T Nation

ME...1RM or 3RM?


All Westsiders

I got a question to ask regarding the ME days. Which rep scheme is better for a beginner who is weak in his 3 lift BP-165lbs, Squat-200lbs , DL-200lbs

In one corner we have Defranco's WS4SB which advocate 3-5RM for ME as it's more taxing for beginner to do 1RM.

At the other corner we have Dave Tate's basic template which basically have us worked up to a 1RM max on most of the lifts.

So for all those who have proficient in WS method can you please enlightened a newbie like me in WS.

Thanks in advance


I've never looked at the WS4SB's but as far as the basic template goes yes you will work up to a 1RM which will be 100%. Then you would go back down to 90% of your 1RM and do 3 to 4 sets there. Jim Wendler says the main thing is that you strain on your ME days. When I started out 7 weeks ago on this stuff I used the IRM. If you don't feel comfortable with it choose the other one but the only way you'll know is through trial and error. This is one of the benefits of the WS system is that you tailor it to your needs; weakpoints, etc. I started out with Jim Wendler's The Triumvirate program which you can find on elitefts.com. Also check out Louies website westside-barbell.com. He's got an article on there called Westside for Beginners that you should read.


wait...are you sure you do a 1RM lift and then drop down to 90% and perform 3-4 sets (lifts)..I think thats incorrect..if you look at Jim Wendler's "Max Effort Waves", you are already doing your sets in the 90% range before you go to your 1RM..once you reach your 1RM for that particular lift, then you don't drop down to anything..your done. Here is how it goes:
1x5 @ 50%
1x3 @ 60%
1x2 @ 70%
1x1 @ 80%
1x1 @ 90%
1x1 @ 95%
1x1 @ 100%

That's the old school method as he labels it above..thats how lots of guys at westside have done it. Here's the link to the article also

Also if you're a beginner, I'd say stick with the 3-5RM lifts, and if you want...every 4 weeks or so, test out your 1RM then.
Good luck.


the way i've understood it is it's basically up to you. I remember the important thing is that you get three or more sets at 90%. You dont have to, nor could you if you tried break your 1RM record every week, or your 3 rep record.

What i usually do with ME bench is, keep the same exercise for three weeks. One of the weeks work up to 100% for 1. another week work up to the 3RM, whatever that is. the third week depends on how i'm feeling, if it's a shitty day, then i'll go right at 90% and do 3 or 4 lifts there and hit the accessories a little harder. If i'm feeling good, then i'll go for the record. It has been working for me so far.

Experiment with the system, learn to listen to your body, keep a training log, and you'll be ok.
a good article to read:



If you're a beginner try it all, in a couple of years you'll begin to understand what works for you at your level.


There is no set way to get in your sets on westside. Both moving up to 100 and then to 90 and pyramiding to 100 have been recommended.


A beginner should stay the hell away from 1RM lifts on anything. You don't know the form well enough and you don't know your body mechanics well enough to do it safely.

I'd do 5-6RM if you're going to use a Westside-esque template, but honestly, you're better off going with a 4-6 sets of 5-8 reps per muscle group (push, pull, etc) type of training at this point.



I copletely agree with this. I don't think you need to do anything heavier than a 5RM until you know to strain and are comfortable with your form under heavy weights.

I think I have even read that beginners can make strength gains with as little as 50% of thier 1RM.


I second this. At your numbers just looking at weights while eating a sandwhich should make you stronger. What you need to do straight-away is find someone who knows the lifts and have them teach them to you. You shouldn't be doing a 1 rm for 2 months minimum while you learn the lifts.