Note: The following was written maybe 8-10 years ago and it appeared on the JimWendler Forum. You are free to use this in any way you choose. A basic understanding of the 5/3/1 program is needed to understand some of the concepts below.
- First, find a weight you can VERY easily do 5 sets of 10 reps OR perform 50 solid/strong reps in 10-15 minutes. In my case, I choose 25lbs as my starting weight.
- Now I added my bodyweight, which is about 220. So now we have 245.
- I then divided 245 by 85%, so 245/.85 = 290. Thus 290 is my Training Max (TM).
- I then took 290 and multiplied it by .95 - this would be 275. Subtract 220 (body weight) from 275 and you get 55. This is my 95% number.
- 290 multiplied by .9 = 260. Subtract 220 (body weight) and you get 40. 40 is my 90% number.
So my 85% number is 25lbs, 90% is 40lbs and my 95% number is 55lbs.
The Actual Program
- Week 1 - 85% week, you do 50 total reps. (50 total reps with 25lbs)
- Week 2 - 90% number, you do 35 total reps (35 total reps with 35lbs)
- Week 3 - 95% number, you do 25 total reps (25 total reps with 55lbs)
You can do the weighted work one or two times/week on any day(s) you feel is best for you. You can also keep the total reps constant (you choose) for all three weeks OR perform the movements for a set time and see how many reps you can do in that set time. Once you complete the 3 week cycle and do so to your satisfaction, you can raise your TM for another cycle. I highly recommend using indicators to help you understand whether or not the TM is too high. These, again, are up to you.
I also recommend changing your grip between each set of chins/pull-ups.
If you are not yet strong enough to implement this programming, you may find the below articles helpful.