I have been working through the 28 week program from the Beyond book and things have been going well with the squat and deadlift, but the upper body lifts have quickly regressed (the estimated max has decreased each week on each cycle and I am not hitting any rep records. I used 85% of a then current max to set up the numbers). When I began the last cycle (started the 28 weeks) I performed ~ 2 reps short of what would have been a max number of reps. I had been away from using 5/3/1 for a few years and people on the forum suggested this was the best way to get starting again. I have taken care of mobility performing 1 -2 sessions a day and including Epsom salt baths ~6-7 days a week… Sleep on training nights should be longer sitting at about 6.5 – 7 h a night (difficult to improve as I have 13 month kid and I don’t start training until he’s in bed), with the off nights and weekends being a bit longer at 8-9 h. Body weight is increasing slowly and I have included 2 treadmill sprint sessions (more like tempos) a week, which seem to speed up my recovery (I do not increase the speed or duration as I am only trying to maintain my conditioning levels – these are not taxing on my legs). Will change method of conditioning once the weather clears up to weighted vest walks/prowler pushes (lots of snow here in Northern Canada right now). I train in the weight room 4 days a week.
I understand that it takes longer for the bench and military to increase, but I was hitting what would have been 5th cycle numbers for 5 reps before starting the program.
I hit 5 reps on my last 5/3/1 week (this week) – 10 weeks into the program (first two sets for max reps) - What do you suggest here? I am thinking of lowering the training max to a number that is 10 lbs less than where I began the cycle (start of the 28 weeks – it was 215, so I would start with a TM of 205) or would this be too low? Would you cap these reps? Other suggestion?
I hit 6 reps on the military – I am going to continue with the set up until I can only manage 5, then go back 3 as suggested a million times?
I did body weight assistance for upper body for 1st 6 weeks increasing the number of reps each week (the main lift was regressing at this point)… Then I switched to close grip bench on military day and bb incline on bench day – I did them for volume (no reps to failure… tried to feel the muscles working). I read now that this is too much and these lifts should be programed as supplemental work, correct? I assume I should switch back to body weight or dumbbell work for total reps as suggested in the article on your site?
On top set for squats – is it OK to pause at the top for a few seconds? For example, this week I hit about 5 reps then need to stop between each rep – hit 11 total. I fall forward a bit on these sets (stop before it gets too sloppy), but make sure I do not on the fsl sets.
I am motivated to train 4 days, I am thinking maybe switching to 3 days might be better for my life right now. If I do this, would you recommend going 4 days on an every other day basis (so I would have 4 sessions 1 week and 3 the next) or place the military and deadlift on the same day?
Thanks again Jim! I really appreciate the time you put into answering questions. I have learned a lot from your articles, answers and books - I look forward to the release of your new book.