T Nation

Clarification on Setting TMs for Different Templates

Question about 5/3/1 training maxes. I know this subject is beat to death, but I get contradicting answers on this everywhere. It was recommended to me that I try asking here.

So I’m a few cycles in right now and about to switch to BTM after this cycle is up. BTM states that it might be smarter to start with a 85% TM.

My question is 85% of what exactly? When I started 5/3/1 I took 90% of my current tested maxes at that time and have been increasing off those every cycle.

This puts my current squat TM at 290 (from 270 three cycles ago), do I take 85% of 290? Or do I take 85% of a new 1RM?

Can you do 5 strong reps with your TM?

Yes? - you are ok.
No? - you are not ok.

Simple as that. In an effort to make even MORE easy, we simply use the “5 strong reps @ 95%” as the guideline. Obviously this is much, much easier to know.


I guess the man just spoke.
85% of a new max. 1 rep or calculated rep max.
That number should allow you to do 5 strong reps at 95%.
For example.
So 100 is the max, 85% is 85.
95% of 85 will be 80 on the bar ( including bar weight). Not exactly but close enough.
5 good strong reps at 80
Good luck in your training!

So for programs where you can do 90 % TM, I need to be able to do 3 strong reps? Right?
And by strong, you mean no slowing down on bar speed?

Yes. You can use that as a way of assessment.