Not Setting a PR

Hey all,

I’ve been running 5/3/1 since February (getting back into lifting after shoulder surgery and rehab) and this week is week 6 of the first time I’ve run 6 weeks without a de-load (i.e. I typically de-load every fourth week).

Up until this point, I’d been setting PRs (either a given load for more reps or a higher load at the same rep count as the previous lower load) every 5/3/1+ week.

Yesterday, however, was the first time I did not set a PR on bench press. One month ago I hit 160 x 8, this month I hit 165 x 5. Obviously, I was hoping to hit 8 reps, since I’d previously hit 8 reps at 160. 5 reps was a tad lower than I was hoping.

First, I guess I’m just checking to make sure that it’s normal to not PR every cycle. Not hitting my goal was a bid of a disappointment.

Second, is this just “noise”, or is this an indication that something needs to change?

I am assuming I do NOT need to reset my weights, as I am still hitting the prescribed reps. My thoughts are that I should stick to de-loading once every four weeks.

What are your thoughts? Am I making this out to be a bigger deal than it should be?

Thanks in advance.

It sounds like you had one bad day after 8 months of awesome days.

With a ratio like that, I couldn’t imagine a need to change.


Definitely sounds like a bad day. If you keep going without rep PRs for several consecutive weeks, then you may need to change something.


I agree with the others not enough evidence to drastically start changing things. But here’s my 2 cents, make sure that it is not psychological, meaning that you already have it in your head that 4 weeks to deload is better than 6 weeks for you. Just saying make sure you are not playing head games with yourself. Give your body a chance to adjust to the new training.


What folk above said seems absolutely right.

One question to consider: how many reps have you previously done at 165? It the answer is less than 5 (including if you had simply not benched 165 or above before), then you did set a PR, even if not by as much as you were hoping. Celebrate the victory and stay the course. If you had previously hit 5 reps, but not above, then you are still matching your PR at that weight, while setting new PRs at other weights. I think that happens all the time and is still things moving in the right direction, so stay the course. If you had previously done better than 5, well it seems like just a bad day, no big deal, so at least for now stay the course.

Thanks for the input, all of you! I assumed this was the case but, as you are all probably already aware, so much of staying the course is mental. I, personally, know that I’m really bad about analysis paralysis and used to be a big-time program jumper.

I use these forums as a way to get out of my own head when I know I’m being ridiculous, and your feedback helps tremendously.

Looking forward to staying the course and continuing to make gains.

Thanks again.


You are right and I know that’s how I should look at it. This was the first time I’d hit 165 since returning to bench press so you are right, this was a PR. I guess I just got greedy.

Thanks for the perspective and the positive vibes.