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Bill Starr 5x5: When to Check Max


I've been doing this program for 4 weeks solid now, and I can tell that I've gotten more muscle and strength. It's freaky. Anyway... I want to deload a bit, but I also want to test my maxes and do it again for 8 weeks. So my question is, should I take time off before I max out, and, if so, how long? Thanks.


Bill Starr's 5x5 isn't Wendler's 5/3/1. You don't test your maxes every four weeks. Give it another 8-12 weeks, THEN test your max. There's no reason to test it so soon.


Are you implying you check your max every 4 weeks on 5/3/1? I haven't maxed doing 5/3/1 for 3 cycles. Are people actually doing this? :-/

Unless you're PLing, who even cares what your 1RM is? Your 5RM is just as good a gauge for progress, and for basing loading off of.

But since you're dying to know, why don't you check your max after your 5RM is your old 1RM? :slightly_smiling:


So, if you're not maxing out on the week where you work up to sets of... one... what do you do?


You buy the book and read it. :wink: j/k.

The "5/3/1" program really isn't 5/3/1. You're not really doing 85%, 90%, 95%. When you pick your weights, you start low: all %'s are actually based off of 90% of your max. So, it's really 75%/80%/85%. "10/8/5" sounds stupid, though. :wink:

Additionally, on the last set of your main lift (squat/bench/press/deadlift) you are supposed to "rep out." Occasionally (or in my case, always [which may or may not be a good thing... probably not]) you go for a rep PR. Lots of people will hit 12 reps on their first "5" day. The lowest my reps have gone was 6 on my 1 day (the squat video in my profile).

So "5/3/1" is really a misnomer. But it's still an awesome program that lots of people are getting strong on.

Sorry for hijacking the thread, OP. :slightly_smiling: