T Nation

Wendler 5-3-1


I have a question for this routine concerning when you max out for a new 1RM??

My partner and I have cycled through twice. Its seems that on my 3rd set each week where were doing as many as we can without reaching failure Im always hitting a 6-8 number.

Do you we just keep adding 10 lbs to the previous cycles weights for squat and dead and 5 for bench or do we at some point re-test the max for new numbers?

By the way, this is the best routine Ive used in years.


IMO you can re-max whenever you like. Then reset your 90% training maxes from the new one. I re-max every 2 months regardless of programming.


I add the 10 lbs until I hit my max on any given 5/3/1 day and recalculate it with that.


THE ANSWER THAT WENDLER HAS GIVEN IS: no, you do not need to reset your training maxes based on a new tested or projected (by rep PR's) max. 6-8 reps on your last set of the 5/3/1 week is quite normal for being so new to the program. do yourself a HUGE favor, and stick to the program as written. you've only done 2 cycles, you do not need to start resetting shit and changing things.

Trust me, there will come a time where you will start getting excited about the weights you're hitting, and you will want more, more, more! and therefore you might skip a deload here and there or round a weight up when you probably should've rounded down, etc, etc- you will try to progress too fast and you will get to a point where you wish you were still getting 6-8 reps on that 95% set. Enjoy it while it lasts, and if you're really smart, you will actually start to reset the weights back a cycle or two once you start to not see those rep ranges for the final sets- that will ensure the most progress in the long run.

It is a fucking great program the way it is written. I have followed it for most of the last two years, read the book several times, read many q&a's with Jim about it, soaked up and shared as much knowledge of tweaking it here and there, blah blah- I can honestly say in my experience and in the experiences of others that ive seen- things start to go wrong when you dont follow what's in the book.

One of Jim's main philosophies, regardless of whether it is his 5/3/1 or any other strength program, is to START TOO LIGHT. essentially, if youre getting 6-8 reps, you are right on track and doing what you're supposed to be doing.

as far as when you can take the weight for a ride and see what you've got, i wouldnt do it every cycle by any means. at the most i would say test 2 of the 4 lifts in any given cycle. at that i would say 1 upper, 1 lower- that's if you feel you MUST test more than one. however you work it out, i wouldnt suggest testing any given lift more than once every 2-3 months. ive found the best success (best PR's) in holding off as long as i could. just work up on 5/3/1 day, take the 95% for just a single, and if it felt good/wasnt a grinder, add a little weight, go again, repeat as necessary. ive done this on the 3's week as well, and the following week for that lift i just did the prescribed reps, in other words hit the 95% for a single.


Thank you very much guys. I appreciate the feedback. I am literally in love with this program. I had used Gilli's Program for about 3 years and just hit a wall. This with the constant changes seems your pumped every workout.

It takes all my will power to do the de-load. But I know how important the recovery is.



So on this program is the last set to get as many reps as possible? Im confused. it goes 3x5 for the first week and 3x3 the next right? but on your last set of you go til failure or not?




  1. Don't be a threadjacker
  2. Buy the damn book, or use the search function.


Dude.. its not your thread, so I don't see what the problem is since its on the same topic


Yes, the 3rd set of each week is going to the max. But not failure. Your not supposed to fail. If you shoot for 8, you get 8. Not 7 1/4

As for the routine, maybe my old ass can get back to the 700 squat and pulls.

My elbow is killing me, might be time for an injection.


Don't give in to the tendonitis! Kick it's fucking ass!


@ A Iron Mack

It doesnt matter whose thread it is - use the fucking search function. Better yet, stop trying to figure out how to do the program without having to pay for it.

See here:

There's a difference between asking for advice or experiences, and asking how the whole damned program works. Fuck man, it's only $20.