Heavy Light Medium Bench Stall - 17, Male Heavy Light Medium Bench Stall - 17, Male

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Thread: Heavy Light Medium Bench Stall - 17, Male

  1. #1
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    Default Heavy Light Medium Bench Stall - 17, Male

    • starting strength seminar april 2021
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    Background:
    17 years old, 5'11", 215 lbs, gaining 1 lb per week (have been a for a little over 15 weeks now)
    Sq: 425x5x1
    Deadlift: 490x5x1
    Bench: 260x3x7, 252.5x5, and 242.5x7x3
    I prioritize the bench because I want to compete in powerlifting; I do not perform the press.
    (My squat and deadlift programming is fine)

    Before beginning this training split for the bench, I did a program with overly high intensity and volume that predictably stalled relatively quickly. From my prior experience with my bench, I have found that I respond well to high volume. With this in mind, I set up a HLM style bench split where I started out doing Heavy Heavy Light. Before I started this program, I did a 1RM test and hit 265 lbs. On my heavy days I rotated 3 sets of 7 reps, 5 sets of 5 reps, and 7 sets of 3 reps; after I cycled through this I would add 2.5 lbs (1.25 each side) and repeat; this essentially added up to 5 lbs on each rep range every 3 weeks. I started out with these rep ranges spaced 10 lbs apart from each other sort of arbitrarily, but until now I never failed. On my light day I did 88% of the last 5x5 PR for 3 sets of 5 reps. I started this 25 weeks ago, so I had 25 weeks of never failing a heavy day volume PR just by progressing this linearly. Pretty nice. 10 weeks ago, one day my bench sets were a real grind, so I switched my programming to include a medium day: Mon=H, Wed=H, Fri=M, Sat=L. My light day was always a 3x5 at 88% of the latest 5x5 PR and my medium day was always a 4x5 at 94% of my latest 5x5 PR. This addition of a medium day, looking back, was probably pretty foolish because I made a major programming change over 1 bad training session; however, I continued to successfully cycle 10 more weeks of never failing any volume PRs. Leading up into this week, my heavy sets became real grinds. I had a hard stall this week when I failed part way into of 262.5x3x7 and the first set of an attempted 245x7x3. I don't feel beat up, tired, or sore at all.
    What is a reasonable course of action here? My gut tells me that I am doing too much volume on my light and medium days. Would cutting out the medium day be a good decision? Should I move onto HHLH while making 1 heavy day a high intensity day with low volume? Should I now abandon my simple volume cycling pipe dream entirely?

    Thanks,
    Jack Morrison

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Apr 2019
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    Hey Jack,

    If I were you I would take a look at "The Intermediate" chapter of Practical Programming. I know that's not very helpful as a quick answer, but I'm not a coach and so long as you are self-sufficient enough I'm sure the answer will be somewhere in the discussion of the Texas Method, particularly phases 3 and 4 and the later discussion on back-off sets. It sounds to me like you've been training at very high intensities and increasing the volume despite this may be too simple an answer, but what the fuck do I know?

    Best of luck Jack.

  3. #3
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    Iím confused. It took you half a year to go from 265x1 to 265x3x7 for bench?

  4. #4
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    The 3 rep sets make my rate of progress look really low. I had a typo in here: I hit 252.5x5x5, which is up from 215x5x5 at the start of the program the week after I hit 265x1. Looking back, I probably started with numbers about 10 lbs lower than they should have been for each of these rep rotations. I guess I can chalk up my slow rate of progress to overly conservative decisions with regard to my starting weights, my weight jumps (2.5 lbs), and just how long it took to alternate through 3 rep ranges before adding weight to each one.
    What would you say is a decent, realistic rate of progress on the bench for a mid-intermediate?

  5. #5
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    Having not seen your entire training history or your lifting technique, my initial thought is that you could be making weekly or bi-weekly progress still. I might be wrong. Everyone advances differently, but that's my initial thought. Keep doing what you're doing as long as you can make it work for you.

    Being a late-intermediate lifter, you should already know how you respond to training (which you have said you do) and you'll need to use that to guide yourself. I'm not seeing enough of the entire system to make a good evaluation of your program as it is tailored to you. At it's core, the question is "is there too much stress and not enough recovery or not enough stress?" and you've answered that yourself with "too much stress." There are ways to handle this. A deload week would probably do you some good every two months or so.

    I would recommend pressing on your light day instead of benching. In my opinion, pressing improves the health of the shoulders in ways that the bench cannot. This will also have the effect of reducing stress as a function of pressing being relatively light.

    You need to start thinking about 225-235lb as a 5'11" guy. You said you're gaining 1lb/week and that's great. Keep it up.

  6. #6
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    I agree with andrew. Keeping that press in there did wonders for me. I never flat bench, only doing incline as a press assistance movement. I tested my flat bench the other day and was able to pause 350 ( and I never bench). Sometimes a bit of variation can help! Goodluck

  7. #7
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    Would you recommend starting with a heavy 3x5 for the press as long as it runs on light days? By the way, I plan on switching to Texas Method for the bench with a 5x5 Monday, light day Wednesday, and an intensity 3x3 with some back off sets Friday. I got this idea from some post by a guy on the boards years ago named Sean Stangl. I'll see how this works with +2.5 lbs a week jumps and less total volume than my previous program. Considering my best 5x5 at 252.5, where do you think I should start my 5x5 on this new program?

  8. #8
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    3x5 will be fine for press as your light day.

    For the 5x5 offset, use your previous training history to figure that out, but based on your 245x7x3, 252.5 probably isn't an unreasonable starting place. It might even be a bit low, but you'll find out on the first cycle.

    Why not just do 1x5 for your intensity day?

  9. #9
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    If I did 1x5 for ID, this would make the back off sets x reps be a larger variable than 3x3 because if I did 3x3, i would do less total back off work. If I was to do 1x5, would you recommend a bench variation for back offs? 2 or 3 sets of 5 for, say, a long pause bench? When I start to stall and 1x5 gets extremely hard, is the solution to this ever to just only change something with the back off sets?

  10. #10
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    starting strength coach development program
    1x5 is the typical intensity day set up for Texas Method. No back off sets.
    Do you own practical programming?

    You might want to hook up with Joe Jaloszynski in Appleton.
    Last edited by AndrewLewis; 12-23-2020 at 05:22 AM.

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