T Nation

Newbie: 20+ AMRAP


I am now on my third cycle of 5/3/1 doing 3 week cycles with no deload week because I just feel like it isn’t necessary as I still have energy in the tank. I’ve just started my first week of my third cycle and just had my bench press session yesterday. On the 5+ set I got 25 reps for 50kg. The last time I tested my 1RM was around 4 weeks ago and I did 60kg for 1.

I am I doing something wrong? I’ve started reading Practical Programming for Strength Training and Mark Rippetoe wrote “Strength is developed by lifting heavier weights, and weights that can be lifted for 20 reps are not heavy” and has been stuck in my thoughts ever since I read it. Or is this might be to do with my muscular structure and is all just part of the program?

My Deadlift and OHP sessions are also similar, with 19reps for 115kg on the cycle I just started and 40kg for 12 on the 1+ set of my last cycle respectively. While my squat has had a lot lower reps, 120kg for 4 on the 1+ set of my second cycle.

I’ve hit new PRs every week but is this normal and if it isn’t, should I retest my 1RM for my bench? I want to avoid doing this because it would be counter productive to my strength goals as quoted from Jim Wendler.

Suggestions would be greatly appreciated, thanks.


Just stick with the program. You will not be doing 20+ reps of your top set forever. Don’t adjust your TM other than the prescribed increases each cycle (2.5kg for the bench/press, 5kg for the squat/dead).

It will take time for your body to adjust to the heavier weights, so that’s why your 5+ week you’re getting 20, but on the 1+ week you’re getting 4-5. Also - take your deloads every 2 cycles. If you cannot hit 5 reps on your TM, your TM is too high, so if you’re only getting 4 reps on the 1+ set, your TM is too high.

The point of taking a deload is so that you never need one. If you can’t hit 5 reps on the 1+ set on 5/3/1 week, you’re not recovering well, and you need to deload, or your TM is too high.

Since you’re new to the program, you may want to try something like this:

2 Cycles of:
5’s pro + 5x5 FSL
50-100 push/pull
50-100 abs/single leg work


followed by 1 cycle of
5/3/1+ PR set
50 push/pull
50 abs/single leg work


Going by the 5/3/1 principle of starting slow I’d just keep at it if I were you. Despite what Rippetoe says I’m sure 20 rep sets will do something for you. All it means is you’ll go a few extra cycles than average before stalling.

As for squats I’d perhaps reset that back 15kg or so or at least not increase next cycle.


How did you test your 1rm 4 weeks ago if you are 3 cycles (9 weeks) into 5/3/1?

And if you have truly gone from a 1rm if 60kg to doing 50kg for 25 reps in 4 weeks I think you have stumbled across the greatest training program known to mankind


Aight today will be my squat session and I’ve decreased my TM by 5kg, looking at the weight I think Ill be able to get more than 5 for 115kg on my 1+ set.

Then after this cycle I’ll deload a week then switch to the 5’s pro+5x5 FSL.

For my bench PR I just worked my way up from 50kg for 1 then to 55 then to 60kg, I think it was during one of my deadlift days and I felt good and was with mates so I did it lol. Hopefully my 1RM has gone up cuz I do have a endurance sport background and had been doing quite a bit of endurance based weight training.

Another thing is I had previously been doing intensive cardiovascular training, rowing, running, cycling etc. for sport specific training and I still want to maintain that level of my vo2 max. Would it be detrimental to my gains if I did one intense 6km run every week but just eat more to make up for calories lost?