T Nation

Where is the 5@95 Specified? Supposed to Adjust My TM?

I’m referencing this old thread here: How and When to Reset When Stalling

Wendler mentions:


You should NEVER reach this point - either use the 7th Week Protocol or use the “5@95” mantra."

and here: About the Definition of "Stalling" and When It Happens

"Wow - this has been discussed many times on this forum.

Generally, if you can’t hit 5 reps on your final week/set (95% set) than you have the wrong TM. There are also bad days but that’s kind of the point of this general guideline. Of course, if you are using a variation with a lot of supplemental work, the TM would be lower.

This is why I introduced the 7th Week Protocol on my forum, this forum and in the new book. Again, this has been discussed on this forum many, many times."

I have the 5/3/1 book and Beyond 5/3/1. I can’t find this mentioned anywhere - that I need to be hitting 5 reps on the 5/3/1 week. If that were the case, why then is it called 5/3/1 and the reps for 3rd week on a cycle is 1+?

In the 5/3/1 book, in the “Stalling in 5/3/1” section, he says simply enough that eventually you won’t be able to hit the sets and reps you’re supposed to hit. At this point, adjust your TM by taking 90% of it and start all over again.

So, I’m confused as to where this new requirement of actually getting 5 reps on 1+ week at 95% is coming from? I thought the 5+, 3+, and 1+ meant the bare minimum?

Reason I ask is, I may be close to needing a reset on my OHP. For example last cycle I got 9, 8, and 7 reps for 1+ week on deadlift, bench, and squat respectively. For OHP, I only got 3. This qualified as 1+, so I added 5lbs to TM.

Just started a new cycle (on 5+ week) and only got 5 reps for OHP. (in comparison, previous cycle for OHP on the 5s week, I got 7 reps). This technically meets the bare minimum of 5+. There’s no way I’ll get 5 reps at 95% - probably only 1 or 2. Should I not have increased by TM, because i couldnt do 5 reps on my 1+ week last cycle?

You just quoted the guy who wrote the program detailing his current take on resetting your TM, so you don’t need to look for it, because you already found it. You own the first two books, but the newest book contains information on the current methodology, so you could pick that one up, or search this forum, which has plenty of threads discussing the 7th week protocol.

If you’re getting 1 rep with 95% of your TM then your almost using your true max (ie your training max is either close to or above your true max). If you want to know why you should use a training max and not your true max for training, that’s covered pretty well in the books.

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Jim has been saying for awhile that you should be able to hit 5 reps on every set, even the 1+ days. It came to a shock to me when I first found out about it, but like just about everything else Jim puts out, it was right. If you’re just barely grinding out 3 reps on your 1+ day, your training max is too high. Remember, starting too light is one of the basic principles of this program, and if you’ve hit the point where the weights have gotten too heavy that you already know you can’t knock out at least 5 reps, you need to reset your TM.

Resetting your TM is nothing to be ashamed or afraid of. It’s not a bad thing, and it’s not going to make you weaker. But your TM really should be something that when it’s put in your program you’re hitting at least 5 reps with good form and bar speed even on the third week. Your progress will be much better if your TM is dialed in properly, and your body will probably feel better, too.

If you want to know exactly where this is specified, you’ll need to comb through these forums, Jim’s forums, maybe Jim’s blogs, or in the books you have. If you have the Beyond book, check the section on 5’s PRO. I don’t have mine handy, but I think that might give some explanation.

By 5’s PRO do you mean the section called 5’s Progression on Page 50? That seems like a basic 1x5 routine ramping up to a top set of 5. It also says program is ideal for a beginner: “5’s Progression is ideal for people new to the 5/3/1 program, new to lifting or returning from an injury”. I am neither of those.

I know why TM is important, as is resetting. Before I started 531, tested my 1RM on all lifts, working up to heavy singles. Then I took 90% of that for my TM.

First couple cycles, I blasted thru reps. Then deload. Next cycle was 8/8/3. Cycle after that (cycle 4) was 7/5/3. Then deload.

My last cycle(#5) I got 3 reps again on the 1+ week again. That is progress, no? 3 reps @ 95% --> +5 lbs to TM --> 3 reps @ 95% —> add 5 lbs to TM —> still got 3 reps @ 95% of new TM.

I am not ashamed of resetting my TM, It is just a matter of knowing when. A simple question: what then does 5+, 3+, and 1+ mean, if not the minimum floor of reps you should be able to hit? Should it not then be called 10/8/5 instead of 5/3/1?

Based on everything else I’ve read in the original, Beyond, X+ literally means that - Get as many reps over X as possible. If not, reset. Otherwise keep going.

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Yes, but I’m trying to understand then what is meant by 5+, 3+, and 1+. So 1+ really means 5+, and 5+ really means 10+?

My assumption was you start low, try to get as many reps each week over 5, 3, 1. Increase TM as long as you’re over to get used to heavier weights. Eventually you won’t be able to hit the prescribed minimum reps, then you reset back a couple cycles (5 steps forward, 3 back…).

The 5/3 approach has also been discarded in the most recent version of the program in favor of a leader/anchor structure in combinations with the 7th week protocol/ TM test weeks. The plus means pretty much what your saying, but your trying to reconcile the approach given in the newest book, Forever, with what you’re reading in the first 2 books, and that’s just not possible. One thing that is apparent in the new book is that the approach is more based on the overarching principles than simply on the numbers 5, 3, and 1. Undoubtedly you can run the program as written in Beyond, but, as I said, you may find it difficult trying to understand newer concepts using the older material as your reference.

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Thanks. So what you’re saying is the program has been completely revamped based on what was in the original and Beyond? Everything from reps, progression, to even recommended templates (I’ve seen Leaders/Anchors mentioned online, but no where in my books)?

In Beyond, Wendler states: *

“In fact, I believe in Joker Sets and First Set Last so much that I believe it should be a standard part of the 5/3/1 program…Here is my bold statement: I truly believe that with the 5/3/1 program and its principles, the PR set, the Joker sets and the down sets (First Set Last) you cannot get weaker”

Sooo… this has all been thrown out the window?

I’ve been doing Jokers + FSL for AMRAP on days I’m feeling good and blast thru reps (10+, 8+, 5+). Followed by some ab work or chins. If I don’t do Jokers, I’m running reverse BBB on upper body and Triumvirate-style on lower (leg press + leg raises after DL, light front squats or trap bar DLs + leg curls after squats).

I wouldn’t say anything has been thrown out the window, and the core is not totally revamped, but the approach to these methods has been refined based on experience and feedback gained since the previous texts. I’m sure that you can run anything from the 2nd edition or Beyond as it is and make solid progress, but simply put, there is a newer version of those methods available that may or may not be better suited to your goals. Trying to shoe horn newer concepts into the older approach is probably going to be tough, while working some of the older approach into the newer, which Forever does, would be an easier task.

The simplest suggestion I could make is that you pick up a copy of Forever. If you like the 531 approach, it will only give you more insight into the progression that has been made and give you a lifetime worth of ready made templates. It is absolutely worth the expense.