Adding 5lbs to TM or Sets

Im new to 531 and just have two newb questions so please bare with me!

1.After punching in my numbers into a calculator, I realized that adding 5lbs monthly to the TM is different than adding 5lbs to each top set/monthly. Should i do it the prescribed way (5lbs to TM/month) or the slightly quicker way (5lbs to each work set/month)?

I figured that either way, its going to take at least 6 months (mesocycles) before I approach a 5rep max, 3rep, and 1 rep ( im starting light as recommended) even if i was trigger happy and added 5 to each work set/month.

  1. I just started 531 today, everything as rx’d, triumvirate assistance with no failure, 90% TMs etc. Today i ended with OHP, 115x11. With the rep ranges each week, what are the ideal reps i should be aiming for? (10 on 5s week??, 5 on 3s week etc)?? and when should i recalculate everything?

I tried 531 last year but didnt have the patience/maturity/knowledge for it. This time im seriously considering staying with this long term (at least a year)

Whatever you guys recommend, i fully respect and will seriously consider it, Thank you!

Should you do it the way the book tells you or the way you made up? LOL

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Do it exactly as Jim writes it. You’re definitely not going to come up with a better way than he’s already done.

  1. I think the difference between the 2 calculations is .36 pounds, which will be rounded off anyway. Don’t sweat it.

  2. There is no Real answer, everyone is different. But 11 reps on your first session sounds about right in the sweet spot to me.

11 reps isn’t really all that many either, unless perhaps you’re several cycles in. It gives you room to progress. It’s about long term progress, not trying to lift a few more pounds in any particular workout. You should always be able to hit AT LEAST 5 solid reps on your 1+ week during the last anchor cycle of your program.

Im realizing the book says add 5 to TM per month. I just wasn’t sure whether that meant the actual 90% 1rm that we base the sets off of OR each set goes up 5lbs per month? (upper body lifts)

Bump the TM. There’s lots of examples in all the books.

awesome, this was what i was hoping to hear. I just started today but im aware of my recent rep maxes so ill keep this mind.

ok, thanks for the clarification !

I use the 5/3/1 app because it’s super convenient and pretty well-made. I just increase my max by 5/10lb each cycle depending on which lift it is. Increasing the max by 5/10 will increase your TM by 4.5/9, so I think it’s safer to just add it to your max.

You can certainly try adding 5lb to each set, although you might find that it gets too difficult too quickly. There are some cycles where my 1+ for squat only goes up by 5, and there are other times when it goes up by 10–and I think the times when my prescribed weight increases by 5 lends itself better to the longevity aspect (which is one of 5/3/1’s strengths), allowing me to work with weights that I can get more reps with.

Bottom line is that the weight will increase either way, so experiment and find out what’s best for you. I’d suggest doing it Jim’s way for at least 3 months (6-7 cycles) before you start tinkering with it. I think you’ll find that what he’s laid out in his books and on this site is very hard to beat.

There is no Jim Wendler-approved 5/3/1 app. They all use stolen intellectual property.

Use the books to learn how, and a calculator and paper, or excel to figure out how much to pick up.