T Nation

5/3/1 for Taller Lifters

I’m a taller lifter - I’m 6 foot 2 and a half so not a giant but a fair bit taller than the average and I also have particularly long legs (do we think the term “leggy lifter” might catch on?). Anyway, I recently started 5/3/1 and found that on the first week of the first cycle I struggled to push out more reps than the requisite 5 reps on my final squat set. I managed to get 8 but that was a real struggle compared to the easy 10 reps I had achieved in my final set on bench press day. I calculated the training max for bench press and squat the same way (using the formula Jim sets out in the book) and used 90% of that training max as Jim says.

Of course, it could have just been an “off day” but I came to the conclusion that, as has been written about on T Nation, being a “leggy lifter” means I have further to travel when I perform a deep squat and so performing a higher rep set is more taxing than for the general population. To combat this I’ve decided to recalculate my training max at about 85% of my predicted 1RM, because, as Mr Wendler says, ALWAYS START TOO LIGHT.

This wasn’t an issue of me exaggerating my 1RM because the 1RM I had originally calculated would have been doable - the problem is that performing a high rep set means a lot of “work done” (force x distance) which means that performing 2 reps is a lot more taxing than performing 1 rep, and performing 3 reps is a lot more taxing than performing 2 etc.

My bench press numbers are also very close to that of my squat (with my recalculated squat training max there is only 5kg difference) but, again, I put that down to the difference in the difficulty of each movement (there’s no way my chest and arms are stronger than my legs!).

I just thought this was an interesting obervation that no-one has really covered before and maybe it’ll help people with similar problems - don’t be afraid to drop the weight on your squat if you’re looking at next week’s lifts thinking “there’s no way I’m lifting any more than 3 reps at that weight!”. And you’ll be increasing your lower body lifts by twice as much as the upper body lifts so your squat should pull away from your bench press if you give it some time.

Do you have long legs and short arms?

Everybody is different; then again, we’re all the same on some level. If you think your pre-calculated squat numbers are too high, then drop them. But don’t use it as an explanation for every issue. the goal is to eventually squat 400, not to come up with the best excuse.

(this isn’t necessarily meant as an offence. Just keep in mind that everybody has long legs, a bad back, a fast metabolism, poor hip mobility. Work around whatever your issue is.)

[quote]nighthawkz wrote:
Everybody is different; then again, we’re all the same on some level. If you think your pre-calculated squat numbers are too high, then drop them. But don’t use it as an explanation for every issue. the goal is to eventually squat 400, not to come up with the best excuse.

(this isn’t necessarily meant as an offence. Just keep in mind that everybody has long legs, a bad back, a fast metabolism, poor hip mobility. Work around whatever your issue is.)[/quote]
Lol I have everything except the bad back, and poor hip mobility. Op, front squats are your friends as assistance work. So are romanian deadlifts (stiff legged deadlifts also), lunges, GHR’s (or similar) and barbell glute bridges.

[quote]MileyV wrote:
I’m a taller lifter - I’m 6 foot 2 and a half
Anyway, I recently started 5/3/1 and found that on the first week of the first cycle I struggled to push out more reps than the requisite 5 reps on my final squat set. I managed to get 8 but that was a real struggle compared to the easy 10 reps I had achieved in my final set on bench press day
[/quote]

hi !

I’m 6’2 too and on the 5/3/1 program for 3+ months now.
I have the same issue : squat day is the hardest.
Since 2 weeks now I hit the requisite reps on squat day but could not perform one more rep. On my bench day, I continue to sky rocket my numbers.

Long legs ? Maybe…or is it just because my legs was and still are my weakest point.
I don’t know.

Mat’

Not a monster Squatter here, but I’m 6’2" with stupid long legs. I sucked at Squatting, until I did it frequently and learned how to find a groove with my own personal body mechanics.

I’m not super strong, but Squatted 1.5xBW for 17 reps this summer, going below below parallel every rep. So you can do it man. Being taller and lankier just means you’re going to have to tweak stuff a bit more then others, form-wise.