Should I Eat more or Increase Resting Time

Hi guys, i’ve been following ‘jim wendler, helping a friend getting stronger’ article’s advices for a few months now. Great article, honestly. Thanks so much to you guys from this forum for telling me about the article. But, i didn’t follow the 531 program, instead i picked stronglift 5x5.
This is my latest lift
Squat 77.5kg
Bench 37kg
Ohp 36kg
Barbell row 40kg
Deadlift 62kg
I started on 27th october 2016 and first two photos are my ‘before body’ and last two photos are my recent body. I weight from 70kg to 75kg. My height is 174cm.
I progressed slower than recommended as i didn’t have the gut to go for 2.5kg each workout especially on OHP and BENCH PRESS.
I didn’t count calories as i was told to focused on eating clean and getting stronger, but i weigh them though.
Chicken breast 700g, white rice 400g, 2 whole eggs, 2 tablespoon olive oil, and a lot of veges.
My problem now is, i’m having hard time on my squat since the weight went up to 75kg. I rested 4 mins between sets but still i’m having hard time on 4th and 5th rep. So, should i eat more for more energy or should i just increase the resting time to 5 or 6 mins?
Thanks in advance.

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5/3/1 triumvirate. Just do it.

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Jesus Christ why would you do that?


I am very sorry… i thought all the program are the same… i mean the point of every beginner program is the same, gaining strength. Sorry if i did not pick jim 531 at the first place.
I have to start from the beginning then. Jim 531.
Thanks guys.

Am I missing something here? 5x5 is widely recognised as a solid routine, and I know I personally could never stand doing 5/3/1, especially as a beginner… why anyone still learning the lifts would practice only once a week is beyond me. I realise OP said he liked Wendler’s article then proceeded to ignore it, but aside from that I’m not sure what’s wrong here.

As for the “problem”, I say stop being pathetic and increase weights as recommended. 4th-5th reps are hard? Good, that’s kinda the point. Don’t tolerate weakness, just keep pushing and learning and stop worrying about programs and diet so much. If you don’t get all 5x5, keep going with the same weight until you do. There’s no shame in failing, as long as you stay tight and don’t mess up your technique too badly.

If I remember correctly, Stronglifts has bent over rows as a main lift; I say drop them and instead do 2-3 machine or dumbbell based exercises for back / biceps. You need your lower back for the frequent heavy squatting, and it’s easy to become lazy and get injured when rows have exhausted your back. Pullthroughs with the low cable and GHD back extensions are far better options if you like extra lower back work.

You should easily (this is relative I guess) get to 140kg squat, 100kg bench, 60kg overhead, 150kg deadlift without resorting to anything more complicated. Eventually you may decide you prefer ramping your 5x5, and possibly moving to twice a week frequency, but you can certainly stick with this program for at least 4-6 months.

Diet shouldn’t be too hard to get to grips with at this stage, just allow yourself unlimited quantities of foods that are mostly protein (eggs, meat/fish, etc.) and vegetables, and then increase or decrease carbs and fats based on progress. I assume you want to gain a decent amount of muscle, so start off with these reasonably high (for you), and adjust down if you feel you’re gaining too much fat.

It is possible. Did you read the article from Jim the op is referencing?

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@T3hPwnisher Yes I’ve read it, and it was a good article. I’m just not sure the take-home message is that 5x5 is wrong - I think Jim actually recommends Starting strength for the first month or two, which is pretty similar really.

My point was that either way excellent results are possible, and some people don’t enjoy the set up of 5/3/1 (me included), and get better results with something that involves less planning and no percentages. 5x5 isn’t uniquely brilliant, but neither is 5/3/1 or any other routine, so if OP “didn’t have the guts” to increase weights as recommended I’m inclined to believe the problem lies elsewhere, not in his choice of program. 5x5 will work for at least 6 months, so why worry?

I should add that JW makes an excellent point about technique and also conditioning; technique matters way more than programming, and some cardio work is never a bad idea for a relatively out-of-shape beginner (especially for physique goals). Stronglifts doesn’t emphasise this.

Right. I am assuming he transitioned from SS to SL rather than SS to 5/3/1, which means he skipped out on a ton of volume and assistance work.

Edit: and with the 5/3/1 program Jim recommends, you practice the lifts more than once a week.

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Yeah, you need to eat more proteins. I eat five eggs a day, had two chicken breasts for lunch, and I snack on peanuts and cheese. I didn’t have to start resting four minutes between squat sets until my work sets were 315 pounds or so.

I used to work out with a guy who lifted weights after working construction. He ate two steaks and ten eggs a day.

Fair enough. I think either way results are more likely to ride on technique and intensity than programming at this stage, so issues there should be addressed first.

Following the plan Wendler set out, he should’ve spent 3 months sorting out the intensity and technique portion using Starting Strength. Once he moved beyond that, it was time to follow a beginner’s 5/3/1 programming, wherein technique and intensity can STILL be significant driving factors, but a baseline of volume on bodyweight work can also be utilized. I find most true beginners tend to have absolute crap work capacity (I’m talking kids that never played a sport in their lives, not former athletes taking up weights for the first time). In those instances, a super low volume program tends to result in this EXACT stalling scenario, where the only answers seem to be upping calories or increasing rest times. A larger base of work capacity tends to allow for further progression.

In general, we agree that the fundamental issue is that he decided he was going to set out and follow this plan and then decided he wasn’t going to follow the plan.

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Overall, after read quite a few of jim’s articles, advices on beginner, things that i learned from him are:
1 dont worry about calories. Just eat clean and eat enough. Eat like a normal human being. Dont stress about it.
2 get a good program and lift hard.
That’s it.
I didn’t have the guts to add 2.5kg every workout as i was focusing on form but still i added 0.5kg, sometimes 1kg. Main point is lift heavier than before right?
Anyway, thanks so much guys for the replies.
God bless u guys.

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5x5 3x5 5-3-1 doesn’t matter, do what is fun for you, you’re an begginer, everything works ‘-’

About the squats problem, do what the program says for you to do, if I’m not mistake both Starting Strenght and Strong Lifts says that if you fail 3 works in a row to do the 3x5/5x5 than you should lower the weight by 10%.

I think that your bigger problem is fear, a bigger part of begging training is about learning to express your strength and losing the fear. The secret for it is do the exercises in a proper place, the Power Rack. Have always the safe pins to help you, I guarantee you that the first time you try a squat and don’t have the strength to go up again and is save by the power rack the fear will go away. After you lose the fear, expressing your strength get a lot easier and you should get good results =)

Resting 90sec ~ 180sec is enough, 300sec is more to 1~3rep range

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Thanks bro.