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5/3/1 Mess/ Power Loss?

Hey guys,
I’ve read of allot of your successes with 5/3/1, I wanted to know if my results are normal should I have started with lower weight? Am I burnt out? whats up? Anyhow, here is what has been going on. I’ve been on 5/3/1 for eight total weeks, Here is my past final sets on benches

Best BP in competition is 337 I approximated I am around there as before starting the cycle I hit 295x5,4,4

  1. 255x7
  2. 270x5
  3. 285x4
  4. Deload
  5. 260x6
  6. 270x4
  7. 290x4
  8. Deload

Its odd, weights feel heavier than before I began the 5/3/1 and slower. Also, form seems a bit different I used to push up more in a straight line, now I tend to go a bit more over the face. Plus the reps seem lower. Is this normal? Could this be because I am doing military press as well, a lift I used to not do at all? The higher reps, lowering my explosive power? I would rarely go over five reps before I began the cycle, and I would do speed work. Note when I say power too, I’m referring to speed not necessarily strength. I had of my best pound for pound sumo Dls 523 @ 148 raw doing mainly periodized HIT training one work set to failure. It was slow as hell but the strength was there. Since then, I would mainly follow a multiple work set format combined with speed lifts. Before starting 5/3/1 I would also dead every other week, with 5/3/1 dead every week.

Standing Militaries:

  1. 130x8
  2. 140x6
    3.145x3
  3. Deload
  4. 135x8
  5. 145x5
  6. 150x5
  7. Deload

These seem fine, I assume some of the increase is that I’ve never focused on this lift or really ever practiced it until now, so my body is just learning the movement pattern, beginner increases.

I’ve hit 500 in the gym and in comp hit 467, but don’t think I could do it now, I set my max to 470. I’m a wide stance raw squatter.

Squats

  1. 365x7
  2. 390x6
  3. 410x4
  4. Deload
  5. 375x8
  6. 395x6
  7. 420x4
  8. Deload

These seem to be going fine as well, should i be getting more reps though?

Deadlift

  1. 460x7
  2. 485x5
  3. 510x3
  4. Deload
  5. 465x7
  6. 495x4
  7. 520x3
  8. Deload

Deadlift is another odd one, my best in comp was 600 raw sumo, and recently I hit 535x3 before starting the cycle. Like bench I find the bar feels heavier, less speed on the lifts. The form is a little different too, while I tend to be a round back deadlifter, I am moreso than I have in the past, and it seems harder to blast the hips out and get leg drive. The decrease in reps is also unsettling. Is it overtraining? Is it normal, am I supposed to supercompensate during the deload week? Did I start too heavy? Maybe, it is that my muscle fibers which were used to low reps and speed work are becoming adapted to the higher reps thus producing less power? Anyhow, any thoughts, criticisms, trolling, are appreciated.

So it seems 5/3/1 is working for some lifts and maybe for others, have you guys encountered anything I have mentioned? i will say my cardiovascular endurance has improved since doing 5/3/1, the high rep 5+ or 3+ weeks do not get me winded like they used too, I am able to lower rest times from my old 5 min rest to 3 or less minutes as well.

I never mentioned accessories, For overhead presses the first four weeks I’ve been doing three to four sets of 8-10 reps on overheads. for the second four weeks I have been doing the three to four sets of 8-10 on overheads and bent over rows. I used to do bent over rows allot more before I began 5/3/1 so maybe skipping it f’d me up.

For bench, I’ve been doing straight line press close grips in other words avoiding going over the face. I did those the first four weeks. the second four weeks I tried straight line wide grip presses in the rack to eliminate the stretch reflex, all of these done for high reps. I also didn’t do chins during this time something I did before 5/3/1.

For squats, I did four sets of 8 to 10 reps on squats, I did this every other week as on deadlifts on fridays I would do beltless conventionals on the other weeks for high reps three sets of ten reps at like around 225. I find I am weak on conventionals, to have strict straight back form on conventionals i could probably do 450, round back probably in the low 5s. I would also do the ab wheel every other week for like three sets of whatever, hard to quantify I didn’t measure how far I went out or anything. This was all on the first four week cycle. The second four week cycle I would do ATG overhead squats for three sets of five. I’m still learning the movement so have only been working with 55-95lbs. I’m doing these to work the core and because I think my thighs are weak. Also, the last week of deads beforet he deload I’ve been doing glute hams on the lat pulldown, what a bitch can any of you guys do these without any pushup, I certainly can’t. Anyhow, i find these effective at helping push the hips out. I used to do parelle front squats after deads maybe, i should go back to those, they might of helped out my deads with the leg drive, I think they did nothing for my squat as I tend to be a hip dominant squatter. My problem is usually coming out of the hole.

Lower your maxes. Your reps seem to be a bit low. Use training maxes, not competition maxes.

When you mean pushing towards the rack when you say benching over your face (as opposed to in a straight line), then you’re fine.

Your rep numbers are close to where mine are. It’s really up to you and how your body responds to low reps. If you want to adjust them maybe try it for 2 of the lifts and leave the other 2 at lower reps. Over a period of time you can see which is getting you better results. This is one of those questions where you will get the best answer by experimenting on your own, unfortunately it will take some time to get your answer. Some lifts may work better for you with high reps than others too

the weight is going up, from the stats it seems everything is order.

Maybe take a week off, drop the weight, and try again

Yep. Seems like you’ve hit more than 5 in week one, more than 3 in week two and more than 1 in week three both times. Well done, but carry on progressing.

I didn’t notice from your post, but did you subtract 10% from your max? Jim suggests using this ‘training max’ (90% of your true max) for the cycles through 5/3/1. I think people will hit different reps for each day but yours do seem a little low compared with what most people report. As long as you are hitting the target reps and then some, it’s probably all good.

If you feel slow, why not throw in a few sets of speed bench/dead after your regular workouts? I’m sure you have considered that. The program has had great results for a lot of people but I think it’s important to remember that 5/3/1 is designed as a slow and steady program. Maybe stick with it a few months, do a comp and report how the progress has been.

Whatever you do, you’re one strong mofo! did I read your weight right ? 148?! with a 600 raw pull ??

Hey guys,
Thanks for the tips. i will try adding in some speed work maybe every other week not to drain the CNS. I think I needed some reassurance that things may still be working and that I’m not just beating myself into the ground. I’ll give the cycle a few more run thoughs and depending on how it goes this next time adjust some of the weights to allow for the high rep sets. Who knows stick with it a few more rounds, then setup a peaking cycle for a meet.
HeavyD thanks for the kind words but the 600 was in the 181lb class, i wish it was at 148 =).

Sending Message:
Hey guys, Thanks for the tips. i will try adding in some speed work maybe every other week not to drain the CNS. I think I needed some reassurance that things may still be working and that I’m not just beating myself into the ground. I’ll give the cycle a few more run thoughs and depending on how it goes this next time adjust some of the weights to allow for the high rep sets. Who knows stick with it a few more rounds, then setup a peaking cycle for a meet. HeavyD thanks for the kind words but the 600 was in the 181lb class, i wish it was at 148 =).

I see each of the three weeks you’re pushing beyond the rep target. One thing Jim says is to pick your battles. He suggests only going beyond the rep target when you feel good to you don’t overtax your recovery ability.

Others have reported that they only push it on 2 out of the 3 weeks. If you push it hard on the 5 and 1 weeks it gives you two weeks between.

Good luck.

I found the hard way, pushing your last set every week will kick your ass. Like Jim and Seattle Lifter say, pick your battles.

Thats a good tip Seattle, I’ll use that for future reference.

Update

Military Press

  1. 140x5
  2. 150x5
  3. 155x4

Squat

  1. 380x8
  2. 405x5
  3. 430x4

Bench Press

  1. 265x5
  2. 275x4
  3. 295x1

Deadlift

  1. 475x5
  2. 505x3
  3. 530x0

Hey guys,
I was real dissapointed with this 5/3/1 run through, aside from my last week of squats I seem to be getting weaker. Before this run through, I had had rep prs on deadlift 535x3, today it didn’t budge for one rep, and I have deadlifted 600 in comp before, on bench press yesterday I only hit 295x1, before starting 5/3/1 I had hit 295 for 5 reps and hit 335 in a meet. I feel like this strength decrease might be attributed to me being a little burnt out, acclimating my body to higher reps, before starting this program, I rarely every went over 5 reps, if that. Maybe, muscle fibers have changed to support more endurance type activities at the cost of loss of strength.
i mention burned out as my last squat this week of 4 reps was a real grinder, i was happy to have gotten it though. I notice when I get burned out or strength starts decreasing I get moody and do not want to go to the gym, needless to say, these past few weeks the gym has been the last thing I’ve wanted to do, particularly deadlifts.
I guess you never know if a program works for you until you try it, either way you still feel you have failed by losing strength. Anyhow, I will be starting up a different program after I take next week off.

damn you even de-loaded after that and still lost strength? You sure your deloading properly?

Aside from that…maybe it just ain’t for you…I’m gonna be doing 5/3/1 for deads (i like you suck at conventiona lol)
To see if it can bring it up cause I find myself I burn out on deads quick cause I try to blast it too much.
If I do some more reps with 5/3/1 and not go all out I think it’ll bring some good strength/better my form.

Hopefully you find somethin that works for you!

[quote]Oreillbc wrote:
Update

Military Press

  1. 140x5
  2. 150x5
  3. 155x4

Squat

  1. 380x8
  2. 405x5
  3. 430x4

Bench Press

  1. 265x5
  2. 275x4
  3. 295x1

Deadlift

  1. 475x5
  2. 505x3
  3. 530x0

Hey guys,
I was real dissapointed with this 5/3/1 run through, aside from my last week of squats I seem to be getting weaker. Before this run through, I had had rep prs on deadlift 535x3, today it didn’t budge for one rep, and I have deadlifted 600 in comp before, on bench press yesterday I only hit 295x1, before starting 5/3/1 I had hit 295 for 5 reps and hit 335 in a meet. I feel like this strength decrease might be attributed to me being a little burnt out, acclimating my body to higher reps, before starting this program, I rarely every went over 5 reps, if that. Maybe, muscle fibers have changed to support more endurance type activities at the cost of loss of strength.
i mention burned out as my last squat this week of 4 reps was a real grinder, i was happy to have gotten it though. I notice when I get burned out or strength starts decreasing I get moody and do not want to go to the gym, needless to say, these past few weeks the gym has been the last thing I’ve wanted to do, particularly deadlifts.
I guess you never know if a program works for you until you try it, either way you still feel you have failed by losing strength. Anyhow, I will be starting up a different program after I take next week off.
[/quote]

I’d the exact same experience as you with it… I dunno if I just did it wrong, but I certainly didn’t get stronger on it at all.

I’ve always got my best results from either high volume on the main lifts, or high intensity on a westside-y basis. 5/3/1’s the middle of the road and doesn’t really provide either.

[quote]Hanley wrote:

[quote]Oreillbc wrote:

[/quote]

I’d the exact same experience as you with it… I dunno if I just did it wrong, but I certainly didn’t get stronger on it at all.

I’ve always got my best results from either high volume on the main lifts, or high intensity on a westside-y basis. 5/3/1’s the middle of the road and doesn’t really provide either.[/quote]

I’m glad I’m not the only one with the same experience, I was getting progressively weaker, I guess the conjugate method just works better for my body.

I think 5/3/1 is a little better for people who either haven’t reached a high max/bw threshold or where gaining unlimited amount of weight is not a problem. For others it seems to work in short post high volume cycles.

So someone who doe 315x5 but only maxing 335 would benefit much more then someone doing 295x5 and maxing at 335.

so for competition you might want to have a hypertrophy style cycle then a 5/3/1 cycle.

I did 5/3/1 for 6 4 week cycles. In that period I seemed to get a little better at reps but my 1 RMs went down. After that I went back to Sheiko and made progress on my 1 RMs. It seems logical that no single system is going to work for everyone. You just have to experiment and see what works for you.

[quote]Seattle_Lifter wrote:
I see each of the three weeks you’re pushing beyond the rep target. One thing Jim says is to pick your battles. He suggests only going beyond the rep target when you feel good to you don’t overtax your recovery ability.

Others have reported that they only push it on 2 out of the 3 weeks. If you push it hard on the 5 and 1 weeks it gives you two weeks between.

Good luck.
[/quote]

Listen to this mans advice. I tried like a dick for the first 3 cycles to beat my reps everytime. end result was overtraining and couldnt do shit for a good couple of weeks now I pick my battles which basically means I dont rep out on any exercise more than once per cycle, This doesnt mean i dont do more than 5 on the 5 day but I just leave a little in the tank.

IMO. Training very hard on the shoulders and chest in the same week is hard to get stronger on. If you read wendlers own log over at elite he is on a 2/week training and doing better-maybe because of more rest -who knows?

In my expirience trying to get stronger on both is very hard to do at the same time training up near max weights. I would back off the OHP by 15% and do not go to failure. Or train shoulders after chest as an accessory lift.

I personaly like a traditional westside template better where shoulders are focused more on the repetition day than a max effort day which in essence is everyday on the 5/3/1 program

You need to lower your training max a lot. For bench, if you have done 337, then I would suggest using 300 as your max (because it’s a nice even number). Wendler talks about all this. If the weights feel too easy at first, that’s the point, because eventually your current max will feel “too easy”.