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WS4SB: Working Up to 3-5 RM?

What exactly is meant by “Work your way up to 3-5 rep max lift”? Until now I’ve interpreted it as only doing one set of the heaviest weight I possibly can and then adjusting it the next week but I have a feeling I may be doing it wrong.

Am I supposed to do warm up sets before going for my 3 rep max? If yes how do I do these? Is super light weight a good idea so that I don’t burn out for my max rep lift or should I use something reasonably heavy so that I prime my body for the max rep?

THanks guys!

Work your way up means using progressively heavier weights for warm up sets until your muscles and joints are up to the task of handling the 3-5RM weight. Generally, this means doing 1-3 reps as you approach your target weight. I always start out with the bar and ensure a good stretch at the bottom.

I like to do several reps in the bottom third of the movement with just the bar. I then go to 95lbs, 135lb, 155lbs,185 or 205lbs, then 225lbs. My first working set is 250lbs. Some may feeel that is quite a bit; it’s highly individual.

I require a lot of sets to adequately warm up, esp. true of my shoulders when benching. If I pile on too much weight w/o the aforementioned sets, I’ll invariably feel pain in the anterior delt. Not good.

Yes but Didnt defranco state that lifting more sets arround your max would be better for starters or weak people(like me) ?

so if your max bench in 100 kg.

Then you should go


or am i mistaken ?

I think I read Dave Tate recommend something along the lines of, if youre 1,3, or 5 RM is below 350 pounds on the movement, make 20-30 pound jumps each set. If it’s over 350 pounds, you can make 40-50 pound jumps per set. Also, I think Joe DeFranco recommends maybe about a minutes rest on the lighter, opening sets, and once you start to get heavier, rest 2-4 minutes between sets on ME movements.

This is very simple so no need to overcomplicate. Say you want to work up to a 3RM. Start with the bar, do 3 reps (or maybe a few more if you feel like it). Throw on some more weight, do 3 reps. Throw on some more weight, do 3 reps. The bar starts to get kinda heavy so you start making smaller jumps. You finally get to a set that is pretty damn hard.

At that point you make a decision on what you want to go for on that day and you throw that weight on there for your last set and go get it. If you still have some juice left you can go up again (if you underestimated) or take a little weight off and do one more set.

It is pretty much as easy as that, just do progressively heavier sets of three. After doing it once or twice you know about what you’re going to work up to and you’ll figure it out.

For a practical example, here’s how you might work up to 225 x 3.

Bar x 5
95 x 5
135 x 3
165 x 3
195 x 3
215 x 3
225 x 3
and then at that point you can either:

1.) Go for 230 or 235 or even a 1 rep-max if you are feeling great.
2.) Do another set at say 215 or 205 if 225 was your best effort but you still have some more left in you.
3.) Go on to your assistance stuff if 225 really drained you.

I have seen where Jim has written that you must do at least 3 sets with 90% or more of your 1rm for your ME exercise.

hmm id go with figthing tiger on that one…

Everytime i do my ME exercise i think its so strange that you only get to pound that 90+% more than once…

anyone got some WSB material on how many ME sets to do with your max weight ?

i think i heard once that you should shoot for a number og reps and then you should keep doing sets with it until you fail to see that rep.

so if you set to do 4225 pounds then you keep doing that until you can only do 3225 ??

That’s from the Westside Template, and it’s 3 lifts at 90%, not sets.


In the westside secrets videos, they basically just keep piling on weight, taking off weight, juggling the weights, putting on more weight, tap dancing while passing the weights back and forth, putting on more weight… But they start with a fairly light weight and do many sets before getting up to their max.