T Nation

Repeating a Cycle


Hey Jim,

first of all let me say that 531 really brought back the fun in my training.
I've been on it for 4 months now and have achieved some nice progress.

My last cycle was really awkward
I was hitting 62.5kg for 6 reps on the 3s week at the overhead press
So i expected to hit like 3-4 reps with 65kg in the 531 week... BUT that fucking bar just wouldnt move.
I didnt quite want to recalculate my TM so I repeated the cycle
Now I only got 60kg for 5 reps in the 5s week

Do you have any ideas for me?

PS: i bought both 531 1st edition and beyond 531


When in doubt, drop your tm and work back up


If you are still getting the minimum reps dor each week I would say increase the weight as normal. You will have bad days occasionally (under recovery or external stress) but just keep going til you start missing reps. I am on my 10th or 11th cycle right now and haven't had to reset once.


1000x this. you def did not calculate your TM correctly. I'm on my 7th cycle and I'm still getting 7-10 reps on all my lifts on 531 week. The first few cycles I was getting 15 reps on 5's week. Do a 5 rep max then use the formula in the book to calculate then take 90% of that number for your TM.


Ok guys thanks for your help
I will continue this cycle like i should and see what i get
The overhead press is really awkward
Sometimes i hit major prs and sometimes i seem to become worse at it until suddenly i hit a new pr
The thing that bothers me in this case is the fact that I got 6 reps on the 3s week and couldnt even do one with 2.5kg more on the bar...
Sry for my spelling and grammar im typing on my phone


I repeat a cycle when I've had a few 'less than stellar' sessions, or when I know the next cycle will be interupted by work or whatever, I also usualy repeat after the Chritmas / New year break.


The fact that i got 6 reps in the 3s week and 0 reps in the 531 week with only 2.5kg more on the bar was the reason why I did not want to recalculate the TM
The overhead press is kind of a bitch when it comes to progress.
My performance really fluctuates there


The fact that i got 6 reps in the 3s week and 0 reps in the 531 week with only 2.5kg more on the bar was the reason why I did not want to recalculate the TM
The overhead press is kind of a bitch when it comes to progress.
My performance really fluctuates there


I would look into the pyramid down option of 5/3/1 main lifts. Do them with as little rest as possible. It will help to add to your volume (which in my opinion is always good).

You can also do another set with the top weight for the day on your other lifts when you have a good day, and try to get the reps paused on your clavicles (it is very possible you are not using good form). It is also possible that you just had an off day (didn't eat well, or sleep well).

Believe it or not, it is also possibly a mental thing. I personally have a hard time with this sometimes. Think happy thoughts until it is time for your lift, then get excited and focused. Work to assist your weak points as well. Maybe your triceps are weak, or your traps or serratus anterior muscles suck (yes traps and serratus anterior are key in the press).

Check a few of those out and then I would recommend you explore the deload.


Isn't it kind of his own fault if he didn't take the deload to begin with?


I highly recommend doing 5 forward/3 back. There a number of us on the forum that have used this and experimented with it and have had great results.


I took the deload and then repeated the cycle
Today is my 3s week Overhead press day

I'm not sure if I got you right
Can I find anything about 5 forward/3 back in the books?
Or could you shortly explain what you mean?

Sorry for asking all these questions :wink:


five cycles forward, three back, repeat.
As in increase your tm for five cycles, reset by going back three cycles, repeat.


Ahhh ok
I thought so but I wasnt sure if it was really meant like that
Thanks for helping me out

Depending on my performance today I will decide if I need to do this now


I think the 5 forward 3 back is a great idea, but I'm at a point where I am really not strong enough to be doing that yet, as in I can just keep making progress cycle to cycle at the same pace or higher than the pace that the TM moves at.

I might try it down the road, first by doing 5 / 2 back, then 5 / 3 back later on. Even the 5 forward 3 back ends up being a solid amount of progress each year.


In case you were not aware, overhead press progresses very slowly. You are, if you do them right, only using very small muscles to press overhead. Delts and triceps mostly. So don't expect to leap up in weight like squats or deadlifts.

Personally I find that you progress best when you are working at about 80% of your 1RM on overhead, not fighting for singles or doubles. Adding just 2.5kg to overhead is a big deal.


This. With bench and the press, the increments are the same since they are both 'upper body' lifts, but there is usually a big difference in strength between the two. Like lower body, many times squat and DL will be within 10-20% of each other, you can have a much bigger difference in the bench and press. You can have a guy who can bench 315 but only press 185.


So yesterday was my overhead press day from my 3s week...
I did 62,5kg for 4 reps then I stopped because I didnt want to go to complete failure
I also found out that the bar I used last time was 5kg lighter than usual so I basically had cheated on myself
I think after this cycle I will reset my TM

Thank you a lot guys your posts are very valuable for me


For OH press I get a friend to machine two 1.25kg plates to half their weight (0.625kg) so I could go up in small amounts, 1.25kg per cycle and round of the weight s to nearest 1.25kg. Wouldnt recommend it for big lifts though (my Tmax for OH press is only 50kg at the moment, but has been 56.25kg prior to ill health).
I look at it like this: 1.25kg is 2.5% of my current Tmax, equivalent to using a +5kg on a Tmax of 200kg for DL.