T Nation

Going to Failure on 5/3/1

Is it a bad idea to go to failure on the last set of each exercise on 5/3/1? I only do 3-4 assistance exercises on each day which are 3 sets each so I don’t think it would really be that taxing on my body, especially with stuff like barbell curls and skullcrushers

Na go ahead.

Why?

[quote]black_angus1 wrote:
Why?[/quote] Because I mainly hit each muscle once a week and they only get 3 sets so I want to make sure I’m getting enough from those sets

there is no need to. i wish i could find the forum i was on recently that showed a research study that proved that maximal output from the muscle on sets of like 15 were at the 10-12 rep range.

to me it showed again how failure training is overratted.

[quote]Jordan94 wrote:

[quote]black_angus1 wrote:
Why?[/quote] Because I mainly hit each muscle once a week and they only get 3 sets so I want to make sure I’m getting enough from those sets
[/quote]

uhm 5/3/1 you hit upper body twice a week, and lower body twice a week. and to only think you using 3 sets i would think you are doing no accessory work at all???

[quote]asooneyeonig wrote:

[quote]Jordan94 wrote:

[quote]black_angus1 wrote:
Why?[/quote] Because I mainly hit each muscle once a week and they only get 3 sets so I want to make sure I’m getting enough from those sets
[/quote]

uhm 5/3/1 you hit upper body twice a week, and lower body twice a week. and to only think you using 3 sets i would think you are doing no accessory work at all???[/quote] I know the shoulders, chest and legs get hit twice a week I’m on about things like back and biceps

I went to failure on each top set for the main lifts over the last 3 cycles and got crushed, if not physically, definitely mentally. For the time being i’m going to be leaving reps in the tank each time: 2 for the first week, 1 for the second week and balls out for the main lifts for week 3.

Are you talking about the main lift or the acessory? Main lift id personally never go to actual failure, but some people disagree on that.

For accessory id say it doesnt really matter, but again personally i dont really see the point. If you want more work, do another set instead.

The key is balance. Sometimes if you are feeling like a billy joe badass, push for a PR and see how big your balls are. You are young, so you can probably do this more than some old farts can.

Just remember every day doesn’t have to be a PR kinda day (at least once you’ve been running hte program for a while). I like to abide by the 80% rule–80% of your workouts will be average, 10% will suck dog doo-doo, and 10% will be awesome. This is obviously not something you have a conscious decision over, as many factors come into play, but basically means over a years time, you should average out to about that ratio. If you aren’t you are doing something wrong.

[quote]Jordan94 wrote:
Because I mainly hit each muscle once a week and they only get 3 sets so I want to make sure I’m getting enough from those sets
[/quote]

So why not do something to hit each muscle multiple times a week? Or try adding sets? Why is failure your only option?

[quote]Jordan94 wrote:

[quote]asooneyeonig wrote:

[quote]Jordan94 wrote:

[quote]black_angus1 wrote:
Why?[/quote] Because I mainly hit each muscle once a week and they only get 3 sets so I want to make sure I’m getting enough from those sets
[/quote]

uhm 5/3/1 you hit upper body twice a week, and lower body twice a week. and to only think you using 3 sets i would think you are doing no accessory work at all???[/quote] I know the shoulders, chest and legs get hit twice a week I’m on about things like back and biceps
[/quote]
Deadlift works the back, and you should be rowing/chinning every upper body day, so your back essentially gets worked 3 times a week. No problems there. As for biceps, do 3x10 at the end of every upper body day. No need to go to failure. “Don’t major in the minors,” as Wendler so often says.

[quote]Jordan94 wrote:
I know the shoulders, chest and legs get hit twice a week I’m on about things like back and biceps
[/quote]

then do some pullups on bench day (or any pulling so dont end up with fucked shoulders) and rows on deadlift day. BAM! twice a week of back and bis.

I’ve been doing 5/3/1 for a while now, and I go balls out every day. For each of the big lifts, I go until I almost pass out. After I can see again, I do a 5x10 with as much weight as I can handle. I’ll do some arms after bench and press, but on my squat and dead days, my only accessory is flopping around like a fish after my 5th set.

Doing this depends on several factors, though:

How old are you? I’m 21, and I have no problem busting my ass. If you’re 40, you might want to take a different approach.

How strong are you? If you’re a 650 pound squatter, I doubt that your body can take that much stress for an extended period of time, even with monthly deloads.

Can you rest and eat enough to compensate for the additional stress? If not, don’t try it.

Is this in line with your goals?

I’m not sure if you’re talking about taking all of your accessory exercises to failure–but in that case, what the fuck?

If you’re just talking about taking your last set of the big movement of the day to failure, then again I say what the fuck? Can you not bust your ass for 1 set a workout?

I’m now on my fourth cycle of 5/3/1 and have found that my body has a hard time going balls to the wall on each of the “+” sets every workout. In the last two cycles I deliberately let a rep or two in the tank for the “5+” and “3+” sets and then felt really good for the hardest week.

It’s all a matter of your own recovery capacity; I tend to find out the hard way that I go too hard at the head end of a program and feel worn out halfway through, only to then back down and go hard again towards the end. If you can go to failure on compound lifts four times a week for a whole program microcycle and still feel fresh for the next microcycle, go for it – but I envy you!

[quote]Jordan94 wrote:

[quote]asooneyeonig wrote:

[quote]Jordan94 wrote:

[quote]black_angus1 wrote:
Why?[/quote] Because I mainly hit each muscle once a week and they only get 3 sets so I want to make sure I’m getting enough from those sets
[/quote]

uhm 5/3/1 you hit upper body twice a week, and lower body twice a week. and to only think you using 3 sets i would think you are doing no accessory work at all???[/quote] I know the shoulders, chest and legs get hit twice a week I’m on about things like back and biceps
[/quote]

what? you’re doing it awfully wrong if you only hit back once a week.
don’t go to failure. if jim were to read this question being asked for the millionth time i’m sure he’d throw up in his mouth a little.

Try it and see what happens. How should we know how your body reacts?

There are very few things that can be said with certainty about these things.

Sometimes less is better. Keep that in mind.

Keep in mind, “pr” and “failure” are two different things. I have been running 5-3-1 since 2006 with the exception of my bench, which needs some extra love now and then via Smolov. If you follow the book, start light, and use the formula to determine your hypothetical max and to determine before-hand what you need to hit for a pr, you will probably discover, as I have, that “pr” does not always = failure.