I actually think switching to something like 5/3/1 or Texas Method earlier in training life is a good idea. SS or SL can get you that first set of big wheels on the bar, maybe a lot more for some people. But for that kid who “stalls” at 3x5x155 every time, maybe what he needs is a cycle of 5/3/1 where he can do a triple with 165, or a single with 175, or a workout where he ramps up and hits a big “1+” set that ends up in cranking out 7x165 when he’s fresh.[/quote]
I agree with your basic point about trying a different program when you stall, but the 155 squat seems to be setting the bar pretty low. I mean, I would be inclined to bet money that no healthy young male training in Rippetoe’s gym (i.e. under his supervision) has ever failed to progress beyond a 155x5 squat on starting strength. I think if that’s happening, something is wrong.[/quote]
I agree. Unfortunately, most kids trying SS aren’t doing it in Rippetoe’s gym, under his supervision. And while I agree that 155 is setting a very low bar, we definitely HAVE had at least a few examples on this forum of kids “stalling” at very low weights (has anyone seen Bull Scientist lately? Flight1?)
Do I happen to share the belief from Chris C. that most of the guys failing to progress are probably suffering from YNDTP? Probably, yes. If you actually follow the program to the letter, it works. To get a bit dorky, I think we’re haggling a bit about the difference between “efficacy” (ability of something to work when implemented properly under ideal conditions) versus “effectiveness” (how well it actually works when applied in the real world, including failures due to operator error).
For example, suppose I develop a drug. I give it to 100 people, they all take the recommended dose at the recommended time, and it works for 98 of them. Sha-zam! We have a product that is efficacious.
Now we prescribe the drug to another 1000 people, send them home, and hope they follow the package directions. 750 of them do so, and 98 percent of THEM do really well. But 150 people forgot to take the morning dose AND the nighttime dose, and another 100 took one pill instead of two, etc. Superb “efficacy” but less superb “effectiveness” because the people don’t always follow the directions.
So: if the kids aren’t going to really attack the program right, or have Mark Rippetoe supervising them, and they stall at 155 for whatever reason, they might be better served by moving on to a different program. Like I said in my first post, for kids that just have a mental hurdle, maybe handling an even heavier weight for a few lower-rep sets, like they might do in something 5/3/1, would get them over that mental block of 155 being too heavy. Or in something like Texas Method, if they work up to a 5RM for one set and hit 165 for 5 reps, maybe next time they’ll be able to finish all 3 sets of 5 with 155 because now they believe in themselves and no longer view 155 as this unassailable demon.