T Nation

3 Rep Sets for Deadlift

I bought 5/3/1 Forever (the newest book) and noticed that all of the programs have 5 rep deadlifts. I read Beyond 5/3/1 (admittedly a while ago) but I seem to remember that either the programs in there or 5/3/1 programs on the t-nation site used 3 rep deadlift sets, even on the 5’s week. Currently, I’m doing coffinworm and wondering about doing 5x5 deadlifts for supplement. I guess I’m not having that much issue but I seem to remember the concern with that much deadlifting was strain on the lower back. As I move up in weight, should I do 5x3 supplements?

That is probably fine as long as its only for certain programs. I don’t have the book with me at the moment so not sure what the coffinworm set/reps are. At some point it might be beneficial to do something like 5s pro followed by 5x5 FSL or even SSL or BBB but with a training max that allows you to hit the supplemental without issue, this means the main sets would be lighter/easier as a result but the goal is to build volume on the lower end so the top weight doesn’t matter as much.

I’m doing my second Leader cycle of Coffinworm right now. I think on Leader cycles doing deadlifts 5x5 at 70% TM is fine, especially since they’re done on the day you do OHP for the main lift. The Anchor cycle(s) may be different since the main lift volume is higher on the heavier sets. In the book Jim says supplemental work is optional for the Anchor cycles which makes sense since you may be going from 6 work sets to 7+ sets and there is the possibility of doing some of those as PR sets. I’ll see what happens in three weeks when I do the first Anchor. Maybe I’ll cut back to 5x3 or eliminate the supplemental deads altogether depending on how I feel.

5x5 was always fine for me,
Even 10 x 5 FSL was fine.

5x5 Squats SSL wrecked me on the other hand…
Think it’s more personal than anything.

Personally I’d veer more towards lowering your TM than changing rep schemes if you are struggling

1 Like

To add to this, regarding your comment “As I move up in weight”.

The anchor doesn’t need the 5x5 at all and the leader is only 2-3 cycles. This means the weight only goes up 1-2 times so really moving up in weight should never be an issue here, as long as you start with the correct TM.

This and what Andy said - unless you have some kind of lower back issue, dial it back.

Thanks, everybody.

And when I said “move up in weight,” I was thinking far down the line. I picked a pretty manageable TM and no issues yet (2nd cycle of leader).