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Questions About 1RM and Changing Up the Days

Hi guys

Just wanna ask some things i’ve been woundering how people been going about. I know I am being A bit anal here… and I would just do it but I figured I might as well ask, guessing thats why we have a community :slight_smile:

If say, i’m going to train with A friend or two that dosent do 5/3/1 on A monday and they do bench that day, and I should do shoulder press, is it just fine to swich the two days (bench and press day) so we can do it together, does it even matter how regular you are, as long as you do the two split in a row, and not DL and SQ day one and two!?

And if we were in the mood or had planned to do some 1 rep pr, should that be on some day set aside just for that? or would you just cross that off as the bench day for that week? i think i read someone say in some other programs they did it in the deload week… but that seems a bit counter productive for me… wouldent you say so?

And since I startet 5/3/1, I have had the most amazing gains my est. DL is up by 50 kg (110 lbs) but I’m starting to do alot of reps… In my shoulder press i do 18 reps… I have only done like 3 cycles so, so should i just keep on with the 2.5 kilo each cycle or should i make a new TM?

And i’m thinking I would do the Triumvirate for a few more cycles, and then changing to BBB. And i am quite happy with the program as is… So would you guys/you Jim still recommend the beyond 5/3/1? i’m thinking if it’s just alot of programming im never gonna use, then i dont really care… But more info and god reading i wouldent mind buying!?

Thanks you guys dont hate :wink: And thanks for everything Jim!
And sorry, i’m quite sure there are some bad spelling above :wink:

If I understand what you are asking, yes it is ok to swap your scheduled press day of the week with your bench day if you are training with buddies that day, particularly if having a spotter is usually an issue. Just swap that day for the opposing day.

As for the 1RM, don’t fall into the trap of constantly testing strength, instead build it by doing your planned/prescribed sets, supplemental work etc… If you are feeling really good a given day AFTER your 5/3/1 sets you could throw in a few extra sets working up to a conservative within limits and using good form triple, double, etc…Don’t miss, if you are not 100% sure the weigh will move its time to shut it down or you risk THIS session fucking up subsequent ones. You can gauge that you are getting stronger by using less intensive means than the 1RM.

Beyond is a great resource, certainly worth a read and is a keeper in my book, but presently you could go to infinity and beyond with just 5/3/1 properly programmed. Goodluck.

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Thanks mate, that was what I ment.

Hehe I have not fallen to the trap of testing 1 rep. All the time. But I must admit I am very curios of what my max is at now. And as far as I can se the est. 1 rep don’t match, once you get well above the two digit reps. But ofc. I can se i still get great gains from it by the rep count. So it’s just curiosity…

Thanks on your thoughts on the book. I think I’m gonna give it a read.

you should stick with the program. Don’t simply up your TM just because you’re hitting the last set for a ton of reps - this will not last forever. If you are benching at 400 pounds for 20 reps, please tell us your secrets… that sort of thing. Not sure how much you weigh or what total weight you’re doing overhead presses for 18 reps, but again, most guys are not even hitting singles for 200 pounds, so that 18 reps you’re doing now will not last forever. You could joker set if you like after the PR set. So if you are pressing 100 pounds for 18 reps on the last set, then do 110 x5, 120 x5, 130 x5 and keep going until you don’t think you can do another set for 5 reps. NEVER miss a rep.

As for training days - what exercise is the hardest to recover from? Do you get really sore after Squats or deads? Or does OHP and bench torch your shoulders? That’s how I plan my week. Squats seem to take the most toll on my schedule. I do not tailor my training around what other people are doing because that is simply not conducive to my goals. I know it’s fun to work out with buddies on bench day, but I don’t go to the gym to make friends or be a social butterfly, I go there to get work done and get the fuck out. Because it’s hardest for me to recover from squats, I isolate them on Saturday, with a full day of rest on Friday and do conditioning on Sunday.

My split is like this:

Monday OHP
Tuesday Dead Lift
Thursday Bench
Saturday Squat

This works for me, but may not work for you. You could bench on Monday with the other 99% of the world… but I prefer Thursday’s because that day I have my choice between 4 empty benches. On Monday every bro and their single-day-a-week training buddy wants to “get back into lifting” after doing pint size curls all weekend long.

Ask yourself, is the program working for you? Are you making progress? If so, why change it now?

Until you can no longer hit the prescribed reps in a set should you change things. If anything, wait until you stall and then set your TM 10% lighter, but never take your current TM and up it by more than 2.5/5 kilos - that defeats the principle of “progress slow.” I even have a set of 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 and 1 pound plates that I use for my overhead pressing so I can progress even slower since stalling at a 210 TM, but continue to “set PRs” by doing 1 rep at 210.5, and will next cycle surely do 1 rep at 211, etc…

As far as the Beyond Book - get it. Worth every penny and I’d pay more for it if the price was higher; but as the saying goes, if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. Stick with what you’re successful at now, until you are no longer successful, then look for ways to improve your training.

Thanks for the reply nice stuff.

I have the same days as you but squat on friday… just did it today, and did 9 reps with 235 lbs, i think… 110 kilo’s… and i seems as i can read in here, that once you get alot of reps, it gets easier. So the est. 1 rm dosent fit.
But it made me glad today on sq day (3 week) i struggled more. so guessing within the next few cycles my rep will fall sligthly and become more accurate.

I got the beyond book yesterday and are reading it rigth now. I dident really get the joker set before but its seems like somthing of the sort i’ve been looking for. And i think im gonna start doing firsts set last as Jim suggests too.

I work out alone to, dont have any of my friends near by at the time, so when they are here we usually go workout together… Call it what you want.

And i admit i’m a novice in the power game, but i did 5x5 and ppl told me i would get stronger, nothing happend! Then i fell over an interview with Jim and just loved his approach the conditioning the i don’t care and hole 5/3/1 and everyting else, so with my new man crush i couldent really start somthing other then this even though i did read that there were better starting options out there, i really liked this approach.

And i press 90 lbs
DL 330
Bench 175
And SQ 250

All of the above is TM
My weight is 200 lbs.

And thanks for the tips and insight i really appreciate it.

lots of misinformation out there about beginners. Stick with the program and principles. Your reps will start to fall as you get closer to your true 1RM - it does for everyone. Enjoy the 18 rep sets while they last… which wont be for long when your press gets closer to body weight. Start light, progress slowly, and hit PRs.


Thank you for the replies on this post. I was going to ask a similar question. I started my first week of 5/3/1 and I’ve been lifting for a little under a year-- this is my third program following ICF 5x5 and a Push/Pull/Legs split. I was worried that I set my initial TM too low for bench after I hit 14 reps with my 5+ set.

The issue is that I wanted to use numbers that I have actually done recently but my last heavy set of 3 was the first one in a couple weeks due to a mild shoulder impingement that caused me to avoid heavy benching for a bit. The heavy set that I did post-injury was 235 for 3 (at 200 lbs bodyweight) but it was the third heavy set of the day. A couple of weeks ago I had done 240 for 5 also as the last set of three. All of my other set TM’s seem to be perfect but I was wondering if I should consider resetting my bench, from the responses given it seems like I should just go with the more recent number and progress from there.

I set my TM pretty low. An example of this from last cycle’s Thursday Bench workout during 3’s week:

BENCH TM = 285

Warm up
bar x 15

work sets
pr set 255x10
FSL RP: 200x14, RPx3, RPx2

If you use Jim’s formula, my calculated max is 340, which would put my TM at 305. So my 285 TM is relatively low to my calculated max.

Interestingly enough, the week before (5’s week) I got 240x10 - could have been a bad day, but if I hit 240 for 10 and a week later I hit 255 for 10, that’s progress/confirmation I’m stronger than I was before.

I guess my point is, you’ve been lifting a little under a year and have tried 3 programs; you’re not sticking with anything long enough to really have an opinion on whether it’s working or not. Your best bet is to go lighter, not heavier - especially with a shoulder injury. If you’re going for strength and size, you want to hit lots of rep ranges, so if you’re getting 10+ reps on 5s week, but hitting 5 reps on 3s week, you’re doing something right and keep at it, or even adjust down to get more reps in. You can get stronger with sub maximal weights and that’s what this program is all about.


Thanks for the reply. That helped clarify a few things for me about the program. I only just started my second week on 5/3/1 so I was a little confused on what I should be expecting on the + sets at the end. I was initially thinking that I would be pushing for like 7 or so reps for 5s week so 14 seemed like I miscalculated.

I also have a general noob question from your response: In your opinion, how long should you run a program before making any changes? I did the novice program ICF 5x5 for seven months and then stopped when I couldn’t progress linearly anymore. The Push/Pull/Legs split I ran for four months. It was really unfocused (my fault) and I wanted something with a clear plan for progression. Would three months be adequate to determine if a specific template of 5/3/1 is working well or would you suggest running the same template for two cycles?

until you stop making progress/stall/plateau.

I don’t know the answer to this. If you calculate your training max appropriately, eat for your current goal, and push the 5/3/1 sets and reps, it’s hard to think it would stop working as a novice lifter after 3 months. Let’s say your bench goes up 15 pounds in 3 months, that’s progress, right? The principles are to start too light and progress slowly and set PRs. Let’s say you add 5 pounds a month to your 240x5 for 1 year… that’s 300 pounds for 5 reps. Is that fast enough progress for you?

Basically, until you cannot hit the PR set for the required reps (5 reps on 5s week, 3 reps on 3s week, or 1 rep on 5/3/1 week) keep running the program as is. Let me know when you can’t hit 95% of your TM for 1 rep and I’ll tell you what I think Jim would say: Take a few steps back and progress slowly again.

So if you TM is 200 pounds and your required reps on 5/3/1 week is 190x1+, and you can’t hit 190 for 1 rep, set your TM to 90% of 190 (170) and keep running the program.

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