T Nation

5/3/1 Questions


#1

Hi I have read the books but I am still just a novice. Been doing 5/3/1 for 5 months. My starting Calculated Maxes were:
Press 145
Deadlift 275
Squat 215
Bench 205

I ran it with some conditioning but not a whole lot of accessory work for the first three months. I started BBB in July doing 50% of Training Max then 60% in August.

Now in September my Program Maxes are:
Press 175
Deadlift 325
Squat 265
Bench 235

I missed a rep on my last "5" of the Press and Squats were wicked hard. I also missed reps on my Press BBB. I made my reps on Bench (no pr but 9 reps for bench) and Deadlift.

To be clear I have been using 90% of the Maxes above as my 5/3/1 Training Max.

Should I muscle through this cycle or reset and start from the first week again. How much weight should I drop back?

I have read different things about the PR set. Should I be crushing it every time? For squat and press I barely make the minimum reps. For bench I usually get a PR on the 3 week and the 1 week.

49 years old
5' 9"
225

Thanks


#2

OldGlory,
Good job on your progress so far.
I’m no expert and I’ve only been running 5/3/1 for two months, but its my belief that you should try your best to beat your rep PR whenever you can; however its not a requirement. Wendler has written before that on the days you are not up to it or your pressed for time its perfectly acceptable to do your minimum reps (either 5’s, 3’s or 1’s) and leave the gym. However, if you find yourself consistently missing the required minimum reps you need to reset. If using the standard 3 weeks and then a deload, the recommendation for a reset is to go back 3 cycles and start again from there. Since you just finished your 5th month, I believe you should go back to the weights you used in the beginning of your 2nd month and start from there.

In looking at your maxes, your bench and press seem a little off. If you are doing the 5, 3, 1, deload schedule, and going up 5 lbs for upper body and 10 lbs for lower, your maxes for the start of month 6 should be press - 170 and bench - 230. Your squat and dead are correct.

Lastly, take a good look at your assistance work and make sure its not hampering your recovery from the main movement and that they are designed to bring up the weak points of your main movements.


#3

Thanks Stoicwarrior

Good catch I had a math error on my Press and Bench calculations but I finished the cycle so I didn’t want to go backwards. I think I will see how I feel for the rest of this cycle then reset the weight back a few cycles as you suggested.


#4

An additional question on BBB. If I reset my Program Max do I reset my BBB weight as well?


#5

Once you reset and get all your training maxes set, I would just take 50% of those new maxes and start from there. Unless 50% is just too easy, dont be in a rush to improve too much on the assistance. Get a good workout, but you should not be dead after the 5x10. You can even do a reverse pyramid with the 5x10, starting with maybe your 12 rep max, but i would just start with 50% until you get comfortable.

Also, if a couple of your lifts are still going strong you have the option of only resetting the ones you have trouble with. The most important thing if your doing this program for strength is improving your main lifts.


#6

Go 5 forward, 3 back. At your age, your recovery is going to be weakness so the 5/3 may have to be adjusted for shorter periods.

Also, you go for PR’s when you feel good. If you don’t know when that is, do it on 3x3, 5/3/1 week. When you feel good on those days, go for it. If not, cap your sets.


#7

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:
Go 5 forward, 3 back. At your age, your recovery is going to be weakness so the 5/3 may have to be adjusted for shorter periods. [quote]

Thanks Jim. I reset three back. Can you clarify 5/3 may have to be adjusted for shorter periods?

Love the program. Thanks!


#8

[quote]OldGlory wrote:

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:
Go 5 forward, 3 back. At your age, your recovery is going to be weakness so the 5/3 may have to be adjusted for shorter periods. [quote]

Thanks Jim. I reset three back. Can you clarify 5/3 may have to be adjusted for shorter periods?

Love the program. Thanks![/quote] I have found 4/2 to work well


#9

Hi T nation!
i just discovered the 5/3/1 method and i am gonna do this for quite some time.
I’ve been training with 3-6 reps for a long time but i’m seeking new challenges/options.
How ever a got this question:
(lets say you are gonna do shoulder press at 1. week)

Are you then suposed to do:

  1. 3 sets, 5 reps with 65%
  2. 3 sets, 5 reps with 75 %
  3. 3 sets, 5 reps 85%

thereby doing a total of 9 sets?

  • And so on for Bench, Deadlift and squad?
    (tho its gonna change to 3 reps next week and so forth)
    that would at least make sense.

Best
Thomas, DK


#10

[quote]Shaun87 wrote:

[quote]OldGlory wrote:

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:
Go 5 forward, 3 back. At your age, your recovery is going to be weakness so the 5/3 may have to be adjusted for shorter periods. [quote]

Thanks Jim. I reset three back. Can you clarify 5/3 may have to be adjusted for shorter periods?

Love the program. Thanks![/quote] I have found 4/2 to work well
[/quote]

Yes, you can use the 5/3 anyway you see fit. 4/2 is fine.