When to Increase TM?

I’ve been following the traditional 531 for about a year now. Obviously your PR set reps are going to decrease with the weight going up, but I’m looking for a threshold to either maintain my current TM or increase for my next cycle. Currently I hit 2 reps during my PR set on all four big lifts. Should I increase or maintain TM for another cycle?

  1. In general people do not maintain the TM. If you stall or reach the point that you should not increase the TM, then you should probably decrease it. Generally, people just go back a few cycles then try to set new rep PRs and such. You can also do what Wendler has said about 5 forward, 3 back to reset before you have to.

  2. If you are at 2 reps, you should probably reset. From Wendler’s recommendations for different particular programs, you should typically be able to get 5, or at least 3, solid reps with the TM itself. So, I would reset to a lower TM rather than increasing it.

  3. Wendler also has new recommendations about the TM that have been touched on in the forums and are to be spelled out in the new book. I will not attempt to spell them out, but perhaps someone else will.

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Read the book. Normally you increase TM every cycle until you can’t hit the prescribed reps. Then you take your TM back three cycles or so and start again.


Thank you that answers my question chad!

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When you say, “back three cycles,” does that mean:

Decrease deadlift TM by 30 pounds;

Decrease Press TM by 15 pounds?

I’m suggesting this based on “increase DL and Squat by 10lbs after a cycle, and Bench and Press by 5lbs after a cycle,” mentality.


Yes, another way to phrase it would be “go back to the weights you used in cycle 3 of your last 5 cycle block”

It will look like this





That’s exactly right. I reset my squat after cycle seven back to cycle four. TM for cycle seven was 506 lbs, so I reset to 473 lbs.

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The easiest in my opinion is to reset all lifts when the first one gets to the minimum reps, then adjust all based on estimated 1 RM, so the lift you stalled on will get the biggest reset, the others maybe not as much if you are still doing good on them.

The nice thing about 5/3/1 is 5 reps is minimum for the first week and after a proper reset you should get about 5 reps on week 3, this means your always working inside the same range and have relative PRs to compare to when the weight goes down.

Okay, and so your “reset” TM is the one you now use to calculate your
percentages for the new 5 week cycle, or block.

I’m thinking of resetting to 405 for DL and 295 for squat (long way to go,
guys, haha).

Any thoughts on my question concerning the final week of 1.4? Am I really
not deadlifting during this week?

Thanks again, guys. You’ve been Very helpful.

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If that’s what the book says, that’s what you do. Trust the process.

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Looking at the program, it seems the final week in that specific template is a prep for a power lifting meet (or 1 RM test if you dont plan to compete) on Saturday.

It’s common practice to not do dead lifts in that week because they are notoriously hard to recover from, especially at near-maximal weights, so many stop doing heavy dead lifts, or any, several weeks prior to the meet.

Its also why there is no assistance this week, just the main lifts done in that specific manner.


Okay, thanks a lot. I’ll do a mock meet on that following Saturday to see
where I’m at.

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