T Nation

5/3/1 Help

I started 5/3/1 for the bench press one month ago exactly. This was my first session of it and after reading the article I calculated my weights to be used off of 90% of my max. ( Which was 275) On the 3rd set of the first three weeks the program says to rep out but stay shy of failure. Well the first week I did 230 for 7 reps which was 85% of my 90% of max. The next week I got 5 reps with 250 which was 90% of my 90%, and the 3rd week I got 3 reps of 265 which was 95% of 90%.

The 4th week instead of doing the deload I repped out to failure with 205. The reasoning for this was because there was a lineman challenge for all of the local HS football teams and one of the events was a rep out with 205. Well anyways on the Wed. of that 4th week I got 205x20 reps. At the event on Saturday I got 205x23. The next Tuesday I restarted the 5/3/1/ cycle and just added 5 lbs to every set and this is where my question comes into play at.

I did 235x9 at 85% of my 90% calculation, the previous month at the same time in the cycle I llifted 230x7 where the program called for 85%x5+.
I increased 5 pounds and managed 2 more reps. Should I just up my other weights another 5-10 pounds because everything feels almost too light. I would not be opposed to staying where I am because I am making progress, but since I’m doing many more reps than what is prescribed I feel as if I’m not following 5/3/1 exactly.

Or should I start calculating all of the percentages off of my true 1RM?

One of the key things with 5/3/1 is DO NOT increase your training max at any other time than the monthly 5-10 lb. increases. Jim says in his book that it’s not atypical for people to get 10+ reps on the 5-day, 6-8 reps on the 3-day, and up to 5 reps on the 5/3/1 day, especially at the beginning. What you are doing is fine–the easier the weights feel now the longer you can go on this program without stalling, which is the entire premise of 5/3/1. Plus the higher reps could elicit some additional size gains, which never hurt.

It doesn’t sound like you’ve read the book, in which case I’d definitely recommend reading it because it can answer almost any question you may have on the program (plus there’s some stuff on his site).

Here is what my training schedule looks like:
MONDAY- Walking Barbell Lunges 205x20 yards 4 sets. Power Clean to Front Squat 8x2@90%. Stiff Leg DL from deficit 5x10 start @ 60% add 10lbs each set. Barbell rollouts or toes to bar 4x6. Calf raises for 10 minutes.
TUESDAY- 5/3/1 Bench. http://www.T-Nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/programs_for_the_pullup_deficient. BW dips 10x5.Barbell Shrugs. Work up to 10RM with straps. Then drop to 275 and rep out without straps for grip work.
WEDNESDAY- Arms. Set PRs in skullcrushers and barbell curls then go for pump. DB side raises 4x35.
THURSDAY- 5/3/1 DL. Leg Press 4x20. Calf raises for 10 minutes. Barbell Rollouts or toes to bar 1x failure.
FRIDAY- DB Bench 4x10.
SATURDAY- Vanity day. Usually more shrugs, shoulders, arm work, calves, grip, and core.

Previous Injuries I have a Torn Labrum in each shoulder from football season. Did not have surgery on either and now I am luckily up to 100% on everything.

Thanks for the reply, and no I never read the book just the article online here at Tnation.

On Friday in my training schedule I also do the pullup program in the link.

P.S. I love being young and being able to recover very quickly.

So you haven’t read 5/3/1, you’re not doing the 5/3/1 program to begin with, and you ask for “5/3/1 help” in the Powerlifting section? Come on, man! I’d just recommend doing the program as written after reading the book instead of having all of your random assortment of stuff thrown into a routine.