T Nation

5/3/1: How to Peak for a Comp?

I know if I wanted to test (roughly) 1RM I’d wait for the 1+ week and take increasingly heavy singles, starting at the 95%, until I reach my max. ie not adding the “+” bit. But, obviously, this approach doesn’t fit into a competition format easily. Any recommendations? I’m thinking maybe test the 1RM as above but do it ~2weeks before the comp.

IME you have to do a little more work with heavy weight to really reach your true 1RM. I would do a heavy workup every week instead of just the 5/3/1 week for probably the last two cycles before the meet. For military press, I would just do the prescribed reps. So week 1 you work up to a heavy set of 5, week 2 you work up to a heavy triple, week 3 a heavy single, etc. This is not maxing out, this is just working up to a challenging weight.

Wendler is coming out with a 5/3/1 for Powerlifting that should address this, but this is how I would do it using 5/3/1 as the base template.

Thanks for the reply!

A few people I’ve seen modify the template to essentially be a 3-5-1. Meaning they will do 3x3, 3x5, then 5-3-1 in Weeks 1-3.

In weeks 1 and 3, they don’t rep out the last set, and instead use those as warmups (or feeler sets, or primer sets, or whatever the gurus call them these days), then work up to their 1RM. I don’t recommend following Steel Nation’s advice to max out every week for 2 cycles before the meet, as I don’t think maxing out every week is a good idea. I think every two weeks sounds about right.

For week 2 in this template (3x5), you could either go for max reps or just stop at 5. I would probably do max reps just to stay somewhat true to the program (plus its awesome).

For week 4 you would just deload as prescribed.

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:
A few people I’ve seen modify the template to essentially be a 3-5-1. Meaning they will do 3x3, 3x5, then 5-3-1 in Weeks 1-3.

In weeks 1 and 3, they don’t rep out the last set, and instead use those as warmups (or feeler sets, or primer sets, or whatever the gurus call them these days), then work up to their 1RM. I don’t recommend following Steel Nation’s advice to max out every week for 2 cycles before the meet, as I don’t think maxing out every week is a good idea. I think every two weeks sounds about right.

For week 2 in this template (3x5), you could either go for max reps or just stop at 5. I would probably do max reps just to stay somewhat true to the program (plus its awesome).

For week 4 you would just deload as prescribed.[/quote]

I think this is basically right, but I wouldn’t necessarily go all the way up to a 1RM. Simply go up to a heavy single, but don’t go all-out. Save that for the meet. I wouldn’t go much higher than your openers, which shouldn’t take an all-out effort. The goal is to get used to feeling some weights that are heavier than the standard 5/3/1 template, but save the 1RM testing for the meet. If you are months and months out from a meet and want to test your 1RM to see where you are at, that’s fine, but don’t kill yourself with a 1RM in the last cyle before a meet.

Are you getting ready for a meet? If not , I would just test your max on one of the 1rep days . If you are getting ready for a meet I would finish up your current 4 week block of 5/3/1 and then start on a 4-8 week peaking cycle for your meet. That would set you up for the best preformance come max time. If you are getting ready for a meet shoot me a PM me, I can help you set up a peaking cycle.

[quote]NATOR wrote:
Are you getting ready for a meet? If not , I would just test your max on one of the 1rep days . If you are getting ready for a meet I would finish up your current 4 week block of 5/3/1 and then start on a 4-8 week peaking cycle for your meet. That would set you up for the best preformance come max time. If you are getting ready for a meet shoot me a PM me, I can help you set up a peaking cycle. [/quote]

Cheers!
Not peaking yet, but pan to at end of year (Oct / Nov). I used to compete regularly, did my L5 S1 disc and have taken 10-12 years of DL & SQ. Started back when I realised BOR of 145kg wasn’t affecting my back, so wanted to ease back into lifting (now I’m 50). I’m a bit apprehensive about maxing out so will probably just max the DL (and BP)

[quote]NATOR wrote:
Are you getting ready for a meet? If not , I would just test your max on one of the 1rep days . If you are getting ready for a meet I would finish up your current 4 week block of 5/3/1 and then start on a 4-8 week peaking cycle for your meet. That would set you up for the best preformance come max time. If you are getting ready for a meet shoot me a PM me, I can help you set up a peaking cycle. [/quote]

Cheers!
Not peaking yet, but pan to at end of year (Oct / Nov). I used to compete regularly, did my L5 S1 disc and have taken 10-12 years of DL & SQ. Started back when I realised BOR of 145kg wasn’t affecting my back, so wanted to ease back into lifting (now I’m 50). I’m a bit apprehensive about maxing out so will probably just max the DL (and BP)