Auto-Regulation and 5/3/1

5/3/1 has been my mainstay training style for years now. I thoroughly enjoy it and find it easy to stick with. The only issue I have with it is the planned progression regarding weight increases.

Is it complete sacrilege to use the reps hit on the top set of each week as a gauge for increasing your TM? For example, let’s say on the 3rd week I hit a solid, clean 5 reps on my top set (95% of my TM). I use this as my target number and increase my TM.

The next time around, I hit 5 reps again, but it was a bit harder. No worries, increase the TM again, as the target reps were hit.

Next time I come to the same week though, I don’t hit my 5 reps, so I decide to keep my TM the same and wait until I hit those 5 reps to increase it.

Has anyone tried something like this for 5/3/1? I realize it might not be strictly “auto-regulation”, but the principle is similar.

I believe the intention of the 7 week protocol is to not need to do this. You select the appropriate TM for the program based off the outcome of the 7 week protocol, rather than off of PR sets. Especially helpful if you’re running 5s protocol.

Right. I guess that is the program’s version of auto-regulation, in a sense.

The issue I have with the 7th week protocol is that by the time I get to it and test, I usually find my TM is too high for my next cycle, so I end up having to recalculate off the number I do hit and I get this yo-yo effect. I know that I personally gain strength veeeeery slowly, and sometimes putting 30 pounds onto my TM over a few cycles is too much. Should I just stick with smaller weight increases? Like 5 and 2.5?

Jim has said on here a few times that a great gauge is if you can hit 95% for 5 strong reps.