T Nation

When Stuck on 5x5?


My goal is to bench 300 by new year. I started a few months ago with 215 for 3x5, then 4x5, then 5x5. Once I was able to do 5x5 i added 5lbs and repeated 3x5,4x5,5x5 and continued on. I am now stuck at 255 and unable to complete 5x5. I can complete an ugly 3x5 under 255#. I am thinking of going back to 5/3/1 (which worked for 10 mos) but got anxious on my bench going up hence i deviated from the program in that lift. Please advise a progression to help me achieve 300#. I understand it may take longer than my original goal by new year. Thank you.


In my opinion the idea of the "5x5" program doesn't work forever, and if you want to achieve any sort of appreciable increase in strength on the Bench Press (or any main lift for that matter) you'll need to amp up the intensity and lower the volume. Being narrow minded and only doing "5x5" forever will leave you stagnant, and with a plateau.


Thank you for the reply. I am finding this out from experience. I am thinking about reseting my training rep-max on my bench and using the 5/3/1 method for that lift. I am currently two workouts away from completing Bruno's 100 rep trap-bar progam. That program has replaced squats and deadlifts for the time being. I am also wondering if i should start a 3x3 or a 5x2 with more weight progression on my bench. Any help from those who have been-there-done-that is appreciated.


You might want to check out the Texas method which uses a volume day and an intensity day, I would also recommend a deload first if you do try it.


You might be good for 300 with 255 lbs 3x5. It's only 2 tens and a 2.5 away each side for 4 less reps. You should try to bench heavier than 255 lbs after your first set for a set of 3, then heavier for a set of 1... etc. Keep it easy the first week then you'll be good for 300 in a month.


Here you go:

135x5 185x3 225x2 245x1 265x1 285x1 300x1

This should be doable for you. Get your 300 and move on. If you're doing 255 for 3x5, 300 should be in the cards. Use the above progression for one workout and see how you do. I bet you get the 300.


I think that the main problem is that you are doing the main lift too often and too heavy. Stress accumulates and you get stuck on a weight. What I would do if I were is to take a week off benching and than start benching twice a week with less weight and trying to get most of your volume from accessory lifts. Dave Tate advices to use Board Presses. You can use the Conjugate Method too.