T Nation

Progressing on TM or True Max?

Hey guys.
How have you guys gone by with your TM now when different templates have different %TM?

Say you test your starting max of a DL and its 200kg, take 90% and go with say original 531, tou get 180 kg TM.

4 cycles later your TM should be say 200kg. Now you decide you’ll do krypteia or the like which calls for 80-85%TM.

A: Count 80-85% from 220 kg and work from there?

B: take 80-85% from current 200kg TM?



Depends :slight_smile:

If you get 6-8 reps on your 531 week, and they are strong, no grind. increase TM as usual.
Do 1 week of the 7th week test week.
work up to 5 strong reps for 85 %
work up to 3 strong reps for 90 %

I would do the test week :slight_smile: if en doubt.


Thanks for the quick reply.
It does make sense, this way it sort of autoregulates the TM on its own instead of trying to linearly push it. And from that TM you push it 5-10lbs per cycle untill next “new template” after last anchor to see where you stand.
Thanks, I like it.

Yep, you always have to do the TM test week after your Anchor weeks, before you start a new program - so it takes care of it by itself, shoot for 3RM for 90% and 5RM for 85%. The PR Sets of your anchor should give you some feedback before the TM test week.

One thing you might want to do if you’re using kgs is to do +4kg on deads and squats when increasing TM instead of +5kg. Something I’ve noticed is that it’s slightly lower than 10lbs, but works greatly.

Right on, it does make sense. Jim might be on to something here! Teeheee…
Thanks for the tip.

Damn, now I’m confused again. I was reading another similar thread, where jim explicitly states to never raise tm based on PRs on a test week.

So back to original Q…

Say we start at 90%, 180kg and hit it hard 4 cycles, at that end we take a test week TM is now 200, we work up to 95% hit a crisp 5 @ 195. Now what? Start next template at 85% from what? 200? 220?

Or at that point add 5kg, to 205kg so thats current 90%, abd if next template calls for 85% reduce only 5% from that 205TM? Maybe thay makes most sense…

You’re overcomplicating this, subtracting 5% from a “new 90%”… no, don’t do that.

Use the 7th week protocol to verify a TM, calculate an estimated 1RM or maybe your last 1’s week PR set to estimate a 1RM, take the necessary percentage of that to be your new TM. If this puts you at a lower TM than previous program ended up, fine. If it’s the same, fine. If it’s one step forward, fine. If you somehow lost progress and the new TM is multiple steps forward, I’d reconsider, and lower it (although I don’t know how this would ever happen, you’d have to screw up an 80% program then try to go to a 90% program or something).

Okay, so lets go with earlier scenario.

Test week: 200 TM, 95% makes 190kg.
You get 7 reps, which calculates to an estimate of 235 (234.3) kgs.

Next leader calls for 80%, we get 187.5kg as our starting TM? Right?

I don’t get why you’d use 95% for your test week (since you’d have just done it on the 5/3/1 week, or is that what you mean?), but yes, your TM selecting logic/math is correct.

Yeah, lets go with that its last week.
But then we are going against what jim has said about never tinkering the TM more than 5/10lbs up.
So that brings us yet again back to the original Q. Unless we read it as: if you get 3-5 reps, you increase the original true maxes by 5/10lbs. But then you’d let it rise with your earlier cycles as well, which would mean that it’s now at 220 for the DL from earlier scenario. (True starting max 200 + 4 cycles = 4*5kg jumps)

So which is it?

I said not to progress more than one step (aka 5/10lbs) forward, not that it seems like it would actually happen that your TM situation gets that weird.

Back to your original question:
"Say you test your starting max of a DL and its 200kg, take 90% and go with say original 531, tou get 180 kg TM.

4 cycles later your TM should be say 200kg. Now you decide you’ll do krypteia or the like which calls for 80-85%TM."

You take 80-85% of the test week’s or late pr’s estimation.

Also, this is one of the main principles, I don’t think it’s overcomplicating to get it right and how Jim has thought it out once and for all. Also it’ll be helpful for others once it’s cleared up.

If your last 531 week was 190 x 7 and the reps was strong with no grind.
Then your TM i fine just increase it by 5/10 next cycle.

If you would like to do the 7th week test.
Take your TM (the one you use now) and go ballistic set a new PR with that weight. Unless it’s less than 5 reps you just increase.

The TM is a tool. The 7th week test/deload is the best thing that has happend for Wendlers program.

Use common sense if your last cycle was great and you did good on the 531 just increase. If you on the other hand struggled like many do. Use the 7th week test and make your TM right.

Yes, all of that makes sense but it still doesn’t answer the main question. Which weight do you increase 10lbs, the current TM? Or the old true max, which, if left un-tinkered, is also 200kg at that point.

This is extremely straightforward, you ARE overcomplicating it. I don’t know what you’re getting at with “true max”, you always work off manipulating a training max, whether it’s increasing it within a program, or adjusting it to fit a new program. Based on the responses so far this should be clear. Do you have the new book where this is discussed? Not trying to give you crap with that question, just figuring out where we’re at.

I would propose: next time you need to calculate a TM for a new program, give us specifics and we’ll help.

I understand what you are saying. What I’m looking for is a more defined way to work on progressive overload within the parameters and principles.
So far, that has been unanswered.
Also, I have followed Jim’s work from the original 5/3/1, and read all of his books.
The original idea of TM was very clear, 90% and work up from that, as long as possible.

With the new methods we are left with more guesswork, and feel, which renders the original concept rather different/useless. Unless there are certain guidelines to it.

7th test week would be one way, if it allowed us to recalculate the proceeding leaders TM. Earlier example of proceeding with 235 minus 80-90%, this would be relatively autoadjustable.

Another way would be, getting 3-5+ with TM or 95%= would allow for a set ammount of 5-10lbs of increasement ontop of the starting point+the cycles increments. And work a new TM for next leader from that.

Otherwise it is simply guesswork. And I don’t think it’s supposed to be.

This is where I am going to give up, I disagree about your guesswork point and feel it is clearly defined in the new book, and don’t see how additional confusion can be fabricated around this.

Alright, please refer me to said page. Or, I would love if you would explain how you personally use it, feel free for clarification to use above example.

I have the book at home, but here’s from my training log how I have personally used it:
-Ran a program for 3 months.
-I prefer to deload rather than test, so I’ve been going off of 3rd week PR sets mostly.
-Final week at TM of 220 on the anchor saw 210x7 on bench (guess I’ll lose a bit of credibility here, ah well).
-I took a deload week and decided to run a program with an 80% TM.
-210 x 7 -> 260ish. 260 x 0.8 = 208, round to 210 to start new program.
That help? I’m losing you when you mentioned 235 minus 80-90%, in your example, which I’m assuming is between programs, the goal is just to calculate the TM based on the recommended percentage of where you’re currently estimating you’re at, whether that be via 7th week methods or PR’s.