Routine Critique? 1.5 Yrs Into Lifting

Hey guys, I used to post here when I was a teenager, but I stopped lifting and did bodyweight fitness most of my life weighing 160lb. I started lifting again when we had our daughter 1.5 years ago and have been loving it. I’ve been hitting a wall and would love some feedback on my routine. I started doing BJJ 4-6 nights a week and my strength has stalled out and my tendons (especially hands/wrists/forearms) hurting are my limiting factor in lifting right now. Wrists and sometimes hips are getting destroyed.

Stats: 29 y/o, 195lb. probably 16%-18%BF (can post pic if you want but I’m mostly interested in performance for what that’s worth).

I’ve been doing 5x5 linear progression on the basic compounds since I started. Added in accessories a few months ago. Had never really lifted a barbell before. Deadlift was like 90lb.

Barbell Row 5x5 - 185lb.
Power snatch 5x3 Week 1 105lb.; Power clean 5x3 Week2 150lb.
Iron Neck supersetted with cable face pulls - 4 sets

Front squat 5x5 - 185lb.
Walking lunge 105lb. - 4 sets
Reverse hypers 125lb. - 4 sets

Deadlift 4x5 Week 1 315lb; RDL 4x10 Week 2 245lb
Farmers walk 20yards there & back 145lb./arm - 4 sets
Lying cable Hamstring curls 35lb. - 4x12

Military Press 5x5 - 135lb.
Seated Arnold Press 3x10 - 45lb.
Weighted chinups (Bodyweight +45lb. plate) 5x5 (Thinking of switching to 4x10 for these)
Cable face pulls 55lb. - 4x20

High bar back squat 5x5 - 210lb.
Split squat 4x12 - 75lb.
Back extensions - 45lb. bar - 4x14

This past week, I took a deload week which amounted to dropping all the accessories and only doing the main lifts 5x5. I baarely PR’d them one rep each lift. I used to go up weight every workout. Does this mean my linear progression is coming to a close? And what would you recommend doing next? My must-do exercises are deadlifts, RDLs, farmers carries, power cleans & snatches, front & back squats, OHP. I could give or take everything else. Having a hard time finding an early-intermediate program that incorporates all those.
Thanks for reading

What is your goal?

Why are these your must-dos?

You could get away with a lot less volume, in my opinion. When you’re already dealing with the stress of BJJ 4-6 times per week, a lot of the lifting volume you’re doing is likely to do little else but add a whole lot of fatigue. Unless your goal is to be the best lifter possible, I would consider trimming your lifting down to 2-3 sessions per week, lasting 45-75 minutes each.

I would consider organising your program like:

Day 1:

  1. Power Clean: 3-5 x 3
    2A. Back Squat: 3 x 4-6
    2B. Chin-Ups: 2-3 x 6-10
    3A. Hamstring/Low-Back: 2-3 x 10-15
    3B. Push: 2-3 x 8-12

Day 2:
1A. Front Squat: 2-3 x 6-10
1B. OHP: 2-3 x 8-12
2A. RDL: 2-3 x 10-15
2B. Face Pulls: 2-3 x 15-25
3. Farmers’ Carries: Alternate 2x20-30m and 1x1.5-2min

Day 3:

  1. Power Snatch: 3-5 x 3
    2A. Deadlift: 3 x 4-6
    2B. Horizontal Push of Choice: 2-3 x 8-12
    3A. Lunge of Choice: 2-3 x 6-10
    3B. Row of Choice: 2-3 x 10-15

FWIW I currently lift/run and do BJJ

In a perfect week I get

Two Barbell focused days (one upper, one lower)
Two HIIT style or run focused workouts
Two Jiu Jitsu sessions
One long run

I find the bodyweight/running sessions don’t interfere with my BJJ and sometimes I end up doing multiple ‘two a days’

I’m 34, 185lb and probably 12% bf I guess.

How has the 5x5 been working for you?

I’m running a 4 day split as a 2 day split, which basically means just stretching out one week.

I’ve also found that I’ve been able to keep making strength gains with only one lower/upper session per week, which is cool considering I’ve been lifting for nearly a decade now.

Also, I’m just a white belt hobbyist so I’m not out here trying to be Marcello Garcia or anytime

Feel free to check out my log if you want to see how I train around BJJ.

@burien_top_team is also a great mind on the topic and far more accomplished than I in the gentle art


Thanks for the kind words @kleinhound! Two cents from me.

It really depends on what you want to get out of (and into) w/re2 jiu-jitsu. I’ve included a link to a great video from Dr. Mike Israetel that covers balancing lifting and BJJ from multiple perspectives.

I will say this: getting a good foundation is everything in jiu-jitsu. I can’t underscore that enough. If you’re just starting out in BJJ - I couldn’t tell for sure from your post - then I’d urge you to consider maximing your mat time for 2-3 years (blue belt level-ish) and then decide where the balance needs to be in order to achieve your goals (in jiu-jitsu and in lifting).

Here’s the Israetel video. Best of luck!