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Stuck on Where to Go with Programming


I am new to these forums but I wanted to ask for some advice on programming. I have been lifting on and off for a while, but I recently stuck with powerlifting for 7 months and have seen some good results. I began with strong lifts 5x5 and when I stalled on that I moved over to Texas method. Im beginning to stall on Texas method so I switched from doing 5x5 on the big lifts to 6x3. I was able to get my lifts to increase a bit but I am stalling again. I’m 23, 5’8 and 156 lbs and my maxes as of a week ago are 240 bench, 325 squat and 415 deadlift. I was thinking of switching to a higher volume program like sheiko for under 80 kg lifters. However, I am also interested in running smolov Jr to get my bench up a bit. Would it be best to run smolov Jr. before I switch to sheiko so that the high volume would allow me to keep my gains or should I just move on to sheiko? Are there any other modifications to Texas method people have had luck with? I want to get every pound out of this program before going off of it.


5’s are best. They are hard, but they are the most profitable. It’s probably time to start listening to your body and finding a baseline to work from instead of following a written program. If you get too far away from 5’s, you’re not going to build much more strength over the long haul.

Just a suggestion to you instead of programming…

At our gym, we train up to a single heavy set of 5 one week and a heavy triple the following week. Whatever the weight is, it makes us work hard on all reps but the last rep of each set should have us wondering why we came to the gym that day. All reps must be done with good form. If not, lower the weight. Having good form in training is more important than the weight.

We typically work up to a heavy single every 6 weeks or so; not a max single. I place a lot of emphasis on controlling the weight.

Personally, not a fan of Sheiko or Smolov. Too much volume and aimless training. It’s just a bunch of sets and reps like any program that has nothing to do with you.

Just to give you an idea of what working up to a heavy set of 5 is:

135x8 225x2x3 315x3 365x1 405x1 425x5. You don’t need to do 5’s all the way up. Getting stronger is more about intensity than volume in the main lifts.

For assistance, find something that mirrors the lift you did. If it’s deadlift, maybe some block pulls or deficit pulls or good mornings for a few sets. Add in a slingshot for bench work. Pause squats after squatting…etc…Then maybe one or two isolation exercises afterwards for very light weight and high reps.

Give it a shot. This method has made me a lot stronger over the long haul without injury.

Advancing in this program can be done a couple different ways. I typically like to do a rep max with my working weight. If I can do it for more than 6, I bump the weight up. The other way is if the 5 rep set is feeling lighter each week, I bump the weight up.

You can also do rep max PR’s as a way to change things up. If the working weight is typically 425x5, drop down to 365-405 and try for a rep PR once in a while to break up the training.


The Sheiko program you are talking about is a good option, the 4 day sample program would probably work for you too. Stay away from anything named smolov, for every person who got big gains from it there are a hundred who burned out or got injured and never finished it. It is also for one lift only, what about the other two?

Ideally you would figure out your own training like osu122975 is saying, but not everyone has the knowledge or ability to do so.

After a “good,” “heavy” set, it’s really tempting to do just one more. And then maybe one more after that. Before you know it, the plan is shot!

Is everyone at your gym patient and disciplined, or do you guys have to remind eachother to stick to the plan? With super strong guys around, is everybody more competitive, and trying to rush? Or is it easier to trust the process when you see how well it works?


After the heavy set, there is no more gas left for the main lift. That last set should exhaust you completely. Every rep is tough, but especially the last one. It’s easy to stick to when you don’t have anything left to give to that lift. It almost feels like a rep PR but for a 5 or 3.

I train with 6-8 other lifters and all of us except one have bought into and made gains with this philosophy. Typically a workout will last 2-3 hrs for all of us depending on the amount of assistance work done.

When I can do less reps and get stronger, I buy into it pretty easily. Everyone there understands strength takes time and you’re either patient or you fail.

Basically we train squat on Mon, bench on Tue, DL on Wed, Fri and Sat are volume days for assistance that we don’t get to on main lift days.

Lifters who have bought into this philosophy are totaling 2625@SHW single ply, 2000@275 single ply, 1500@220 raw, 1500@260 raw, 1485@242 raw, and 1100@165 raw including a 545lb DL @ 165. Those numbers were last year and everyone is getting stronger.

The guy that totaled 2625 has been running this philosophy since he started competing so that’s been 8 years.


Pick pretty much any program off this site by Wendler, Thibadeau, Dan john or Dave Tate etc
Either of these below would work very well with your strength levels…

Thanks for the Great info/details!

Do the single ply guys wear any Equipment to squat in? Or how often do they use it?

Thanks for the replies! I would like to try developing my own program but I’m curious to see how my body responds to a higher volume program as well. I’d like to break a 1200 lb gym total at 165 before I decide to enter a meet.

Usually squat in briefs or straps down. Never to a box.

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1200@165 are good numbers. I would go do a meet now and get a total. It will give your training a better direction of what you need to do. Doing a competition is altogether different than training.

Good luck!

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I strongly believe most do way too much volume. If I could do it all over again, I would have progressed on the bare minimum volume nesessary. All that extra wear and tear…perhaps it built some extra muscle though…

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You should give 5/3/1 a shot if you’ve never tried it before. I’ve never heard anything bad about it

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