T Nation

Reset or Keep Moving?


Hi. I have question to Jim. Tell me how it is, when I get to my current records in some cycle and keep progressing by 5 and 10 pounds then sometime I won't do workout sets. You know I'll do 3 sets insted 5 in 3x5 or 1 instead 3 in 3x3.

What should I do then? I have to repeat cycle till I do requied reps or remove some pounds?


I mean 3 reps instead 5*


Reset. Go back 2 or 3 cycles. Good luck!


You have to choose:

Bad workout?


New TM...

Former - get better.
Latter - reset

Just do 5 forward/3 back with your TM. Seems to work very well for the majority of people. And really, if you miss a RX rep, you have to seriously re-evalute your training or your social life.


So for example. I start with 85% of real max - it's my TM. Now I am doing 5 cycles with adding 5 / 10 lbs, then back 3 cycles (15 / 30 lbs) and repeat adding weight for next 5 weeks, yes?

For example 400 lbs real max = 340 lbs TM (85%):

Cycle 1 - 340 lbs (yeah, I know it should be 95% of TM = 320 lbs - just explaining)
Cycle 2 - 350 lbs
Cycle 3 - 360 lbs
Cycle 4 - 370 lbs
Cycle 5 - 380 lbs

now back to weight from Cycle 2 and go forward:

Cycle 6 - 350 lbs
Cycle 7 - 360 lbs
Cycle 10 - 390 lbs

I am right?


i think its back to Cycle 3 TM and go forward from there. Here's why:

I understand 5 forward as taking 5 cycles to completion. So in my mind, you're at Cycle 6 about to adjust the TM, but rather than increasing the TM you instead count back to Cycle 5 (one back), then to Cycle 4 (two back), then to Cycle 3 (three back). 5 forward, 3 back.

But that's a different perspective than just subtracting 15/30lbs from Cycle 5 to land at Cycle 2 numbers for Cycle 6 TMs.


So let me example once more:

340 lbs, 350 lbs, 360 lbs, 370 lbs, 380 lbs
360 lbs, 370 lbs, 380 lbs, 390 lbs, 400 lbs
380 lbs, 390 lbs, 400 lbs, 410 lbs, 420 lbs





In my view, it shouldn't really matter. In essence, all you're doing if staggering you training max in order to keep it from becoming your limit max and to continue using sub-maximal weight. If you go from cycle1 to 5 to then back down to cycle 2 training max, you're ensuring long-term progress and can continue smashing rep PR's with your increased strength


So in fact reset should be intuitively and I should focus on increasing reps at Last Set, First Last Set, etc.?


You're over thinking this shit man.


Probably a dumb question but I'm on my 5th cycle right now. I have only had one bad squat day where I hit only my minimum rep range. Should I reset every 5 weeks or just keep it going if i'm still improving.


Not every day is going to be great. Some days the weight just hits you harder. But if you're improving an hitting your lifts. Keep moving forward


Sometimes when you lift, you have bad days. You'll be fine.


I would repeat the cycle, and change a few major things.


  1. Get a full 8 hours of sleep before a big lift day.

  2. Be awake for at least 3 hours before you go lift.

  3. Get at least 2 meals with some sort of pasta (Large portion) before the lift.

  4. Warm up extremely well.

If you are already doing this, consider WHY your lifts stalled. Maybe it was that your form is breaking, or you are really stressed out. School is great at messing up my lifts and mental drive/focus, so was my ex girlfriend.

Is one lift stalling or all of them?

How have you been "feeling" lately? Do you wake up feeling weak/tired?

If you can go through a few of these things and rule each of them out, then I would deload.

I know that, as stated, Mr. Wendler always recommends 5 forward 3 back. I have had success with taking whatever my missed lift was and calculating a max based on that, and restarting the whole program (Yes, I was getting like 10 reps on my AMRAP sets on "5/3/1" weeks sometimes). The last time I did this I spent a week in the hospital (in May of this year). I have since squatted my previous max (actual max from my last attempt in march, not a calculated max) for 6 reps.

Whoever says that this program is slow has never done it. You will make progress as fast as humanly possible on this program. Deloading wont be the end of the world, and you will only get stronger.

Hope this helps you.


I quite often hit 5-6 reps on my singles day, 8 reps on my triples day and 10 reps on my 5's day so I don't think I'm stalling yet. I do have some bad days here and there but only 10% of the time.