T Nation

A Question on Periodization and TM's



I have been following 5/3/1 for the las 8 months with great results. My lifts have gone like this: Squat 355 1RM to 410 1RM, Press 175 1RM to 205 1RM, Deadlift 405 1RM to 465 1RM and Bench 265 1RM to 290 1RM. This is from when I last tested them a few months ago. I know these numbers might not seem impressive to most but I am pleased with them as I worked really hard for them.

My question is that I am currently on a deload week and will be starting BBB 5x1 for 2 cycles after having completed BBB 5x10, 5x5 and 5x3 for two cycles each. At the end I would like to test my maxes but as of the last cycle I can tell that I have been getting stronger via some PR AMRAP sets so that may not be necessary. I’m not a powerlifter and I work out in my garage so the only person I will impress will be myself.

I am thinking of possibly doing the 13 week challenge but making some changes on how I do the lifts. For example I’ve identified that my quads need some work so I would adjust my TM and do the 531 sets as well as the 5x10 sets by doing high bar instead of low bar. I would do the same with the bench but do the close grip instead to build. I would then re-adjust my TM and go back to low bar and regular bench for the remaining 6 weeks to put the muscle gained to use. Hopefully this makes sense. If I’m way off please let me know as I really value your advice.

As a side note, I purchased a prowler and the thing is horrible but I look forward to each session with it. It’s definitely a love hate with that thing.


Hey mate im not jim but i would just do the bbb work as your high bar/close grip and leave your main lifts as is this way you dont have to fuck with your tm.


The substitutes are fine

I believe it’s recommend to test your 1rm on the close grip and high bar then you can accurately work off that for your BBB sets


Have a think of the 5/3/1 principles and whether what you propose fits in with them.

If yes, go ahead. If not, there is some work to do.


This exactly what I would do. When going back to low bar for example, I would resume back to what my TM would have been after doing the normal increase. Actually I will most likely take it back 3 cycles and go from there.

Tsantos, I think I understand what you are saying and I believe I’m holding true to the principles in the books (I have 3 of them and read Beyond all of the time). For example I’m not doing BBB sets while trying Jokers at the same time or readjusting TM’s everytime I hit a PR in a lift. In fact as I’ve followed BBB 5x10, 5x5 and 5x3 I’ve fought the urge to make it “less boring” by wanting to add this or that to it. I know that this is why it’s worked.

But then again I know you’ve given a lot of great help so maybe I’ll think about your comment a little more. Maybe at the end I’m trying to over think it.


In general, Tsantos knows what he speaks. And he has the gift of writing no more than two sentences to explain himself. If he travels like he answers questions, sign me up to take a road trip. Shaun87 also does a great job on knowing the principles and giving advice.

Anyway, Keep the main lifts the same. Use the high bar squats as your supplemental work - this would be FSL, BBB, BBS, SSL, SST among a dozen others. Same idea for CG Bench.

Also, you can use both lifts as supplemental lifts on deadlift/press day.

Also, never, EVER play down your accomplishments. None of us here are freaks so I think we all can understand the work/commitment to make yourself stronger.


Thank you Jim. I will do as you and Tsantos have advised. And thank you for the great info that you put out. I really appreciate the no BS philosophy you have when it comes to training and life.