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5/3/1 Final Set Question
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DGarcia
Level 3

Join date: May 2010
Posts: 225

I have a quick question to for people have experience with Wendler's 5/3/1 program;

I've found that I tend to hit around 7-9 reps on the final set of week three, a weight that is marked for a single. I'm just curious if this is common or a sign that I may have undershot my rep-max for each exercise.

I plan on starting the Boring but big 3 Month Challenge in a week and I want to make sure I'm using accurate numbers.

Thanks.

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Chris87
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Join date: Nov 2010
Posts: 1983

You're supposed to start too light. Don't worry about it, and just keep plugging away.

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Zerpp
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Join date: Nov 2011
Posts: 265

You start out lighter so you will definitely hit the prescribed reps + more. It will start to get heavier as you continue the program and you won't be able to hit 9 reps on 3s week or the 10 on 5s.

Wendler said that you will probably not gain much strength with the 3 Month challenge but you will get bigger, due to the main purpose being hypertrophy, instead of building strength.

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DGarcia
Level 3

Join date: May 2010
Posts: 225

Yeah I know i started light as prescribed; i was just concerned if I started so light that my numbers for the 5x10 assistance work wouldn't be all that effective.

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fisch
Level 3

Join date: Jun 2008
Posts: 747

I always hit at least 5 or more reps for bench and overhead press for week 3 for the final set, every cycle. On squat and Deadlift I always hit 8+ reps, normally 9+. I was way better at pushing myself on those lifts, they were more fun for me and I was better at them. So yeah in my experience it is normal and will continue if on that last set you realize you literally have to give it all you have because its the only set that you are truly pushing yourself on.

The 5x10 assistance work will be effective as long as you challenge yourself somehow. I usually kept the weight the same for the first 4 sets, then tried to add 5 lbs on the last set. If I got it, I used that weight for the first 4 sets the next week.

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sexyxe
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Join date: Dec 2011
Posts: 626

How long have you been following 5/3/1 for?

Adding 10lb to lower nd 5lb to upper lifts each month means the weight stacks up pretty quickly.

Also, if you don't want to take the deload week early on, skip it and just cycle twice before taking the deload. I am on cycle 7 and I repped 6/5/4/6 for my lifts.

Heck, I've done it a few times. Im not a 'strong' nor 'big' bloke though so that from that what you will.

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DGarcia
Level 3

Join date: May 2010
Posts: 225

I'm finishing my second cycle. The first 2 I've done the bodyweight assistance to get used to this type of training again. I was going to do the Periodization Bible but decided to go with his 3 month challenge.

Also, I've only been increasing the lower body lifts by 5 lbs. I would have increased the upper by 2.5lbs, but that would have required me to try and find 1.25lbs plates that fit standard barbells, so I increased those by 5lbs as well.

This month for week three I did 7/9/8/8. Pretty close to what I did at the end of month 1 as well.

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JFG
Level 4

Join date: Nov 2006
Posts: 1817

Then increase our lower body exercise by 10. Seems simple enough.

And do yourself a favor, do at least 10 more cycles before trying the challenge.

A solid base is what you are aiming for.

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marrot
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Join date: Mar 2011
Posts: 1341

DGarcia wrote:
I'm finishing my second cycle. The first 2 I've done the bodyweight assistance to get used to this type of training again. I was going to do the Periodization Bible but decided to go with his 3 month challenge.

Also, I've only been increasing the lower body lifts by 5 lbs. I would have increased the upper by 2.5lbs, but that would have required me to try and find 1.25lbs plates that fit standard barbells, so I increased those by 5lbs as well.

This month for week three I did 7/9/8/8. Pretty close to what I did at the end of month 1 as well.


Why are you cutting the progression per cycle by half? Lower body lifts progress quickly, that's why you progress on them by 10 lbs/cycle. Just progress with the main lifts exactly as Wendler wrote it, do whatever for assistance, and that's that. After 9-10 cycles (in my experience) the week 3 rep-out numbers will start coming down as the weights catch up to you.

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RampantBadger
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Join date: Aug 2011
Posts: 2286

getting high reps for the first few cycles is typical, and a good thing

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Cannonz
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Join date: Apr 2012
Posts: 11

Do you have experience with lifting heavier in the past? I took about 2 years off from lifting heavy (started a family) and got out of shape so I started 5/3/1 super light. My PRs used to be SQ: 585, DL: 500, BP: 385, but I started 5/3/1 with my max being SQ: 225, DL: 225: BP: 185. Of course within the second month my muscle and CNS memory kicked in and I was blasting reps out. What I did (and I know this is against Wendler protocol, but I felt I needed to increase) was on my third cycle I used the third week for my PR week. That last one rep set I used to find my true PR. I ended up with SQ: 405, DL: 445, BP: 335 and took 90% of each for my new max weights. This worked perfectly for me and I still end up doing at least 3 reps, 5 to the most on the 1 rep days, which from what I read is good.

If I wouldn't have torn my supraspinatus I'd still be at it, but I'm on another break until I can get surgery and recovered.

You know your experience and what you can handle so take that knowledge and go from there. Just don't over do it. To me programs like Wendler 5/3/1 are a tool for us that are already experienced weight lifters to build upon our experience and help with progress when plataeus are met. I love the program though, it's perfect for what I'm wanting to do.

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jjackkrash
Level 3

Join date: Apr 2009
Posts: 6868

DGarcia wrote:
Yeah I know i started light as prescribed; i was just concerned if I started so light that my numbers for the 5x10 assistance work wouldn't be all that effective.


For the 5x10 asst., if necessary, I like to keep adding to it faster than the formula strictly says so that each week the last set of ten is very challenging. I'd recommend not getting too caught up in the percentages for the asst. work, keep it challenging each week.

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