T Nation

Moving from SS Older Population Post Novice to 5/3/1

I posted about a month ago about moving from Post Novice Programming for Older Populations to 5/3/1.
I finally got back from vacation and ready to start back. I have the 2nd edition of 5/3/1 and still not sure where to start with the many options. Also at 57 I do AMRAP or cap them at 5?

I finished with the program below with the following numbers:
Squat 195
Bench 140
Dead Lift 225
Press 100

Squat 5x5 acending Sets
Bench 1x3-5 + 2x5 back off
Lat Pulldown 3x10

Light Squat 4x5 working up to the last warm up from Mondays workout
Press Bench 1x3-5 + 2x5 back off
Deadlift Bench 1x3-5 + 1x5 back off

Thanks for any guidance.

Not an expert by any means but I thought I would share my experience moving from SS to 5/3/1. I’m 52. I finished at 265 Squat, 255 DL, 190 BP, and 125 OHP. I cut it short due to back pain and plan to go back to LP after the Summer.

I’ve enjoyed the move. I feel like I recover better doing just one main lift a day and not doing three/four main lifts three/two times per week.

I found that my 5 Rep number was a good place to start my training maxes. I do AMRAP on the final sets without issue. Some days I “work up” by adding FSL (using the weight of your first set after the AMRAP for another AMRAP set).

I’m currently doing Triumvirate but do not think the accessory template you choose is that important. Focus on the main lifts and particularly the AMRAP set. I like the ability to change accessory work after a cycle or three to keep it interesting.

Good luck.

You have the book. Why don’t you just do the program as is. Pick a template that works for you and go from there. They all work!

I usually treat the “AMRAP” set as a PR set. Instead of doing as many reps as possible, we use the formula from the books to calculate the estimated max, then plug in the new weight to figure out how many reps to hit and stop there.

1 Like

Similar to Tepford, especially on deadlift, I typically do 3s progression, and the FSL set as a PR set (when I do PR sets). Easier on my lower back and I’m much more consistent.

Cap at 5 for 2 cycles, PR for 2 cycles or some variation of that.

1 Like

@tsantos can you explain? I’m still learning.

1 Like

My big mistake when going from SS to 5/3/1 was starting to heavy. I set my training max too high because I was afraid that by training lighter I was somehow loosing ground. I manipulated my training max so that my week one 5 rep weight what I was currently hitting for 5 reps in SS.

The end result was that after about 2 months of 5/3/1 I started finding the program too difficult and had to reset lower. I didn’t understand how much more volume 5/3/1 has than SS and it took a toll on me. It also meant that I couldn’t make effective use of the AMRAP or PR sets because I was already pushing close to my max.

In hindsight, I should have followed the good and set my TM to 90%. It would’ve lightened the weight and I could’ve progressed longer before failing and having to reset. It’s better to start too light than to start too heavy.

I used my five rep numbers as my max and started at 85% of that. It was probably too low, but that’s the deal right, start low, be patient, make PR’s. I’m able to do a lot on the AMRAP and add FSL on some days.

But, no big deal, just take three steps back and roll.

I’m not sure how to explain a training cycle, typically it’s 3 weeks plus a deload but you may do something like:

Cycle 1: 5 pros
Cycle 2: 5 pros
Cycle 3: 5/3/1
Cycle 4: 5/3/1

I was interested in why you would cap the AMRAP set for a masters athlete.

I’m wondering why only five?

5’s are ideal for beginners and even older lifters, as the most important part of this program is to simply hit the reps and move on to the next week at a heavier weight. 5’s allow freshness and are a simple way to get brute strong.

Others have said, and from what I’ve experienced going from 2 cycles of 5’s to 2 cycles of PR sets back and fourth is a great way to progress.