5/3/1 For Kayak Racing

Ok Jim may bring down a host of plagues upon my house or just simply hope I get some nasty VD for trying adaptation, but I’m trying to stay sport specific within 5/3/1. I’ve done really basic 5/3/1 during off-season before and definitely saw positive strength results. I race kayak and outrigger canoe so I do want to stay sport specific(ish) however. (perhaps this disqualifies me from 5/3/1 except in off-season training.)

I’ve arrived at some variation of 5/3/1 with cleans and assistance exercises. Any input? Am I that doofus you say to them, “YNOTP!”? Thanks in advance

I am scheduling as three times a week but in reality that wont be easy as I paddle 2-3 times min - 6 or 7 times max per week depending on macrocycle, holidays, etc. I typically average 4-5 water sessions per week.

Part of my challenge is how/where to fit in cleans (I prefer squat cleans so am thinking on the Tuesday lift - these are a very important exercise imo for sport specific canoe/kayak)

Squat Clean 531
Dumbbell Press 5 x 10
Dumbbell Row 5 x 10
GHR 4 x 15
Incline abs

Squat 40% x 10, 50% x 10, 60% x 10 (or maybe 50/60/70 since no primary back squat?)
Dumbbell Press 531
Chin ups 5 x 10
Dips 5 x 10
Russian Ts

Press 531
Deadlift 531
Hanging Leg Raise 5 x 10
Chin ups 5 x 10
Good Mornings 5 x 10

Sorry if this is a hashed over topic in 531 variations etc but I am trying to straddle both 531 and sport specific training and also find my inner old man strength. TYIA!


What does your canoe/outrigger/whatever training look like and what does your coach have to say about room for additional work?

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Hi Strongmangoals - he encourages Strength training of my choice. Farmer Strength as we call it. He agrees with 2-3 times of gym lifting per week. The exercises should relate to paddling strength needs, ie no need for curls, etc.
He really lets us chose a lot of our off water routine. I run it by him then he asks questions like how do you think this supports your current on water training.
Its still off-season right now but OC1 racing will start just shortly after the new year and run through May.
Training on water right now is a mostly LSD (Long slow distance) and technique work but also we work in varying intensity pieces that are actually somewhat similar to 531.

Only if adding or maintaining strength is detrimental to your sport…which I doubt.

I think this is the biggest factor you need to consider. There is no point in planning a lifting schedule you either won’t be able to complete or recover from. One thing to remember is that when in season for a sport is not necessarily the best time to build strength. It is still possible, albeit at a slower pace.

Make sure your training compliments your goals in relation to your sport, not detracts from them.

With regards to the actual program I think its pretty solid. With the Squat Cleans instead of a PR set I might just work up to the top weight and if I was on 5’s week and I was going for a PR of 10 I might just break that into sets of 2 or 3 to avoid technical break downs. But its not a huge deal.

It looks like your kind of running a full body template so maybe, if you haven’t already, look up some 531 Full Body setups and see if one suits you a bit better. They could give you a bit more bang for your buck if you are going to be limited in your training time.

If you stick with your current program and are iffy on making it 3 days a week just do it 2 days a week. However if you switch to 2 days a week there could be better options.

Regardless of all of the above, I think what you have is good. If you can follow it without recovery or consistency issues your probably good to go.

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This topic has been addressed by me ad nauseum; sport specific training is a gimmick.

I do not recommend swallowing the fat load of shit someone is feeding you. Strength training for sport is GPP. Unless you have an unusually high/tapped out level of GPP AND have decades of experience training specifically for your sport, you are better served thinking GENERAL rather than specific.

Your training must coincide with your skill work - again, something I’ve said dozens of times. It’s horribly simple and really, all you have to use is common sense.

Figure out how much you drain during your skill work, figure out how much you have left for training and figure out how to refill the cup; that is all you have to do.


Thanks Jim!

Roger that. Get on the program rather than YNOTP! Also KISS!

I have been paddling for 10 years and at a very high level in my region and relatively solid level globally but yes also this is a sport I chose to do I am middle-aged (old for an athlete) and am not paid to play as some are.

Drain from training depends on Macrocyle of course but I understand. Typically at week 6-7 of a macrocycle I am drained grumpy and ready for the downswing/recovery phase.
Right now is LSD and technical work but we also ensure we do at least 2 80+% 6-6.5K nonstop paddles per week.
An example would be Mon/Wed morning - 10-12 K moderate intensity/technical work, evening 80-90% 6-7K
Friday morning 10-12 K moderate intensity/technical work
Saturday 15-20K+ moderate but with short burst pieces
Sundays LSD paddles encouraged when able to schedule in.
This will change of course with each macrocycle. Anyway apologies for diving down that rabbit hole since its not about 531

Again thanks for the input on GPP. Some times common sense is simply learning to see the forrest for the trees so to speak. :slight_smile: