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Need help (Bill starr's 5x5) please


New member
I'm a newbie when it comes to 5X5 routines. I've been lifting for 4 years though. I have been doing Starr's 5X5 intermediate routine, and I'm in week 7. My weights have been going up every week until last week. Last week I failed with my bench (only got 265 three times) so I tried that again this week and same thing happened. I got all the squats but my form is going to hell, same with bent over rows.

Here's a link to my journal on

So I know that I need to do something. My question is what should I do? Should I just recalculate my maxes and start over? Switch routines? Bump it back a couple of weeks? As I said I should really do this since my bench isn't going up anymore and my form in squats today (the heavy set) was terrible (almost half squats).

And if I do recalculate my maxes, what could I do for this week's wednesday and friday? Just bump the weight down or recalculate em before wed and fri and do those weights?


New member
u could try resetting the weights 2-3 weeks back and work from there or u could change the rep scheme up.. like maybe 8x3?


New member
carlsuen is right go back 2-3 weeks, deload, focus on strict form and if you
want to you could also change the rep scheme. however, if you like it the way
it is just stick with it.


New member
If I were you, I'd try the simpler solutions first. The easiest thing to do would be to reset the weights back a little (maybe 3 weeks, or if you feel comfortable at this point, just use your discretion), the first 2 weeks will serve as a deload by default and you can probably bust through this plateau when you return to these weights.

Again, bro, don't think of this as a routine, but think of it as a way to organize your lifting to foster progress, you're gonna end up making all sorts of tweaks and in 2 years what you're doing will be sprung from the "5x5" but will look vastly different on paper.

First, milk this for all it's worth.....if resetting the reps doesn't work, we can rule that out, and then if you want, I would be happy to make some suggestions on tweaking the rep ranges a little and possibly subbing an exercise.


New member
Another thing you can do at this point, is look at your warmup scheme and maybe reduce your 4th set and maybe even the 3d set to sets of 3, which leaves a little more in the tank for that top 5th set. So:


Don't go too crazy with that scheme (e.g., warm up thoroughly and don't start doing 4 singles as you 'ramp' up to your top set, LoL). But it can get you some more progress.

Another thing to keep in mind: at some point you won't be able to max out EACH lift EACH week for weeks on end. The goal should be to get teh squat up, first and foremost. It is the program 'driver.' So, at some point, you may need to back off the volume in your assitance exercises (drop the beach work), or maybe start deadlifting once every 2 weeks rather than every week, or maybe move your rows to sets of 8 so it's not as heavy and taxing, etc. Those are all 'programming' tips that you can use in your arsenal when you come to a plateau.