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Squats Went Down. Doing Too Much/Too Little? 5+5/3/1

A lot of questions here so I’ll try to be brief and to the point:

50 year old lifter. Stopped training for 20+ years. Been back about 2 years but only doing 5/3/1 for about 3 cycles. Prior to that I squatted and heavy rows but only dumbbell bench and no deads. I have decided to lift with a purpose so I plan on entering a PL meet some time after next summer, giving myself 1 year to get back into the swing.

I set my 1RM at 405 for the squat. Prior to 5/3/1 I was getting 3@315x10 or 3@345x5. I started off with 5/3/1+BBB 4 day split. All lifts starting going up, except squat. I though maybe it was too much volume, so on next 2 cycles I changed to 3/5/1 with PR and Jokers with 5x5 FSL. Again, all lifts went up; except squat. I was hitting PRs on all lifts and jokers on bench and deads. I was only able to hit the minimum reps on my + sets of squats and never did jokers. Last week on my 1+ I singled 365 and there was nothing left. And 315 feels heavy.

So I am at a loss. I’ve been playing with foot placement and have gone back to what worked when squats were good (3x500 in my late 20s). Part of me wonders if the heavy deads on Monday are killing my squats (last week 11 reps on my 1+ and jokers to 105%TM for 3). Am I over training? Am I under training? I sometimes feel I should be working more reps at a lower weight, maybe 5Pros or 5x5/3/1 at the 300-345lb range. Thoughts/experience?

I don’t know if my body can squat and dead twice in one week; but, any idea why all of the 5x5/3/1 templates in Forever are shown with squats and deads separated by a day? Some of the other templates shows squats followed by 5x5 FSL deads and vice-versa.

Your TM is way too high.

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How did you get 405 as your TM?!

345x5 is you best set to use.

345x5x.033+345= 400 then you need to set your TM. 400x .85 = 340 as a TM.

When I started, 405 was estimated 1RM: 315@10 = 419 and 345@5 = 402 so I used 405 which set a TM at 360.

That makes more sense. Always use the lower. Round down so 400 instead of 405.
And try lower tms. 80-85% instead of 90%

The goal is 5 strong fast reps at your TM. Which… 345 could have been. If those were hard then you would have wanted lower.

Thanks.

Thanks.

Your TM is too high.

I did the “old” deload this week (40%TM) and cut assistance in half. When I start back next week, would you recommend 5PROs (3/5/1) + 5x5 FSL or 5x5/3/1?

I recommend doing the original 5/3/1 program. Learn the skill of pushing super hard on sets. Follow that with 50 reps of DB squats or Ab wheel, 50 reps of dips or DB pressing and 50 reps of chins/pull-ups or DB rows.

I would NOT recommend 5x5/3/1.

The only other thing I would recommend at this point is 5s PRO, 5x5 FSL but you should learn the skill of PR sets.

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Thanks again. I hit PRs every week on the other 3 lifts. Just not squats, which historically was my best lift.

If recovery is an issue you could also alternate squats and dead’s every other week.

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I want to give this a try because the OG531 always worked for me.

Is this a smart way to setup the template for three days a week? It looks a like a little bit much assistance work!?

Monday:

Press 531
DB squats 50 reps
Abs 50 reps
DB Bench Press 50 reps
DB Rows 50 reps

Wednesday:

Deadlift 531
DB squats 50 reps
Abs 50 reps
DB Bench Press 50 reps
DB Rows 50 reps

Friday

Bench Press 531
DB squats 50 reps
Abs 50 reps
DB Bench Press 50 reps
DB Rows 50 reps

Monday

Squat 531
DB squats 50 reps
Abs 50 reps
DB Bench Press 50 reps
DB Rows 50 reps

or when I want to train four days per week:

Monday
Press 531
DB squats 50 reps
Abs 50 reps
DB Bench Press 50 reps
DB Rows 50 reps

Tuesday
Deadlift 531
DB squats 50 reps
Abs 50 reps
DB Bench Press 50 reps
DB Rows 50 reps

Thursday
Bench Press 531
DB squats 50 reps
Abs 50 reps
DB Bench Press 50 reps
DB Rows 50 reps

Friday
Squat 531
DB squats 50 reps
Abs 50 reps
DB Bench Press 50 reps
DB Rows 50 reps

Here its obviously a lot more assistance when I fit all the lifts in one week!?

What would you recommend? And is there a difference regarding assistance work when I use OG531 or your alternative you mentioned with 5s PRO, 5x5 FSL?

Thanks

This is fine. If you want to cut back on the assistance work, give yourself a window as per the exact instructions in the Forever book.

I considered recovery as a possible problem, but my dead lifts keep
going up. I will say when I swapped days (DL to Monday and SQ to
Thurs), my squats took a nose dive. I am going to drop my TM and
move squats back to Mondays and see what happens.

I’m just lurking through the forums, but I just have to say, I can physically feel Jim’s eye rolls in his responses, and it’s hilarious. (Not judging OP, I’ve gotten the piercing eye roll response too)

To chaoshander

In my defense, I have not followed this forum for long. In fact I saw the 5/3/1 program on T-nation, bought tall 4 books, read them in order and programmed my lifts based upon my interpretation of them. When my squats went down, I posted here. Jim answered, maybe rolling his eyes, TM too high. I read the same thing in the books. It just didn’t make sense. For a 365TM, I was scheduled to hit the 315 range for 12 reps over the first cycle. Even if I hit 10 on my AMRAP sets, I would only be at 33. Before starting 5/3/1 I was doing straight sets of 315 for 24-30 reps each week, so maybe 80 over 3 weeks. So I’m doing less reps and got weaker. So the question was do I do more reps at the heavier sets or maybe cut out FSL on squats or deadlifts or both.

I’m going to drop my TM and start over, but I still think it was a valid question.

No you’re good man. It’s not a “you” thing, it’s a Jim thing. It’s all so simple in his head he gets visibly perturbed when people dont understand it. He just reminds me of an old friend and it makes me laugh.

All questions are valid as long as you make a calculated assessment of the information someone gives you afterwards.

I do enjoy answering questions and people thinking I’m rolling my eyes at them. All I did was answer a question as simply and direct as possible.

It’s a different world now.

And I appreciate it. Took your advice and put it in motion.