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 Post subject: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:46 pm 
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Hi guys and gals,

Questions on 5/3/1 BBB.

I am on my first real cycle of 5/3/1, on the 3+ week. Now, I never tried for an actual 1RM when I first generated my numbers, I only calculated my expected 1RM based on my previous 5RM.

Yesterday was Bench day, I I hit 10 reps on my 3+ set at what was supposed to be 90% of 90% my 1RM. I could have probably done at least 5 more, but my shoulder twinged a bit and I decided it would have been overkill.

When I punch my 10 reps into a 1RM calculator, it indicates that my actual 1RM is about 20 pounds higher than I listed when I set up my cycles.
My question is: since I was able to crank out 10 reps, did I wildly miscalculate my original, starting 1RM? Should I make an adjustment now, or just run through the program as originally calculated? The other thing that might be worth considering is that my other assistance lift on both upper body days is heavy rows, so I starting working a true vertical pull into my training, and I wonder if this has already started to affect positive change on my bench....thoughts?

Second question: For BBB assistance work I am doing 50% of 1RM. The 5+ week was super easy. This week is even easier. I am assuming this is due to an increase in general work capacity (I have also been doing some sprints twice a week). Should I up the BB work to say, 60%? Should these sets be a real challenge to hit? Or should I let it ride at 50%, even though the weights for my upper body lifts seem very, very low?

I guess I'm just at a point in my training where I have to start thinking for myself but without a coach or formal guidance I'm eager to hear opinions from those more experienced than I am...


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 2:07 pm 
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it'll get harder. Everyone thinks that they started too light when they first start 5/3/1. In a few months time you will long for those days.

trust in Wendler, do the program as written


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 6:23 pm 
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or you might be novice enough to be doing a more aggressive schedule...


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 Post subject: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:02 pm 
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Oscar_Actuary wrote:
or you might be novice enough to be doing a more aggressive schedule...


I could probably milk more gains out of a TM set up - by eating with wild abandon. I got to a point where I felt like I needed to get some conditioning in and had stopped gaining useful weight. Everything but my squat had stalled out and I was starting to feel like a fat kid. 5/3/1 allows for the conditioning, and the BBB sets should help with the chubbitude.


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 7:59 pm 
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Try skipping ahead one month after this cycle. In other words, add 10# to bench for next cycle instead of just 5. Some will warn about stalling too fast if you go too fast, but if you're hitting 10 on 3+ day and feeling like you've got 5 more, then stalling is hardly the problem to be worried about right now.

5/3/1 is a nice template for a program, but don't get too dogmatic about the recommendations. 10+ on 3+ day is too much, you should be moving more weight.


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 8:02 pm 
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robertscott wrote:
it'll get harder. Everyone thinks that they started too light when they first start 5/3/1. In a few months time you will long for those days.


I agree with this. Take the extra reps - it's not like doing extra reps won't get you stronger. Keep putting the work in, love the 10+ reps on 1+ day, and miss it when it's gone.

Oh, and you did the right thing by stopping when it felt not-good. The best advice I can give on 5/3/1 is to just get the easy, good reps you can get. If you've got 10 good ones plus a tough 11th, a brutal 12th, and an ugly 13th, in the long run, you'll stay healthier (and thus stronger) if you stop at the 10th. Consider the "bonus" reps practice - you don't want to practice crappy reps. ;)

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:51 pm 
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in my admittedly limited time in the game, I think this discussion hits the crux of programming for many in our general ranges.
The slower you go up in weight, the longer it'll take to "plateau", as defined by some semi-permanent stall. But, is that really the goal ? Would you rather stall in 3 months at benching 220#, or get up to 235# in 6 months before your first stall. Where will you be after 3 more months on the first program, maybe stalling again at 240# ?

I come to believe the best way to push heavier weight is to push heavy weight. Given lots of food and adequate rest, it's a waste to spend too much time lifting 10 reps. I think volume mixed in (like after heavy sets, or every 4th week ex/, or for body building, or conditioning) makes a lot of sense.

But if your goal is to DL 400# one day, do you really get there faster by spending more time with lower weights? Now, perhaps the psycological motivation of continued progress trumps this, but I'm just talking actual strength and progress on the bar.

One advantage of going slower is it gives you time to build muscle and eat a lot. I think with SS or SL eventually you just cant put on muscle fast enough. This also gets into discussion of what makes up your gains and at how it varies depending on your stage in lifting

form/coordination gains
attitude/confidence
leverages thru weight gain
stronger muscle
more muscle
other?

Once you're relying on more muscle you'll quickly be hitting plateaus, especially if you are over 30.

ok, I'll get back in my lane.

ps I did 531 for 20 weeks. Stuck with the prescription. Started stalling. Now do similar exercise scheme but different reps/sets


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:17 am 
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KenDowns wrote:
5/3/1 is a nice template for a program, but don't get too dogmatic about the recommendations. 10+ on 3+ day is too much, you should be moving more weight.


I disagree, respectfully of course, with that view. As someone who has been doing 5/3/1 for a long time i'll take the reps any day of the week, because eventually it will all catch up with me. But then it all comes down to the question of what are you training for? For me, i'm happy to take the reps break my rep PR's and keep on slowly moving up through the training maxes, for you as someone who has a competition in a few weeks your mindset is completely different, as would mine be if i was in your position.

If i want to lift some heavier weights then i stop more than a few reps shy of my AMRAP and then hit a few heavier singles.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:32 am 
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5/3/1 isn't a program you'd run for a couple of months, it's very much about the long term. The longer you can go without stalling, the more room there is for progression.

There's more to it than just the 4 main barbell lifts. If you think you could benefit from a more linear form of progression, apply that to your BBB or whatever. It's not either/or.

For example, you could do your 5/3/1 percentage lifts then do:

week 1 - BBB at 50% pyramiding up to 60% then going back down (so 50%, 55%, 60%,55%, 50%)
week 2 - BBB at 55% pyramiding up to 65% then going back down
week 3 - BBB at 60% pyramiding up to 70% then going back down (this will ruin you...)
week 4 - deload

then do it all over again next month basing your percentages off the new max. So there you'll have your periodised lifts in the form of your main 531 lifts, then your linear progression for your assistance.


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:44 am 
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Proper Knob wrote:
KenDowns wrote:
5/3/1 is a nice template for a program, but don't get too dogmatic about the recommendations. 10+ on 3+ day is too much, you should be moving more weight.


I disagree, respectfully of course, with that view. As someone who has been doing 5/3/1 for a long time i'll take the reps any day of the week, because eventually it will all catch up with me. But then it all comes down to the question of what are you training for? For me, i'm happy to take the reps break my rep PR's and keep on slowly moving up through the training maxes, for you as someone who has a competition in a few weeks your mindset is completely different, as would mine be if i was in your position.

If i want to lift some heavier weights then i stop more than a few reps shy of my AMRAP and then hit a few heavier singles.


The OP is hitting 10 reps on 3+ day, and saying he felt like he had 5 more. At this rep range the top set is meaningless -- it is not providing a stress stimulus nor is it allowing him to measure progress.

If the top set does not accomplish any goal then we don't even get to the conversation on training goals, personal preferences, or anything else.


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:52 am 
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Oscar_Actuary wrote:
But if your goal is to DL 400# one day, do you really get there faster by spending more time with lower weights?


In my experience, the answer is yes. I've seen more people stall out trying to race to a heavy weight than I have seen people stall out by creeping up on it and getting as much as they can out of the lower weights. If you could get strong just by lifting heavy every time you hit the gym plus throwing in some accessories, gyms everywhere would be full of super-heavy bench pressers. They aren't, because once you exhaust your linear gains, you need varied loads and periodization - and 5/3/1 is just another example of varied loads and periodization.

Besides, you do get to pull heavy on 5/3/1. That 1+ day, even when you start, is 95% of 90% of your 1RM. Within a few cycles (very few at the low end), you're pulling over 90% of your one rep max for multiple reps. That's pretty heavy, it's just mixed in with lighter stuff that'll get you strong in ways that a lower volume doesn't get you.

Anecdotally, I have a guy who wants to DL 600. He's gotten 550. He's on 5/3/1 and pulling lots of reps in the 435-495 range right now. 495 is, what, 80% of his goal 1RM and 90% of his previously tested 1RM. So he is pulling heavy, one week out of every 4, and close to heavy on two other weeks. He'll be back to pulling 90% of his actual goal 1RM on 1+ day pretty soon. He might not hit 600 when we test, but he'll demolish 550, I'm sure, because he's pulling close enough to that to matter over and over and over again. Just with lots of rest in between.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:21 am 
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KenDowns wrote:
At this rep range the top set is meaningless


why?


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 9:54 am 
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robertscott wrote:
KenDowns wrote:
At this rep range the top set is meaningless


why?


No training stimulus. We can argue about that but 10-15 reps on what is supposed to be 3+ day is so far out of alignment that you're not on 5/3/1 anymore. You're on some kind of volume program.

No tracking of progress. Not everyone uses Wendler's formula. I do, and it works very well for me, so I must be in the middle of the bell curve. The OP mentioned it. Past 10 reps it does not work so well even for those of us for which it normally works. So you can't track progress.

Since it does not provide a stimulus and progress cannot be tracked, what else is there?


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:22 am 
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it absolutely provides a stimulus, if you bust your hump to hit 15 reps at a weight then it'll provide a training stimulus, why wouldn't it?

and it's not like he'll get 15 reps every one of his sets. The longer he can go without stalling, the more progress he'll make. I really can't see what the problem is.


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:28 am 
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KenDowns wrote:
The OP is hitting 10 reps on 3+ day, and saying he felt like he had 5 more. At this rep range the top set is meaningless -- it is not providing a stress stimulus nor is it allowing him to measure progress.


Just before Xmas last year i tried the Incline Press for the first time, i got stapled on the 2nd rep at 70kgs, so i decided to replace incline press as a main lift instead of the normal standing press. I started really light and decided to stop at 10 reps if i got there on the AMRAP days, the first cycle i hit ten reps on each day 5+, 3+, 1+, the second cycle i hit 10, 10, 8. When i finally got back up to 70kgs, the weight i had only managed to rep once, i got 8 reps.

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