T Nation

Did I Start Too Heavy?

Hey all,

I’m running 531 triumvirate for the first time and I think I might have started too heavy for squats. I just finished my 531 week and I hit the following :
Press: 132.5lbs for 7
Deadlift: 345lbs for 9
Bench: 210lbs for 7
Squat: 365lbs for 5

Did I start too heavy for squat? I used a calculated 1RM to get my TM weight. Is 5 reps low for the 3rd weeks? Should I only add 5lbs instead of 10lbs next cycle?

I’m new to the program so I don’t know what to expect for my amrap sets.


I believe I’d heard you can expect 10 reps of your 5’s week, 8 reps on your 3’s week, and 5 reps on your 5/3/1 week. This could be totally wrong though, and depends on several variables (the individual, how they ate/slept the night before, etc.).

Are you using a 90% TM? What weight did you start with? None of us know that info.

Also, I’d say that sets aren’t AMRAP sets. It’s not as many as possible, no matter what. It’s a PR set - you beat your own record, you don’t go to failure.

I was using a 90% TM yes. My TM was as follows:
Press: 155lbs
Deadlift: 365lbs
Bench: 220lbs
Squat: 385lbs

For the record I’m really happy with all my lifts. Particularly my deadlift which has lagged for me in the past.

You say PR I say AMRAP. It’s my first cycle so I have no baseline. Is trying to set a rep PR not an AMRAP set?

No. An AMRAP is getting as many as you possibly can during the set. PR set could be you simply hit one more rep than you did at that weight the last time you did a set with it and end the set there with several reps left in the tank.

Have you read the books? One of the big points on the PR sets is that you should be leaving a couple reps left in the tank the majority of the time to recover better.

You should be able to hit your Training Max for 3-5 good, solid reps. 3 reps for a 90% TM and 5 reps for a 85% TM. Another good rule of thumb is if you hit your 1+ set for at least 5 reps your TM is probably ok, which you have. If you can’t, it could be time to test your TM’s and reset them appropriately.


I saw nothing referencing leaving reps in the tank. He says bust your ass to get a PR. Being the first time I’m running the program I don’t have a baseline PR for 95% of my TM. And if you haven’t had a reset yet then it will never be a weight you’ve lifted before in the program. So I just hit 1 at an RPE 6-7 and leave? That doesn’t sound right. In his T-Nation article he even says:

“When you see 5+, 3+, or 1+, that means you do the max reps you can manage with that weight, with the goal of setting a rep record in each workout.”

This sounds to me like the 1+ is a balls to the wall set.

I should clarify to say I don’t lift until failure. I usually stop with the last grinder rep, so I might be able to hit another one. But didn’t try and find out. So no it wasn’t until failure.

Did you check page 5, 3rd paragraph down, of 5/3/1 Forever, where it specifically says to do this?

He did not write that article


This. Jim’s own work repeatedly advocates leaving a rep or two in the tank.

But to answer your original question, 5 reps in 531 week sounds fine. May be a bad day, may be a sign that you need to slow the increase of your TM, or address recovery better but it’s impossible to tell these things from one workout.

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Jim generally recommends starting a new program being able to hit your TM for 5 fast strong reps and to be able to hit at least five reps on every set for the entire program. If you’re hitting 5 (or even slightly above) on the first week, you may struggle later in the program. You’d probably be better with a lower TM and concentrate on bar speed and make progress for longer.