The real progress is not from the 5s day to the 3s day, but from one cycle to the next.
This is an important point. You are making progress through the cycle but it is very hard to measure. The reason is simple arithmetic.
If you make 9 reps on 5+ day, you can safely expect 7 reps on 3+ day. But if you do the arithmetic you'll see Wendler's formula (taken with a suitable grain of salt) says you are standing still at 7 reps. But that is only because we cannot measure fractional reps
, 7 appears the same as last week's 9, but 8 would be too much of an improvement to expect in 1 week.
The magic happens when you get to the next cycle, the weights all go up, and you look at what is happening on the all-out sets. That's when you begin to see how the improvement is coming along.
Yes, I totally agree and i'm not disputing this. I think i'm being misunderstood. You'll have to bare with me, one of my problems is I dont articulate in writing very well
Coming full circle here, what i'm saying is that I dont think its important to 'beat' your total reps cycle to cycle. It's important to get over the minimum, not to kill yourself.
Last cycle, week one I'll squat 100kg for 10 reps.
This cycle, week one I dont need to squat 102.5 for 11 reps, 10 would be fine also. The weight is heavier, so thats progress. Depending on the maths, 9 reps might still be progress too.
I 'might' be able to squat 102.5 for 13 reps, but at what expence? Crappy form, or I might hurt myself, or be tempted to jump the weight too much next cycle.
Obviously i'm not arguing the effectivness of 531. I'm seeing great gains. I worry that people get wrapped up too much in the 'beat' the reps senario, at the end of the day where do you stop? 15 reps? 20 reps....etc...
Personally, seeing the weight go up each cycle and being able to do at least the same number of reps is progress, i'll take it.