I decided to begin your 5/3/1 for powerlifting program after singing up for my second meet in February of next year. After a devastating first meet and months upon months of struggle to crawl my way to any visible, tangible means of progress, I decided to run your program. After 3 weeks, I can say it is the best decision I’ve made since committing to compete in powerlifting.
Using the training max was probably the best thing that could happen for me, as it took a constantly heavy (and getting heavier every time without adding weight) bar out of my hands. I was shocked when on the “3’s” weeks, I hit a fairly EASY 10 reps on the bench. I haven’t done a set of ten reps on the bench in yearsssss. It was very uplifting. I also deadlifted 18 reps on the 5 week! I may have underestimated my true max, as I calculated them while in my perpetually fatigued state prior to starting 5/3/1 but that’s okay because even with these rep PR’s, the calculations are far beyond my initial maxes and I don’t dare wish to adjust my TM. I also hit a squat PR, which has been a slow to move lift for me, on week 3, while implementing the agile 8 warmup andreading your Strong, Fast, Brutal article on T-nation, both of which I feel helped vastly. My old press 5 rep max weights became my new 6 rep max on week 3 as well, which is staggering for me, considering it took me a whole YEAR to add 5 lbs to my press before 5/3/1!
I think the greatest things this program has offered me was simplicity, fun, focus, a welcomed reduction in training load, the reward of hitting personal bests and a new perspective. Your advice in your writings has been dead on. I feel anytime I have a question, I all ready know what your answer would be, as I doubt there is much you’ve published that I have not read. I know it is still early in the program for me, so my enthusiasm may be premature, but I look forward to running it for a long time, switching templates as goals change. I now look forward to every training day again, having a goal in mind and working to achieve it. your program has made it very simple(not always easy) to do that. Thank you for this. It has rejuvenated my joy for training!