T Nation

When to Try to Set PRs


If you are following the original 5/3/1 workout when do you try to set a new rep record based on the weight x reps x .003… Is it every week?


A PR set is either a PR or a goal set. Obviously every single person has a goal for every lift they do - sometimes it’s not a PR, especially for older lifters that have a lot of experience. But I set a PR almost every week for a couple years and I had been training over 20 years.

Key to setting a PR is part in the head and part not being an idiot with training. Too many volume queens.


The idea of setting rep PRs makes 531 for me more than anything else.

I’ve got a handwritten table in the back of my training log for the main lifts (P/DL/BP/S) with all my current rep PRs. Every time I write out my work for a day I look at my plus set weight, and then I check my rep PR table. Whatever my rep PR is, I set my goal for the plus set as one to two reps beyond my PR.

That way, even if (especially if) I’m not having a great day I have that fire under my backside on my plus set.


^^ Exactly this. ^^ This is one of the most important reasons for keeping a training log for me. It’s awesome to look back and see what I need to try for on my PR sets.


I keep a spreadsheet with rep records calculated in 1RM. So for BP its currently 117,5kg x 6 = 136kg 1RM. Next time I do that lift my goal is to beat that, if thats eventually done by 112,5 x 8 or 122.5 x 5 doesnt matter, both will have beaten my previous 1RM.

I always set myself up for going for a PR prior to entering the weightroom. I know from experience some days are good and some days suck. If its a good day I go for it. If its a bad day, I know I´ll come back and beat it another day, and try not to let it affect me too much.