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Current Progress

Hey all,

So about to enter the 3rd month of Jim’s 5/3/1 program and had a couple of questions going into it.

  1. While I can match the numbers of reps required for each weeks increase on certain exercises, I struggle to meet the requirements on others. How should I move forward with this? Should I repeat the same weights until comfortable, or do as much as I can on increased weights? (For example, I am struggling to hit 3 x 3/70, 80, 90. on the standing should press)

  2. With the assistance exercises, should the last rep be to failure, or just a comfortable rep. (Sometimes find the assistance a little too easyâ?¦)

Thanks!

If you are already struggling on your 3rd cycle you started too heavy.

But I don’t think I did.

Month One was fine for exercises! Month two is where the weaknesses started to emerge!

I figured perhaps not eating enough to support the growth?

Either way, how should I fix this? Should I re-evaluate my arm and go from there? (Although that defeats the purpose of progression, almost like going backwards!)

How many reps did you get on your 5+, 3+ and 1+ weeks your first cycle?

I followed the program exactly, and managed 5/3/1 on those weeks. (I didn’t realise you could do more than that if you could though?)

Have you even bought and read any of Jim’s books on the program?

[quote]earthworm_gym wrote:
I followed the program exactly, and managed 5/3/1 on those weeks. (I didn’t realise you could do more than that if you could though?) [/quote]

The last set if each set is the PR set where you go for as many as possible, your first few months you should be able to easily get a few extra reps while leaving a rep or 2 in the tank.

Did you start with your training max at 90% of your 1RM? If you did, you would not be struggling to hit reps.

No, I haven’t bought the book yet, but I do indeed plan to. I guess I must have read the information page wrong from this site.

Whats a PR set?

But the 1rm principal is the same though. I put that in and did all the maths. Yet I’m still struggling in month two…

Think I’ll just look into ordering book.

and yep, did 90% of 1RM.

[quote]earthworm_gym wrote:
No, I haven’t bought the book yet, but I do indeed plan to. I guess I must have read the information page wrong from this site.

Whats a PR set?

But the 1rm principal is the same though. I put that in and did all the maths. Yet I’m still struggling in month two…

Think I’ll just look into ordering book. [/quote]

The PR set is your personal record set usually the last set. I would buy the book I believe its around $20 but its well worth it.

I’d say typically even in the 3rd month you should be hitting up to 10 on your 5’s day 7 on your 3’s day and 5 on your 1’s day. If not then you probably set your max too high. I would go with 85% for most people that works better. I’ve been on about 12 3 week cycles now and I have never missed my minimums reps yet.

You said you did 90x3 overhead. So your estimated max off that would be 99. then take 85% of that = 85lbs. and then plug that into the percentages of the program. 1st week would be a top set of 45x5

[quote]rniel wrote:
I’d say typically even in the 3rd month you should be hitting up to 10 on your 5’s day 7 on your 3’s day and 5 on your 1’s day. If not then you probably set your max too high. I would go with 85% for most people that works better. I’ve been on about 12 3 week cycles now and I have never missed my minimums reps yet.

It could be a matter of not enough rest and not enough food though.[/quote]
I am on my 8th cycle without a reset, and I will still get +1 all weeks. After this cycle, I am dropping back down about 15 lbs though to start getting a little higher reps.

[quote]rniel wrote:

It could be a matter of not enough rest and not enough food though.[/quote]

This has happened to me whenever I haven’t been eating enough or resting a lot I tend to have a shitty day in the gym and anytime I’ve set a PR its been the exact opposite.

Yeah, good advice! Thanks.

Think I’m going to finish up the end of Month Two (the deload week), then re-evaluate my 1RMs. THEN do what I was supposed to doing from the start and hitting extra reps on the last sets, haha!

What about the issue of conditioning? Should I be failing on final reps of those?

You should get the book as soon as you can so that you actually know the program. And no, you really don’t want to be going to failure on accessory work. I would even try to avoid failure on the main lift, let alone anything else.

And for future reference, when you’re having trouble with some lifts but the others are fine, you just lower your training max for the ones that need it and keep going with the rest.

Yes, I plan to asap! Think it has more vital info in there probably.

One final question, as I want to keep exercising while I order it (haha!). When you do a PR set, you try and break records. Against what though? the same exercise in a different week, or the same exercise/set scheme but in the following cycle?

(Trying to break the record in the same cycle, would make it unfair, as the % weight would be different.)

[quote]NickSP wrote:
You should get the book as soon as you can so that you actually know the program. And no, you really don’t want to be going to failure on accessory work. I would even try to avoid failure on the main lift, let alone anything else.

And for future reference, when you’re having trouble with some lifts but the others are fine, you just lower your training max for the ones that need it and keep going with the rest.[/quote]
The most reps at a given weight. Or your PR might be the most weight for a given number of reps. For instance, last Saturday on bench, I did 295x6 on my 5 week. My previous best 6 rep max was 290, and my previous best reps with 295 was 4.

[quote]NickSP wrote:
And no, you really don’t want to be going to failure on accessory work. I would even try to avoid failure on the main lift, let alone anything else.
[/quote]
I am not sure I agree with this. I do best going to failure on at least one set per session.

Great!! Thanks again for your help!!