T Nation

Bad Workout or Time to Reset?

Been back on 531 for 3 cycles now since running a year on 5x5 …

I’m currently on cycle 4 and halfway through the 5s week …,

Been smashing PRs on all 4 lifts over the last 3 cycles and everything is progressing nicely.

Slightly concerned about my squat though …

At the end of Last cycle I ended with 5 good reps on my 1+ week which I was really happy with on 115kg

But yesterday on my 5+ week I could only hit 5 reps on 110kg and it was a grinder.

Training max last cycle was 120kg and this cycle it’s 125kg …

Not sure what’s caused this … but we are in the middle of a heat wave here in the U.K and it’s been 32 degrees the last couple of days. I don’t cope well in hot weather so I’m hoping it’s just this that’s affecting me and not some sudden strength loss.

Everything is on point otherwise … I’m eating well and using the BBB template

Monday :
Bench 531
OHP 5 x 10

Tuesday :
Squat 531
Deadlift 5x10

Thursday :
OHP 531
Bench 5x10!

Friday :
Deadlift 531
Squat 5x10

I also do weighted chin ups between all my 5x10 sets

I’m just wondering if I should put this squat session down to a bad day and the heat or if I should reset a couple of cycles for the squat TM.

No problems with the other lifts …

I know I can usually get a good 7 reps on a 120 kg squat when fresh …

But after the first 2 work sets on 65% and 75% i just didn’t have it in me to hit a PR

I’m deloading every 7th week …

Only getting 5 reps on your 1s week on your 3rd cycle leads me to believe your training max was too high to start with. A lower one will allow for greater opportunities to progress.

1 Like

I started at a very conservative 85% TM on everything …

But will happily go lower if reps are supposed to be higher at this point …

On average at the moment I’m getting …

Bench - 7 reps on 5s week
- 5-6 on 3s week
- 4-5 on 1s week

Deadlift - 8 on 5s week
- 6 - 7 on 3s week
- 5 on 1s week

Press - 10 on 5s week
- 8 on 3s week
- 7 on 1s week

Squat - was hitting 7 on 5s until yesterday
- 5 -6 on 3s week
- 4-5 on 1s week

My military press I started at 80 percent hence why the reps are currently much higher … everything else was at 85 percent starting TM

To give you perspective, I’ve been running 5/3/1 for my upperbody lifts since Nov of 2015 (was recovering from ACL surgery). Tody was my 3s week for bench and I hit 9 reps for my topset. The max you may have used to calculate your training max may have been a comp max rather than a gym max (ie: it was set on a perfect day, while psyched up, rather than on an average day feeling pretty average).

1 Like

Random thoughts:
-if you tested your actual 1RM and based the TM on it, there might be some error. Testing a 5RM for 85%TM works better imho (clean reps, no grinding);
-the difference in squats between 1+ week previous cycle and 5+ week this cycle might be belted vs beltless;
-your numbers on “+” weeks are on the low-ish side. With an 85%TM you should be getting about 7 reps on 1+ weeks, the fact that you don’t feel like doing a PR set after the previous work sets (if it always happens) implies your working with too heavy weights. You shouldn’t feel drained by 65-75% sets of 5.
-While you definitely should re-test your TMs and adjust them, a single workout usually doesn’t imply you’re stalling, bad days happen. Try to look at the big picture (i.e. a whole cycle), in this case it really sounds like you’re handling loads that are too heavy, in the future you might just have a few bad days

1 Like

Nah they were calculated from my regular gym 1rm lifts which I can execute any given day with perfect form and a pause.

I made sure not to bullshit myself and went with weights I can easily hit for a solid single on any day.

I don’t compete lol

Maybe I’m just not very good at repping when above a certain percentage.

If this is the case maybe I should reset to a point where I can easily hit a certain number of reps for each week…

How many reps should I be aiming to hit for each week ?

Maybe something like …
12 on 5s week
10 on 3s week
8 on 1s week

That’s why I clairified what I meant by a competition max; it’s not necessarily one set in a competition, but one that one would employ in a competition. Perfect form is impressive; I still don’t have that, haha.

But yeah, a lower TM is rarely ever a bad thing. Experiment and find what works for you.

1 Like

I’m very form conscious lol

If a rep feels sloppy or grindy I don’t count it.

But yeah I think I’ll just reset to a level where I’m hitting those rep numbers and progress from there.

1 Like

If you only got 5 reps at 110kg, then 110kg should probably be your training max.


This Is your issue here. Your training max should be a weight you can get 5 good clean reps with. Not just a single. This allows you to progress for much longer and build without deloads as often.

Try another week with the same weights

If it doesnt go well either reset maxes or even better fix your form for greater medium and long term gains

Another thing I forgot to mention: you’re using kg (I do too), increasing the TM of 5kg for lower body lifts. 5kg is 11lbs, which is MORE of an increment than prescribed in the book.
I suggest you do +4kg on squats and deads and +2kg on bench and press as increments, that’s 8.8 and 4.4 lbs which is a tad less than the amount prescribed but Jim stressed many times that you can increase less than that but not more.
That’s what I’ve been doing and I went 7 cycles without stalling except for the press (I started at 90%TM for all lifts).

1 Like

I think that could be the issue … 5kg does seem like a huge jump for squats.

I could try scaling it back to 4kg increments :slight_smile:

In general it does sound like i need to reset but I’ll finish this cycle and evaluate from there - I’m pretty happy with the other lifts at the moment so it’s literally just the squat.

It’s a shame considering I started at 85 percent of a pretty easy gym max and was hitting 10 reps on cycle 1…

1 Like