T Nation

Using Percentage of TM or 1RM?

I feel stupid for not understanding this and would greatly appreciate an answer.

I understand that your TM is supposed to be 90% of your estimated 1RM.
Say my 1rm for the squat is 265. My tm would be 90% of that, so: 240.

Now say I want to start Spinal tap 5 Pro’s program. It says 85% TM.
Would I be using 85% of 265 or 85% of 240?

Thank you.

85% of the 240

I respectfully disagree with ChickenLittle. Jim’s programs most commonly call for either a 90% or 85% TM. This means you set your TM at 90% or 85% of your estimated 1RM. So, an 85% TM in your case would would be 85% of 265 lbs, which mean your TM would be ~225 lbs.

Now, the percentages you flow through each workout (or week to week) are based on percentages of your TM. So for week 1, your 531 main lifts are at 65%, 75%, and 85% of your TM for that program (which in the case you mentioned would be based on 225 lbs).

Make sense?


Antiquity is correct.

Yup! Makes sense. Thank you for the explanation & quick reply! Looking forward to start 5/3/1 and explore it’s different programs.

You’re right! My apologies. I misunderstood the question. It’s been a long day. Sorry!


Tag me if you start a training log here with 5/3/1. Would love to see how you progress. Looking to start with “5/3/1 for beginners” myself