5/3/1- Top set reps

Those of you who follow this blog (my mother and a couple of others) will know that I have recently been thinking about the value of going balls out on the top set. That is doing as many reps as possible. In some cases my guys were getting 15 on the deadlift. Now this has been great for a while as they built this amazing base. But I saw signs of physical and mental fatigue. I’m not a scientist of course. But I am gym smart and I wonder about this. I do like a prescribed number of reps and beating this is fine. But going to 15 is too much for the intermediate lifter in my opinion.

I am in favour of a top set of 5 and I like to leave something in the tank. The main reason is that I want to taste success and build confidence for the next week. I like breaking new ground and I find reps of 5 are perfect. Coan once said that they represented the perfect balance between strength and size.

I am working on a series of articles and templates around 5/3/1 and competition time. I will go into more detail then.

In closing, I found this quote from Wendler. Wendler would seem to hold similar views.

He states “Many lifters will get stronger when they dial back the last set. You don’t always have to push to failure to make gains – this is a belief held by novices and those with limited knowledge.”

Interesting stuff.

bigger stronger smarter


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