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Low Back Pain/Fatigue, Weight Stall. Deload or Week Off?

i finished 3rd week and now the program calls for deload. so im having lower back pain + fatigue and weight stall on compounds. i was wondering. should i take a deload (reduce weight) or week off? i heard deload is better but do you recover joints, pain, fatigue and cns better deloading weights vs taking a week off?

Lower your training max. No way you should be experiencing that on 5/3/1.

thats weird because last week i did 8 reps on deadlift in my amrap and 11 on squats 7 on bench and 5 ohp

105 ohp
160 bench
155 squat and
155 deadlift

additional info
currently low testosterone (clinically) im 6’3” 155

Your press TM is definitely too high if you’re only getting 5 reps on the final week.

i took my 5 reps bench from my other program (greyskull) and took that weight and got that tm

Sounds like that was a poor strategy, based on outcome. Use a lower TM for press.

uhm, so i should just lower tm on bench and ohp to increase amrap? that would be on the next new cycle after this either deload or week off?

i was benching 175 on greyskull and when i put tm here i started benching 135 for 15 reps

There is no “amrap” in the program. What % did you use for your TM? What are you doing to address your hormonal disorder?

I think he means the PR set at the end.


You don’t need a week off. Just lower your TM even more. I’ve never experienced that on 5/3/1, and I believe it’s one of the main things you should avoid on that program.

5/3/1 beginner calls for 8 sets one being as many reps as possible. endo prescribed trt but unsure because im 26

i still dont get what he meant. i just calculated my tm by the calculator in 5/3/1 beginner and it showed 135 bench as a starting point

What’s that? Is it that formula that’s something weight lifted x reps completed x 0.33? (I know that’s not it exactly, but something like that.)

Anyway, that’s just a estimation. If it feels too heavy, lower it. It’s really that simple. There’s no law that says you have to do 135. Do 115 or something, and work back up. I would ALWAYS err on the side of too light, when using 5/3/1. It’ll provide much better results.

Lower back pain may be a sign of poor form as well. I do 531 and have for 4 months so far and have only taken 1 deload. One thing I had problems with in the beginning was not eating enough. I wasn’t eating any where near what I do now. My lifts stalled pretty quick and I ached like crazy. Once I started eating a lot more, my lifts flew up and I had no more issues.

This. So much this.

two things. 1. i was suppost to take the deload but i actually took it as a rest week instead. 2. well im gaining weight so that means im eating.

General rule of thumb for your TM is using a weight you can hit for 3-5 reps as the starting weight. Then go from there. You’ll never get weaker on 5/3/1 if you do everything by the book. Start light, condition, work your ass off and don’t miss sessions. Do that for 10 years.

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If you read the first 5/3/1 book (I think), near the end there are testimonials. Many of them are people saying what their previous 1RMs were and their strength levels after the program. You’ll notice a lot of those people don’t talk too much about their 1RM AFTER running 5/3/1. They talk about reps and other measures of strength.
There is something interesting that happens when you buy in to this program. It shifts your mindset from chasing a weight (an external motivation) to understanding yourself and really knowing how “strong” you are (an internal motivation).
I know it isn’t easy, but having the discipline to lower the TM will actually yield the best results. (This is assuming that nutrition and sleep are on point.) I say this from experience. I too always have to work to keep myself in check and not chase that 1 rep.
You’ve chosen to follow a brilliant program that works incredibly well. Trust it, follow it, and trust the advice of your peers here. You won’t regret it.