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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:32 am 
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I think the initial high volume of reps on the big lifts is perfect for the less experienced. Especially if you can't be with them every session - you know they'll get a couple of months "practice" before things get interesting.

I think a initial "high rep" approach can sometimes be the breath of fresh air a lot of heavy lifters need. In other words if you lift heavy (lets define it as 1-5RM) most weeks then you would probably benefit from the switch, then tapering down the reps and ramping up the weight over time.

Before westside/conjugate was popular this is pretty much how most powerlifters trained, and a lot still do. I was speaking with a powerlifter who trains with a local group, one who is about to compete in a worlds comp but all coached by the same guy. He was saying they spent weeks doing 10x10 squats. WTF? I couldn't think of anything worse. Needless to say they all hated (and benefited) from it.

Anyway, a typical linear progression for a comp would be over 12 weeks quite often starting at 12 reps. I believe some ed coan routines floating around the net start as high as this. The reps decrease and weight increased over the course of 3 months.

5-3-1 is just Wendlers spin on a classic approach which has worked atleast to some extent for decades. However, it takes a little longer to get down to the real heavy weights, which makes it a little more general and not just powerlifting specific. It's also simpler and easier to adjust.

At the same time, if you're a guy that tends to do higher reps with ligher weight most weeks, then switching up to a system that allows more frequent heavy lifting will often sky rocket your progress. There's definitely a different quality to develop from straining with maximum loads and like anything, practice makes perfect. If you're someone who needs more technique work then the frequent heavy stuff could be too dangerous and if you're someone who's had boatloads of technique work via higher volume of reps and way too comfortable, you'll benefit from straining with heavy weights more often.

I recommend both approaches. I prefer lifting heavy most weeks just because that's what I enjoy doing. Which probably means I would benefit more from getting reps in at lighter weights for a while...

KPj

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:42 am 
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It's not how long it takes to stall, it's how long it takes you to to lift heavier weight.

Lets say your goal is 500# DL
Say you now DL 350#

Imagine the curve you take to get there. Imagine its steeper at first. I imagine there would be no inflexion point, normally, unless we start roiding or serious diet changes, form improve etc. But at some soon enough time, the curve is upward sloping with a negative 2nd derivative, almost asymtopic later on

To suggest spending more trime below that curve will somehow allow us to pass the guy who lifts more frequently near the curve make no sense to me. I agree periodization is important even in a pure strength goal. But to be lifting 15 reps on a week that should be challenging, is throwing extra volume on a day that should not be. Of course 531 will soon catch up and we're on our way. But nothing wrong with accelerating. at first. Good chance he under calculated his RM, for sure.

Back to the curve
If we are racnig to 500#. Say we take to indentical lifters. I would believe the one who goes from 350 to 480 fastest, is most likely to reach 500 sooner as well. I woud think the one who got to 450 first, has the best chance of lifting 480 first... see the logic? Of course
Now, who gets to 375 first? The one deloading every 4 weeks lifting 50% or the one pushing heavy singles and triples and more often staying near his max (with some deloading, or higher volume days as well). IMO, Wendler is more advanced, more capable of helping old guys and non-beginners make progress than a straight line program; however, there's no substitute for customizing and personal tracking/coaching and common sense sprinkled in. We're not all on 4 week waves biologically.
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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 11:47 am 
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Proper Knob wrote:
When i finally got back up to 70kgs, the weight i had only managed to rep once, i got 8 reps.


Your not making the point here.
I suspect you could have accomplished this much faster.


Last edited by Oscar_Actuary on Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:12 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:09 pm 
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Oscar_Actuary wrote:
I suspect you could have accomplished this much faster.


We'll never know. What's the rush anyhow?

But that wasn't the point of my story. Ken stated that at these high reps the top set is 'meaningless' and there is no 'training stimulus' yet the high reps worked perfectly well for me.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:13 pm 
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Proper Knob wrote:
Oscar_Actuary wrote:
I suspect you could have accomplished this much faster.


What's the rush anyhow?



What's the rush to reach a goal sooner and be lifting heavier weight ?


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:18 pm 
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Wow guys, thanks for all the feedback.

I hit 10 reps on my 3+ for squats yesterday, too. I'm coming off several months of 3x5s and I have been finding that when it comes down to the + sets I have a lot more juice in the tank. It could also be mental - knowing I only have to crank out at one "hard" set might be helping me mentally push through limits. I noticed that yesterday when I squatted, I had a moment where I really wanted to stop at rep 5 - but then I kind of told myself I wasn't truly cashed yet, and to keep going at it, since I only had the one set that counted.

I think that I will wait until next week and see what I get for my 1+ sets. If I pull off 10+ reps, I think I will consider my initial 1RM calculation flawed, skip a month per KenDowns' suggestion (add 10 to uppers and 20 to lowers), and enjoy the fact that I had an easy month.

If I don't get 10+ on my 1+ set next week I'll just ride the wave. It won't hurt for me to slowly work into the additional BBB volume and conditioning.


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:19 pm 
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Oscar_Actuary wrote:
What's the rush to reach a goal sooner and be lifting heavier weight ?


Sometimes it's not the destination that's important, it's the journey. :grin:

Personally i get as much satisfaction setting a new 10RM as much as i do a 3 or 1RM. If i'm getting stronger then that is progress.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 12:50 pm 
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If you can really achieve heavier weights sooner, why are many great Powerlifters using this kind of system? Why do many powerlifters still use Block periodization and have several weeks of mostly submaximal based training on their macrocycles? Is there only one way to the top?

I think some people are forgetting or not considering what gives us strength gains. Sure. Heavy ass balls to walls done constantly with minor or no gains for weeks works. I think you have to get heavier some times. But it's not the only way to the top. Is it the fastest way? I can't really say. Especially when you are more beginner/intermediate or somewhat not elite or veteran powerlifter, doing stuff under you maximal effort will get you stronger. It's about simple things. Take sets often near failure for example. This forces you to recruit every possible motor unit to work. Doesn't it? Or do people really feel that nothing over 5-6 reps only builds muscle, not strength? What?

What 531, SL 5x5, Starting Strength, almost any freaking proper weight porgram is doing, is the fact that you get some accomodation and increasing stress and rising overload each and every week. Building to a heavy week with cycles will make it more likely that you'll smash that PR. What comes on the side? Hundreds of reps, aka technical experience, and hypertrophy/strength. It will get hard, and it will be hell. Every program, once again, builds the intensity along the cycles, like many of periodizated programs happen to also do.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:22 pm 
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Oscar_Actuary wrote:
It's not how long it takes to stall, it's how long it takes you to to lift heavier weight.


This is basically where I'm coming from.

Oscar_Actuary wrote:
To suggest spending more time below that curve will somehow allow us to pass the guy who lifts more frequently near the curve make no sense to me.


Yup.

Oscar_Actuary wrote:
If we are racing to 500#. Say we take to identical lifters. I would believe the one who goes from 350 to 480 fastest, is most likely to reach 500 sooner as well. I would think the one who got to 450 first, has the best chance of lifting 480 first... see the logic?


So we ask how do I get from 350 to 380? Once I get to 380 I'll ask how to get to 410. Well it seems that periodization helps, back up to 340 and "get a running start" to get up the hill. But why would I back up to 280?

Some of us are not in a hurry. That's fine, I'm not arguing that anybody is wrong for enjoying the scenery.

But some of us enjoy the scenery when it's moving faster, and we enjoy the challenge of tuning the engine.


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:32 pm 
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KenDowns wrote:
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?


I'm sorry, the logic here is lost on me. There is no training stimulus when you lift for 10-15 reps? It might not be the same training stimulus as you get at 1, 2, 3, 5, etc. reps, but it certainly is one.

And how can you say cannot track progress? Just because some 1 rep max formula doesn't let you compare 10 x whatever as equal to 1 x somethingelse, big deal. Compare rep max to rep max for that weight - if you're doing, say, 225, and you get 10 x 225 and your previous best was 8 or 9 x 225, you've gotten stronger. That's practically a quote from the 5/3/1 manual, too - the idea is not to get too hung up on your 1 rep max. Instead you get some lower weight reps and get the most you can out of them.

Now, I'm totally fine with people progressing a little faster if they realize maybe their 1-rep max test day wasn't really a good day and they're ready for a larger increment. I've jumped people 20-25 points on their training max for multiple cycles on 5/3/1 when they came back after a strategic deload, because it was clear they were ready for it. But generally, I think it's not worth hurrying too much. You'll generally get more in the long run - IME - out of "a little too light for me today" than "a little too heavy for me today." Look at that weight and say, "how I can use this to get stronger?" instead of "can I lift heavier?" They can't all be max heavy days.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:02 pm 
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There was a guest blog on Wendler's website by Paul Carter called 'The importance of Reps' recently -

http://www.jimwendler.com/2012/10/the-i ... ul-carter/

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:08 pm 
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I dont' think anyone is saying that high reps never have a place
Or that we lift full out heavy each time

The "disagreement" may come down to how often we lift well below our maxes and which method leads to increasing max 3RM or less more quickly

Like Ken noted, we can deload, but deloading to 50-60%, every 4 weeks, may be too much

I tend to think, if you are on your own, deload when you need to. Lift heavy when you can. Be honest about both.


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:16 pm 
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Oscar_Actuary wrote:
I tend to think, if you are on your own, deload when you need to. Lift heavy when you can. Be honest about both.


I think knowing when to deload, and when you can bull through without deloading, is really hard. At least it is for me - I literally paid my trainer to tell me when to go home, not to make me lift hard. I wish I could recognize my own signs of fatigue before they really hit, but it's tough, because I both like to lift and I feel like I need to work hard to succeed in training.

That said, I don't do planned deloads my younger clients - what's the point, they aren't past linear gains, generally, and recover from everything. I do with older clients (30+ year olds, generally) because I found if I don't, their body deloads for us by wearing out.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 2:44 pm 
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I fail to see how hitting the plateu and your total near failure max high intensity set week in week out will make you progress more fast. It's not like you hit the max set, and instantly are much stronger the next time. In example, stay in 3-5RM range for 3-5 weeks. You'll likely gain 1-5kg max if you train with huge balls. Take 531. You beat your XRM every four weeks. Atleast that has happened to me. Getting something like 10 or 12 with a weight I used to get 6-8 is huge to me. It's much more motivating than hitting that fv(k 80kg bench week in and week out, making some inches or half reps of progress each time.

Now, I don't diss high intensity methods, far from it. I love lifting heavy things. But only recently it has hit me more that all kinds of heavy lifting, even with bigger volume, is beneficial from time to time. 531 will get heavy and hard, and you better be ready for it. Not like doing one or two cycles of higher volume will hurt your progress or slow it down? I don't think that way.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 3:39 pm 
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Dub,
"In example, stay in 3-5RM range for 3-5 weeks. You'll likely gain 1-5kg max if you train with huge balls. Take 531. You beat your XRM every four weeks. Atleast that has happened to me. "

Hard to argue against "likely" and anecdotes

3-5 range is pretty much where 531 gets you soon enough.
Its the inital waves and the every 4 week deload that I tend to think many of us dont need.


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