T Nation

Keeping the Same TM on Next Cycle

Long story short, there have been a few local holidays with gym closed, I’ve had some mild seasonal allergy symptoms for a few days, haven’t slept well a few other days, missed on one squat day, rushed a pair of workouts due to life stuff and such.
In a few words, this last cycle of 3 weeks has been a bit shitty. I did good/great on deadlift and press days overall, not very good on squat and bench days.
I feel I could have done better, so I was thinking about keeping the same TM next cycle, get my shit together and repeat with more effort.
Only doubt I have is if I should increase the TM on deads and press and keep it the same on squats and bench, or just keep it the same for everything.

How good do you feel about your dead and press? I would stay the same with squat bench, but I you feel good after deads and press increase them. Keep bench and squat for another 3 week cycle and you’ll be fine.

Deads - great. Hit 9 reps in the 1+ week, then increased about 7-8% the load and did two joker sets (3 reps, 2 reps, solid);
Press - good, hit 6 reps in the 1+ week followed by 1+1 more reps in rest pause (better than the previous cycle, where I only got 5 reps);

I’d say it’s 100% safe to increase deads, not sure for press, might not hurt to keep it the same for next cycle and try to get 7 reps on that 1+ week.
Also wanted to try the 3/5/1 config

I would actually go back a cycle or two if you’re in doubt. Remember you want to be able to hit 5 solid reps at 100% TM. A few cycles ago I was able to hit my TM for 5 reps, but the last rep was a bit of a grind - so I went back two cycles and pushed through. Now I can hit 7-8 reps with solid speed. Going back a few cycles will not make your dick fall off, I promise.

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I’ve just recently resetted the press, I know resets won’t kill me.
I hit 9 reps on deads, 6 on press, 7 on squats (should have done 8) and 7 on bench (should have done 8), that is on 1+ days with the 90% TM suggested in the original template - I’ll use the 7th week protocol to re-test my maxes in a few cycles and bring down the TM to 85% (or whatever % required by the program I’ll jump into).

It’s not about the number of reps, it’s just the fact that I know I could have done better, but this doesn’t mean I have to reset.

This is just based on the thousands of people I work with personally over the past 10 years. In the spirit of how everyone is sooooo different (“gotta find what works for you” bullshit; fucking idiots), you can do whatever you want.

Deads are fine.
Press is on the cusp; if this is the best you’ve got, I’d move it back.
Squat is on the cusp too. I’d have to see the set and see how you handled it.
Bench is ok.

It has been my experience that the lower the TM the better the progress. I just had a kid bench 225 (previous best was 135x5 in November). He never touched a weight heavier than 165 or 155; I can’t remember but it was insanely low. This is getting more and more common with the guys I coach.

Just be cognizant that most of the advice that gets bandied about on forums; it is well intentioned but hardly tested on thousands of people. Of course that doesn’t account for all 90 genders of human that there are today.


Thanks, much appreciated, there’s a few things that I don’t have clear (this month was my 6th cycle in 5/3/1):

-Press, I just resetted it. When I began 5/3/1, I tested my 1RM, took 90% of it and started. Press stalled quickly, after 3 cycles I resetted and now I’ve just got back to where I stalled first - doing better than the first time, but still the reps are not very high. Most of all, I’m getting better at grinding, I know reps should not be grinded but on 3+/1+ days after a few reps the bar slows down when it gets past my forehead, for a few inches, then speeds immediatly up once I pass that sticking point and lockout gets easy.

-Squats, the 7 reps were solid, but took the life out of me. Been possibly the shittiest day of the month, had headache, couldn’t breath well due to allergy, was on a time constraint. Just did the bulk of the workout and left the gym.

-Reading the 7th Week Protocol and looking at my numbers, I’m confident I can hit 5xTM in each lift except the Press, in which I’d probably do 3-4 reps (putting it towards 90%).
That is, unless I’m overestimating my strength, but I usually start with the assumption that I’m weak

So I was thinking about this course of actions:

  1. This week, 7th Week Protocol deload;
  2. Re-do this last cycle hopefully with no health/real life hiccups, see if I get the same numbers or better;
  3. Do the 7th Week TM test with very reduced supplemental and assistance work;
  4. Start new program with adjusted TMs

All of that while reading Forever more in depth, read it quickly in the last few days, already seen a few programs I’d like to try.
This should clear my doubts about the current numbers and help me start fresh for the following cycle, can’t see any drawback into it (except losing a month redoing this cycle but I’m not in a hurry)

PS: I identify myself as a genderfluid sapiosexual faun of draconic heritage, gonna roll 3d12 with my breath attack

Jim, will you be coming out with 5/3/1 for White-Cismales-who-identify-as-black-lesbian-trans females soon? Please, my gains depend on it.

I think I am missing something. Are y’all making fun of trans folk, like Janae Marie Kroczaleski (who is herself genderfluid)? Or how do you mean your comments?

Personally, I’m making fun of the idiocy of people inventing new genders on a daily basis to satisfy their childish needs to be “special” at any cost like if they lived in a huge and dumb role playing game while actually living in a perpetual condition of emotive triggering and outrage under the thin bubble they built around themselves as a shelter from the outside world, the real and mean one where no, you’re not suffering discrimination just because you put yourself in some invented minority just to label yourself as the weak part while accusing everyone else of oppression - rape - segregation - whatelse.

Thanks God I live in Europe where this passing fad is not as prominent and you don’t get bent out of shape at the mere mention of a joke about someone who thinks his sexuality is based on some kind of ancestral spirit mixed up with the current fashion mixed up with how he feels that day because he’s too fucking childish to get a grip on reality - all of that while demanding he’s identified with random pronouns otherwise he’ll feel oppressed by the first world, civilized, occidental society where he lives in and that just happens to be the society with the highest degree of equality, democracy and well-being since we came out of the caves.

So yeah, that’s it and that’s simple, so simple that it makes me wonder why you felt the need to get passively triggered and assume we were “making fun of trans folk” (duh).
Common sense must be a damn rare commodity in the US nowadays.

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Just remember this:

The vast, vast majority of people I personally work with make bigger/faster gains using a lower TM. People equate the weight they lift during TRAINING as if they are TESTING.

It’s not the case. Don’t be so proud/ego-filled that you equate the TM with your testing strength; it’s a training tool, not a training test.


In case you need some feedback on the book - this part is made very clear, along with the fact that TMs will be changed very often.

I wanted to change it to 85% for some time but I was stuck with the other Rule 0 - that is, if something works, don’t touch it.
I kept progressing with that %, now it’s a good time to test it and change it, really digging the Leviathan by the look of it

Update, re-doing the same cycle with 3/5/1 configuration
Done the “3” week, overall good, numbers have improved on everything except on the press, which is definitely stalling.
This week I have the “5” week with no PR set, then the “1” week, I’ll update again after the last one.

Forgot to mention last time that I do front squats as main squating movement (Jim will love this lol) and it just dawned on me that they’re not exactly tailored for PR sets. In hindsight, 5’s pro + Jokers would be the best choice, live and learn I guess. I’m working on getting them replaced by low bar squats starting from next cycle.

Finished re-doing the cycle with the same TM; I rounded the weights up for deads and press in the “+” week, here’s the results:

-Deadlift (TM 146kg), previous cycle 139kg x9, 2x3@150kg (Jokers) > 140kg x9 (did 10, but the 10th rep was a tad rougher and didn’t count it), 2x3@152kg (Jokers);
-Press (TM 54kg), previous cycle 51kg x6 > 52kg x6;
-Front squats (TM 90kg), previous cycle 86kg x7 (belt) > did 5’s pro 86kg x5 (beltless), 90kg x3, 94kg x3 (Jokers; belt);
-Bench (TM 74kg), previous cycle 70kg x7 > did 70kg x8;

-Deadlifts look fine, gonna increase it normally;
-Press, it’s improved but I think I’ll take it back 2 cycles anyway (54 to 50kg) to make sure;
-Front squats, I’ll see how the TM test goes. I can either keep it where it is (90kg) or move it back to 86kg, since I’ve just done 5 solid reps @ 86kg beltless;
-Bench, it’s improved, I’ll see how the TM test goes and either increase it normally or keep it the same TM for the next template;

(I’m doing the TM test anyway for all the lifts with the TMs I want to change)