Greetings, I am new to the 5/3/1 system and trying to wrap my head around some concepts. I am from the old school era of endless reps/sets and or a few but brutal sets ala Yates and Mentzer. Decades ago I had nearly a 500 DL, 350 bench, and probably the same for squats. Have a history of a herniated disc and I am tall 6’3 (and likely have weak spinal erectors) with long arms and torso. For some reason DL never really hurt my back but squats did (so I didn’t push them). I am for sure an ectomorph.
Anyway, here I am decades later. Been really just “exercising” the past few decades with a healthy mix of lifting weights, hiking, biking, skiing and outdoor activity. Now I am looking to put back some size and get strong and reading came across the Wendler stuff.
I’ve read 5/3/1 and just got forever. So far I totally dig the idea and wish I had this knowledge years ago! I did about 2 cycles of the BBB and really liked it until I got sick and it killed everything. For sure I started too high with the TM on OP because I struggled to get 3 reps on the “1” week. This was before I saw I should be getting 5 solid reps 100% TM.
Anyway to the actual question. How hard should these sets be? What sets should be hard, and are grinders ever allowed? I understand that you should be able to get 5 “solid” reps with 100 TM, with good speed. Is that correct? Then take somewhere from 80-90% of that for the programs? Maybe it’s just from my old school mentality of going to failure and beyond, but sometimes just doing the prescribed reps felt “easy”. Then I read about people getting 9 reps or more on the “1” week.
I’m pathetically weak and understand I need to focus on the “majors”. I am just trying to wrap my head around how hard, or difficult my sets should feel. Also, for the supplemental work is this simply getting reps or should there be some struggle here? Seems to me if you are going to get stronger there is going to be some hard work involved (or course, at some point…but the cycled implementation of it makes total sense). I don’t want to over train, but not under train either! Looking forward to the input from those of you who have used the system sharing your thoughts and experiences.