T Nation

Anchor Questions: Exercises, TM

Hi all,

I’m reading through 531 Forever at the minute and I’m getting into a mess working out the finer points of anchors. Having to read the ebook on my phone doesn’t help either!!!

Ive got a feeling it’ll be pretty simple but I’m stuck on a few bits and am after a bit of guidance. My weeks are looking like this…

  1. Leader cycle 1: Beefcake (5s pro, 5x10 FSL, accessories as per JW’s article.)
  2. Leader cycle 1: Beefcake
  3. Leader cycle 1: Beefcake
  4. Leader cycle 2: Beefcake
  5. Leader cycle 2: Beefcake
  6. Leader cycle 2: Beefcake (where I am currently)
  7. 7th week protocol - Deload
  8. Anchor
  9. Anchor
  10. Anchor
  11. 7th week protocol - Test TMs
  12. Start again with leader cycle

Q1. Anchor cycle main/supplemental

For my anchor cycle (weeks 8-10) my understanding is that I run the main lift as traditional 531 (with AMRAP sets) and 5x5 FSL for supplemental lifts. Is this right?

Q2. Anchor cycle accessories

Jim’s overview on page 18 says that anchors have more volume on accessories than leaders. However, when he gives the guidance for rep number on page 23, they’re less than what I’m doing in my leader (25-50 push, 25-50 pull, 25-50 single leg/core whereas Beefcake has you doing 50 on most accessories and 100 on facepulls).

So what should I do with my accessories on my anchor? My gut says LOWER the volume but this goes against what the book says. Help!

Q3. TM for anchor cycle.

I’m running my leader (BBB beefcake) with a low TM of 80% due to the pretty brutal 5x10 FSL supplement lifts. Would I use this same TM for my anchor cycle though, and then just accept that I’m going to get some pretty high numbers on my AMRAP sets or would i up my TM to something like 90% for my anchor cycle?

Q4. Week 11

Week 11 (after my 3 week anchor) is test week. How do people usually structure this though? Just work up to 100% TM over X number of sets and then stop or try and push past it with joker sets? And what about supplements and accessories?

Thanks in advance to anyone who’s bothered to read through all of that!



Yes, that’s correct.

If you are lowering the volume on the supplemental work during the anchor (5x5 FSL compared to BBB in the leaders) you absolutely can raise the volume on the assistance. I prefer bodyweight assistance, so crank out more pull ups, dips, inverted rows, etc…

It’s not that you’re bumping up the % in regards to your TM as you progress through cycles, but that your adding weight to the TM you used at the outset. So, if you started with 200 lbs on bench and chose to set your TM at 80% of this, your TM is 160 lbs. Add 5 lbs to that 160 lbs each cycle (you can add 10 lbs to your lower body lifts if possible).

I don’t usually do a test week, so it depends on your goals. After I finish a 10 week cycle of a 531 program I usually take a couple of weeks to focus on something different, like KBs, modified olympic lifts, bodyweight, a Dan John protocol, or something else. This depends on your goals.

Hey mate, thanks for taking the time to respond. Really helpful answers.

Regarding Q3, if I was just doing cycle after cycle of leader then yeah I’d leave my TM at 80% and just keep adding each cycle. But that TM was deliberately set low due to the nature of the leader I was doing (Beefcake which is essentially BBB but with 5x10 FSL). Any higher than an 80% TM would have killed me lol!

It just feels like if I was to do an anchor cycle using a continuation of the same 80% TM then I’d end up pushing out a ridiculous number of sets on the AMRAP sets of my main lift and barely break a sweat on the FSL sets (which are now 5x5 rather than 5x10). Or is that maybe what JW intended?

So if for example I had a press 1RM of 100kg, with an 80% TM (so 80kg) it would look like this…

Week 1-3: Leader Cycle 1 (5s pro) - 80.0kg
Week 4-6 Leader Cycle 2 (5s pro) - 82.5kg
Week 7: Deload
Week 8-10 Anchor (531 AMRAP) - 85.0kg
Week 11: Test week - (work up to 100% TM) - ???kg

For test week (if I did it) what TM should you use…?

  • Repeat the same TM as the anchor cycle before (85.0kg in the above example)?
  • A slightly increased TM from the anchor before (so 87.5kg)?

There is no 5/3/1 Forever e-book…

Sorry mate, I meant to say beyond. I’m away working and spending some time reading up but dont have forever with me, hence my confusion as I’m working off memory, old books and forum posts.

You’ve (accurately) cited page numbers from Forever…

Yeah, pages 18 and 23. I asked the same question a few weeks ago on reddit but didn’t get many useful answers. Its still there if you want to go and check, or at least it was a hour or so ago. What’s your point? Are you suggesting I own an ebook that doesn’t exist?

My point is, given the context of your OP, I suspect you’re just reading a pirated scan of a pdf.

We’re talking 2.5kg difference so it probably doesn’t matter too much if you are consistent but you are testing to see if you have set an appropriate TM. Test the TM you are intending to use.

I pirate of an ebook that doesn’t exist? Jog on Miss Marple.

Brilliant Strongmangoals, thanks for your help.