T Nation

Want to get strong. Advice for newb lifter?

Lifting seriously for about a year and a half now 3 to 5 times a week, with 2 to 4 Jiu-Jitsu classes a week as well. Never been a big guy, naturally skinny-fat and not super strong. More of a “runners” build unfortunately.

Want to get real strong now, so I’ve been working with lower reps and higher weights.
At 179lbs, 5’11’’

Current 1RMs are:
Squat: 255
Deadlift: 405
Bench: 185

What would you guys recommend to do to move to the next level? Open to all suggestions.

Buy 5/3/1

Agree. 5/3/1 for you.

and read a bunch of articles here by Dan John, Tim Henriques, Matt kroc and Jim wendler

You could make faster progress doing a different type of program from 5/3/1 and probably need more frequency (not a 1x/week split).

Find something that has you squatting and benching/pressing at least 2x/week.

You seem to have good potential for the deadlift judging from current 1RM. It is way out front proportionally of your squat and bench. You might want to look into this…

[quote]goose64 wrote:
You seem to have good potential for the deadlift judging from current 1RM. It is way out front proportionally of your squat and bench. You might want to look into this…[/quote]

I believe this has to do with BJJ, which is a very pull-dominated sport.

[quote]goose64 wrote:
You seem to have good potential for the deadlift judging from current 1RM. It is way out front proportionally of your squat and bench. You might want to look into this…[/quote]

How is it that all these beginners have much bigger deadlifts than squats? By so much as well - do these people have arms that drag along the floor when they walk? I suppose I’m built to squat…

Anyway, just find a sensible program that has you working the three lifts often, and eat plenty. Your squat and bench should progress fairly quickly with basic training.

[quote]Sutebun wrote:
You could make faster progress doing a different type of program from 5/3/1 and probably need more frequency (not a 1x/week split).

Find something that has you squatting and benching/pressing at least 2x/week.[/quote]

Agreed. 2x + would be ideal.

You people suggesting a higher lift frequency per week program than 5/3/1, what program exactly did you have in mind for this situation?

[quote]csulli wrote:
You people suggesting a higher lift frequency per week program than 5/3/1, what program exactly did you have in mind for this situation?[/quote]

I agree, Jiu-Jitsu is taxing, I’m not so sure higher frequency is the way to go. I don’t think powerlifting and Jiu-Jitsu go together at all as it is. Good luck OP.

Might go with 5x5 if i were you.

[quote]halcj wrote:

[quote]goose64 wrote:
You seem to have good potential for the deadlift judging from current 1RM. It is way out front proportionally of your squat and bench. You might want to look into this…[/quote]

How is it that all these beginners have much bigger deadlifts than squats? By so much as well - do these people have arms that drag along the floor when they walk? I suppose I’m built to squat…

Anyway, just find a sensible program that has you working the three lifts often, and eat plenty. Your squat and bench should progress fairly quickly with basic training.
[/quote]
What I’ve found is that a lot of beginners flock to the deadlift because it’s “much easier to learn,” meaning all they have to do is pick up the weight, usually with a rounded back, which for awhile does allow for more weight to be lifted. Because they pull just with their backs, they get essentially no leg work, so it has no carryover to their squats.

Not saying that this is necessarily the case here, but this is what I frequently notice (and have unfortunately gone through myself).

Back to the OP, linear progression (3x5 or 5x5, namely) would be good if you haven’t already milked everything out of it that you can. After that, TM could work for a little while if you don’t think it will interfere too much with BJJ. If you think recovery will be an issue, I think 5/3/1 would be appropriate: not too much time spent in the gym, not too hard to recover from, malleable, and effective.

[quote]OmniStyx wrote:

[quote]halcj wrote:

[quote]goose64 wrote:
You seem to have good potential for the deadlift judging from current 1RM. It is way out front proportionally of your squat and bench. You might want to look into this…[/quote]

How is it that all these beginners have much bigger deadlifts than squats? By so much as well - do these people have arms that drag along the floor when they walk? I suppose I’m built to squat…

Anyway, just find a sensible program that has you working the three lifts often, and eat plenty. Your squat and bench should progress fairly quickly with basic training.
[/quote]

What I’ve found is that a lot of beginners flock to the deadlift because it’s “much easier to learn,” meaning all they have to do is pick up the weight, usually with a rounded back, which for awhile does allow for more weight to be lifted. Because they pull just with their backs, they get essentially no leg work, so it has no carryover to their squats.

Not saying that this is necessarily the case here, but this is what I frequently notice (and have unfortunately gone through myself).

Back to the OP, linear progression (3x5 or 5x5, namely) would be good if you haven’t already milked everything out of it that you can. After that, TM could work for a little while if you don’t think it will interfere too much with BJJ. If you think recovery will be an issue, I think 5/3/1 would be appropriate: not too much time spent in the gym, not too hard to recover from, malleable, and effective.
[/quote]

While my deadlift isn’t perfect, I’m aware that I should keep a flat back and do lift with my butt back and chest up.

What is “TM” in this context?

Sorry–Texas Method.

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]csulli wrote:
You people suggesting a higher lift frequency per week program than 5/3/1, what program exactly did you have in mind for this situation?[/quote]

I agree, Jiu-Jitsu is taxing, I’m not so sure higher frequency is the way to go. I don’t think powerlifting and Jiu-Jitsu go together at all as it is. Good luck OP.[/quote]

He said he wants to get real strong and take himself to the next level. If he’s not working hard he’s not going to.

The program I would have in mind would be something like madcow or TM…hell he could even make for some progress on SS I bet. But if he is only benching BW for one rep, he can definitely get a lot more out of benching (or adding the press) more than once a week.

Not to diss on 5/3/1, but I think the program just work betters if you have a solid foundation first OR if you’ve lifted a long time and you know what assistance work will complete the package for you. OP doesn’t seem to fall into the latter.

Thanks for all the suggestions about a program, I have some reading to do.

Outside of a solid program, what other advice would you give someone in my position?

[quote]pimpanzee wrote:
Thanks for all the suggestions about a program, I have some reading to do.

Outside of a solid program, what other advice would you give someone in my position?[/quote]

Eat more. Eat a ton more.

Find a group of guys to train with. You will make more progress by doing this than any other possible thing. And don’t tell me “I can’t find anyone in my gym/city”. You will more than likely have to drive someplace that is out of your way and takes up your time. Deal with it. If you want to get stronger this is part of the investment.

I myself used to take fighting classes, and i still lift and hit the heavy bag. You might wanna check these videos out- essential power workouts that will set the foundation for a powerful yet not sluggish physique. I myself have my own routine, but this one is very similar. The main reason i think it’s good is that this guy trains for power but stays lean and balanced. (he’s a bodybuilder) also, since you’re training bjj, i would do some heavy barbell curls, as this will help you out a whole lot in addition to your solid deadlift.

i was really skinny when i took my first martial arts class, and now ive done lifts i never imagined, so i know where youre coming from. stick to your power lifts, theyre great. i would add in both bi’s&tri’s and a delt routine in order to get an edge…this will help you fight, as long as you keep the weight high and the reps low. also, plyometrics (explosive movements) following each your power lifts will do you a lot of good. I like box jumps, plyo-pushups and ball slams myself.

[quote]Sutebun wrote:
He said he wants to get real strong and take himself to the next level. If he’s not working hard he’s not going to.
[/quote]

And all I’m saying is both are very taxing on the body. I doubt he can see good improvements in both at the same time.