T Nation

TM's Badly Miscalculated. Reset?


Ok, so my son and I have just completed my third week of 5/3/1, 1st cycle. My son had not been lifting recently (14yo) and I have been doing a light weight, high rep body building routine so I used a basic estimate for our maxes (- the 10%) based on our numbers from a Starting Strength routine we did in November.

But, I think I may have missed badly (maybe not)
My son’s squats - his depth wasn’t all the way there so I reset his technique to definatley get below parallel and he was only able to get 1 rep on the final set of 3’s week. (90% of TM) I’m thinking I need to reset him quite a bit lower. Thoughts?

Myself - I blew by the numbers pretty well, maybe too much? Definitely felt at time like I wasn’t working very hard and maybe miscalculated my estimates to figure TM. (I haven’t actually done any 1RM’s since I started lifting again)

OHP - TM 160, I did 155 for 7 = 191 estimated max (This one felt ok to me)
Bench - TM 270, I did 245 for 8 = 310 est. max (This one feels ok to me)
Deadlift - TM 320, I did 305 for 15 = 457 (Cardio was all that made me stop, could have done more)
Squart - TM 300, I did 285 for 9 = 370 (good intensity, but could have done more)

After the Deload week, would you recommend adjusting any of these up more than the typical 5 upper / 10 lower, or should I be recalculating an estimate based more on these “estimated maxes” from the rep calculator?


Will you still wonder when you do 405 for 15?


Not sure what you mean. I’m new to the program so I guess I was expecting to maybe crank out 5-8 or maybe 10 reps of 90%+ TM type weight but when I get to 12 or 15 reps and still have some in the tank I’m just worried I’m not getting the intensity I should be getting. Not complaining about results or anything, I feel great and I do think I’ve gotten stronger just don’t want to be bullshitting myself or “not running the program”


Start light is a motto for this program.

You are fine. Keep going.


You’re doing fine. High reps doesn’t mean low intensity. You’ll get fewer reps as you progress.


Yours is fine. Reset your son’s for sure.


For you, do whatever. I’d do a 7th week protocol after you finish this cycle and then set your TM at whatever percentage you want it to be for your next program.

For your son, I’d stop what you’re doing now and do a test week to get a useful TM for him. I’d do this by estimating what you think 80% of his max is for each lift, and have him do a test set with that weight for each lift on a different day. Leave a rep in the tank. Then use the Epley formula to estimate a max, and set his TMs. I’d say 80-85% TMs to start, he’s young and a high volume of quality, fast reps will do him good. He should be good from there, provided you can coach his technique adequately.


Thanks all - I feel a lot more confident moving into the next cycle with your feedback.


You may have to recalculate as those weights seem somewhat heavy for someone that really pushed himself. So you may have to go lower.


Thanks Jim, I appreciate you taking the time to personally to respond.

Will there be a Kindle version of “Forever” coming out anytime soon?


Yes! The Kindle will be available in 3 months or so.

If you aren’t getting 5 VERY STRONG reps on the 5/3/1 week (95%), your TM is WRONG. Simple as that.

How and When to Reset When Stalling

What do you mean there? Sorry I just didn’t quite get it. The 95% in the 5/3/1 week is only 1 rep correct? Did you mean you should be able to get an extra 4 reps on that set or the 5 rep set previous (at 75% correct?) should be a strong set for you?


No, in the original 5/3/1 setup, the last sets are always “As Many Reps As Possible”. So, he’s saying you should get a minimum of 5 strong reps at 95% or your Training Max is too heavy.


It’s not an AMRAP, it’s a PR set and you should be able to get 5 strong reps at least.


Yes, you are correct, AMRAP sets are now supposed to be done as PR sets. I just thought it would be easier for a confused person to understand AMRAP and get them back on the correct path.