Sudden Loss of Strength


I’m on the second week of my 5th 531 cycle. This week I experienced a significant loss of upperbody strength. I was able to bench press 77.5 kg for 10 times last week while I pressed 82.5kg for just 2 out of 3 today (last month I managed 8 reps with this same weight).

My military press also suffered on monday and my pullups are worse then when I started training. I do feel a bit under the weather but that usually means a rep or two less than last time but definatly not something like this.

I did not change anything in my training and diet and have been making good progress until now. Should I take a week off and restart this cycle or does anyone have any better advice for me.

Squats weren’t as good as the last time with the same weight but still ok. Should I still go deadlift on Friday or just back off completly?

Any advice is appreciated!

  1. Did you do your deload before this cycle?

  2. Did you lose bodyweight?

  3. Any odd weak feeling in a shoulder or anything like that?

  4. Did you switch from training in the evening (or morning) to the morning (or evening)?

  5. Partying/sleep issues or anything like that lately?

I haven’t lost any weight and I deloaded before this cylcle. About the shoulder, I have had some problems in the past few weeks but it hasn’t affected my lifts. That is up to monday. But I just feel weak when pressing and doing pullups and I don’t feel as if I perform badly because of my shoulder. Since it hurts less than the week before I don’t think this is the problem. I could be wrong ofcourse.

Edit: I went training a few hours earlier than usually but that has never been an issue before. As to the sleep and partying nothing out of the ordianry. Meaning I had a few beers on Saturday (not enough to even have a hangover) and I sleep like a baby.

Hey hac,

I had a similar problem to this once. It turned out, it was the first indication that I was getting sick. Hopefully this is the case for you, and not something more serious.


I’ve gone through the same thing. Drop your volume on your pressing days and work mobility and recovery big time for the next week. If it doesn’t bounce back in the next week for that day then think about dropping the weights. How are your other lifts going, squats and deadlifts going up?

try just doing the prescribed reps for a week or two


Thank for the advice. The thing is it seems that my shoulder is the source of my problems. I didn’t realise at first since I was able to hit PR’s even though it was bothering. It seems I irritated it more by not giving it time to heal. I backed off the pressing and pulling and am hitting sqats and deadlifts more. I’ll give it a week or two but if it doesn’t get better I’ll see a doctor about it. The good side is my squats feel stronger than ever so I’m not completly discouraged.

The answer to this question always seems to be food.

You need to eat more.

It probably sounds too simple to be true but go out of your way to eat like a horse and this will pass.

I am facing very simillar problem now: lack of pressing strenght and explosiveness (on flat/inc barbell, db presses, oh presses, push presses, dips).

My 2 cents of advise: focus on something else you do with lower volume or intensity than pressing.

If i know from my log that my pressing is week, i focus more on pulls: stiff leg deads, rows. These are lifts i can blast despite the pressing weekness. Curls work too. If squats don’t work the right way i do leg presses.

I train doing something else and wait for a pressing reload when i can build up the pressing performance again to a new high. I am a beginner and experienced 3 waves of great pressing gains and drops. It is like on the stock market: you do a new high and fall, important is to make a higher high and a higher low.

I’ve noticed that the greater a pr i make, the deeper the incoming performance drop is going to happen. So if you don’t compete or try to peek, the best gains are the steady, planned gains.

If you plan to push your numbers to the next level be sure your sleeping time is of high quality. 7 hours at night going early (till midnight) + one hour nap during day (if possible).