T Nation

How to Use 3's and 5's Progressions

The beyond book talks about using the 5’s progression either on its own or for assistance lifts but I have seen it used in a couple of the suggestions on here by Jim. So, I had a couple of questions:

  1. If you are using a progression with your main lift, especially the 5’s progression, your training max must start off lower than with the 5/3/1 correct (because on week 3 you are doing 5 at 95% of you TM so if you hit 5 reps on that last set it just about equals you current 1 rm. which might be hard to pull off.

  2. The Beyond book says to hit jokers for the same number of reps as the progression. It seems like that would be impossible especially on the 3rd week. So is just doing singles as jokers advisable for some/all of the joker sets all the weeks?

  3. If you are using the progressions for in the full body template or on the 4 day template where you do deadlift/press - squat/bench, do you use the 5/3/1 for the main lift then the progression for the other lifts? Or, can you use the progression for both the main and the assistance lifts just doing joker sets for the main lift and then the regular progression for the other lifts?

  4. How do you decide whether/when to use a 3s progression vs. a 5s progression?

  1. Sure, if that is your goal. You missed a key component to this and that is TM.
  2. In GENERAL, it is used for the second lift.
  3. You decide based on programming. Which is based on many different things.

Jim, thanks for the response! the reason I am curious about the 5s is that I am going to have an operation for a hernia in the next week or so and I am trying to plan for training after the surgery and getting back into shape (I know it is a long time out but planning now is keeping me from being depressed about being unable to lift for maybe two months). I just wanted to ask some clarifying questions if you dont mind:

  1. I am not sure what you mean by “if that is your goal”? My goal for the 5’s progression is to get back into shape and then get stronger if possible. I am just wondering how to incorporate the joker sets into your 3s and 5s progressions. In the book you add joker sets of 5 but in some of the posts on here you have recommended people use joker sets of just a single rep. So, I am just wondering what the logic is/how do choose the joker set reps.

  2. So, for a full body day using the 5’s progression you might do something like: Squat 5’s pro + joker, Db bench 5’s pro no joker, row 5x10?

  3. Can you elaborate a little on this?

  1. It’s all based on the programming (the lift being done, the frequency of the training, goals) - I don’t know how to answer this other than “it depends on your goals and progrmming” because there is no other answer that fits. And when you write a program for a book and for a person - 2 very different things. But both follow the same principles and everyone knows nothing is more important than principles - more so than sets/reps/days a week and other stuff that people stress about that dont matter in the big picture. Those things always fall into place when you follow/believe principles.

Lets talk DL and person A is average puller (2x body weight). His programming in a 3 day a week program for the lift is different than a stronger puller who trains 4 days a week.

  1. Yes, you could do that.
  2. ??? I don’t understand. It’s all based on the overall program.

If you are coming back from a surgery or injury - follow the exact programming I have laid out in the Beyond book for beginners (5’s Pro for beginners). It’s all laid out including the 5 Jokers. I have an article somewhere that details how to go about training through and around injury or surgery. Principles that seem to work regardless of situation. Once again, principles!