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5/3/1 and Recovery

I am thinking about switching to the 5/3/1 progression for deadlifts since I am at the point where recovering from weekly 5 rep max attempts is making it hard for me to train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu effectively. I figured since 5/3/1 uses lower percentages of effort and has a deload week it may be a good option for improving recovery. Does anyone have thoughts on this?

Right now I do a lot of warmup deadlift sets and then 1x5 on deadlift days, usually followed by 3x5 of military press, and then one horizontal rowing movement and either chins or dips. I increase my weight in deadlift either 5 or 10lbs each week depending on how fresh I feel, and currently do 295x5 at a bodyweight of 177. I know going to 5/3/1 will slow my progress, but right now my body is just wrecked for at least 3 days from such heavy pulls every week.

Any thoughts greatly appreciated. Thanks!

5/3/1 will absolutely be easier to recover from than linear progression (what you’re doing now)

This is most likely what you should do, since your goal is to be better at BJJ (I assume), you need to realize that lifting is just GPP. It shouldn’t be interferring with your sport practice (or interfere as little as possible), so for this reason 5/3/1 is good option.

How often are you lifting now? And how often are you training other than lifting? (conditioning, BJJ practice, etc) For a martial artist, lifting twice a week should be sufficient. If you are training with BJJ seriously (as in several times a week, and it’s intensive) than I would really suggest you cut down on your lifting days to just 2. Don’t worry, you will still make progress, this is exactly what I do (I play college rugby)

If you’re lifting twice a week, I suggest going with an upper/lower split and not deloading (Wendler also recommends skipping the deload when lifiting twice a week). So like this:

Week 1: Squat and assistance, Bench and assistance
Week 2: Deads and assistance, Press and assistance

If you have anymore questions, I’d be happy to try to help

^^^ good advice listen to the Guy.

Thanks for the advice! Right now I lift either 2 or 3 days a week. I usually do Deadlift/Press one workout and Squat/Bench the other, as well as 1-3 assistance exercises each sessions. If I lift a 3rd day it is usually lighter accessory work, sometimes followed by conditioning such as sprint intervals, tabata burpees, something like that.

I train BJJ 5-7 classes a week, usually spread over 5 days, and only occasionally do outside conditioning. Our classes incorporate 15 minutes of bodyweight strength/conditioning, plyometrics, etc. so I feel I only need additional conditioning when I am not making it to class enough.

I will try switching to that routine this coming week and see how it goes. Squats tomorrow!

[quote]Prodigul wrote:
Thanks for the advice! Right now I lift either 2 or 3 days a week. I usually do Deadlift/Press one workout and Squat/Bench the other, as well as 1-3 assistance exercises each sessions. If I lift a 3rd day it is usually lighter accessory work, sometimes followed by conditioning such as sprint intervals, tabata burpees, something like that.

I train BJJ 5-7 classes a week, usually spread over 5 days, and only occasionally do outside conditioning. Our classes incorporate 15 minutes of bodyweight strength/conditioning, plyometrics, etc. so I feel I only need additional conditioning when I am not making it to class enough.

I will try switching to that routine this coming week and see how it goes. Squats tomorrow!

[/quote]

Another good 531 option, if you lean more towards the 3 days per week, is 531 Full Body Training.
Also a good option for a more “athletic” feeling workout, and if you are wanting to up your squat in particular.

A
Squat 531
DB Bench 3 x 10-15
DB Row 3 x 10

B
Squat 3 x 5-10
Bench 531
Chins 3 x 10

C
Squat 3 x 5-10
Press 531
Dead 531

…the only “max effort” movements are the 531 lifts.

…these workouts, if you just do the bare minimum, are short and very easy to recover from. As long as you did the C workout before a non-BJJ day, you wouldn’t have any issues.

The 2 day per week plan is also great =]

Another 2 day a week variation is this template:

Day1:
Squat: 5/3/1.
Bench: 5/3/1.

  • assistance. ( I do DB rows and back raises on day 1 as assistance )

Day2:
OHP: 5/3/1.
Deadlift: 5/3/1.

  • assistance. ( I do chins and sit ups on day 2 as assistance )

The advantage of this 2 day a week variation is that you progress faster in weight and
you get to practice the main lifts every week as opposed to the other variation where you
go trough a wave in 2 weeks.

Just an idea.

Thanks again for all of the input. I think I will go with the variation florelius posted, it seems close to what I am doing already while allowing more overall recovery. I don’t squat or bench enough yet that they would need a dedicated day for them just yet, and I like the idea of them progressing at a closer rate to linear compared to splitting the main lifts over 2 weeks. I will probably incorporate some combination of DB rows, back raises, chins, and dips into the assistance.

Still no deload, right?

Squat and Bench day tomorrow!

You can offcourse keep the deload if you want to, but its up to you.

Ps. If you add Dips I would also add a third upperbody pulling movement to keep the push-pull ratio
balanced. This could be anything from a additional row variation, facepulls, rear raises etc. Just get
enough volum in for you lats,traps, rear delts to counter balance all the pressing.

Good luck on your road to awesomness :slight_smile:

I just did the Deadlift/Press workout and ended up missing my last 3 deadlift reps. My deadlifts were supposed to be: 5 × 125, 5 × 155, 3 × 190, 5 × 205, 5 × 235, 5+x265

By the time I got to the final work set I was pretty burnt out and the 3rd rep just didn’t budge from the floor, I tried resetting twice and failed both times.

My thoughts on why I may have failed are either 1) I had hard BJJ sessions the last two days and my back may still be tired from them. or 2) I am not used to this much volume on the deadlift. I used to just do warmups to a 5RM attempt each weeks. This program has me pulling fives ramping up to the final set, whereas before I would pull 2’s when getting close to my work set.

Any thoughts on this? Should I just continue to week 2 of the program or reset using a lower weight?

  • Did you calculate the program using 90% of your tested max?

  • What is your eating like; physical stats and calories?

  • Making required reps should be easy in the first few cycles; obviously there is a problem here.

Yes, I used the online calculator at blackironbeast which automatically takes the 90%. My reps for squat earlier this week and military press were pretty easy, and I got 7 reps on both of them.

I weigh about 178 depending on hydration and what I ate, at 5’11 with probably 12% bodyfat (some abs visible when flexed). I have been around this weight for a few weeks, as I am not trying to gain any more weight due to upcoming tournament where I will need to weigh in at 175. I eat around 3500 calories on an average day if I had to guess, but I do not count calories. Either way I am not losing weight and I eat 30-50grams of lean protein with every meal and before and after workouts.

As I said above, I had very intense BJJ sessions the last 2 days, which is very taxing on the back. My only other thought is that when I pulled using the linear progression I used more like cluster reps rather than a straight touch and go for 5. (detailed here http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_beginner/time_between_deadlift_reps)

Should I use a lower number to calculate off of since I cannot technically do 295x5 without resting between reps?

Any thoughts? I was definitely surprised and a bit upset that the bar just wouldn’t break the floor with the 265 when I pulled 30 more pounds a week ago without killing myself.

How long are you waiting between your “cluster reps?” Touch and go can actually be easier than setting it down completely. If you’re standing up and waiting 30 seconds, that’s a different story.

I usually take about 5 big breaths, while standing up and then resetting. I had a big thread about it http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_beginner/time_between_deadlift_reps and most seemed to agree it was fine. It may not be fine to use that figure to calculate my 5/3/1 numbers. That is what I am trying to figure out - is it too much weight, more volume than I am used to, or was I not sufficiently recovered.

Any thoughts appreciated

[quote]Prodigul wrote:
Yes, I used the online calculator at blackironbeast which automatically takes the 90%. My reps for squat earlier this week and military press were pretty easy, and I got 7 reps on both of them.

I weigh about 178 depending on hydration and what I ate, at 5’11 with probably 12% bodyfat (some abs visible when flexed). I have been around this weight for a few weeks, as I am not trying to gain any more weight due to upcoming tournament where I will need to weigh in at 175. I eat around 3500 calories on an average day if I had to guess, but I do not count calories. Either way I am not losing weight and I eat 30-50grams of lean protein with every meal and before and after workouts.

As I said above, I had very intense BJJ sessions the last 2 days, which is very taxing on the back. My only other thought is that when I pulled using the linear progression I used more like cluster reps rather than a straight touch and go for 5. (detailed here http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_beginner/time_between_deadlift_reps)

Should I use a lower number to calculate off of since I cannot technically do 295x5 without resting between reps?

Any thoughts? I was definitely surprised and a bit upset that the bar just wouldn’t break the floor with the 265 when I pulled 30 more pounds a week ago without killing myself. [/quote]

Yeah, after reading that perhaps you were simply fatigued from BJJ training. Lower back fatigue is fairly unhelpful when pulling…

Perhaps do only required reps for deadlift, as it can be pretty taxing and obviously fighting is your priority?

As for the manner in which you perform your deadlift, personally I stand up, take a quick breath and reset grip between each pull; maybe 3 seconds to 7 max in sets over 400lb.

If you have changed the way you deadlift, perhaps this is the cause of the problem.

I’d see how you go next week, and report back if you have any issues. Don’t go dropping your training max just yet - at least see out the cycle.

Oh and if you feel deadlifting is definitely going to damage your training for the upcoming tournament, I’d drop it entirely until afterwards. Priorities are key! Can’t always win every battle at once.
Could do speed pulls or cleans instead.

EDIT:

If your deadlifting this cycle continues to be poor, then I’d consider re-setting your max for the next cycle.

My personal case:

-Started 2012 on a max of around 180kgs.
-A couple of cycles into 5/3/1, I failed a pull at 170kgs… it was depressing and confusing.
-Reset my max, dropping it by 10% or so and worked hard on my form.
-Pulled 227.5kg in October, and aiming for 240kgs by December.

So yeah, I wouldn’t stress too much about it man.

[quote]Prodigul wrote:
I usually take about 5 big breaths, while standing up and then resetting. I had a big thread about it http://tnation.T-Nation.com/free_online_forum/sports_body_training_performance_bodybuilding_beginner/time_between_deadlift_reps and most seemed to agree it was fine. It may not be fine to use that figure to calculate my 5/3/1 numbers. That is what I am trying to figure out - is it too much weight, more volume than I am used to, or was I not sufficiently recovered.

Any thoughts appreciated[/quote]

It is fine - but doing the reps without resting about twenty seconds between them means you can move WAY less weight. There is no miracle involved here.

The simplest thing would be too lower the tm by 10%.

Thanks guys. I am just going to lower the max a bit and restart on the 5 rep day next week, ensuring I get proper rest the day before. I had reset my squats a while ago and it was a great decision, as my form improved a lot. I think my deadlift form is good but I know it isn’t ideal to have to rest so long between reps.

Either way I will probably taper down going into the competition as I train more, and then reevaluate when I am done - they don’t give medals for a 300lb deadlift.