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5/3/1 with Actual Maxes?

I know the program calls for the 90% training max, but has anyone done any of their lifts with an ACTUAL max?

Please no assclowns trying to berate me for asking this.

worked for a while, eventually plateaued pretty bad , still recovering from it really. seriously just use the working max. you will see results soon enough trust me

agreed, Jim knows his shit, go with training max.

Have you read the book? You can read Jim Wendler’s philosophy behind not doing that there.

But I tried 95% and I just got burnt out and hurt. Like hurt pretty bad actually, SI joint thing that took 6 months to get my squat where it was and 8-9 months to get my DL where it was and even longer to get pretty close to pain free in that area. It still feels tight on rainy and overcast days.

If you are dead set on using your actual max, you can use this % instead:

week1: 75% x 5+
week2: 80% x 3+
week3: 85% x 1+

Offcourse this is almost the same, but atleast you are calculating off your real max.

Well, as Jim said, most people who worry about starting too light are weak to begin with. So do it as written and start at 90%.

Also, make sure you use the
65,75,85
70,80,90
75,85,95
variation of the program, the other one is fucking brutal. Its better to get more reps at the heavier weight than to be gassed by the first few sets.

However, you should check out 5/3/1 for powerlifting. I believe it is a superior program as it allows for heavier work based off your true max. Depending on how I feel, I like hitting a few sets of singles or doubles after the main working sets, as I feel the heavier top end work is lacking in the original 5/3/1.

Lets say your squat max is 500. 90% of that is 475. Thats your training max, so the heaviest you’ll work up to is ~450. So you’re never really going over 90%, which is fine in most cases, but I’ve found in my personal experience that I need to hit some doubles and singles to make the higher rep(3’s and 5’s)work translate. Which is where 5/3/1 for PL is fucking tight.

So,
1- Start with 90% of your maxes
2- Do heavy singles with 85-95% of your actual max according to the book
3- ?
4- Profit

FWIW, every experience I have read about by people who used too high a starting max, ended in plateauing really quickly.

this program is meant for the long haul, to be used for 6-12 months and much longer for some. when you add 5-10 lbs each month to your max that comes to 60-120lbs gain on lifts in a year. most people will never see those types of gains. start off to heavy and you will fail to hit the required reps. starting lower builds a foundation to place your house of muscle on.

You will burn out hard and fast doing that for very long. Start too light and work up slowly.

honestly, using the working max with 5/3/1, along with hard work all the way around your training should yield ATLEAST 5 pound gains in your max a month. if you dont believe 5 pounds a month every month is enough then you havent been training long enough to know better

I did use 100%, before I bought the ebook. My gains were good, but not really sustainable. I’d be able to do 2-3 cycles, and have to reset, and then start hitting the same weights/reps. Bit more wheel spinning imo. But, despite all the advice from Wendler himself and plenty of people on here, this question gets asked a ton.

[quote]308smk wrote:

However, you should check out 5/3/1 for powerlifting. I believe it is a superior program as it allows for heavier work based off your true max. Depending on how I feel, I like hitting a few sets of singles or doubles after the main working sets, as I feel the heavier top end work is lacking in the original 5/3/1.

Lets say your squat max is 500. 90% of that is 475. Thats your training max, so the heaviest you’ll work up to is ~450. So you’re never really going over 90%, which is fine in most cases, but I’ve found in my personal experience that I need to hit some doubles and singles to make the higher rep(3’s and 5’s)work translate. Which is where 5/3/1 for PL is fucking tight.

[/quote]

5/3/1 for PL is a much better option for hitting heavier weights. I agree, only going up to 95% of 90% (85%) of your actual max is not quite ideal. Using the original 5/3/1 I can kinda see why people get hung up on the %'s, but with the PL version its ridiculous to worry about it imo.

If your max is 400, and on your top set of the 3s day is 325x3+, as it should be with a 90% training max, you are ready to be flexible with your training. You can max out with 325 and shoot for a PR. You can do 325 for 3 and work up in heavier triples. If you are having a shit day, you should be able to get 325x3 and go home.

If your max is 400, and on your top set of the 5/3/1 day is 380x1+, as it would be if you use 100% training max, you have no room for anything, really. Your first option is to rep out 380. You might get what, 2-3? Where do you go from there on the next cycle or two? The other option is to work heavier singles on top of 380. Being only 20 pounds from your max, thats gonna be difficult. And lastly, if you are having a shit day? You might miss 380 altogether, a minimum requirement of the program.

[quote]xfactor3236 wrote:
honestly, using the working max with 5/3/1, along with hard work all the way around your training should yield ATLEAST 5 pound gains in your max a month. if you dont believe 5 pounds a month every month is enough then you havent been training long enough to know better[/quote]

I think its less than 5lbs a month, and less than 10 on lower body lifts. Whats funny is people complaining about those as being too low when actually they are high, hence the need to reset after 6 months or so.

5/3/1 for PL uses 2 maxes,
-Your training max, which your 3/5/1 percentages are based on
-Your true max/approximate max, which your singles are based on

The singles are not requisite, and i agree, having a lower training max is ideal as it allows for much more flexibility in your training. For example, i started at 90% with 5/3/1 for PL and im on my 10th cycle still going strong.

I would never go back to regular 5/3/1 if i was able to do 5/3/1 for PL. Its just a better setup.

[quote]mkral55 wrote:

5/3/1 for PL is a much better option for hitting heavier weights. I agree, only going up to 95% of 90% (85%) of your actual max is not quite ideal. Using the original 5/3/1 I can kinda see why people get hung up on the %'s, but with the PL version its ridiculous to worry about it imo.

If your max is 400, and on your top set of the 3s day is 325x3+, as it should be with a 90% training max, you are ready to be flexible with your training. You can max out with 325 and shoot for a PR. You can do 325 for 3 and work up in heavier triples. If you are having a shit day, you should be able to get 325x3 and go home.

If your max is 400, and on your top set of the 5/3/1 day is 380x1+, as it would be if you use 100% training max, you have no room for anything, really. Your first option is to rep out 380. You might get what, 2-3? Where do you go from there on the next cycle or two? The other option is to work heavier singles on top of 380. Being only 20 pounds from your max, thats gonna be difficult. And lastly, if you are having a shit day? You might miss 380 altogether, a minimum requirement of the program.
[/quote]

This is about the best explanation for NOT using your actual max that I have ever seen. Nicely done.

[quote]sufiandy wrote:

[quote]xfactor3236 wrote:
honestly, using the working max with 5/3/1, along with hard work all the way around your training should yield ATLEAST 5 pound gains in your max a month. if you dont believe 5 pounds a month every month is enough then you havent been training long enough to know better[/quote]

I think its less than 5lbs a month, and less than 10 on lower body lifts. Whats funny is people complaining about those as being too low when actually they are high, hence the need to reset after 6 months or so.[/quote]

I would be fucking ecstatic if I was adding 5 pounds to my bench every month!

5/3/1 with actual maxes is basically the Westside max effort method. Nothing wrong wit doing it but it won’t work with the same exercises week in and week out, you need to change em’ up.

You gotta keep one thing in mind when it comes to Wendler, he basically built the majority of his strength using the Westside method, then decided to disown it. He jumped on the strength coach bandwagon by getting cute and ripping off the “Bigger Faster Stronger” program calling it 5/3/1.

From the time he started using 5/3/1 on his EFS log he only really gained 25-40lbs on each lift, bringing them back up to the levels they were already at previously in his lifting career. After that, he plateaued hard and never made any more progress past that point.

5/3/1 is basically just Jim’s way to meet his motorcycle and mortgage payments. The program sucks.

^in reply

http://531year.blogspot.com/2012/04/final-post.html

He went from a 300ish squat/dl and 220bench to this in a year:
515 squat, 565 deadlift, 300 bench

@twiceborn, just curious; why do you say 531 sucks yet you told some guy to use it in another thread?

I used my goal lifts which I knew I would be reasonably capable of over the course of a number of waves. The decision was purely based on the fact that I had been pissing against the wind for a year. Original goal was to reach at least 9 to 10 waves before I need to reset.

It is working really well, all my lifts are significantly up, and my estimated 1RMs are showing I’m stronger than the original numbers. My incremental jumps from wave to wave are dynamic - meaning I will decrease the jumps as I move closer to my 1RM.

Wouldn’t recommend my approach unless you KNOW 1000% what you are doing with the program.

[quote]twiceborn wrote:
5/3/1 with actual maxes is basically the Westside max effort method. Nothing wrong wit doing it but it won’t work with the same exercises week in and week out, you need to change em’ up.

You gotta keep one thing in mind when it comes to Wendler, he basically built the majority of his strength using the Westside method, then decided to disown it. He jumped on the strength coach bandwagon by getting cute and ripping off the “Bigger Faster Stronger” program calling it 5/3/1.

From the time he started using 5/3/1 on his EFS log he only really gained 25-40lbs on each lift, bringing them back up to the levels they were already at previously in his lifting career. After that, he plateaued hard and never made any more progress past that point.

5/3/1 is basically just Jim’s way to meet his motorcycle and mortgage payments. The program sucks.

Im not going to defend 5/3/1, it has had plenty of success stories to do that.

But I will say that comparing 5/3/1 to westside ME is wrong, im not saying it’s anything new, Coan and many other of the older guys followed similar programs, but it is not about a max effort, these programs are working a motor pattern, and the majority are based on Prelipins table.
Westside ME is teaching you to strain, not to work a motor pattern, hence the changing of exercises.