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  1. #1
    Registered User Pur3p3r50n's Avatar
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    Pur3p3r50n is offline

    No progress on structured plan, even with good nutrition and sleep

    Hi there!

    I'm looking to see what advice y'all have for me. I just finished 1 cycle of 531 Volume Project 2.0, modified slightly to accommodate a small injury, and made no progress. I suppose I could have increased my work capacity or added very little weight to my lifts (for example, I failed 350 deadlift when my PR before this cycle was 345), but I couldn't increment by even 5 lbs lower/2.5 lbs upper. I followed the program below, pretty much as written by Wendler, ate in a ~200 cal surplus (2000 is my TDEE), and slept 8+ hours almost every night (a few 6-7s, but also a few 10+s). I didn't miss a rep for any of the 3 weeks until my last heavy single, which I failed for deadlift, bench, and press, but succeeded on pull-ups (I didn't start training pull-ups really until this cycle, so I expect my upper back to progress more like a late novice).

    Is this program just garbage without eating in a huge surplus? Did my 3x deadlifts mess things up instead of running 3x squats + 1x deadlifts? What gives? I know it's only 1 cycle, but nutrition, sleep, and the program were all on-point, and most of the working sets were hard, for a total of ~9 hard sets per week per muscle group (18ish for back and tris).

    Here are my stats: male 5'4" 31 yrs 141 lbs

    My 1RMs: dead 345, squat 285, bench 225, press 165, pull-up bw+55...

    The program:

    Not currently training squat because of a hip adductor issue.

    Monday - Mid lower
    Tuesday - Mid upper
    Wednesday - Light lower
    Thursday - Light upper
    Friday - Heavy lower
    Saturday - Heavy upper

    Lower - programmed deadlifts and pull-ups, whatever abs (would usually be squats all 3 lowers and deadlifts only on light lower)
    Upper - programmed bench and press, whatever arms

    Light - 5 @ 58.5%, 67.5%, 76.5%
    Med - 3 @ 63%, 72%, 81%; 1 @ 85.5%
    Heavy - 5 @ 67.5%, 3 @ 76.5%, 1 @ 85.5%, 1 @ 90%

    All percentages based on 1RM; weekly increment of +10 lower and +5 upper.
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  2. #2
    Registered User Partyrocking's Avatar
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    Partyrocking is offline
    With 5/3/1 you're supposed to start light and progress slowly. You should be seeing your lifts go up over the course of several months or a year. I wouldn't expect a new 1RM in one cycle. Also, if you failed your +1 rep in 3 of your four lifts, it sounds like you started too heavy.
    You can't help the hopeless.

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  3. #3
    Han shot first! TolerantLactose's Avatar
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    At some point, you're going to need to gain some weight if you want to keep progressing.
    I can tell time. Time cannot tell me.

    Formerly LactoseTolerant. I'm not very imaginative.
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  4. #4
    Registered User Pur3p3r50n's Avatar
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    Pur3p3r50n is offline
    Originally Posted by Partyrocking View Post
    With 5/3/1 you're supposed to start light and progress slowly. You should be seeing your lifts go up over the course of several months or a year. I wouldn't expect a new 1RM in one cycle. Also, if you failed your +1 rep in 3 of your four lifts, it sounds like you started too heavy.
    The volume project is 3 typical 531 cycles per month. I started at 90% TM and added 5/10 per week to each lift which basically put me af 100% my old 1 RM as my heaviest joker
    :/
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  5. #5
    Registered User Pur3p3r50n's Avatar
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    Pur3p3r50n is offline
    Originally Posted by TolerantLactose View Post
    At some point, you're going to need to gain some weight if you want to keep progressing.
    I'm like 15-20% bf already, gaining 1.5-2 lbs per .onth, which is maybe even too fast right?
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  6. #6
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Originally Posted by Partyrocking View Post
    With 5/3/1 you're supposed to start light and progress slowly. You should be seeing your lifts go up over the course of several months or a year. I wouldn't expect a new 1RM in one cycle. Also, if you failed your +1 rep in 3 of your four lifts, it sounds like you started too heavy.
    ^ This

    Starting too high just means you hit a wall you won't get past.

    Every (good) program, no matter how its structured aims to achieve the same thing: you need to get yourself into a situation where you are doing more than did last time - without ever hitting this wall
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  7. #7
    Registered User Pur3p3r50n's Avatar
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    Pur3p3r50n is offline
    Originally Posted by SuffolkPunch View Post
    ^ This

    Starting too high just means you hit a wall you won't get past.

    Every (good) program, no matter how its structured aims to achieve the same thing: you need to get yourself into a situation where you are doing more than did last time - without ever hitting this wall
    Yeah, so what part of the plan is wrong? I started at the prescribed starting amount And used the prescribed weekly increments.
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  8. #8
    Moderator SuffolkPunch's Avatar
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    Hmm, it's a long time since I messed with 5/3/1 - partyrocking knows more than I do and she seems to think you started too high... the guidelines are open to interpretation IIRC so if you have biased it so your starting weights were too heavy but technically still in the guidelines.

    The only other thing I can think of is that you if you are only doing the basic 5/3/1 pattern without any accessory plan like BBB then perhaps you don't have enough volume to grow new muscle tissue.

    If it were me, I would do Calgary barbell instead - there is much less room for interpretation, you HAVE to do a lot of volume. But that may be because I have more experience with it.
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  9. #9
    Registered User Partyrocking's Avatar
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    Partyrocking is offline
    It could be that the 3x week deadlifts created too much fatigue, which would mask any improvements you made over the month.

    Not every has the same relationship w/ 1RM vs how many reps they can get at a lower percentage, so you may have faired better if your TM was 80-85% instead. I know that I'm better at 1RMs than my rep maxes would suggest, so I often start at a lower training max than I have to. It's less likely that I'll start off too low than it is that I'll start off too high.
    You can't help the hopeless.

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