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Stuck Squatting At 375


I made really quick gains squatting from 315 to 375 using max effort/dynamic effort days. But its been 3 weeks and today I tried 385 with 2 guys spotting me on both sides and I was real deep and I was deep for probably 3-4 seconds and just couldnt get it up. I had my stomach out and my shoulders back with a nice wide stance.

My Max effort day looks like this:
2*5 at 135
1*5 at 185
1*5 at 225
1*3 at 275
1*3 at 315
1*3 at 335
1*3 at 335
1*1 at 365
1*1 at 365
1*1 at 375
1*1 at 385 (failed)

I am 190, 5'7 and fairly lean. I follow Berardi's principles and I'm sure my nutrition isn't where the problem is. I'm stuck but I know Max effort is the way to go. I was wondering any thoughts on a new Max effort formula or if i should just stick it out and keep going under the bar with this routine.



I'm new to the whole squatting scene and have never dealt with this whole dynamic/max effort stuff....but it seems to me like you are doing an AWFUL lot of work before that max effort. I don't see how you can produce max effort after doing all of those other reps. But like I said. I probably just don't know.


I agree, definitly too many reps before your max attempt.


Why do two sets of one weight that you only get once? Cut back on that- instead of doing 315 2x1, why not just do one set?

You might just be too shot from all the sets in the middle.


I would recommend either switching up some exercises - Front Squats, Box Squats, Heavy Good Mornings, etc. OR switching up methods (My personal favorite is using my 3RM for 10-12 sets of singles - moves me up quickly in strength) for the next 3 weeks and then coming back to your Max Effort Back squats. Variation is very helpful.


Thanks for the Ideas. I have very little experience with box squats but i think its a good idea to cut out some of the stuff in the middle. There is no box for box squats at my gym so i think i'll just use a flat bench and do it of it.




If you are going to do it on a flat bench, make sure you have it positioned parallel to you, instead of perpindicular to the way you are squatting.

What I mean is, it is very important to sit wayyy back when you box squat. Since a bench is not nearly as wide as a box, you will struggle doing that if you are standing in front of the middle of the bench and just trying to sit back on it. You will worry too much about finding the bench and it will compromise form. Standing at the front of the bench will allow you to get way back on it and not worry about where it is.


Also make sure that the bench allows you to go below parallel, especially if that is your sticking point. If the bench does not allow you to go deep enough and your sticking in the hole, then try bottoms up squats from the pins.

CUT OUT THE REDUNDANT SETS. Thank you. You are doing 11 sets to find you max. It should not take you any more than 8 or so (guideline). To hit 385 work up like so...


or something similar. Don't do too many sets at 5 reps. That expends energy. When I work up I generally go up by 8% or so of my current 1RM each set, and aim to hit a 5-10lb PR as my 2nd set above 90%RM (my 1st set is usually around 93%, so a 7-8% jump takes me to about 101%). Then if I feel good I try another, bigger PR. Unless of course I'm in the zone, then I shoot straight for the big shot. Try to take around even-sized poundage jumps between sets. When you hit the area that triples are hard cut down to singles.

If I jump to far up in poundage to hit the PR, my system won't be ready (ie--335 to 385), and if the jump is too small, you've already expended your best energy, and you're drained (365, 365, 375, 385=FAIL).

Hope that helps.


Definately agree with everybody else. I take about 40-50lb jumps on my lower sets then as i get closer to my max i take 15-20lb jumps. like this kinda.

If you want more reps go down and hit a 5 rep set after your max.


I have no advice, I just hate you. I wish I had your problem. I am a weak pussy...but I am working on it...


Partials,overloads,box or bench squats.


I don't do singles, but I have been doing 3, 4, 5 rep sets recently and I think that I have a method to build up to the big weights that might help you. At least, it works for me.

I warm up with:
2 sets of 135 x 8 or 10
1 set of 225 x 8
a walkout with 475

If you don't know, a walkout is just when you unrack it, step back, and just bounce up and down six inches or so each 'rep'. I'll usually do ten of those. You're getting your back and, most of all, your mind ready for the heavy stuff.

I'd then start my work sets, right now at 405 x 5, and then work up to my last, heaviest set at 475 x 2. But if I wanted to find my single rep max, after my walkout I might do 405 and 455 for singles. And then jump into wherever I think that my range for that single rep max would be (right now I'd guess 525 a good place to look, but I've never actually done it so I don't know).

I agree that you need to cut back the weights, as you've already addressed. I suspect that if you scale my weights to what works for you, you might have success with it. Good luck!


Thanks for the sample rep scheme. I'm going to use it my next ME day and hopefully get myself out of this plateau. Tomorrow I am going to try out box squat and do front squats.



I agree about too many reps before your max. After I do some OL, if I am gonna back squat, I might do:


Whenever my squat is stalling, I just do some maintainence for the squatting and lots of Posterior chain work (good mornings/RDLs/reverse hypers).


Totally agree. As I read above, I agreed, but was going to add ham work(post chain).

I wouldn't squat-max- for a month. I'd hit the good am's and straight legs. I'd dead and rev. hyper.

Then. And only then, would I go back and cycle up to, what I'm sure you'll see, is your new 1rm squat.

Also, consider your size. At that weight and leaness, to which you profess pride, you are bound to stall and see much slower gains on your max's. I realize you are not genetically tapped out, but you must understand that new max's may be found in 2-5lb incr. instead of 10-20.


I agree with the box squats. I have only incorporated them recently. I ditched normal back squats for Jan. and switched to box squats. Now I am doing normal squats again but am much strnger.
Using a flat bench is fine, that's what I do too.


Also, doing a triple at 335, no wonder you can' t get more than 375. That lift should be a single.


I truly believe in box squatting and have seen huge gains. I get a box squat max at parallel. From that I do a 4 workout cycle at parallel. First workout is 65% for 12 sets of 2 with a one minute rest, very explosive. Then add 6%, or 71% for 12 sets of 2. Then 77% for 10 sets of 2, 83% for 10 sets of 2. Then the next 4 workouts drop the box a couple of notches, then the next 4 drop the box again. Once at the bottom get a new max. This is such a huge workout when you add a couple of supportive exercises (good mornings, dimels, glute/ham raises...)

My new max is 430 at parallel. After doing the numbers I'm kind of worried, but now I'm into the second workout and it is perfect! I'm thinking of installing handicap bars in my bathroom at home so I can sit down easier!


I did this exact set and rep scheme today and I successfully squatted 385 1x and hit a new PR. It worked well and I am ready to get into the 400s.


This is sort of vague but...

Take a week or two off from ME work, still do your DE work, and increase your assistance work. (from lets say 3 sets of 8 reps (24 total reps) to 5 sets of 10 (50 total reps) )

then come back and do what everyone is reccomending- meaning don't strain so much so early, you're doing a ME marathon. And switch up your main exercises if that's not working. Hell work on your DL for a while.

98% chance you'll hit a personal best.