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Beginning 5/3/1 - Questions


I'm going to start 5/3/1 tonight. I tested my 1RM the last couple days:

Overhead Press: 135x1
Deadlift: 335x1
Bench Press: 225x1
Squat: 315x1

Now I am worried that these true 1RM's are going to cause me to fail on the first cycle because it has me doing 175x5+ on bench press. I was only able to rep 165x6 and don't know if I can do this without failure. What would you guys suggest doing to make sure I don't start off down a failing path?

I'm not too worried about the other lifts because they still seem mostly reasonable, although they are a bit heavier than I'm used to do reps with.

I've been out of lifting for a few years and have been back into it for around 6-7 weeks. But now I think it's time to go into a true plan that will give me some progress.


You base the 60%-95% percentages on 90% of the 1RM.


This 90% is very important. I had similar thoughts when I first started, but if your maxes are legitimate then you should have no problem hitting the weights and reps, assuming you are getting proper nutrition and sleep etc.

Good luck to you. If you stick with the program and push yourself it really does work.


90% of 225= 202.5 (use 205)

Then your week 1 is 60/70/80% of 205, so 125/145/165 x 5

You have the book? Read P 20 and 21 again, it'll make sense


p. 22
65%/75%/85% for week one.
130/150/170 for week one using a 202.5 training max
135/155/175 for a 205 training max

Cut your real 1rm by a tenth and use that as your training max which should have all the percentages for each week applied to it. I'll send you an excel sheet if you PM me.


I see what your saying but if you've actually lifted 225x1 you should be fine using that as your max. If you just round down it puts your training max at 200 and week 3 lift at 190lbs. Even if you have trouble on week 1 you will be just fine at week 3 for 8+ months. The numbers the program give have a way of working out just fine so I would be surprised if week 1 really gave you trouble in the first 4 months or so.

I think Jim mentioned this in some article but after your last set you can drop the weight to your first warmup (65% for week 1) and do a max rep set with that weight. This should help you get used to doing more reps.


You're right, I think the 60-80 is using the 3X a week, or something, but yeah, that's the same idea. I've always rounded up to the closest 5lbs.


I understand the quibbling but the focus is on progress. As Wendler says, 5-10 lbs a month adds up over the course of a year.

I'm not a total newb but If I can add 60 lbs to my bench and OHP and 120 to my squat and deadlift over the next year I'll be happy. My shoulder has been f'd up (been in physical therapy) but has healed up enough to start 5/3/1 again on Monday.

5'9, 160-165 and the 1RM's below are all actual lifts within the last month.

Bench: 225
OHP: 135 (actually got it for 3)
Squat: 255
Dead: 415

Yeah, my squat is super shitty and is the main reason I'm doing this program. Feel I'll actually stick with this opposed to Smolov or something I wouldn't follow through on.


Figured I'd post an update since I'm just about done with the first week. I managed 175x7 on bench press last night so I guess I didn't have much to worry about :slightly_smiling:

The last set of the workouts sure are a bitch though. You can really feel the burn after you're done with those.


last set of BBB or what?


The last set of the main lift. So 5+ for this week.

I'm currently doing the Triumvirate routine.