When I was a regular on a training forum online, I thought I found the holy grail of strength training.
There was a guy using the program making amazing progress and I knew it was the program for me.
This program was called 531, maybe you've heard of it.
It's a simple 4 day per week strength training program written by coach/lifter Jim Wendler.
After a few months of doing the program I felt like I wasn't making progress.
It was frustrating because I thought I was doing everything right, and other guys were making huge gains with it.
I started to see other programs and think maybe they were a better fit for me.
Same thing happened.
This went on for awhile.
Eventually I realized I needed to create my own program that suited my needs.
Often it seems like the BEST training program is the one we aren't doing.
While there is something to be said for keeping an open mind and learning about how other people train, no program template will be perfect for you as it is. (unless you are a total beginner and can still add five pounds to each lift every training session)
For beginners, I recommend the Starting Strength program.
This post is not a criticism of any strength training program, but an observation from years of training, that if you want to make optimal progress, you need a program designed just for you.
Many programs are great templates. They provide you with the basic foundation to build your own training routine.
Maybe you add an exercise or change a rep range.
It could be that you can only train two days per week and need to make an adjustment that way.
There are so many variables to be manipulated, I won't go into them all here.
The point is that if you are like me, you get stuck and start looking around to the BEST programs that you aren't doing.
You wonder if that is the magic plan that will grant you faster results. I've been there. MANY times.
The truth is, no program is going to be perfect for you, forever.
Your body changes, your life has ups and downs.
Injuries, stress, changes in bodyweight, new goals.. there are many factors that will determine what kind of programming will be optimal for you.
What to do when you get stuck with your training program?
So the next time you think the BEST training program is the one you aren't doing, maybe you just need to make a slight change to your current program to make progress again.
How to assess your current training program:
- Are you performing the basic lifts (squat, deadlift, bench, press, rows, pullups)
- Do you have any injuries?
- Are you doing too much volume or too high intensity?
- Are you not doing enough volume/too low intensity?
- Do you film your lifts and work on improving your form every session?
- Are you getting enough sleep?
- Is your nutrition on point 90% of the time?
Ask yourself these questions. Get real honest.
I'm sure you can find at least two areas you can improve on.
If you don't know what your training volume/intensity should be, I can help you figure it out.
You know if you are sleeping enough, and I'm sure you know if your diet is good enough to enhance your training.
Go over the questions above and see what you can improve right now.