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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 4:49 pm 
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I think everyone is right.

And no, I'm not copping out just to get along.

Yeah, it's great to spend time with high volume, but not to spend a long time with really high volume. I agree with Oscar (and maybe with Ken, if I understand what he is saying) that if strength is the goal, you need to spend the bulk of your training time lifting heavy. Not ALL, but most. You need to get in days with multiple lifts in the 90+ range. 15 reps is not no training stimulus, but it's not much of a training stimulus for strength. Sure, take a couple of weeks now and then to lift in the higher rep ranges, but don't spend the majority of your time there if you want to get stronger. Every time I have done high volume work, I've come back to high intensity work and made gains. But the gains came after coming back, not during the high volume cycles.

Of course, a beginner needs to spend time getting quality volume. But how long? And this guy isn't a complete beginner.

The OP does not need to just jump his max so that his is quickly struggling to make the required reps in 5/3/1. Neither does he need to spend the next 6 months missing the opportunity to get in some heavy lifts. I think he should just increase his training max by larger increments until his + sets are a bit closer to the minimum, and then slow the increments back down. Or else use a different progression scheme.

One of my problems with 5/3/1 is that even the "5s" week is like a deload. Basically you're warming up to a single work set. That may be good for some people, but doesn't move you on to greater strength very efficiently. So it works out to be like a deload week, two training weeks and then another deload week. We've argued here about how much time you need to deload, whether 1 week out of 4 or 1 week out of 5, or a week every now and then, or never. I don't think anyone here would argue for spending half of your training time on deload. By the way, I still deload, but not in a rigid way. I'll deload a single lift now and then, or just take a couple of extra days off. Mostly, I only take a full deload week when preparing for a test week, the closest think I experience to competition.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 8:04 pm 
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Jungledoc wrote:
I think everyone is right.

And no, I'm not copping out just to get along.


Cop out! ;)


Jungledoc wrote:
Every time I have done high volume work, I've come back to high intensity work and made gains. But the gains came after coming back, not during the high volume cycles.


Sure. The question is, though, why?

- the high-rep work was deload?
- the high-rep work gave you the extra endurance you needed to sustain a hard set of heavy reps?
- the high-rep work gave you some hypertrophy?
- the high-rep work was practice, allowing you to refine your technique before getting back to heavy reps?

I ask these honestly. It's, "did the 1RM go up because of the high-rep work, or despite it?" Had you taken the time completely off and then come back, would it have hurt your strength? Would you have benefited from more volume time, or was the amount you had enough?

This is stuff I think about a lot as I'm programming for a lot of people past any easy, "more weight on the bar every week" type of gains. Not all that many 400+ lifters, to be sure, but everyone hits that wall of being unable to go from 5 x X lbs to 5 x X+5 lbs simply by trying to ram through it.

Jungledoc wrote:
One of my problems with 5/3/1 is that even the "5s" week is like a deload. Basically you're warming up to a single work set. That may be good for some people, but doesn't move you on to greater strength very efficiently.


Early on, the 5+ week is always light. I tend to treat it, mentally, as a volume week. It's a chance to set some rep records on something that used to be heavy, and practice for the heavier weeks. So:

Volume week.
Kinda heavy week, but I get to do less lifting overall.
Heavy week.
Deload.

Repeat, repeatedly. It helps that I think of "strength" rather broadly, and that I think more like, "How can I get the most training effect out of these sets?" instead of "How can this help me?" or "It's too light." It's light, thank Jim Wendler for making it light, and get some quality reps in - that always worked for me.

There are other programs, though, for people who don't like the slow-and-steady, rep-record heavy approach of 5/3/1. So if it frustrates you to lift "light," it's probably better to grab a different approach. There are so many to try, and it's not like 5/3/1 is going to mentally, emotionally, and physically work with everyone. So find one you like - and it's not quitting to change programs if one isn't working for you the way you need it to work.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Wed Oct 24, 2012 10:26 pm 
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My point is that the volume work is very valuable, but not if that's all you do! The OP is going to be doing high volume work for a long time if he sticks to a strict reading of 5/3/1. As Wendler says, "start too light". I'd add, yeah, but not too much too light. I speak for the middle ground!

And yeah, what you said about the right program for different people is spot on. 5/3/1 is a great program for many, and was good for me for a long time. I'm happier with what I'm doing now, but that's not to say that I won't ever go back to 5/3/1, or to something like it (in which case, of course, I won't say that I'm doing "5/3/1", but call it something else).

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 5:21 am 
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pdellorto wrote:
Sure. The question is, though, why?

- the high-rep work was deload?
- the high-rep work gave you the extra endurance you needed to sustain a hard set of heavy reps?
- the high-rep work gave you some hypertrophy?
- the high-rep work was practice, allowing you to refine your technique before getting back to heavy reps?

I ask these honestly. It's, "did the 1RM go up because of the high-rep work, or despite it?" .


I think along the same lines. And too many successful lifters/coaches have used an initial phase of higher reps with success to ignore that there must be "something" to it.

I'm basically an example of the kind of training Oscar is talking about, which I have been doing for years.

You won't get much more of a proponent for regular heavy lifting for strength training than me. If I could, I would work up to a 1-3RM every training session, every week. This kind of training is my true passion and it's also "my yoga". This approach also initially got me to just over a 500lbs pull.

I'm in a place right now where i'm determined to focus on all my weaknesses, do all the things I hate to do. So, enter higher reps, close stance high bar squats, deficit DL's, some *gasp* conditioning/gpp. BTW, i think conditioning, whether in the form of some kind of, um, cardio, OR a phase of higher reps is very beneficial and I think gets missed by the "frequent heavy lifting" crowd i.e me. The penny has finally dropped for me in this regard. Even though the likes of Louie Simmons has always emphasised the need for GPP, I still chose to ignore it. I can do more in 1 hour now than I used to do in 2 hours. More volume and more weight. Conditioning needs a consideration when discussing periodisation/training approach, even and/or especially with strength training. Frequent low rep training can make you lazy - coming from the horses mouth.

Speaking of Oscars "race to 500lbs" pull, i'm not sure it's fair way of looking at it. 5-3-1 isn't a deadlift program. Sure, it has deadlift in it but, it's not a deadlift program. If I were in a hurry to get to a certain number on deadlift, then I would tweak my whole program to cater to the goal. My squat day would support the deadlift day. I would have a combination of frequent heavy weights, frequent higher reps, and speed work, with scheduled deloads or deload by feel, if it's not possible to plan a consistent training schedule. BTW, if someone -beginners excluded- gives me 3 weeks of consistency, i don't need to explain why we deload on the 4th (how much we deload goes by "feel", it's not a strict thing, but we back off atleast to some extent). Point is, 5-3-1 is frame work for long term progression on the big lifts. It's not a race for limit strength. I've not seen the powerlifting version, but my guess is it's more geared to this goal.

Also, from experience of doing 5-3-1 myself, i'm quite shocked that people claim it's too easy at the start. I've never found a set of 15 squats easy. Give me a heavy single over a set of 15 any day. I actually found the 5+ day to be the most difficult! Maybe, without being out of line, some people need some fire in their belly for those rep outs... :sur:

KPj

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:00 am 
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KPj wrote:
Also, from experience of doing 5-3-1 myself, i'm quite shocked that people claim it's too easy at the start. I've never found a set of 15 squats easy.


You beat me to it.

Taking 90% of your 1RM and then 85% of that to get to the 5+ set on the first week should put people around 70-75% of their true 1RM. That should be around their 10RM (give or take a few), getting 10+ plus reps on that percentage for squats and deadlifts is brutal, life sucking pain. I've just got back from the gym having hit 10 reps on squats, when i racked the bar i fell to my hands and knees and remained there for 30 seconds while i gathered the will to keep on living.

When people say it's too easy i can't help but feel they're not trying hard enough.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 11:00 am 
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Proper Knob wrote:
When people say it's too easy i can't help but feel they're not trying hard enough.


boom, there it is. Bursting blood vessels in your eye to get 15 reps at a weight that is challenging as hell will make you strong just like hitting 3, or 1, or whatever. Rep ranges aren't what's important, it's the EFFORT at that range.

If you come in and hit 10 easy reps then that's your own fault for being so mimsy.

I really don't understand what the confusion is here. So what if his reps are a little high now? They sure as hell won't be in a couple of months. Just keep lifting and beating rep records every week and eventually you will be much stronger than you are now.


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 6:35 pm 
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KPj wrote:
BTW, i think conditioning, whether in the form of some kind of, um, cardio, OR a phase of higher reps is very beneficial and I think gets missed by the "frequent heavy lifting" crowd i.e me. The penny has finally dropped for me in this regard. Even though the likes of Louie Simmons has always emphasised the need for GPP, I still chose to ignore it. I can do more in 1 hour now than I used to do in 2 hours. More volume and more weight. Conditioning needs a consideration when discussing periodisation/training approach, even and/or especially with strength training.


Yeah. Remember your aerobic system is what's helping you recover between those anaerobic bouts of heavy lifts.

I also think of those "construction worker strong" guys I train with - the ones who jackhammer or hammer nails or dig all day. They might not lift as much as a powerlifter, but they're never-give-out strong.

KPj wrote:
Give me a heavy single over a set of 15 any day.


Yeah. One and done is so much better than "Those 10 sucked to do, and I have 5 more to beat my old rep record." :)

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 7:52 pm 
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we might be confusing what is tough (10 RM squats) and what is most beneficial to increasing your 1-3 RM.

We don't seem to be disagreeing much, but each group is framing a different argument.

To be fair, OP was leaving reps in the tank. Not doing tough 15 reps

I still stand by deloading every 4 weeks as too much for many who jump to 531. I have no credentials.


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:11 pm 
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Oscar_Actuary wrote:
we might be confusing what is tough (10 RM squats) and what is most beneficial to increasing your 1-3 RM.


I'd argue that 10RM squats would help increase your 1-3RM, for a lot of the reasons I mentioned about - endurance, hypertrophy of the muscles, practice. Nevermind there is value to being strong in multiple rep ranges, even if you're in a sport that only requires you perform single strength-based moves.

But I'd also argue that you can't just keep pulling your 1-3RM max that often, not if it's truly a 1-3RM and you're past simple linear gains. Even other methods of improving your 1RM have you do more than just do 1-3RMs. Not all go much over 5 reps, but it's not unheard of to do a lot of lighter work. IIRC the Intermediate "Texas Method" routine in Practical Programming has a medium day, a light day (that's at fairly deload-ish weights), and a heavy day - every week.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 8:33 pm 
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pdellorto wrote:
Oscar_Actuary wrote:
we might be confusing what is tough (10 RM squats) and what is most beneficial to increasing your 1-3 RM.


I'd argue that 10RM squats would help increase your 1-3RM,.


So would I
But i'd argue mostly doing lower reps would be more useful to increasing your 1-3 RM.


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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:51 pm 
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Proper Knob wrote:
Taking 90% of your 1RM and then 85% of that to get to the 5+ set on the first week should put people around 70-75% of their true 1RM.

But the OP is thinking that he was wrong about his 1RM, and that really he's taking 90% of what is really 85% (for example) of his 1RM and then lifting 85% of that.

No one has said anything that I disagree with. I'm just saying that the OP has probably set his training max SO LOW, the he can afford to use larger increments for a few times, or to just test a true 1RM or a true 3RM and recalculate his training max from that.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Thu Oct 25, 2012 9:54 pm 
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Also, I like lifting low-rep. I probably need to go ahead and do some lighter work sometimes. I find that I can tolerate and recover from low-rep workouts better than from high volume.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:38 am 
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Jungledoc wrote:
But the OP is thinking that he was wrong about his 1RM, and that really he's taking 90% of what is really 85% (for example) of his 1RM and then lifting 85% of that.


I find myself in the same position as the OP. After a few months of not getting to the gym as much as i would have liked i started 5/3/1 again and reset my maxes. I did 10 reps on my 1+ day for squats yesterday, which meant i could have got 15 or so on 5+ day. So it seems as if i reset 'too low' but i'm not going to change anything. I make the best progress when i start 'too low'.

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 3:59 am 
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"The best program is the one you're not doing"

Oscar_Actuary wrote:
But i'd argue mostly doing lower reps would be more useful to increasing your 1-3 RM.


I would argue that this is true after a period of time spent doing higher reps - this has been the basis for many PL programs, too, since like, 200BC.

And I'd argue that after a while doing low reps, you will benefit (as in, get stronger 1-3RM) by focusing on higher reps. I put this unfortunate point across because i'm currently on this boat.

If someone is doing the traditional 5-3-1, they're not necessarily training for limit strength. I think the void 5-3-1 fills with most people is just, "progression". In otherwords, what's the difference between a 10RM and a 3RM, and does this matter to the person doing the program. Comes down to goals again...

Really, if the argument is, "what is most beneficial way to increase 1-3RM". Well, I would want to see your last few months training before I made a call on it.

I remember a few years ago before I was a trainer, a boy in the gym who had became a bit of a pest asked me about getting stronger. Was mid workout and I didn't want to spend too much time talking. It was not long after reading some classic Chad Waterbury stuff. I just said, "what sets and reps are you using". "mostly 3 sets of 8-10". I just said, "switch to 8 x 3 for 6 weeks or so". Up until he disappeared from the gym completely, he would speak about me as if was a genius. He never did ask much else so I often wonder if he's still doing 8 x 3. I like to think he understood the principle though and had a light-bulb moment.

I think you adapt to rep ranges before you adapt to exercises. I think being adaptED is a problem and, however you do it, you need to get back into a state of adaptING.

KPj

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 Post subject: Re: 5/3/1 Question
PostPosted: Fri Oct 26, 2012 6:41 am 
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why fixate on your 1-3RM? If you bench 100k for 10 one week, then lift it for 12 two weeks later, hast thou not gotten stronger?

why fixate on an arbitrary number of reps?


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