Difference Between Deload TM Test and 531 AMRAP Reps to Gauge Next Cycle TMs?

Hi All

Curious to get some thoughts on whether people think there is a big difference between using the reps achieved during a 531 AMRAP set and a TM test during a Deload week to set new TMs for the next cycle.
Currently on a 5 Pros BBB Leader and 531 FSL Anchor so wondering if it’s completely necessary to do the 7th week Protocol after my anchor

Forever pages 19-21 outlines this well. The difference, as I understand it, is that your “AMRAP” set on the last week of your Anchor would be at 95% of your TM; not 100% of your TM, and not +5/10 of your TM…so there is some uncertainty for your next cycle if you think about it this way. The formula for calculating your training max is pretty good (for me anyways) but it’s just a ballpark value not something completely accurate.

After you complete this 5/3/1+ set (95% AMRAP) you are going to increase your TM by +5lb upper / +10lb lower for the next cycle, take a Deload, then start again with another leader (correct?).

This being the case, the 7th Week TM Max Test gives you a good way to check if the +5/10lb increase is actually appropriate or does it need to be reduced before you go into your new Leader cycles. Can you get 5 clean, fast reps (not grinding no. 5) if your TM in the next leader is supposed to be 85%?

No matter what, you do not increase the TM more than +5/10. But maybe you actually need to roll it back to your prev cycles TM you just completed. It could be the case you have to roll it back even further if the next leader you are going into is more vicious than the ones you just completed, and there is a chance that your TM may prevent you from completing the cycle with clean, fast reps.

You don’t want to miss any reps in any of the sets in 5/3/1…period. That would be a total failure as I understand it. Instead you would rather kick every sets ass over and over again so you have the longest term progress possible with no plateaus.

The 7th week TM test also gives you a valid Deload week where you keep intensity high enough but the volume is reduced. You may not NEED the the Deload, but taking it anyway can help prevent you from being forced to take one later. This theme comes up in a few places in Forever.

That’s how I interpret what is written on those pages.


Thanks a lot for the detailed response! Will stick with the recommendations and see how I go. As a side question, is there a minimum TM increase to adhere to? Should I be lowering my TM if I can’t do +5/10 or could I go down to +1 using microplates?

I believe the general advice here is to lower your training max so this isn’t an issue.

In one of the books (can’t recall which one) it does get mentioned that you could advance the pressing movements using 1.25 lb plates (+2.5 lb) and increment the lower by 5lbs total.

However, one of the reasons for using a TM in the first place, rather than say a 1RM, for setting up your training is to avoid this problem. Furthermore the TM Test is used to identify if the TM is appropriate and if not to reduce it to a level that makes sense. If you are falling behind there will be reasons for this: sleep, nutrition, stress, lack of effort. Own that and then fix it.

I think the hardest thing to wrap our minds around the TM is that it is not necessarily correlated to our maximum strength for that lift. It may have started out that way in the first book (90% of 1RM) but now it’s sort of become just a parameter that gets modified each cycle (+5/10 or TM Test Reduction, etc) to ensure progression. It seems that one can progress their lifts eventually from nearly any reasonable TM starting point (70% vs 90%). In fact, a lower TM may give you a longer runway to work with.

We should all be reminded that two of the main guiding principles of 5/3/1 are to: 1) start light , and 2) progress slowly.

It is expected that not all of your lifts will increase at the same rate. Your squat may take off but the bench goes no where for awhile. You may need to train your press for a few cycles before you “earn” the right to progress it. Just keep at it and eventually you will break through.

With this style of programming you are looking for planned, consistent progress that comes about by the use of time and effort. You may need to reduce your TM to assure this is possible, but not at the expense of solid effort. Basically don’t reduce your TM because it’s hard. Do it because it would be the smart thing to do to keep progressing.


Fair enough. Yeah I’ve seen the 1.25/2.5 elsewhere (and seems popular on other programs) which I did think made sense once you progress from linear gains but the nature of this program seems like it might benefit from starting lower rather than progressing lower. Thanks again! Appreciate the insight.

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