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Breaking Personal Records (PR's)

Breaking Personal Records (PR's)

This is where the fun of strength training begins and ends- the PR's.  Breaking personal records is a great way to add some excitement back into your training. The 5/3/1 program (and the programming in the 5/3/1 Forever book) was built around giving you the ability to break a wide variety of records throughout the entire year without overtraining, feeling burnt out and/or quitting. This is a key difference in staying self-motivated instead of needing constant external motivation i.e. relying on atmosphere, training partners, your mood and other transient variables.

Too many people live and die by their 1 rep max.  To me, this is foolish and shortsighted and the exact reason people find themselves in a rut.  If your squat goes from 225 for 6 reps to 225 for 9 reps, you've gotten stronger.  Don't get stuck just trying to increase your 1 rep max.  If you keep breaking your rep records, that number will go up as well.  A smart ass response I give when someone asks me what they need to do to bench press (or squat) 400lbs; "Just train so you can do 10 reps with 395.  I'm pretty sure you'll be able to get 400."  While it is literally correct, the real takeaway is that if you work to get stronger, you'll far exceed your goals.

Remember that learning the lifts comes first (execution).  This is a skill.  The next skill is learning how to execute with great effort.  While it takes no talent to give great effort it is an acquired skill.  This skill requires you to hone your physical and mental efforts; you can't expect a neophyte to understand this right away. 

When coaching beginners, besides developing basic fitness and movement skills we also teach the lifts. Once this becomes ingrained, we then focus on executing with great effort.  And it's hard to beat a well executed lift done with great effort.

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