T Nation

Too Conservative With Load Increases?

I’ve got limited mobility from shoulder surgery last year so I’m running 5/3/1 with Deadlift, Bench Press, and Front Squat.

Each cycle I’ve been increasing my Deadlift by 10 lbs./cycle and my Bench Press and Front Squat by 5 lbs./cycle. At the time I expected Front Squat progress to come slower than Back Squat so I chose not to increase at 10 lbs./cycle.

Now that I’m a few cycles in, I’m concerned 5 lbs./cycle may have been too conservative of an approach for Front Squat.

Here is a summary of my “1+” set progress from 6/12/2016 compared to 9/11/2016:

Deadlift: (235 lbs. x 6) to (260 lbs. x 6)
Bench: (150 lbs. x 6) to (160 lbs. x 7)
Front Squat: (120 lbs. x 7) to (135 lbs. x 10)

Looking at these numbers (particularly for Front Squat), one part of me says:

“Consistent, long-term progress is part of the beauty of the 5/3/1 philosophy. Stay at 5 lbs./cycle”

Another part of me says:

“Increasing at 5 lbs./cycle for a lower body lift was a mistake and was over-conservative. Especially at this stage in your development you can afford to be more aggressive and your progress suggests this. Try 10 lbs./cycle and at least see how it goes.”

I’m not sure whether I’d be more in alignment with 5/3/1 by following the recommended lower body lift increase, or by following the recommended approach of being conservative.

What say you all? Should I start increasing at 10 lbs./cycle or stay the course?

Thanks in advance!

You’ve pretty much answered your own question here.


TM is merely a tool to base your lifting percentages on.

Your estimated 1rm has gone up about 35 pounds in three months. That’s rad!



No one on here can really answer this for you.

The program says 10 lbs

You say thats too much … OK do 5lbs

You say thats not enough … OK do 10lbs

Unless we were doctors and able to examine you in person how could we give any real advice?

If you stick with 5lbs then progress will be slower but if its guaranteed then in the long term all this will even out, it will simply take twice as long.

I know why you are asking and thats great but no one knows you well enough and or is qualified to really answer this one.

I suspected that would be the case, but sometime’s you’ve just gotta share your thoughts with some other people to get out of your own head. Thanks for the reassurance!

Thanks! That’s what I thought when I took a look at my progress. That being the case, if increasing at 5 lbs./cycle is working, I’ll stick to it. It’s just tough not to want to ramp things up a bit. Human nature, I suppose.

I agree. The progress will be slower but it will be more consistent, allow for more practice with better form, and (eventually) even 5 lbs./cycle will become “aggressive”.

Thank you all for your feedback. As mentioned above, sometimes it helps a ton just to bounce your thoughts off of others.