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My program for 6 months is 5x5 (stronglifts). My last workout ("A") was

  • squat 3x5 300lbs
  • bench 5x5 167lbs
  • row 5x5 112lbs

My workout "B" is:

  • squat
  • overhead press 5x5 105lbs
  • deadlift 1x5 265lbs (unimpressive perhaps because it goes after heavy squats)

There seems to de disparity between my squat and other lifts, compared to this chart:

lifting goals at different levels

I am not some monster with huge legs, muscle distribution seems pretty balanced. 6ft, 197lbs body weight, male 28yold

My question is whether I need to slow down on squats and add some extra upper-body work, and how to do it. I am currently doing weighted dips after bench days and assisted pull-ups after overhead press/deadlift days.

My plan is to switch, just for a month, to higher volume routine for example ("A" days):

  • squat 50 rep 225lbs
  • bench 50 rep 100lbs
  • row 50 rep 90lbs

(increase weight by 2-5lbs each workout)

It will be 2x volume (50 instead of 5x5=25 reps) compared to my current program but lower intensity.

  • You're either doing Starting Strength or Stronglifts which are very effective beginner strength programs. Is your goal strength or muscle building? – DeeV Jan 4 '18 at 20:03
  • @DeeV i am doing stronglifts, adding 5lbs each workout, never plateaued yet. Final goal is muscle building – Oct18 is day of silence on SE Jan 4 '18 at 20:13
  • How deep your squat is? You do squats / DL - that makes lower back, hamstrings more trained. That makes squats vs others outperformed. Try to switch - instead of doing squat twice do bench twice. That can make OHP lower, but it is like with DL today... – Michał Zaborowski Jan 5 '18 at 12:26
  • @MichałZaborowski I try to break parallel, but more often than not squat deeper – Oct18 is day of silence on SE Jan 5 '18 at 16:03
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    Not knowing much about you it's hard to say, but have you had anyone look at your bench press technique? I ask as this can make a significant difference to how much you can press. I've also seen bench press ability affected by muscle imbalance or weakness in scapular stabilisers. – John M Mar 16 '18 at 10:22
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To answer your question: no, you don't necessarily need more upper body lifts.

The philosophy of the program is to work harder your biggest muscles, hence the squats every session.

However, it is a good idea to add some extra lifts if you still can after the three main ones, especially if you are doing the program for a long time, to have a better balance between all your muscles.

  • Weighted dips are good
  • Pull-ups are also good : try to vary styles (wide/narrow, supination/pronation grips) and without assistance
  • Incline bench press with dumbbells : very good to work the upper part of the chest. I personally do 5x5 on this exercise every session, but I don't add weight as frequently as for the main lifts (because it is 5lbs per dumbbell)
  • Every other lift that is not isolated, and of course with free weights

It is OK not to match the chart given by Stronglifts : I can lift 180kg on squats, but I'm quite weak on the OHP, so don't worry about that, every person is different.

Regarding your volume routine you wanted to try (I guess by now you already did it), it is ok but the day you go back to Stronglifts will be very tough! (you might need to drop 40% at least on the weight)

Finally, you don't need to limit your program to 6 months, as long as you can add weight, keep on stronglifting! (I've been doing it for more than 18 months)

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