T Nation

Last Set vs. Joker Sets


#1

Hello Jim and the 5/3/1 community,

im on the 5/3/1+ week in the 1st month of the strength challenge. So I am doing my regular 5/3/1 reps for that week plus a heavy single at my TM. Im operating at an 85% TM. I got 10+ reps on all lifts for the 3+ week. I got 9 reps at 285 for bench at the 1+ set, which was better than my 3+ week (I got 270 for 11 reps in my 3+ week).

But today I only got 6 reps at 345 for squat at the 1+ set, which was comparably worse than my 3+ week (i got 325 for 10 reps in week 3+). And the crazy part is i got 2 joker sets after my squat 3+ set = 385x1 and 405x1. So i have a couple questions.

  1. does the upper body respond to more volume? if so, should I pull back my warmup squat sets to better prep for the 3+ and 1+ sets? or does my work capcity suck for squat?

  2. is their any significance (or weakness i need to address) to me getting joker sets at 105% and 110% of my TM on a day when my 1+ set was worse than my 3+ week?

Thanks


#2

Do a couple cycles before you start drawing any conclusions. Reading too much into one workout, or one week of workouts, leads to program hopping, masturbatory tinkering and related maladies.


#3

don't make shit more complicated than it needs to be. And don't wonder if your performance in one of your training sessions is not as expected. It will not always be a good training session. Sometime you score a PR, sometimes you just make it through your sets and reps....


#4

Personal experience... I've had sessions where I've struggled to do the requisite reps. The next week I kicked ass and PR'd reps, hit jokers up to 110% and did first set last at 65%. I've had everything in between. This is why training is a marathon and not a sprint. Plus with 5-3-1 95% of 90%(tm) is 85%. This allows for shitty day while letting one make gains, which is what we are after right?

I've found that if my 1rms were what I said they were 5-3-1 becomes 9-7-5 on the PR sets. More is progress. less is a 'bad week', 9-7-5 is par for the course.


#5

This is called the Ebb/Flow of Training - you won't have great days EVERY day.