T Nation

Earlier Feedback about too High TM?

Hello all,

Awhile ago I picked up the 5/3/1 Forever book and came up with a plan to do 2 Leader cycles of BBB (TM at 85%, BBB at 50%) followed by 1 Anchor cycle of 3/5/1 FSL (TM at 85%, PR sets on 3 and 1 days). I’ve liked how the program is structured. It’s easy to schedule and I don’t find it that boring at all. Before my Anchor I did a deload week and after my Anchor I started a TM test week (which is where I am now). On my last sets of both bench and squat (100%) I failed to hit 5 reps. The book says that I should be able to easily bang out 5 reps of my TM when it’s set to 85% of my 1RM and so my TM is too high and I need to lower it.

I increased the TM for bench by 5 lbs after Leader 1 and after Leader 2 and made it through both Leaders and my Anchor just fine so I’m wondering if there’s something in my scheduling I did wrong that caused me to miss an earlier sign that my TM was too high. For example, during Anchor, the heaviest I benched was 95% of my TM the week before, but the program only called for 1+ reps. It seemed like a big jump for my next lift to be 100% for 5 reps.

Is this normal? Besides lowering my TM should I do anything else for the next cycle? Like adding Joker sets or something?


don’t overthink it. we have good and bad days. If you can’t hit your TM for 5 solid reps (I usually set my TM to my 10 rep max), just lower it 20 pounds. Increase your TM as normal over the next few cycles.

I never base my TM off my true 1RM anymore. I base it off of my performance during a cycle and never increase it more than 5 or 10 pounds per cycle. During the 7th week protocol after an anchor, I test my TM by increasing it 5 or 10 pounds and then do 5 reps at that weight. If they are strong and fast, I’m happy. I can always hit 10 or more reps at 95% of TM.

Thanks! Just out of curiosity, why do you increase your TM after anchor and then test it? I would have thought you would test what it was during the anchor. Perhaps it doesn’t matter?

My programming is as follow:

2 cycles of leader
leader 1
increase TM 5/10 pounds
leader 2
increase TM 5/10 pounds
deload - I just work up to my new TM for 1 rep
1 cycle of anchor
increase TM 5/10 pounds
deload - test new TM for 5 reps. If they are strong and fast, I use this TM for my next leader. If I am slow or do not get 5 reps, I drop my TM 10-20 pounds and start my next leader cycle.

You don’t necessarily HAVE to do this, but it is a general recommendation that most people follow. It is to see if you have gotten stronger, to test how effective your programming is. Eventually you will have to reset your TM but if you go through your training cycles and end up smashing a new 5RM and setting a new 85% TM I bet you will be pretty pumped that you discovered what training style/scheme works well for you.

Make sure to keep track of your PR’s. Even if your having to reset your TM’s you still get the opportunity to set new PR’s at lower weights. This also means your getting stronger.