results but this program feels unsustainable for me. deadlifting back to back kills my hips, squatting back to back, 5 bench days… its just wrecking my body.

I am interested in the Calgary barbell 16 week plan due to its 4 day a week and spread out lift days to where im only going back to back once.(mon/wed/fri/sun)

i feel like the 3x squat 2x dead and 4x bench(variations included on all the lifts) of the 16 week program would be very successful for me and I was looking for any input or advice.
I try to read and be educated, but i know my limitations.
thanks in advance.


Don’t be discouraged if you like the high frequency programming but when you went from a lower frequency program it all ended up too much.

This is a pretty normal experience. Go back to stuff you were doing before for a while and when you are feeling better give higher frequency another go.

It may take you 3 to 6 goes before you can stay on that sort of workload for the long term.


GZCL offers man helpful programming parameters that have served me well. After running UHF 5wk last December/January, I moved on to programming my own template (which I’m still doing today). I have easily added 80lbs to my squat.

If you are looking to change things up, may I suggest Jonnie Candito’s intermediate 6week strength program? Frequency is still relatively high on that program.



Do less? Maybe try recovering better e.g. sleep, caloric surplus etc.?


i think I like the concept of 5 days a week. I just dunno about what im doing currently. doing second day deads/squats have felt horrible the whole way through cause they’re back to back.
problem with what I was doing before was madcow 5x5, or just a weekly linear 5x5 3x a week. not enough frequency to progress.
thanks for the input, especially the 3-6 runs to get my body adjusted. never thought of it that way.


looked at his 6 week… seems intriguing. I feel like 4 day splits will do me good.


I sleep a good 8 hours a night. calories/nutrition is whatever the military feeds me, at this point. I have stayed in a 210 ± 5 pound range for the last 8 months.

I just think my body isn’t adjusted well enough.


You have to look at more than just frequency, how does the volume in this program compare to what you were doing before? Simultaneously increasing volume and frequency is not going to work. People who do well with high frequency normally have either volume or intensity quite low, you can’t just increase everything and expect it to work. Most people can do well squatting and benching twice a week and deadlifting 1-2x, once that stops working then you can consider increasing frequency.


Find your recovery. Stop borrowing from the bank if your bank acct isn’t large enough to support your spending habits.

In other words, start using principles and figuring out what works best for you.


you suggest 4/6/8 week blocks?

how many work sets each week competition lift for each block? something like(setsxreps) 4x6/5x4/4x3/3x2 each week for day one, then something like 10% lighter on day two for say 4x8/5x6/4x5/3x4?

rep schemes/percentages for day 1? 6/4/3/2 at 80/85/90/95% then75/80% 5x5 for week 5? or 6/5/4/3/2 @ 80/82/85/90/95% then a 75/80% for week 6, then revamp adding 2% increase and keep chugging the same scheme?

you always reply to my posts and I feel like I owe you for teaching me how to lift. thanks chris.


working on it. thanks for the reply man.


I’m not sure what sort of answer you are looking for here, it all depends. The point is that the total workload should be similar to what you were doing previously.


I guess I think that what I was doing before just wasn’t enough. the madcow5x5 was cool for two runs but I stalled week 6/10 and then switched over. i’ll try to find a middle ground between the two.
thanks again chris


It may be true that the 5x5 program wasn’t enough but you have to gradually increase volume or you will run into problems. Chad Wesley Smith and Mike Israetel have put out a lot of information on how much volume is appropriate (the term they came up with is MRV - maximum recoverable volume), I suggest you look into that. The problem with using a program that you find online is that it isn’t written for you and fails to take into account individual differences.


thank you again for the info chris. much appreciated.