We’re going back to our 5/3/1 strength programming for the upcoming school year. This is great news: come in and every set is planned out for you to make lifting simpler, easier, and to maximize your time on the platform. For those unfamiliar with 5/3/1, it’s a percentage-based strength system that allows us to wave intensity over one month periods and is built upon the idea that we want to lift gettable weights well.
You need three things to make this work:
1) A Training Max (TM) for each of your main lifts (Squat, Bench, Deadlift, and Press)
2) A Plan for how to progress that training max over time
3) A Training Log
We’ll take one at a time.
1) Your Training Max (TM): should be roughly 80-90% of your actual max on a lift. If you have a PR within the last 2 months, that’s simple: subtract 10-20% and that’s your training max. If you do not, here’s the process we’ll be following in classes and open gym this week: Work up to a weight that feels relatively heavy but allows you to maintain good form. (For experienced lifters, this is usually around 80-85% of their most recent PR). Rep out on that set and plug the #s into the formula below:
Training Max=((Weight x Reps x .033) + Weight) X .90
Note: Newer/Level 1 Lifters–you will set your first training max in class or open gym with coaches once your initial 8-12 weeks 5×5 is completed.
2) How to Progress: each month we will do a heavy set of 95% of your Training Max for max reps.
If you get 5+ reps on that set: add 5 lbs to your Training Max for the next month
If you get 3-4 reps on that set: keep Training Max the same for the next month
If you get less than 3 reps, reset your Training Max by dropping it 10% for the next month
3) Training Log: get a notebook and write those numbers down! To make the most out of your class time, this is crucial. Whether your priority is strength or accessory/conditioning, you will benefit from having your numbers in order.
Maintenance: For folks who have been with us for a while, folks who are masters athletes, or folks that do not have competitive aspirations: pick one lower body lift each cycle to do at maintenance level, and hit every third upper body cycle at maintenance level. Maintenance is simple: 5×5 at about 60-65% of your TM for a month. There’s also no reason why you couldn’t do this for all of your lifts if you wanted to push conditioning during a cycle, or simply to give yourself a month to work on form, or simply to be here lifting relatively heavy weights well for health.