T Nation

How Many Cycles in Should My Failure Set


#1

How many cycles in should my failure set (last set) be very close to the prescribed (5,3,1) rep range?

I recently retested my maxes and set them more conservatively then my first 5/3/1 3 month cycle because my progress was not optimal.

So right now for the last set of 5x5 (Week 1) I can go to about 10 reps comfortably.My question is, how many complete cycles in should my failure range be 5 (or 6) (to judge wether to increase by 5lbs or slow it down to 2.5 lbs etc.)

thank you!


#2

I don’t think there’s any perfect number, but I’ll throw out 5 months/cycles. This is a pretty arbitrary number on my part since so much of your progress depends on rest and recovery… In theory you could progress several months, or stall next month… All based on how you eat/sleep.

Since you’re new to the forum I’ll introduce the concept of the 5/3 reset. It’s five steps forward and 3 steps back. The idea is that after every fifth cycle you reset three. For some people it helps keep them in the sweet spot longer. For others it saves them from themselves since they never want to admit they need a reset.

5/3 can also be performed as a 4/2 or 3/1… But 5/3 seems to be the most popular.


#3

I started 5/3/1 18 months ago and I’m currently on cycle #15 and haven’t had to reset. For example I did squats last week and got 6 reps on the final set of the 5/3/1 week. I’m probably different than average though because I started as a “beginner” after a 13 year layoff from lifting but had some significant muscle memory.


#4

[quote]some_dude wrote:
I don’t think there’s any perfect number, but I’ll throw out 5 months/cycles. This is a pretty arbitrary number on my part since so much of your progress depends on rest and recovery… In theory you could progress several months, or stall next month… All based on how you eat/sleep.

Since you’re new to the forum I’ll introduce the concept of the 5/3 reset. It’s five steps forward and 3 steps back. The idea is that after every fifth cycle you reset three. For some people it helps keep them in the sweet spot longer. For others it saves them from themselves since they never want to admit they need a reset.

5/3 can also be performed as a 4/2 or 3/1… But 5/3 seems to be the most popular.[/quote]

thanks


#5

[quote]Discobolus wrote:
I started 5/3/1 18 months ago and I’m currently on cycle #15 and haven’t had to reset. For example I did squats last week and got 6 reps on the final set of the 5/3/1 week. I’m probably different than average though because I started as a “beginner” after a 13 year layoff from lifting but had some significant muscle memory. [/quote]

Ok 2 questions:

1- Do you always take the 4th week, if not how many /15 cycles did you not take it
2- Do you keep your press/bench +5lbs per cycle and squat/deads 10lbs ?


#6

[quote]punmaster wrote:

[quote]Discobolus wrote:
I started 5/3/1 18 months ago and I’m currently on cycle #15 and haven’t had to reset. For example I did squats last week and got 6 reps on the final set of the 5/3/1 week. I’m probably different than average though because I started as a “beginner” after a 13 year layoff from lifting but had some significant muscle memory. [/quote]

Ok 2 questions:

1- Do you always take the 4th week, if not how many /15 cycles did you not take it
2- Do you keep your press/bench +5lbs per cycle and squat/deads 10lbs ?[/quote]

This is definitely not the program for you.


#7

lol I’m going to assume that you’re a one liner type of guy
either way, I think I’m going to move forward with my new maxes, regardless, because I already bought the book

cheers


#8

[quote]punmaster wrote:
lol I’m going to assume that you’re a one liner type of guy
either way, I think I’m going to move forward with my new maxes, regardless, because I already bought the book

cheers[/quote]

Why would he waste his time with a second line when you’ve already disregarded the first?


#9

Where do you see me ask him to write a second line?
Also I don’t know about you, but concluding that a program is not for OP solely based on 3 questions that he asked is a ridiculous leap…

I understand he wrote the book, but all he’s doing is appealing to his authority, which is still a fallacy. Now I’m not saying he’s wrong, but he certainly hasn’t provided sufficient evidence to support his claim.

"An Appeal to Authority is a fallacy with the following form:

Person A is (claimed to be) an authority on subject S.
Person A makes claim C about subject S.
Therefore, C is true."


#10

[quote]punmaster wrote:
Where do you see me ask him to write a second line?
Also I don’t know about you, but concluding that a program is not for OP solely based on 3 questions that he asked is a ridiculous leap…

I understand he wrote the book, but all he’s doing is appealing to his authority, which is still a fallacy. Now I’m not saying he’s wrong, but he certainly hasn’t provided sufficient evidence to support his claim.

"An Appeal to Authority is a fallacy with the following form:

Person A is (claimed to be) an authority on subject S.
Person A makes claim C about subject S.
Therefore, C is true."[/quote]

You understand he wrote the book, but do you really understand the program?
One of the four principals is slow progression, and you seem to be quite ancy. You’re placing too much value in the training max, when it is as stated above; a tool. TM =/= strength! Taking your TM down isn’t surrendering your hard earned work, it’s allowing you to recover, set rep PRs, perfect your form, and get a running start into progressively higher weights.


#11

[quote]punmaster wrote:
Where do you see me ask him to write a second line?
Also I don’t know about you, but concluding that a program is not for OP solely based on 3 questions that he asked is a ridiculous leap…

I understand he wrote the book, but all he’s doing is appealing to his authority, which is still a fallacy. Now I’m not saying he’s wrong, but he certainly hasn’t provided sufficient evidence to support his claim.

"An Appeal to Authority is a fallacy with the following form:

Person A is (claimed to be) an authority on subject S.
Person A makes claim C about subject S.
Therefore, C is true."[/quote]

He’s just saying that you’re over thinking the program and it’s a very easy to follow program if you read and digest the contents of the book. For Christ sake you’re on here talking about logical fallacies…

To answer your questions, which you could of found through the search function, move forward 5 cycles adding 10lbs to your lower body and 5lbs to your upper body movements and then go back 3 cycles (5 steps forward 3 steps back). This should amount to continual gains over a long (read months/years) time.


#12

In my case I did move up 5 pound each cycle for upper body lifts and 10 pounds each cycle for lower body lifts. In doing so I squatted 650 in a meet with a 475 training max, bench pressed 350 in a meet with a 300 pound training max, and deadlifted 625 in a meet with a 510 pound training max. Do the program as written, it works. Now I’m 2 cycles past that meet and have another meet at the end of the month. If my attempts go as planned I will be squatting 700 with a 495 training max, bench pressing 365 with a 310 training max, and deadlifting 650 with a 530 training max.


#13

[quote]Discobolus wrote:
In my case I did move up 5 pound each cycle for upper body lifts and 10 pounds each cycle for lower body lifts. In doing so I squatted 650 in a meet with a 475 training max, bench pressed 350 in a meet with a 300 pound training max, and deadlifted 625 in a meet with a 510 pound training max. Do the program as written, it works. Now I’m 2 cycles past that meet and have another meet at the end of the month. If my attempts go as planned I will be squatting 700 with a 495 training max, bench pressing 365 with a 310 training max, and deadlifting 650 with a 530 training max. [/quote]

Congrats on the success and thank you, THANK YOU for trusting the process. It’s good to see people willing to do the work in the weight room, not the computer.


#14

[quote]Discobolus wrote:
In my case I did move up 5 pound each cycle for upper body lifts and 10 pounds each cycle for lower body lifts. In doing so I squatted 650 in a meet with a 475 training max, bench pressed 350 in a meet with a 300 pound training max, and deadlifted 625 in a meet with a 510 pound training max. Do the program as written, it works. Now I’m 2 cycles past that meet and have another meet at the end of the month. If my attempts go as planned I will be squatting 700 with a 495 training max, bench pressing 365 with a 310 training max, and deadlifting 650 with a 530 training max. [/quote]

This is a great example of how effective this program truly is, look at the bigger picture and plan for years not weeks. Congratulations on the lifts and hope your meet goes as planned.


#15

[quote]Discobolus wrote:
In my case I did move up 5 pound each cycle for upper body lifts and 10 pounds each cycle for lower body lifts. In doing so I squatted 650 in a meet with a 475 training max, bench pressed 350 in a meet with a 300 pound training max, and deadlifted 625 in a meet with a 510 pound training max. Do the program as written, it works. Now I’m 2 cycles past that meet and have another meet at the end of the month. If my attempts go as planned I will be squatting 700 with a 495 training max, bench pressing 365 with a 310 training max, and deadlifting 650 with a 530 training max. [/quote]

Just a question. Do you purposely keep the TM low so that you get more quality work in? The fact that you’re able to make such great gains with such a low tm is really intriguing


#16

I didn’t do anything on purpose, it’s just how I progressed.

For example when I started I tested my maxes and did 405 on the squat. I took 90% of that and set my training max at 365 for my first cycle. I’ve done 14 full cycles (I said 15 earlier but one cycle I didn’t complete due to some injuries so took a prolonged Deload and restarted after a few weeks), so my TM is now 495.

Part of the reason there is a huge discrepancy between my squat TM and my competition best is because my TM is based on a walked out no knee wraps squat. My competition best is with a monolift and Strangulator knee wraps. My best raw gym squat is 470 for 6.

It’s similar with the deadlift. In the gym I use a standard thick stiff barbell and use a deadlift bar in meets. So that makes a 25-35 pound difference.

I’m also a former division 1 discus thrower and was fairly strong in college. I started lifting again 13 years later and muscle memory kicked in. I’ve exceeded what I lifted in college by a large margin now though.


#17

You are forgetting that ,as he has mentioned multiple times, he was a discus thrower for his track and field team in college and therefore did not start with a beginner base. It is very deceptive of you and Wendler to speak of his progress as though it was the benchmark/ typical progress you should expect when going on 5/3/1, and consequently go on a “THANK YOU FOR DOING MY PROGRAM AND NOT ASKING QUESTIONS” rant. Most people do not progress that fast, therefore I believe it to be perfectly reasonable to ask questions/readjust when your progress does not reflect expectations.

Also @Jim Wendler, everyone in the powerlifting community knows that you are HIGHLY defensive and critical about people who even think about inquiring on slower then expected progress. Asking questions, Jim, and readjusting when you don’t meet expectations is how you progress in LIFE. If questions about progress irritate you this much, I would propose that you have insecurities regarding the effectiveness of your program that YOU need to address. From what I can see, you are proposing that EVERYONE be satisfied with whatever progress comes of 5/3/1 and remain completely silent on the issue. That is a ludicrous rule to live by unless you produce double-blind studies that prove that your program has no room for improvement and will outperform all other programs in terms of long term strength gains.


#18

[quote]punmaster wrote:
You are forgetting that ,as he has mentioned multiple times, he was a discus thrower for his track and field team in college and therefore did not start with a beginner base. It is very deceptive of you and Wendler to speak of his progress as though it was the benchmark/ typical progress you should expect when going on 5/3/1, and consequently go on a “THANK YOU FOR DOING MY PROGRAM AND NOT ASKING QUESTIONS” rant. Most people do not progress that fast, therefore I believe it to be perfectly reasonable to ask questions/readjust when your progress does not reflect expectations.

Also @Jim Wendler, everyone in the powerlifting community knows that you are HIGHLY defensive and critical about people who even think about inquiring on slower then expected progress. Asking questions, Jim, and readjusting when you don’t meet expectations is how you progress in LIFE. If questions about progress irritate you this much, I would propose that you have insecurities regarding the effectiveness of your program that YOU need to address. From what I can see, you are proposing that EVERYONE be satisfied with whatever progress comes of 5/3/1 and remain completely silent on the issue. That is a ludicrous rule to live by unless you produce double-blind studies that prove that your program has no room for improvement and will outperform all other programs in terms of long term strength gains.
[/quote]

Jesus titty fucking Christ I love the internet!


#19

[quote]punmaster wrote:
You are forgetting that ,as he has mentioned multiple times, he was a discus thrower for his track and field team in college and therefore did not start with a beginner base. It is very deceptive of you and Wendler to speak of his progress as though it was the benchmark/ typical progress you should expect when going on 5/3/1, and consequently go on a “THANK YOU FOR DOING MY PROGRAM AND NOT ASKING QUESTIONS” rant. Most people do not progress that fast, therefore I believe it to be perfectly reasonable to ask questions/readjust when your progress does not reflect expectations.

Also @Jim Wendler, everyone in the powerlifting community knows that you are HIGHLY defensive and critical about people who even think about inquiring on slower then expected progress. Asking questions, Jim, and readjusting when you don’t meet expectations is how you progress in LIFE. If questions about progress irritate you this much, I would propose that you have insecurities regarding the effectiveness of your program that YOU need to address. From what I can see, you are proposing that EVERYONE be satisfied with whatever progress comes of 5/3/1 and remain completely silent on the issue. That is a ludicrous rule to live by unless you produce double-blind studies that prove that your program has no room for improvement and will outperform all other programs in terms of long term strength gains.
[/quote]

Who is this “everyone” in the powerlifting community? Don’t be afraid to name drop.

What are your current maxes, height and body weight?


#20

Im 5’11 200lbs (probably 25-30% BF) 21 years old
Squat (beltless/with knee sleeves): 529lbs
Bench: 243lbs
Deadlift: 573lbs
Press:180lbs