T Nation

Progressing Weight 1RM or TM?



Reading the original ebook versus posts here, vs 5/3/1 articles on t-mag I see some conflicting words on whether from cycle to cycle you are adding 5-10 pounds to your 1RM versus your Training max. Which is it, has your view shifted over time?


It’s TM. 5/3/1 still doesn’t base it’s prescribed weights straight on your 1RM.


Yep, your 1RM is your 1RM, you don’t get to add 5 or 10lbs to it just because you finished 3 weeks of 5/3/1.


I don’t see how it makes difference.

Let’s say you started 5/3/1 cycle with 300lbs squat, so your TM (90%) is 270lbs. After finishing that cycle if you add 10 pounds to your TM it will then equal to 280lbs and if you add 10 pounds to your 1RM your TM will be 279lbs (310*0.9). Pretty much the same.


You are NOT basing your training off of your max so why would you add to your max? You ARE basing your training off of your training max so you would add to your training max. Don’t mix them up.

I would go read more about the TM from either Jim’s book, website, forum, or any article he has written or podcast/interview. Your max and TM are two different things. One for training, one for competing. Don’t mix them up.


This puts it brilliantly.

The TM is a tool. It doesn’t have to be 90% either, 85% works great (I think the stronger you are, the better you do with a lower TM). Plus, you’re often best served by basing your TM on an estimated max, not a true max.


The only way youve been told to add weight to your “1RM” is from someone who wasnt me. If you want to know about the 5/3/1 program, I recommend reading articles/books by the author.


Thanks- I am looking forward to purchasing your new book when its out.

Was just confused with the wording from the below article versus other where it does say TM specifically versus others articles that seperate the terms into TM vs your 1RM or referred to as calculated max as well(if you were backing into it from a rep perspective).

“After you finish the first cycle, you add five pounds to your 1RM calculations for the two upper-body lifts and 10 pounds to your 1RM for the squat and deadlift.”


1RM calculations = TM as far as I’m aware.


I don’t even know where my 1RMs are. Since I am not a PL, it does not even matter. I’ll track my rep PRs, and sometimes hit heavy PR-sets with 100-105% of my TM.

So basically I just track 3-20+RM for each lift, and even the RM-sets do not always determinate the TM. It can be anything you need it to be.


I think it’s natural/reasonable to assume that you want your training max to stay within the same percentage range of your 1RM so when you add weight to your training max your 1RM has gone up the same amount.
However, that is not necessarily the case. For beginners there’s a good chance that your 1RM will increase that 5 or 10lbs with each cycle - or more. For imtermediates or advanced lifters that may also be the case or the 1RM calculations increase might reflect an improved ability to do more weight for a 5, 10, or 15 etc. RM or for some cycles it might just mean you’re working with a slightly higher TM percentage.
Adding weight to your TM also serves to give lifter goals to shoot for ( e.g. I did 200 for 5 last cycle and I’m going to get 205 for 5 on this one). You’re trying to make slow gradual progress and once you get stronger it’s generally easier to do a “5lbs more” for the same amount of reps than it is to get one more rep if you’re staying in the “1 or 2 reps from failure” range.
It also helps with boredom to change your weights. Of course, this is just my opinion - the author of the program may see it completely differently.