T Nation

Advice for Intermediate Lifter Needed

Hi, I have been working the 5/3/1 and have 2 issues I’m hoping to solve.

  1. Using the TM (85% of 1RM) has started to feel too easy in Bench and Deadlift, and too difficult in Squat. I am not sure what changed as I have been using the same methods for a long time now. Should I tweak the weights? I recently tested my maxes, so I am confident I am using the right weights according to the program. I am longer-legged, could that be a factor?

  2. Recently I have noticed that Week 1 of the cycle, the 5 reps sets, feels significantly more difficult than the other weeks. When I stall, I fail at getting the 4th and/or 5th rep of the last set in Week 1 but then I can get all the other reps up for the rest of the weeks. Is there something I should be doing as far as work capacity? Is this common?

All my lifts are in the intermediate range of strength standards.

I appreciate any advice you can give me. Cheers!

  1. I’m not sure what you mean by “too easy” and “too hard”. It’s not about being “easy” or “hard” but that the reps in the lifts are done with 100% quality and are part of the bigger picture of the goal. Adjust as you need based on your personal needs; all you need to do is look/read at your training log and see what TM/supplemental work/assistance work seems to work best. I track every athlete I work with so this should be super easy for one person.

  2. I have no idea - push harder and try harder/get stronger. If you can’t get reps 4 and 5, it usually means that the weight is too heavy. I’ve never had an athlete that has this issue.

This makes zero sense to me. Are you using plus sets or 5s PRO?

If you’re using plus sets and struggling to hit 5 reps at 85% of an 85% TM, you’re lying to yourself about your real max.

If you’re doing 5s PRO, then how can you be hitting 5 reps at 90% or 95% if you’re not able to hit 5 reps at 85%?

Is it possible for you to post an example of a workout or two so we can see what you’re actually doing?

I agree that it seems like something’s off on your setup. Either you’re calculating the percentages incorrectly, or going through the weeks incorrectly, or something.

To your points:

  1. How can the TM “start” to feel too easy after you’ve been running the program a while? Aren’t you raising it after each cycle?
  2. This also ties into #1, in that it seems like your TM’s might just be wrong. Also this seems to contradict #1 by the following: how can your TM feel too light, yet you are not able to hit your reps in Week 1? Something doesn’t add up.
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I think like everyone else has already stated, your TM is set incorrectly and is too high.

Just curious:

  1. What books do you have/are using for reference?

  2. Are you by chance using a 5/3/1 app on your phone to run the program?

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