T Nation

Two 5/3/1 Questions

Greetings all,

I am a 52-year-old lifetime natural on-and-off powerlifter (back on again), and am brand new to this site. I am enjoying great success seven months into my comeback, having done six months on Westside Conjugate, and now a month of 5/3/1. I have two minor questions that will help with my continuing progress:

  1. When doing overhead presses, I am standing at the squat rack, cleaning the weight, and then doing the required number of presses without returning the weight to the floor between each repetition. Should I continue in this manner, or will I benefit more if I clean-and-press each repetition?

  2. After the first month-long cycle of 5/3/1, the standard program recommends increasing the amount of weight worked with by ten pounds for squat/deadlift, and by five pounds for bench/overhead press. Is this weight added to the one-rep training max, or to the one-rep true max before calculating my workout percentages?

Thank you,


  1. It’s programmed as a standard press. But if PC&P is more in line w/ your goals then just make that decision and go for it or do PC&P as assistance.

  2. You add the weight to your TM, and recalculate percentages from there. Don’t worry about your true max, especially in the early months.

  1. The way you’re doing it is fine.

  2. Add it to your training max.

  1. I would encourage you to think long and hard about why you are doing the cleans and what they are adding to your training. Everything in your program should be there for a reason. If you can’t think of a good reason, eliminate it.

  2. You add 5/10lbs to TM, your increases in 1RM won’t be so easy to predict.

If You want to add Power Cleans while going along with the program as written, do them as a 5/3/1 lift before your 5/3/1 squat or deadlift, and keep the press as a standard OHP. Cleaning to the rack position to begin the set is fine.

If you have a squat rack, why not setup the bar in the rack similar to a squat and just pull the bar out of the rack so you’re already in-position to press? It seems like your pressing might get limited by your ability to clean. Do what works for you, but it just seems like it would be better to use the squat rack for the press.

Progressing in 5/3/1 is all about using your training max, increment your training max not your competition / true 1RM.

[quote]Jaynick77 wrote:
It seems like your pressing might get limited by your ability to clean.

I don’t meet many people who can press more than they can clean. It would certainly put a whole new spin on Olympic lifting if the clean was the limiting factor.