Transferability of Barbell Strength

Antti

More than 2500 posts
That describes many of the recent Strongfirst programs (lift between 65% and 85%) of your max most days, and they seem to work for many. It's almost a necessity for kettlebells, but many barbell programs are just like that. Even 5/3/1 is within this range: your training max for a 200kg lifter would be 170. In your first and second cycles, you would not lift anything heavier than that, and most of the time would lift lighter. Do you have an idea why they don't work for you and give an example of what you do instead? This is not a critique. I am just interested in learning what others are doing so that I can incorporate this in my training.
I'm obviously not @Antti ,but I think he just came up with those numbers on the fly without noticing that 170Kg would be 85% of 1RM, which is a proven percentage range to increase 1RM.

The recommended training max for a 200Kg lifter on 5/3/1 would actually be 180Kg (TM = 90% of 1RM), not 170Kg, but that's just me being a smartass here :p.
5/3/1 is a great program, but for everyone who makes great progress on it there's probably another person who doesn't progress at all, because either the frequency and/or the intensity is too low. If you go for the original template you only do each lift once per week and only at submaximal weights. Considering this it's not surprising that I've read a lot of times that people didn't progress or even regressed on 5/3/1.
Not to turn this into a "5/3/1 pro vs. con" thread, but over the years Wendler transformed it into something that's not 5/3/1 anymore IMO.
5/3/1 was all about rep-maxes/high reps at submaximal weights. Now it's all about Joker sets, 5x5 FSL and stuff like that. For a lot of variations he now even recommends to stop your 5, 3 or 1 set after reaching 5, 3 or 1 reps respectively and actively avoiding the rep-max, which (like I just said) once was basically the main point of the routine.
At first I thought about writing 65%-80%, but then I thought many programs do occasionally visit 85%. I didn't want to write a too small range so I went up to 85%. But the 85%/170kg lifts comprise a minority of the lifts, so I think my original critique is still justified.

Also, one must take note that I specifically mentioned peaking. I think a program with the aforementioned intensity range can work well in certain phases of the training year. Like after a competition and a new 1RM. But if one seeks a new max I think a proper peaking program is in order.

And of course there was the original question of the feel of the lift. I find that 85% feels so much lighter than the heavy weights that trying a new PR will be much harder without experience what a heavy weight feels like. This phenomenon is amplified in lifts such as the squat or the bench press, where you start with an eccentric. One may straight out bail out due to the feel of the weight, especially if no un-rackings or walkouts have been practiced.
 

MikeTheBear

Quadruple-Digit Post Count
Not to turn this into a "5/3/1 pro vs. con" thread, but over the years Wendler transformed it into something that's not 5/3/1 anymore IMO.
5/3/1 was all about rep-maxes/high reps at submaximal weights. Now it's all about Joker sets, 5x5 FSL and stuff like that. For a lot of variations he now even recommends to stop your 5, 3 or 1 set after reaching 5, 3 or 1 reps respectively and actively avoiding the rep-max, which (like I just said) once was basically the main point of the routine.
Yet again we seem to think alike because I also wondered whether with all of the iterations/variations of 5/3/1, is it still 5/3/1? I will yes because because the "core" of the program is to do the 5/3/1 reps as originally written: use 90% as the TM and max reps on the last set. Wendler is a stickler about this. Even if someone plans to do Joker sets or go for a heavy single (this is from 5/3/1 for Powerlifting) you still must go for max reps on the last set (last set = the set before FSL, Joker, etc.). You are not to "save" yourself by short cutting that last set and then going crazy on the Jokers or whatever.

I think of 5/3/1 as a template rather than a program set in stone. I like the variations because I have always done better, in terms of gaining strength, if I work up to a heavy single. So I do the 5/3/1 for powerlifting version. I still do max reps for the last set and then work up to a heavy single.
 

Manuel Fortin

Triple-Digit Post Count
@Kettlebelephant Wendler now advocates setting the training max as low as 85%. Also, I agree that it may be difficult to find the right flavor of 5/3/1. I tried it and the best for me were full body and 3X5 FSL, but with the rep max. The original 5/3/1 did not produce good results for me.

@Antti: Good point about which lift. Many of the Strongfirst programs are deadlift programs. These produced good results for me. Earlier this year I did 8X225 (pounds) on a variation of 5/3/1, but I could probably not squat 265 or 275, which you would expect from conventional wisdom on rep maxes, but just standing up with 265 on my back would have been something. I may incorporate heavy walkouts if I get back to this type of programs.
 

Antti

More than 2500 posts
@Manuel Fortin I had to put money where my mouth is so I checked out my training logs to see at how high an intensity I typically go up to on a training day. I had some ready-made statistics on my journey from 200kg to 240kg in conventional deadlift. Here they are:

-I hit 200kg at session #19 and 240kg at session #48. Time spent was about seven weeks, give or take. Training was pretty frequent as I didn't really train anything else that much due to an injury.
-Total average intensity of the highest lift in a given session, discounting the PR days, was 82,3%.
-I went over 80% in a session a total of 15 times. 80% or less happened 10 times. I went over 85% 8 times. Again, these don't count the four PR days.
-Intensity and volume were not coupled together in any manner, but the heaviest of volume days didn't go over 80%.
-If we look at the whole journey we should probably count in the three PR days between 200kg and 240kg which would skew the numbers considerably higher.

So I have personally found to have decent progress in the deadlift with higher intensity training. But these are pretty much novice gains, light weights, and my experience is limited, so it is probable that my experience will develop through the coming years.

I also have to make the caveat that after the 240kg DL I experienced my first plateau that I tried to break for a couple of months. Time will tell how it will be broken in the future. I have only recently started deadlifting seriously again.
 
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