T Nation

5/3/1 and Police Academy

Jim, I was informed today that I will be entering the Police Academy this winter. I want to keep my strength and size as much as possible when going through the Academy. As you can imagine, the academy includes a fair amount of running (2-6 miles a day), push-ups, sit-ups, etc. This is an 8 hour commuter academy, so I can control my diet and still lift at night.

What would your approach be to training through and before (Academy starts in 6 weeks) the academy? I have been running your 5/3/1 for 14 months with great results and do not want to stop. Should I reduce training to 3x a week while at the Academy? I hate to lose all my strength/size progress I made while at the Academy.

All thoughts are welcome, thanks Jim.

I would train 2 days a week. If you’re feeling awesome, do some joker sets or a couple of down sets. If you feel like shit, do your prescribed reps and leave.

Training like this should allow you to retain or even gain strength while you are running your ass off in the academy.

I’m 3 months into an academy right now myself, and I was wondering how best to program 5/3/1 as well. I’ve been doing crossfit but I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels, and find some workouts to be extremely dumb… yet I do them anyways. I have had time to get into the gym 4x a week but don’t really know how to set up my conditioning. I can do hill sprints only on the weekend, and do have access to a prowler but it kind of sucks because it’s on a sticky track surface instead of an alley or something like that.

[quote]PB Andy wrote:
I’m 3 months into an academy right now myself, and I was wondering how best to program 5/3/1 as well. I’ve been doing crossfit but I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels, and find some workouts to be extremely dumb… yet I do them anyways. I have had time to get into the gym 4x a week but don’t really know how to set up my conditioning. I can do hill sprints only on the weekend, and do have access to a prowler but it kind of sucks because it’s on a sticky track surface instead of an alley or something like that.[/quote]

Andy, do you do Crossfit as part of a group or organized training session? I’m just curious as to why you feel you should do the “dumb” workouts (and yes there are dumb ones)? If you do it to follow the programming then I admire your commitment.

I don’t hate Crossfit and like some of the WODs, but from a pure programming standpoint (CF has benefits beyond programming such as the competitive atmosphere, learning the Olympic lifts if there is a good coach at the box), I don’t see how CF is better than a good strength program couple with some basic conditioning.

If you don’t mind boring, nothing beats doing swings at the end of a workout. Use a KB if you have access to them. Go for 10 minutes, 30 seconds on, 30 seconds rest. Another variation using a heavier KB is to do 8 swings at the top of the minute, rest the remainder of the time. Try to work up to 20 minutes. This gets tough near the end.

This is boring. It is only one movement pattern. But this has increased my conditioning over the last few weeks.

[quote]MikeTheBear wrote:

[quote]PB Andy wrote:
I’m 3 months into an academy right now myself, and I was wondering how best to program 5/3/1 as well. I’ve been doing crossfit but I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels, and find some workouts to be extremely dumb… yet I do them anyways. I have had time to get into the gym 4x a week but don’t really know how to set up my conditioning. I can do hill sprints only on the weekend, and do have access to a prowler but it kind of sucks because it’s on a sticky track surface instead of an alley or something like that.[/quote]

Andy, do you do Crossfit as part of a group or organized training session? I’m just curious as to why you feel you should do the “dumb” workouts (and yes there are dumb ones)? If you do it to follow the programming then I admire your commitment.

I don’t hate Crossfit and like some of the WODs, but from a pure programming standpoint (CF has benefits beyond programming such as the competitive atmosphere, learning the Olympic lifts if there is a good coach at the box), I don’t see how CF is better than a good strength program couple with some basic conditioning.

If you don’t mind boring, nothing beats doing swings at the end of a workout. Use a KB if you have access to them. Go for 10 minutes, 30 seconds on, 30 seconds rest. Another variation using a heavier KB is to do 8 swings at the top of the minute, rest the remainder of the time. Try to work up to 20 minutes. This gets tough near the end.

This is boring. It is only one movement pattern. But this has increased my conditioning over the last few weeks.[/quote]
Both… we do some crossfit workouts at the academy that are just plain fucking dumb. I have been doing other crossfit workouts that I prefer at my gym but there still, even the strength portion seems a little random.

I’m thinking of doing 5/3/1 for the main lifts, and just picking a WOD from the ‘conditioning’ portion of the workouts at www.doghousecrossfit.com (the generally non-retarded ones). Maybe do some hill sprints on the weekend when I have time.

In terms of boring… I just don’t see myself doing only KB swings. I can do hill sprints and prowler work multiple times a week and enjoy it (not during, of course :P), but when it comes to other conditioning methods, I probably need something more varied (i.e. a 10-15 minute crossfit WOD, etc).

There is a section in 5/3/1 2nd edition I think that has 5/3/1 and crossfit… Check that out.

[quote]EyeHateGod wrote:
There is a section in 5/3/1 2nd edition I think that has 5/3/1 and crossfit… Check that out.

[/quote]
Yeah I have the book right in front of me. Thing is I know dick-all about crossfit to actually come up with different workouts throughout the week(s), lol.

[quote]PB Andy wrote:
I’m 3 months into an academy right now myself, and I was wondering how best to program 5/3/1 as well. I’ve been doing crossfit but I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels, and find some workouts to be extremely dumb… yet I do them anyways. I have had time to get into the gym 4x a week but don’t really know how to set up my conditioning. I can do hill sprints only on the weekend, and do have access to a prowler but it kind of sucks because it’s on a sticky track surface instead of an alley or something like that.[/quote]

Andy I am a bit confused. So you do Crossfit in the Academy AND in your own training sessiosns? Also, approx how many miles a day are you running in your Academy?

My thinking is I will do all my running/conditioning work while in the Academy, then hit the weights 2-3 a week for 5/3/1 strength sessions at night on my own time.

[quote]Warrior24 wrote:

[quote]PB Andy wrote:
I’m 3 months into an academy right now myself, and I was wondering how best to program 5/3/1 as well. I’ve been doing crossfit but I feel like I’ve been spinning my wheels, and find some workouts to be extremely dumb… yet I do them anyways. I have had time to get into the gym 4x a week but don’t really know how to set up my conditioning. I can do hill sprints only on the weekend, and do have access to a prowler but it kind of sucks because it’s on a sticky track surface instead of an alley or something like that.[/quote]

Andy I am a bit confused. So you do Crossfit in the Academy AND in your own training sessiosns? Also, approx how many miles a day are you running in your Academy?

My thinking is I will do all my running/conditioning work while in the Academy, then hit the weights 2-3 a week for 5/3/1 strength sessions at night on my own time. [/quote]
We have Crossfit during our ‘gym’ days. I find that workout to be shitty personally… it may make me sweat (i.e. 10 burpees on the minute for 10 minutes), but the workout itself doesn’t ‘improve’ me very much. It’s not what I consider ‘good’ conditioning… if that even makes sense. So if I have any energy left when I get home (commuter as well, stuck in traffic, etc, it sucks dick), I’ll do my own little Crossfit workout which will do some strength stuff at first, then a shirt WOD afterwards.

Our Academy is really not too bad with running. About two runs a week in the morning with our homeroom instructor that is at least 3.5 miles, and then we may have runs during our gym days which is 2-3 times a week… it could be going outside to run, or running inside the academy itself as part of a crossfit workout.

There are different templates in the book to pick from? Jim done all the thinking for us. Its pretty much the main lift, assistance exercise then a circuit…med ball slams, dips, burpees, 20-15-10 etc… You just pick from a selection of exercises he gives you. What you do with those exercises is up to you really. Dont over think it.

[quote]Warrior24 wrote:
Jim, I was informed today that I will be entering the Police Academy this winter. I want to keep my strength and size as much as possible when going through the Academy. As you can imagine, the academy includes a fair amount of running (2-6 miles a day), push-ups, sit-ups, etc. This is an 8 hour commuter academy, so I can control my diet and still lift at night.

What would your approach be to training through and before (Academy starts in 6 weeks) the academy? I have been running your 5/3/1 for 14 months with great results and do not want to stop. Should I reduce training to 3x a week while at the Academy? I hate to lose all my strength/size progress I made while at the Academy.

All thoughts are welcome, thanks Jim.
[/quote]

I wouldnt’ change anything - you are doing WAY less than every high school athlete so you don’t need to change anything.

[quote]EyeHateGod wrote:
There are different templates in the book to pick from? Jim done all the thinking for us. Its pretty much the main lift, assistance exercise then a circuit…med ball slams, dips, burpees, 20-15-10 etc… You just pick from a selection of exercises he gives you. What you do with those exercises is up to you really. Dont over think it. [/quote]
Holy crap you are right, totally missed that page.

OP:

I’m former military and current police officer. If you are in pretty good shape, the physical condition in the academy is not too challenging. Mine was about 6 months long. I think I lifted about 3 times a week and went to the boxing gym once or twice a week in my own time. Military is more demanding.

The first portion of the academy will be “taxing”, so it might affect your lifting a tad. But this is due to the ‘mental stress’ that is induced to basically see if you have what it takes to make it. If you pass law, and are still around after the first 6-8 weeks, then you will have plenty of time for lifting. The mental stress will tire you out, and typically you will have homework (esp. during the law portion). There may be differences, but I work for a large department in a big city.

I would say do your squats on Friday night or Saturday morning. So if you are sore Sunday, it won’t affect you come Monday morning.

Oh, and take this advice: Work on your grip strength, do loaded carries, and sandbag training. Hopefully you will understand why. (It’s work related, “functional” strength).

[quote]Brett620 wrote:
OP:

I’m former military and current police officer. If you are in pretty good shape, the physical condition in the academy is not too challenging. Mine was about 6 months long. I think I lifted about 3 times a week and went to the boxing gym once or twice a week in my own time. Military is more demanding.

The first portion of the academy will be “taxing”, so it might affect your lifting a tad. But this is due to the ‘mental stress’ that is induced to basically see if you have what it takes to make it. If you pass law, and are still around after the first 6-8 weeks, then you will have plenty of time for lifting. The mental stress will tire you out, and typically you will have homework (esp. during the law portion). There may be differences, but I work for a large department in a big city.

I would say do your squats on Friday night or Saturday morning. So if you are sore Sunday, it won’t affect you come Monday morning.

Oh, and take this advice: Work on your grip strength, do loaded carries, and sandbag training. Hopefully you will understand why. (It’s work related, “functional” strength). [/quote]
This has been my experience as well. Conditioning/running is really not too difficult in the police academy… much more toned down compared to the military (I guess it depends which department you are working for, whether it’s state police, etc).

The mental stress will definitely be tough the first couple of months, you may not end up lifting those first couple of weeks. I take advantage of Saturday and Sunday to get a kick ass workout in.

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:

[quote]Warrior24 wrote:
Jim, I was informed today that I will be entering the Police Academy this winter. I want to keep my strength and size as much as possible when going through the Academy. As you can imagine, the academy includes a fair amount of running (2-6 miles a day), push-ups, sit-ups, etc. This is an 8 hour commuter academy, so I can control my diet and still lift at night.

What would your approach be to training through and before (Academy starts in 6 weeks) the academy? I have been running your 5/3/1 for 14 months with great results and do not want to stop. Should I reduce training to 3x a week while at the Academy? I hate to lose all my strength/size progress I made while at the Academy.

All thoughts are welcome, thanks Jim.
[/quote]

I wouldnt’ change anything - you are doing WAY less than every high school athlete so you don’t need to change anything.
[/quote]

Thanks, Jim.

[quote]Brett620 wrote:
OP:

I’m former military and current police officer. If you are in pretty good shape, the physical condition in the academy is not too challenging. Mine was about 6 months long. I think I lifted about 3 times a week and went to the boxing gym once or twice a week in my own time. Military is more demanding.

The first portion of the academy will be “taxing”, so it might affect your lifting a tad. But this is due to the ‘mental stress’ that is induced to basically see if you have what it takes to make it. If you pass law, and are still around after the first 6-8 weeks, then you will have plenty of time for lifting. The mental stress will tire you out, and typically you will have homework (esp. during the law portion). There may be differences, but I work for a large department in a big city.

I would say do your squats on Friday night or Saturday morning. So if you are sore Sunday, it won’t affect you come Monday morning.

Oh, and take this advice: Work on your grip strength, do loaded carries, and sandbag training. Hopefully you will understand why. (It’s work related, “functional” strength). [/quote]

Thanks for the good post Brett. I think I was more concerned with the amount of free time I will have (academy, commute, homework, etc.) and how tired I would be from the gym sessions. Thanks for shedding some light on this. I was hired by a very large dept in a large city as well.