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Testing 1RM for 5/3/1

I am planning on starting Wendlers 5/3/1 and I am 18 138lbs. I have been training for about 7 months but only calisthenics. Only for about the last month have i been practicing the movement with deadlifts and squats. As of right now mt deadlift is 185 lbs for 4 X 8 and Squat is 157 for 4 X 8 The book states you need to know your 1RM on all the 4 main lifts in order to take the 10% off and start the program. I have never tested or come anywhere near my 1rm.

How would I go about safely testing it as a beginner. I really want to start the program as soon as possible. THanks

Just google “5/3/1 calculator”

Without using a calculator (obviously above poster didn’t read the “need to know” or misread as “need to figure”), I would test 1 lift a day on the 5/3/1 schedule. Start with an easy weight for a set of 10 or 15, and gradually work up in weight while reducing the reps. Keep in mind, your max should be the heaviest weight you can lift without mechanical failure (i.e. butt of the bench, improper squat depth, etc.)

As the weight goes up, take a little longer between sets. 3-5 min. on your heaviest ones like Wendler advises in the book. In my own experience, if you miss at a weight, give yourself the rest period, add 5 to 10 pounds, and try the lift. Give it an effort but don’t be shocked if you miss. Then, go back down to the original missed weight and try again. Doing this can “prime” your system and you might hit the lift the 2nd time. If you miss twice, the last completed lift (mechanically sound) was your max. Just a parting reminder, your actual max is then multiplied by .9 before it’s plugged in to the 5/3/1 charting matrix.

[quote]SRT08 wrote:
Without using a calculator (obviously above poster didn’t read the “need to know” or misread as “need to figure”), I would test 1 lift a day on the 5/3/1 schedule. Start with an easy weight for a set of 10 or 15, and gradually work up in weight while reducing the reps. Keep in mind, your max should be the heaviest weight you can lift without mechanical failure (i.e. butt of the bench, improper squat depth, etc.) As the weight goes up, take a little longer between sets. 3-5 min. on your heaviest ones like Wendler advises in the book. In my own experience, if you miss at a weight, give yourself the rest period, add 5 to 10 pounds, and try the lift. Give it an effort but don’t be shocked if you miss. Then, go back down to the original missed weight and try again. Doing this can “prime” your system and you might hit the lift the 2nd time. If you miss twice, the last completed lift (mechanically sound) was your max. Just a parting reminder, your actual max is then multiplied by .9 before it’s plugged in to the 5/3/1 charting matrix.[/quote]

Ok awesome thanks

Tim Henriques has a good article on this

[quote]fdwider wrote:

[quote]SRT08 wrote:
Without using a calculator (obviously above poster didn’t read the “need to know” or misread as “need to figure”), I would test 1 lift a day on the 5/3/1 schedule. Start with an easy weight for a set of 10 or 15, and gradually work up in weight while reducing the reps. Keep in mind, your max should be the heaviest weight you can lift without mechanical failure (i.e. butt of the bench, improper squat depth, etc.) As the weight goes up, take a little longer between sets. 3-5 min. on your heaviest ones like Wendler advises in the book. In my own experience, if you miss at a weight, give yourself the rest period, add 5 to 10 pounds, and try the lift. Give it an effort but don’t be shocked if you miss. Then, go back down to the original missed weight and try again. Doing this can “prime” your system and you might hit the lift the 2nd time. If you miss twice, the last completed lift (mechanically sound) was your max. Just a parting reminder, your actual max is then multiplied by .9 before it’s plugged in to the 5/3/1 charting matrix.[/quote]

Ok awesome thanks [/quote]

Also I have never Overhead press before should I set aside a couple of weeks to learn the technique and then go for my max? THanks

Nowhere in the book does it say to take max attempts. It clearly recommends taking a REP max with 80% or 85% of your supposed max and plugging it in the formula given. Also, I would only go to TECHNICAL failure, (the point at which your technique breaks down). I always go by the philosophy of leaving 1-2 reps in the tank.

I would also advise not getting into the habit of missing any lifts. In the 9 months I have been doing 5/3/1 I have not missed a single rep. And if you do miss a lift you have to figure out why and correct it…not add more weight and try again.

[quote]Badmo wrote:
Nowhere in the book does it say to take max attempts. It clearly recommends taking a REP max with 80% or 85% of your supposed max and plugging it in the formula given. Also, I would only go to TECHNICAL failure, (the point at which your technique breaks down). I always go by the philosophy of leaving 1-2 reps in the tank.

I would also advise not getting into the habit of missing any lifts. In the 9 months I have been doing 5/3/1 I have not missed a single rep. And if you do miss a lift you have to figure out why and correct it…not add more weight and try again. [/quote]

Yes your right but that 85% is off of your supposed max…I have no idea what my supposed max is because 1)I have never maxed on any of these lifts 2) I have never overhead pressed
So I really don’t want to guess my max on a program that needs to be followed to the T in regards to the 4 main lifts

If you really don’t have any idea what your 1RM is and are worried about doing singles then just start with the bar and ramp up with triples until you hit your max set with good form. Just make small jumps on each ramp so you get well warmed up and prime your CNS for the heavier lifts to come. This will also keep your form in check.

Once you get to the last set of 3 where you don’t think you can go any further do this;
Weight x Reps x .0333 + Weight = Estimated 1RM
Multiply your Estimated 1RM by .9 and that is your Training Max

Don’t stress too much about finding the exact training max as it’s really just a starting point for you to work off. As you are young and new to these lifts you will make gains for a long time.
Good luck with your training.

Who cares what your max is? You’re only going to be using 90% of whatever you used anyways

[quote]chobbs wrote:
Who cares what your max is? You’re only going to be using 90% of whatever you used anyways[/quote]

I agree. If you have never overhead pressed before, then yea go find a weight that is a challenging 5 reps or whatever, but dont worry that is isnt a max. It doesn’t matter.

For your other lifts, don’t worry about a max either. Just think of what a challenging set of 5 would be (make sure it’s something youve done recently, don’t bullshit yourself)

Just use that number for your training max.

[quote]Angus1 wrote:
If you really don’t have any idea what your 1RM is and are worried about doing singles then just start with the bar and ramp up with triples until you hit your max set with good form. Just make small jumps on each ramp so you get well warmed up and prime your CNS for the heavier lifts to come. This will also keep your form in check.

Once you get to the last set of 3 where you don’t think you can go any further do this;
Weight x Reps x .0333 + Weight = Estimated 1RM
Multiply your Estimated 1RM by .9 and that is your Training Max

Don’t stress too much about finding the exact training max as it’s really just a starting point for you to work off. As you are young and new to these lifts you will make gains for a long time.

Good luck with your training. [/quote]

OK This sounds pretty good thanks. Also how big should the jumps from each set be?

Everyone seems to have their own way of ramping. I usually take bigger jumps at the beginning then smaller jumps towards the end for more of a training effect. Other lifters like to keep jumps around the same.
You’ll most likely take bigger jumps on Squat and Deadlift then you would on Bench Press and Military Press.

Here’s an example of each.

I’ll be doing triples tonight for Deadlift and it will look like this:
Bar x10, 60kg x8, 80kg x5, 100kg x3, 120kg x3, 140kg x3, 150kg x3, 160kg x3, 170kgx3, 180kg x3.

Now if I was doing Bench Press it would look more like this:
Bar x10, 40kg x8, 60kg x5, 70kg x3, 80x3, 90kg x3, 100kg x3, 105kgx3, 110kg x3

These are in Kilograms as I’m Australian but you get the general idea.

The first few sets are really just to warm up and to get your head right. Try and set up perfectly every single time. Even when just doing the warm up sets you still should set up perfectly. It’s good practice. After the first few warm up sets we are fully switched on and are now activating the nervous system. These sets need to be done just as if you were holding a heavy load. Make sure to use perfect form and accelerate the bar.