T Nation

Programming Strength Goals


Hi Jim!

Thanks for your work in this world, it certainly has had an impact on me on more than just the physical level.

I plan on doing the following on my squat (just talking about the main programming):
Old PR: 3x180
Goal: squat 5x180 kg
Time frame: 14 weeks (two 7 week cycles)

My question is, would it be wise to set up the training in such a way that my last 95% set of the whole 14 week block would be at 180 kg? This would have me start at 175 kg TM and then build up to 190 TM and 180@95%. I figured that knowing that the 'eight plate set' is coming would motivate me properly. After this I might do a competition and possibly try to qualify for Finnish nationals. Should I qualify I could lower my TM back to 175 or even lower and build slowly back up, since the nationals are in November.

Thank you for your time!

-Jonne Kytola


No. Think about submax training and you will have your answer as to “why”. Good luck!


Thanks for your answer Jim.

I suppose then that a better plan of attack would be to set the TM even lower and build from there over the many months that eventually would lead back to those PR weights. Maybe even backtracking a year as per your example in the book? (I can feel my ego shrinking even thinking about the weights… I guess that’s a good thing.)


Don’t set the TM lower - set the TM that is appropriate for your strength NOW as well as basing it on your own experience. In general, I have found the heaviest TM one should use is 90%.

The point is this: if your goal is to squat X, you don’t need to work backwards to get there or even get there WITHIN the program. Let the submax work build your strengh. The TM has NOTHING TO DO WITH YOUR LEVEL. It has everything to do with how you build your strength efficiently. it is simple lifting IQ - that’s why anyone who says 5/3/1 is slow progress is either horribly ignorant or perhaps has some kind of agenda.


I got it now (hopefully).

Paraphrasing: The TM and the weights calculated from it are only relevant in that they are proven to spur progress. Whatever strength goals one has should not guide the program. The program itself will lead to the goals as a “byproduct”.

Hope this is about it.

Thanks for your patience.