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1/21/2015 5:03:17 PM - Jade
What would be your advice to a raw, drug-free lifter who follows a west-side style conjugate program who is starting to stall out on most of his weights (especially bench)?
ht. 5'9"
wt. 193lbs
bf % - 10.5%
deadlift - 485
squat - 465
bench - 305

Nutritionally, I eat enough calories to aim for +0.5lbs/week and at least 1g/BW(lb) protein

Thanks, I really value your response!

Sorry for the delay and your question.

This is some advice I got from Dave and Louie back in 1999 at a WSBB Seminar at York Barbell.

If your bench is stuck. Stop Benching.

Now, if you are truly using a conjugate method of training, you are probably not doing traditional barbell bench presses anyway.

Understand the best thing about the human body is its ability to adapt to any stimulus over time.

The worst thing about the human body it that it adapts to any stimulus over time.

This plateau effect cause you to stall out on these lifts. The short answer that most will give when improvements slow down is:

1. Increase Calories
2. Increase Sleep
3. Reduce Stress
4. Change the parameters of training

One and two are obvious and you may or may not have control over to an extent. Diet is controllable to a point (chicken breasts aren't cheap). And no one that is truly successful sleeps more than 8 hours a night (at least not before they were successful.)

The third one is somewhat controllable. One thing we all have to understand is that our bodies deal with stress in similar way. Without a difference in training, other factors in your life could be causing stress which specifically increases cortisol levels. It's like a bunch of faucet pouring into the same bathtub.

So, has there been any change in your situation recently during this plateau period? Finals, work issues, girlfriend problems, etc.?

Finally, changing your schedule, frequency, volume, load parameter, etc. can make a hug difference. For most lifters, plateauing is associated with a recovery deficiency. Not saying you are under-recovered, but usually its about that.

Here are some different ways to change things up from the WSBB template and may help get you out of a rut. These wouldn't be permanent changes. These are random and some would even contradict each other. The key is finding what will work for you.

1. Go to a 2 or 3 day per week plan. Wendler wrote about the 3x per week plan about a decade ago. There are so many different formats.
A. 4 day plan over 3x per week.
B. Eliminating a DE day
C. Combining both DE days

2. Eliminate DE work. Replace with RE work
3. Cut out all accessories
4. Deadlift every other week.
5. Take 2 weeks off
6. Switch to 3 week rotations
wk 1: 8s
wk 2: 5s
wk 3: 3s then rotate exercises

Basically, I could throw random suggestions out here but the key is finding what is going to work. The first step is changing what you are doing. It;s hard, because you've got strong with the plan you are on and you are emotionally tied to it.

Hope things work out and let me know if you ever need anything else.

Mark Watts

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