T Nation

Starting Sheiko


If you have ran sheiko before I have a few questions.

I downloaded the Sheiko app after spending time on his website reading his forum. I will be doing the 3 day intermediate, moderate load program.

Do you use your competition bench form? I feel like arching your back through all of that volume could be a little excessive.

I have never gotten much out of large volumes of deadlifting except for feeling fatigue. I am used to more squatting than is in sheiko. I squatted every other day making 15lb jumps to a heavy triple and single plus downsets. I will be running the program as written but has anyone dropped one of the deadlift variations in favor of more squatting? Should I just do light squatting/front squatting on Saturday if I have time and feel up to it?


I ran Sheiko (29,30,31) for most of last year. I did use competition form for bench. I also paused most of my reps and switched to touch and go if I got close to grinding out slow reps. Arching my back for all the reps wasn't a big deal. I got used to it. It could be a problem if you arch very hard without keeping your hips, abs and everything else tight.

The deadlift work isn't meant to beat you into the ground. There is a lot of pause work with moderate weights, deficit pulls and mat pulls. Pulling very heavy from the ground is most taxing and you don't do that often with Sheiko. I did the program as outlined and increased my bench 15 lbs over 9 months and increased my deadlift about 10 lbs. My squat stayed the same because my technique was shitty and I only knew how to evaluate it when going heavy (around 90%), which you only hit maybe 2-3 times over 3 months. If your technique for <90% is a lot different than for >90%, you might want to consider doing something that hits higher intensities more regularly. Otherwise it's a great program.

My only suggestion would be to add pullups, rows and overhead work the second or third time you do the program. Don't do it the first time since it isn't necessary yet and it's best to do the program as outlined like you planned to do. You'll know how much extra work you can handle after doing it the first time.


I was going to do upper back work casually after the programmed training. Sheiko's website basically said do it on training days if you can recover from it. I will make those decisions day by day throughout the cycle.

I really appreciate your input. The way I've been training since my meet has me benching flat backed and my shoulders don't agree with it.


No problem. I wish I knew to do the upper back work ahead of time. Doing even a small amount of upper back work every session is better than nothing. By the time I tried to address the problem it was too late and the extra work didn't help. Anyways good luck with the program!


"I ran Sheiko (29,30,31) for most of last year."

"I did the program as outlined and increased my bench 15 lbs over 9 months and increased my deadlift about 10 lbs."

"it's a great program"

Sorry, I know a lot of people argue that small, consistent gains are best, but really? 15lbs on bench and 10lbs on DL in 9 MONTHS? If I recall correctly you are a good lifter but nowhere near the stage of describing 15lb bench gains as "great" over 9 months, especially given that your squat and deadlift barely moved. There are world record holders improving and resetting their own records in that time frame by more than that!

It sounds like those who say Sheiko programs shouldn't be used as cookie-cutter routines are most definitely right. Did you cut a lot of weight during that time / anything else that might affect results? I considered Sheiko for a while last year, but I think I definitely was correct in thinking it would be more limiting than helpful.


I get what you are saying here. My previous training was hitting a daily max every other day in the squat and bench following by downsets DUP style. With lunges flys and upper back work and once weekly deadlifting my sessions took up to and sometimes over 3 hours. I was thinking lower intensity training might benefit me and while my squat form isn't bad it could use some cleaning up. I'm also reading about intermediate and advanced lifters who add 40-50+ pounds to their total in the 12 and 13 week programs on sheikos website.


This is a long response but the only way to do it justice. Sorry for stealing the thread.

Yeah, you're right that I shouldn't have said it's a great program. For me putting 15 lbs on my bench in 9 months is great, lol. I stalled out after that but I do believe I could've kept the gains going all through this year if I did more pulling and overhead pressing work. I thought that only doing bench would improve my bench but was wrong, at least for my situation. I was focused on technique building strength but now understand that improving strength can improve technique as well.

My deadlift barely moved because I didn't care to push it that hard. My main focus was on the squat since my technique was inconsistent when pushing heavy weights. I had the option to focus more on the deadlift since it's my strongest lift but I knew that once I fixed the problem with my squat, both lifts would move up. Last year my low bar squat was at 385 for the entire year. I focused only on low bar squat and nothing changed (again only focused on technique). These past 9 months I started from scratch learning how to squat by building the strength for technique. It was a slow process but it has paid off. Today I just hit some huge PRs for high bar and low bar squat. I'll be switching back to low bar in a month going into my meet in December.

IMO, Sheiko works best for a person that has technique nailed down because they wouldn't require regular feedback for technique evaluation - weights at 90+% intensity are used sparingly, which is how people typically evaluate technique. If technique isn't great, then a coach is required that knows how top notch technique is executed so they can make the adjustments necessary through changes in the actual lift or additional strength work to build weaknesses. Otherwise a person like me would continue to build an inefficient lift that hits a plateau and not understand why. My bench technique was good enough to make progress but at the time I just didn't understand what was necessary to keep it going. At this point, I do feel confident enough with my lifts to consider the Sheiko 4x/week program in the future when I need a change.

I do understand that my progress was slow but it wasn't due to the fact that I'm reaching a limit in strength or from using a bad program. It was related to technique and strength weaknesses which I described. I also don't care about world record holders resetting their own records in that time frame because that has nothing to do with my progress. I'll admit that the past 2 years have been the slowest progress I've experienced. But in the process I have learned so much and believe I have set myself up for consistent progress in the future. If I'm wrong, I'll hire a coach to help me out. Two years is also very short compared to how long I plan to push myself.

One factor to include was that I have been recomping for the past two years to stay in the 163 class and my morning weight has been close to 168 the entire time. It's still difficult to fill out the 183 class but I will move up if I don't break the state record in the 163 class at the end of this year, or at least get very close. I'm 5'7.5" if that helps. I honestly don't believe that had anything to do with it. Yes I could gain more weight but that wouldn't address the long term problem for strength.

I will say that Sheiko is a great program for someone that has technique nailed down and understands or works with someone that knows how to evaluate their needs for improvement. It isn't as simple as saying it's a bad or good program. I wouldn't recommend it to someone that requires regular feedback for technique.


Hey, it wasn't meant as a personal attack, sorry if I seemed overly-critical, but I really do believe that it's not worth the complication of running Sheiko programs if the result is less than I'd expect with 5/3/1 or something.


Haha, I know. You made an honest comment. I didn't have to reply about the world record holders but just wanted to get it out there that it doesn't really bother me how fast I progress anymore. Putting a time constraint on myself was actually detrimental in the past but it was something to learn from.

I completely agree with you that 5/3/1 or something is generally better. Sheiko is great for certain conditions and it's also why I believe people training with Coach Sheiko have performed so well with it. He wrote the program and understands the philosophy behind it the best.

Btw, it's nice to see you squatting heavy again.


Thanks, it certainly is nice. I've got 255kg by December - hopefully I won't have any setbacks before then.