T Nation

5, 4, 3, 2, 1

About 10 years ago, after I had been training awhile, I still didn’t have a respectable bench (must have been all those Muscle and Fitness routines). After consoling in a buddy of mine, he suggested I do “5 to 1” to bring up my bench press. The method was to load up the bar and do five reps, add weight and do four reps, add weight, etc. until you got to one rep with your max weight. You did this until you could do two reps with what had been your single max. Then you bumped up all the weights a bit and went at it again. As I recall, I got the best gains from this method I ever had… and since. In about four months I went from about a 240 max to about 300. I’m not sure why I went away from it, or why I haven’t returned, but I’ve been thinking about it lately. Being older and wiser, I’m not so enamored with the bench press anymore, so I’m considering applying it to squat and/or deadlift. Anyone ever hear or use this method before?

Sounds like a pyramid.If you keep the number of reps. in line with your percentage of one rep max it seems like it could work. If you have access to a T.I. 89 graphing calc. you can model a quadratic equation to derive the numbers you would like to use for the appropriate reps, in accordance with your goals. this is not a linear equation though, so the numbers get pretty funky as you approach either axis past zero.

[quote]mindeffer01 wrote:
Sounds like a pyramid.If you keep the number of reps. in line with your percentage of one rep max it seems like it could work. If you have access to a T.I. 89 graphing calc. you can model a quadratic equation to derive the numbers you would like to use for the appropriate reps, in accordance with your goals. this is not a linear equation though, so the numbers get pretty funky as you approach either axis past zero.
[/quote]

Yeah…Um…sure that could work or he could just apply the same principles as he did with the bench to the squat and deadlift. Brooks Kubrick liked this sort of rep scheme right before doing lots of heavy singles. It is very effective for strength gains in the squat and deadlift.

Bino,

Your post doesn’t mention whether any of the the sets preceding the singles were to failure or close to it. Even so, I’m glad to hear it worked for you. Here is a rep scheme recommended by one of the great old time strongmen that you also might like(bonus points if you know who):

BENCH PRESS
(1)Perform 5 singles increasing the weight on each one until the last single is a near limit poundage. Strive to increase the final single to 5 repetitions by adding one more rep to it each training period. At that point, increase the weight by 5-10% on all the sets and start over.

Finally, do 5x3 picking a weight that you can get 5x3 times, but barely. Strive to get 5x5 over time but stay a rep away from failure on each set.

For squats/deadlift, he doesn’t recommend singles, so do the 5x3 scheme above, gradually working to 8x3.

recent dan john article did this…