T Nation

Accommodating for Beginner Gains

I was just wondering what I should do- I’ve been running the 5/3/1 for about a year now. The only problem was that when I started I was a puss and decided to go for the easier variations for the lifts. Instead of Bench/Squat/OHP/Deads, I did Floor press/Leg Press/DB shoulder Press/ and Lat pulldown (weak I know). I did that mainly cuz I had no nuts and was too lazy to fix my shoulders and low back.

Anyways, the past few weeks I started to the program as planned. Because I haven’t done those exact lifts in a long time, I set my maxes relatively low. For example, I set bench to a 205 max when it is really 275 (sloppy form though), Squats to 225 max when It’s truly 335 (again, shitty form, not so good depth). I had never done OHP and Deads before, so I set them to 135 and 205 respectively.

So I’ve noticed the past weeks the strength is really starting to go up, from the adaptations in the CNS. My question is should I play around with my max accordingly or just stick with 5lb increases for upper body and 10lb for lower body.

Thanks

Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Use the opportunity to actually nail down your technique while your lifts are going up as well.

[quote]LiquidMercury wrote:
Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Use the opportunity to actually nail down your technique while your lifts are going up as well. [/quote]

Well Said!

[quote]LiquidMercury wrote:
Don’t fix what isn’t broken. Use the opportunity to actually nail down your technique while your lifts are going up as well. [/quote]

Will do. Thanks!

That ^^^ and it doesn’t take long for the weight to get pretty heavy.

I will offer a dissenting opinion here…I’m not sure exactly how applicable this is to you since you aren’t TECHNICALLY a beginner, but I personally do not like 5-3-1 for rank beginners…I know Wendler and everyone else says its fine, but in my experience helping out with high school athletes and speaking with guys who work with them extensively, they basically “progress too fast” in the beginning on 5-3-1.

What I mean by this is someone that has never squatted before will grow exponentially starting out as their CNS adapts. Since 5-3-1 is linear and periodic, they will be banging out upwards of 20 reps on a lot of the movements for the first few months. I and the other trainers I’ve spoken with do not feel this is optimal for their development.

Instead, they prefer to start them out on something basic like Starting Strength for 8-12 weeks, and push that hard adding weight to the bar each session. This allows CNS adaptation and strength gains and keeps the rep ranges in a more manageable range. Then they move them onto 5-3-1 and the progress is linear as expected. I support this.

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:
I will offer a dissenting opinion here…I’m not sure exactly how applicable this is to you since you aren’t TECHNICALLY a beginner, but I personally do not like 5-3-1 for rank beginners…I know Wendler and everyone else says its fine, but in my experience helping out with high school athletes and speaking with guys who work with them extensively, they basically “progress too fast” in the beginning on 5-3-1.

What I mean by this is someone that has never squatted before will grow exponentially starting out as their CNS adapts. Since 5-3-1 is linear and periodic, they will be banging out upwards of 20 reps on a lot of the movements for the first few months. I and the other trainers I’ve spoken with do not feel this is optimal for their development.

Instead, they prefer to start them out on something basic like Starting Strength for 8-12 weeks, and push that hard adding weight to the bar each session. This allows CNS adaptation and strength gains and keeps the rep ranges in a more manageable range. Then they move them onto 5-3-1 and the progress is linear as expected. I support this.[/quote]

The thing is that I really like doing this routine, but this was the problem I was having. For example I cam in and hit my max for that day (205) with difficulty, but I dead lifted the next day also and hit 225 (BEAST!). What I’ve been doing is hitting sets as instructed, and increasing the intensity my assistance work (RDL, Good Mornings). I figure for the first few cycles I would do that, and also doing every other deload week. As the weights get heavier, the assistance will go back to normal, and the deloads will be as planned. Would this work? I really don’t want to leave the 531.

But honestly though as the other guy said, I think I’m going to use this time for nailing down my technique. At 17, I’ll sacrifice being the high school stud for kicking ass in my twenties.

Why are you hitting a max (205) on 5-3-1? That isn’t the program. Or am I misunderstanding?

[quote]VTBalla34 wrote:
Why are you hitting a max (205) on 5-3-1? That isn’t the program. Or am I misunderstanding?[/quote]

Max weight on 3 day