What are My 5/3/1 Results Saying about The Program?

Hello. I have been following 5/3/1 for the past several months (needed to take time off during the pandemic until my home gym equipment got delivered in May, and I restarted 5/3/1 in July).

Let’s take my deadlift as an example. On July 24th when I restarted, I set my DL TM at 230. Since that time, I have been adding 10 lbs. each cycle and have not missed any reps. I have also been doing BBB.

Today (December 17th), my DL TM is 290 and it was my “1” week. For my 1+, I hit 11 reps at 250. I could have done at least 12 but my grip was slipping (I usually hook grip the last set, but for some reason I did not).


  1. Does this seem like good progress? I think it’s fine, particularly since I have not missed any reps.

  2. Also, after I did my 11 reps for 1+, I also did the following: 270 x 1, 290 x 1, 315 x 1, and 330 x 1. The 330 was a PR for me. Given that I was able to do 330 x 1, did I set my TM too low when I started? If so, should I adjust it, and by how much? Lastly, although I am making consistent progress, am I risking screwing things up by doing these heavy singles?

I can post a video of the 330 PR if that will help. Thanks in advance.

You are not messing anything up if you are doing heavy singles occasionally, just don’t do them regularly.

I would stay on course with your progression. Things will get more intense weight wise soon with your numbers.

Once your TM is 360, lets’s say on DL, you’ll be doing those 1 rep single less often cause the weight will be in the 400’s lbs plus.

I’d keep going until you stall or get bored than switch to something that will get you to work on it for another year…that would be some great progress.

just my opinion.

Great work during this stressful year!!!

Reading the book should answer most of your questions.

You are doing great. Change nothing. Add 10# to your DL training max and carry on. If you haven’t read the books, do so.

This is the beauty of it all, you don’t have to go balls to the wall to make great gains. It also seems the lower people set their TM, the longer and better they progress. At some point you will stall (not just one bad workout) and you will have to reset. Each lift may have a different reset point also.

If you were going to run up a very steep hill, would you start from a dead stop at the beginning or go back some and get a run at it? Same concept here, start back some (lower training max) and get a run at it (longer progress) before you stall out.

There are a lot of personal stories about people using 531 and having a low TM. Many are surprised at how strong they really are when going to a meet or just testing.

If you are happy with your results (I would ecstatic!), CHANGE NOTHING and carry on until you stall.

At your current rate of progress, you’d be deadlifting 700lbs for multiple reps in 3 years, and 1000lbs for reps in 5-6 years. So yes your progress is very good.

Also something went wrong. If you added 10 lbs every cycle, your TM would be 280 not 290 now.

Thanks for all the replies. Interesting comment about my TM. I need to go back and check. I thought I was adding 10 lbs each cycle but maybe one time I added 20 by mistake. I’m not the best at math (you should see me trying to calculate bar weight if I don’t write down in advance what to put on the bar for each set). :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Since you’re running BBB and it’s meant to add bodyweight, how much bodyweight have you added?

Interesting. I read the book but must have missed the body weight comment. I am gaining body weight, but I wasn’t sure where it was coming from. I was always 162 lbs., and now I am consistently 167 to 168. However, I am keeping to pretty clean eating and not overeating (at least I don’t think I am; I generally stick to the same things to eat)

Is there any way to tell if I am gaining fat, or if generally my bodyweight gains are mostly muscle? I feel like I “look” better even at a higher weight.

The 3 Bs stand for “Boring But Big”

The “Big” part of that refers to how the program is intended to put on bodyweight. You can check out Jim’s blog as well to check out a recent interpretation of BBB titled “BBB Beefcake” that further reinforces that idea, and this from the original article

“There are a number of ways to do assistance work: Boring But Big (my version of a hypertrophy program”

One of my favorite ways to evaluate if I’m getting too fat is if my chinning performance diminishes. If bodyweight goes up but chinning stays the same or gets better, it’s probably muscle. If it goes down, it’s probably fat. Although I also just use a mirror too.

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If your goal is to increase your limit strength and you are hitting 1 rep max PRs in a highly fatigued state, I can’t imagine why you’d think something was wrong.

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If a template is good for size, one of the inputs necessary to create that size is a hypercaloric diet. Can’t get much bigger when eating to become smaller.