T Nation

Training Max Test 7th Week Protocol

Hey everyone, I recently tested my TM for a new cycle and I found that it was too high. I could only hit 2 reps. So I did a calculation from those 2 reps to find me new TM. It got me wondering though. When testing the TM should you always aim for the assumed TM from the last anchor or try to just bump up 5 or 10 lbs from the TM you stated that cycle with? I am finding the former harder to do since that can sometimes be a 30-40 pound jump.

For example, I start a 2 leader/1 anchor cycle with a squat TM of 300lbs which i was able to get 3-5 solid reps in my TM Test.

By the end of the anchor my TM is now assumed to be 330lbs after 10 weeks. When I take another 7th week test i fail to get 330 for 3-5 good reps. Should i actually be testing something like 310 lbs for my next cycle? This would be a 10lb increase since my last test week. Or do i continue to test the assumed TM post anchor?

You test with your next cycle’s projected TM, so in the case where you start with a TM of 300 lbs, if you do 2 leaders and 1 anchor, your TM test weight should be 330. Make sure you’re eating enough and not pushing your assistance so hard that it’s interfering with your strength work.

I will add that I struggle with the TM test between cycles, so I tend to use my 1+ set at 95% to verify my next cycle’s TM. Just do a 1RM calculation off of that set and take 85-90% of it to get your TM for the next cycle. If it’s higher than the projected TM, then use the projected TM (never increase more than 10 lbs for squat/dead or 5 lbs for bench/press). If your calculated weight is lower than your projected TM, use the calculated weight.

In my opinion its never a bad thing if you want to test a lighter TM. One of the principles of the program is to progress slowly.

But you followed the 7th Week protocol correctly so your on the right track. I am assuming you ask this so you can at least start a bit further ahead on this cycle than you did on the last, but just use it as an opportunity to try break the PR’s you set the last time you ran it through. Or try a different template (maybe one with more volume) and make sure your eating and recovery is on point. You could also try only pushing the volume on a couple lifts, while leaving the others where they are.

If you really want to set it at 310 you could find a template that requires a 90% TM and set it at 87.5% (Which is around 310 if my math is correct).

In the end a 10lb difference isn’t going to make a huge difference in the overall scheme of things. Just do the work both in and out of the gym and you will move forward eventually.

Just curious, was 300 a 85% TM for your last cycle?

From all the people who have had great success, use a lighter TM. Use a weight you can get any day of the week for 5 strong fast reps as your TM. It shouldn’t be your 5rm or anything. I usually start a cycle with something that would probably be an 8-10 RM. the number doesn’t matter, there’s zero benefit to trying to lift as heavy as possible especially at first. You should be able to complete every 5 rep set through a leader and anchor with strong reps.

Thats good info. Thanks. I was hoping for 3 reps at 300 so that was going to be a 90% TM

You can use a 90% TM, but most programs now call for 85% at most, and Jim recommends a lighter one usually now.

I think from the math I did that 300 would now be an 85% TM. So even though your starting at the same weight, you have still gotten stronger.