T Nation

Should I Change? If So, To What?


Ive been workn out for approx 1 year and have been running 5/3/1 and am about to finish up month 4. My bench is at 420 right now and it started around 405. My numbers arent really goin up on the bench as far as weight x number of reps but my max has gone up 15 lbs.. However my squat and deadlift keep going up pretty dramatically.

Im wanting to compete in a bench comp in june and am wondering should i try something else for a bench workout. I like what the 5/3/1 has done for squat and dl and want to keep running it for those lifts but am considering something diff for bench. Any opinions. Btw this is my 1st pl'ing workout and am 6'3" around 270-275lbs


405 when you started working out? Or when you started 5/3/1?

Either way I assume raw? You have some awesome genetics.

15lbs in 4 months is not fantastic results IMO, but not bad either.

I have been doing a modified setup now that I am training raw. A really strong raw guy helped me set it up.

Basically, speed work first, then work up to a max. Either max single, double, triple, or even 5 rep max sometimes.

I do 6-8 triples with 50% with bands/chains, or 60% straight weight, then work up in singles after that till I am close to my goal for the day, then I will try however many reps my max for the day is for.

For example with a 420 PR, you could try the following:

Going for 1 rep max


Speed work-
210+ doubled monster mini bands for 6 triples
225x1 straight weight
410 or 415x1

And so on.

Then assistance work for triceps/back
The important thing to realize is you will not be fresh so do not expect alltime PRs all the time. You don't have to go till you miss either. Just go till it is very difficult.

Then another day do some light upper accessory work, and thats it.

I have really liked this so far.

Another plan that may be more suitable for only training one year may be WS4SB.. Still westside, but with more rep work, in place of speed. Although I would throw in a 3 week wave of speedwork every other month or so. My bench sucks ass though... if I am lucky I will get 400 raw by the end of summer. The above is the first thing to get my raw bench moving significantly in about 6 months though. In about 6 weeks I gained more training like that than I did over the past year on my raw bench.


405 when i started 5/3/1. Yes raw.

Please excuse my ignorance. But would this w/o be once a week and how would it change wo to wo. Are u just working to a pr every workout


Where in Arkansas?




I would email Jim at the elite website. You are not a noob and you have serious questions. He may have some good advise, since his 5/3/1 for powerlifting will come out at some point.

I will say that is what I heard the most is complaint about pressing with regards to 5/3/1 and I have been doing it for about 16 months. Good luck.

Dixie again why are you so far away in your avi?


Ive wondered that too. Get back up close man.


No ways, my new picture is all mysterious and shit. Seriously though, tnation changed the dimensions allowed for pictures I guess, cause almost none of my pictures work anymore.

OP - you go to OBU?


No, im 31


For the speed work, always do competition form, whether you use bands or not. The day I laid out would be one day a week. For the max effort movement you can change a lot of things. For bench, when you go up, you can add more bands, chains, ect, or straight weight. That is one variable. The number of reps you go for is another. Also you could do totally different lifts. For example after speed work, you could do floor press, or incline, or if you have a specific sticking point then work boards from just below the sticking point. Does not have to be a PR every time, but should be max effort. Remember, you will not be fresh by the time you start going heavy...
Following the speed work and max effort work, pick one tricep exercise, and 1-2 back movements.

On a different day, have upper accessory. For me this is usually some light dumb bell work, taking the dumb bell very low, some light tricep work, shoulder work, rotator cuff pre-hab, and some back work. This should be designed to fit your weaknesses. If you want to bench 500 raw, see what some 500 raw benchers are doing on various exercises, and if you are lagging, bring those groups up. Find out what muscles are causing any sticking points (could be the same that you find by comparing assistance work) and then bring up lagging muscles. This is paramount to your success, no matter what program.

A lot of people prefer having separate speed and max effort days, but doing them together seems to be working very well for me.