The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness
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The Five Biggest Contradictions in Fitness

Its no secret that when people contradict themselves, it has the effect of making the flaws in their actions or statements seem glaringly obvious. But what about when WE ourselves get caught contradicting ourselves by someone else?

By: Nick Tumminello Added: January 6th, 2014
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  1. #1
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Quick 5/3/1 question

    I'm on week 3 of the 5/3/1 routine and last night for the bench session I did the following(was the 5reps/3reps/1rep session):

    Warm up

    x5
    x3
    x5

    This is still my first wave. Someone told me I need to lower my starting weight for it since I'm "only" getting 5 reps in my third week. I've had a bad couple of weeks eating and shoulder pain that stopped me from doing dips, otherwise I could have gotten at least 6 reps I'm sure.

    Is this alright or should I be getting much more? If I should be getting more then the whole 90% of your max is useless for me because I'd need to drop a hell of a lot more to get more than 6 reps. My triceps don't have the endurance for high rep benching.

    I figured as long as I got more than was prescribed I was doing fine, and I thought that's what he said in the book. I've actually benched 325 (no calculators) and if I would have gotten 6 reps with my weight, that would put me right at a hypothetical 325x1, so how can it be bad?
    22 - 5'10@236lbs!
    Bench - 325 (old)
    Squat - 455x2 (old)
    Deadlift - 500(old)

    Total: 1280lbs 100% raw




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  3. #2
    At the corner of 1st & 1st getting there's Avatar
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    I've read the Q&A on Elite's website and from reading his book as well and he says that as long as you are hitting the prescribed # of reps it is ok. I usually can get 2-3 reps more than prescribed on the last set with 5/3/1 but sometimes I have an off week or even an off couple of weeks. I would not worry about it too much, unless you are consistently not meeting the prescribed reps over the course of a few weeks.

  4. #3
    Jersey Iron Barbaccio's Avatar
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    325x1 is what you're basing the program on.
    That means 325x.9 is 292.5. So you're basing your pecentages off this number.
    That'd mean on Week 3 you did 210, 240, 270.
    270x5x.0333+270=315 (Sorry the shoulder hurting is an excuse. Either you get 6 reps or you don't.)
    I'd say you should probably take your best rep max to date, and set the next cycle's number on that.
    My first cycle of 5/3/1 during Week 3 I got an average of 8 reps on my last set. I think you've probably either overestimated your max or the shoulder is holding you back. Either way, I'd reevaluate the numbers, reset the calcs, and go from there. It's possible you just had a bad week. If that's the case, then I'd say forget this week and see how you do next cycle.
    Last edited by Barbaccio; 08-18-2009 at 11:51 AM.

  5. #4
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barbaccio View Post
    325x1 is what you're basing the program on.
    That means 325x.9 is 292.5. So you're basing your pecentages off this number.
    That'd mean on Week 3 you did 210, 240, 270.
    270x5x.0333+270=315 (Sorry the shoulder hurting is an excuse. Either you get 6 reps or you don't.)
    I'd say you should probably take your best rep max to date, and set the next cycle's number on that.
    My first cycle of 5/3/1 during Week 3 I got an average of 8 reps on my last set. I think you've probably either overestimated your max or the shoulder is holding you back. Either way, I'd reevaluate the numbers, reset the calcs, and go from there. It's possible you just had a bad week. If that's the case, then I'd say forget this week and see how you do next cycle.

    All I was saying with the shoulder was that if they weren't bothering me, I would have had at least 6, but I wasn't sure if even that would be considered enough. I stopped at 5 because I felt it in my RC.

    And the weights I used for week 3 were 220, 250, and 280. I tested my max bench the week before I started, so I know it's 325, so I started with a training max of 290lbs. There's no way I would get 8 reps with the weight I'm using now, so I guess the 90% of my training max doesn't apply to me at all if I should be getting more reps than I did.

    I will say that Excel may have added 5lbs more than I should have done for my last set, because 95% of 290 is 275.5 and it rounded it up to 280. It's not like 5lbs will give me 3 more reps though. I need to check it when I get home. Actually it may have added more for all the damn sets, I thought I had it lined up with his % chart but doing the calculations here seem to show it rounded up when it should've rounded down.

    I do know the coming weights in the next 6 months don't seem bad and I could at least get the prescribed amount. Just not sure how many extra.
    Last edited by berfles; 08-18-2009 at 12:08 PM.
    22 - 5'10@236lbs!
    Bench - 325 (old)
    Squat - 455x2 (old)
    Deadlift - 500(old)

    Total: 1280lbs 100% raw




    The key to my exercise program is this one simple truth: I hate my body.

  6. #5
    Jersey Iron Barbaccio's Avatar
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    Keep going then! If you feel like you can do the reps prescribed then keep pushing. Like Jim said, you only really need the prescribed amount. So until you really hit the wall, keep going. As far as your spreadsheet, make sure you're using the CEILING command to help you round. It would like something like this: =CEILING(C5*E11,5)

    Or, if you'd like, here's a spreadsheet you can plug the numbers into and it will calculate them for you automatically.
    http://tinyurl.com/la2flu
    Last edited by Barbaccio; 08-18-2009 at 12:47 PM.

  7. #6
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    It sounds like you are doing fine to me. 5 reps is 4 more than the prescribed 1 rep isn't it? I have the 5/3/1 book, and I'm pretty sure that no where in the book does it state that you need to get a certain amount of extra reps. Write down 280x5 somewhere as a PR, and next cycle try to beat it. It is very simple, don't think too much about it. If you were struggling to get your prescribed reps it would be one thing, but I'm pretty sure you are doing fine. Keep working hard.

  8. #7
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Keep going then! If you feel like you can do the reps prescribed then keep pushing. Like Jim said, you only really need the prescribed amount. So until you really hit the wall, keep going. As far as your spreadsheet, make sure you're using the CEILING command to help you round. It would like something like this: =CEILING(C5*E11,5)

    Or, if you'd like, here's a spreadsheet you can plug the numbers into and it will calculate them for you automatically.
    http://tinyurl.com/pbvrdo
    Alright, I guess I'll just take it week by week then and not worry much about how many "extra" I can do. I mean at the end of the first 6 months it only has me benching 305x1 for my last week before deload.

    As for the Excel, I used something different because the CEILING command that was in there really jacked the numbers up for some reason, they were nowhere near Wendler's numbers. I used the ROUND command instead and got it to round up or down based on the number it fell on, but something seems fishy with that as well. I'll have to check out the numbers it gave me and compare it to Wendler's again, though I did hear that another one of his books gives different weights for the percentages... I'll post again when I get home and compare them.


    I'll check that link out too, thanks.

    EDIT: Looking at that link, I punched in my bench and for week 3 it gave the same numbers my version gave, so I guess rounding up is alright. I also remembered I'm using 320 as my max for this routine, not my 325 that I got.


    It sounds like you are doing fine to me. 5 reps is 4 more than the prescribed 1 rep isn't it? I have the 5/3/1 book, and I'm pretty sure that no where in the book does it state that you need to get a certain amount of extra reps. Write down 280x5 somewhere as a PR, and next cycle try to beat it. It is very simple, don't think too much about it. If you were struggling to get your prescribed reps it would be one thing, but I'm pretty sure you are doing fine. Keep working hard.
    Yep, I suppose you're right. Hell, the book even says you don't even have to go for more reps at all, right?

    For now I just need to double check my numbers in my spreadsheet.
    Last edited by berfles; 08-18-2009 at 12:52 PM.
    22 - 5'10@236lbs!
    Bench - 325 (old)
    Squat - 455x2 (old)
    Deadlift - 500(old)

    Total: 1280lbs 100% raw




    The key to my exercise program is this one simple truth: I hate my body.

  9. #8
    Westside Bencher Travis Bell's Avatar
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    Tony is spot on.

    Drop the dips though. Those will only make your shoulders worse


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  10. #9
    Super Moderator vdizenzo's Avatar
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    The only reason Jim does dips is because he was told not to. His program should be named "See, I told you I could." Just playing. Tones advice was spot on. It's amazing how many people I see screw up 5/3/1.


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  11. #10
    THE FRIDGE! thewicked's Avatar
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    bad shoulders=no dips

    actually bad shoulders=tweak bench routine and work on perfecting it and THEN drop all other accessory work save just benching for awhile and see if that helps. Hit hte prescribed number of reps and no more..it can easily lead to over training on this.

    we do it..and we run it here on the bench days for a few of my clients. We work the program for 8-12 weeks (client depending) before adding weight.

    some people do the work for the first month as is... month 2) two sets on the final sets.... month 3) 3 sets of the final sets

    most of us just add 2.5 to 5 lbs to the prescribed work every 8-12 weeks. Works like a charm atleast on benching.
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  12. #11
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    Nevermind
    Last edited by Off Road; 08-18-2009 at 05:06 PM.
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  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Off Road View Post
    <hijack>

    I started to think about this. If you are adding 10 lbs to each max for every new4 week cycle, then take 90% of the new max number, isn't that only adding about 1 lb to each lift every month?

    </hijack>
    You are only taking 90% of your max when you start the program. After that you are adding 5-10 lbs to that 90% number each week. Say you max on the bench at 300. You would start the program with 270 as your max for the first cycle. Each cycle after that you would add 5 lbs to that (275, 280, 285, etc.).
    Last edited by sayagain; 08-18-2009 at 05:08 PM.

  14. #13
    Moderator Off Road's Avatar
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    My mistake...my math is bad
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  15. #14
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    No worries.
    Last edited by sayagain; 08-18-2009 at 05:11 PM.

  16. #15
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Ok so I took a look at my Excel sheet and I forgot to make updates to my damn formulas so my last two sets had 5 extra pounds to them. It should have been 220x5, 245x3, and 275x1. My formula keeps everything in line with how Wendler has his percentage chart, and that's with this: =ROUND(B3*0.75/5,0)*5

    Obviously that changes with each cell. Anyway, about the shoulders thing, they only bothered me because I played football for the first time since I started gaining all this weight and my arms weren't used to that non stop motion. Dips are usually fine on my shoulders and doing heavy weighted dips is the only way I can find that beats the hell out of my stubborn triceps.

    And I'll assume Tony is Barbaccio? I'll just stick with it, I have to go and figure out the next 5 months and replace all these friggin formulas with mine one at a time, but at the end of the 6th month I'm only supposed to get 300x1 so I'm fine in that regard. Just got worked up over what someone told me, that I wasn't getting enough reps already.
    22 - 5'10@236lbs!
    Bench - 325 (old)
    Squat - 455x2 (old)
    Deadlift - 500(old)

    Total: 1280lbs 100% raw




    The key to my exercise program is this one simple truth: I hate my body.

  17. #16
    LittleJake JSully's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by berfles View Post
    I have to go and figure out the next 5 months and replace all these friggin formulas with mine one at a time, but at the end of the 6th month I'm only supposed to get 300x1 so I'm fine in that regard. Just got worked up over what someone told me, that I wasn't getting enough reps already.

    Instead of fixing the next 5 months with the formula's.. delete the next 5 months and change your forumla to put in a +5 for each cycle.. so for your training max it would be =[cell]+5

    for instance, if your training max is cell D10, for your 2nd cycle you're training max would be =D10+5 and then all your formulas will be fine. Also, since you're deleting all your future cells, go ahead and fix the =ROUND to =CELING..

    then just copy and paste for 6 months, making sure your training max continues to refer to your past month's training max +5..

    just my $.02
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  18. #17
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleJake View Post
    Instead of fixing the next 5 months with the formula's.. delete the next 5 months and change your forumla to put in a +5 for each cycle.. so for your training max it would be =[cell]+5

    for instance, if your training max is cell D10, for your 2nd cycle you're training max would be =D10+5 and then all your formulas will be fine. Also, since you're deleting all your future cells, go ahead and fix the =ROUND to =CELING..

    then just copy and paste for 6 months, making sure your training max continues to refer to your past month's training max +5..

    just my $.02
    Thanks, I'll take a look that way. I tried using CEILING the first time though and it over-rounded everything no matter what I did, using this formula is the only way I can get the numbers to match with what Wendler's chart says. Using the CEILING version is what added 5lbs to my lifts when I didn't want it, it took 275.5 and rounded it up to 280 when it should have stayed at 275.
    22 - 5'10@236lbs!
    Bench - 325 (old)
    Squat - 455x2 (old)
    Deadlift - 500(old)

    Total: 1280lbs 100% raw




    The key to my exercise program is this one simple truth: I hate my body.

  19. #18
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    Why don't you just drop the formulas and just look at 275.5 and know it should probably be 275 and not 280?

    Seems easy enough.

  20. #19
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    I used a floor function that rounded all of the numbers down and that kept me conservative. I'm at work so I don't have the spreadsheet in front of me to see how I actually have it typed in though. There is more than one way to skin a cat. Pick one and go with it.

  21. #20
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reko View Post
    Why don't you just drop the formulas and just look at 275.5 and know it should probably be 275 and not 280?

    Seems easy enough.
    Because I don't feel like calculating every single workout session and would rather have it all done in one shot.
    22 - 5'10@236lbs!
    Bench - 325 (old)
    Squat - 455x2 (old)
    Deadlift - 500(old)

    Total: 1280lbs 100% raw




    The key to my exercise program is this one simple truth: I hate my body.

  22. #21
    Jersey Iron Barbaccio's Avatar
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    275.5 is 275 to you but that's 280 to me. Matter of opinion. I always round up. But then agian, I'm a SHW so I always tend to overdo rather than under. hehe.

  23. #22
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    Excel:

    CEILING is going to round UP to the nearest multiple of the digit you specify.

    Say 0.95*A1 = 202.7
    =CEILING(0.95*A1,5) is going to round that UP to 205.

    FLOOR does the opposite.

    =FLOOR(0.95*A1,5) is going to put that at 200.

    Neither is going to give you exact numbers by design. I do ceiling for my values and its worked out fine. Reko's way also works, you basically choose which way you want to go yourself.

  24. #23
    Senior Member brihead301's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleJake View Post
    Instead of fixing the next 5 months with the formula's.. delete the next 5 months and change your forumla to put in a +5 for each cycle.. so for your training max it would be =[cell]+5

    for instance, if your training max is cell D10, for your 2nd cycle you're training max would be =D10+5 and then all your formulas will be fine. Also, since you're deleting all your future cells, go ahead and fix the =ROUND to =CELING..

    then just copy and paste for 6 months, making sure your training max continues to refer to your past month's training max +5..

    just my $.02
    Ya, basically this is it right here. You're just supposed to be adding 5 lbs. to your "max" each cycle which the percentages are based off, not ALL the lifts throughout the entire cycle. If this excel program has an equation for each lift, for each wave, then I'd wonder what the point is. All cells should be related directly to the "max" cell.

    Personally, I do figure out the lifts I'm supposed to be doing each day right before my session. For instance, yesterday was "wave 3" for me. It was deadlift day, and my "max" for this cycle is 370. So I quickly just took out my calculator on my phone, and did 370 x .75 (5 reps), 370 x .85 (3 reps), 370 x .95 (1 rep, but I did 5), and I just round up or down as necessary to the closest 5 lb. increment. Since you want the excel sheet to figure it all out for you, it doesn't hurt to just do a quick check before each session just to see if it's right. But I think it's easier just to write down the 4 "maxes" that you will be working from at the beginning of each cycle, and just make the quick 3 calculations before each session.

    About hitting 5 reps, when you were only supposed to be going for 1 (wave 3), I'd say the weight you're using is fine. Now, if this was only your first cycle, and you were just barely getting the single rep, then I'd worry that you are going too heavy. But there's no "rule" that says that in the first few cycles that you should be hitting at least 10 reps on your last working set.
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  25. #24
    Senior Member berfles's Avatar
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    My Excel file does base everything off of a max cell, and it actually has a spot where it adds 5 or 10lbs depending on upper/lower body so after I changed the first wave it should be fine. I'll double check when I get home again.
    22 - 5'10@236lbs!
    Bench - 325 (old)
    Squat - 455x2 (old)
    Deadlift - 500(old)

    Total: 1280lbs 100% raw




    The key to my exercise program is this one simple truth: I hate my body.

  26. #25
    JERSEY IRON Brian C's Avatar
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    How about using the table Jim provides in the back of the book? Worked for me. Seems pointless mulling over calculation programs..
    Last edited by Brian C; 08-20-2009 at 10:39 AM.
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