At the end of each mesocycle, how does one calculate next cycles weights? Do I test my one rep max at the end of each cycle? It seems that you are meant to test your one rep max at the start of the program, and progress only 10kg per month for the rest of the year, or at least that is how the spreadsheet that was made for it is configured, but that doesn't seem to take into account doing better or worse than expected.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


Generally, if you managed to complete one cycle, you'd just increase the weight by the recommended amount (10kg) and start a new one. There will be a point where you won't be able to complete all reps on a cycle and, as far as I understand Wendler's philosophy, there's no point in rushing there.

Wendler also adressed the speed of progress on 5/3/1 in this article, that reads:

The pursuit of strength is not a six-month or one-year pursuit. It's a 30-year pursuit for me. You gotta be smart about it. But everyone wants everything right now.

It's kinda his thing to view any progress at all as sufficient, as in the longterm it adds up. That's a philosophical debate to some degree, but slow and steady does have its merits. Mainly that you won't overtrain and thus not hit a plateau as likely. He says something like that in the article, too.

I tell guys that the longer your stride, the quicker you'll tear a hamstring. But the problem is, people live for today's workout. No one seems to have the vision anymore to look beyond just what they're doing today.

I plan my training for a year. I know exactly what I want to do, and what I want to accomplish 12 months in advance. And I know what 5 or 10 pounds a month adds up to over the course of a year.

I myself have always viewed 5/3/1 as and advanced lifters program for that reason. On an intermediate level progress happens too fast to plan ahead for years, which is why progress might seem too slow.

In that case, it's up to you if you want to raise weight by more than the recommended amount. If you overdo it, you will have to repeat the cycle and go a bit slower about it the next time. Do keep in mind though, that quicker progress also means your body and central nervous system won't adapt as smoothly. Like I said, kinda philosophical and both sides have their merits.

  • Yeah I thought that was the case. I agree with the philosophy and even if I am doing absurd numbers of reps, I suppose my body is improving in some way to be capable of that. I will just continue doing it slowly in that case. Jun 18 '14 at 7:28

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