T Nation

5/3/1 -- How I Plan to Use Wendler's System to One Day Destroy Him


#1

I am Sphere Nine. The first eight died.

My goals are to be strong and maybe put some weight on. Right now I'm a kind of scrawny dude, but after a few years of training, my strength puts me in the category of "strong for an average asshole." I weigh about 165 lbs, and my best lifts are as follows (all raw--no belt, wraps, etc.):

Bench: 265 lbs
Squat: 300 lbs ATG (no PR for power squat--I'll keep you posted)
Deadlift: 355 lbs (I've gotten worse at the lift since hitting that, though, which is something I will not stand for)
Press: 170 lbs

As you can see, my pressing strength is way too great compared to that of my lower body, but hopefully that will change.

I recently switched from ATG squats to a powerlifting style, with a wider stance and going down only to parallel (hip crease below patella), as the ATG squats started to make my calves hurt for some reason. I have a pretty weak posterior chain, but hopefully I'll get better at sitting back and staying upright with practice.

I recently decided to give 5/3/1 a shot, as pretty much everybody that has tried it raves about it incessantly. At first, I was hesitant, cuz, y'know, I'm too cool to start with such light weight, but then it dawned on me that that's moronic, so here I am.

I did, however, decide to do the 3/5/1 variation, but I keep forgetting to do the heavy singles. Sue me.

Anyway, without further ado, here's my log:


#2

5/3/11 (a pretty appropriate day to begin):

Press:
(warm-up)
45x5
75x5
95x5
(working)
125x3
135x3
140x6

Sternum chins (staggered with press-95x10x5):
BWx6
BWx5x4

I decided to do the heavier version, using 80%, 85%, and 90% because I'm a badass. This wasn't too difficult, but I decided to do all subsequent workouts with the lighter sets (70%, 80%, 90%) to make more room for progress.


#3

5/5/11:

Squat:
(warmup)
45x5
95x5
135x5
165x3
(working)
190x3
220x3
245x6

Front squat:
135x10x5

I was falling forward pretty bad in the back squat. I really hope I can get my backside nice and strong soon. Also of note, I decided to do front squats for the BBB. They felt great, so I'll probably stick with them.


#4

5/7/11:

Bench:
(impatient warmup)
45x10
135x3
(working)
170x3
195x3
220x7

Close grip bench (staggered with medium-grip pullups-BWx8x5):
135x10x5

Javelin press:
45x10x2

The warmup was completely insufficient. The gym was going to close pretty soon, so I kind of rushed into things. My form didn't feel too tight on the bench sets, but I was also trying some new shit out because Thibs released those bench setup vids. Overall, a pretty good workout.

I also decided to do a variation for my BBB again. I have kind of shitty triceps (I guess), so I thought I'd give CGBP a shot. We'll see if I get anywhere with these.


#5

5/9/11:

Deadlift:
(warmup)
110x5
160x5
(working)
200x3
230x3
260x8

Snatch grip deadlift standing on a 45:
160x10x5

GHR:
BWx8x3 (prisoner position)

Yet again, a variation for BBB. I find I like doing things this way.

The snatch grip deads were pretty heavy for assistance work. My grip and lower back were both in excruciating pain. I thought that 160 was a pretty conservative weight. I'm a moron.

After these, getting just three sets of eight reps on the glute-ham raise required significant effort. Oh well.

I wanted to cry after I finished the workout. I had a huge lower back pump, though, so hopefully this will bring up that very very weak point. I'll just keep working hard to find out.


#6

5/10/11:

My upper back and calves were very sore today. Just trying to keep my shoulders back throughout the day hurt. I kind of like it. Tonite's workout felt great, sore back and all.

Press (all staggered with sternum chins-BWx3):
(warmup)
45x5
65x5
85x3
85x3
(working)
105x5
120x5
135x9

I only expected to get seven or so reps on the final set, but after the first one went up so easy, the rest felt like cake. I think that form work has helped immensely.

Then, BBB.

Press (staggered with Pendlay row-95x10):
95x10x5

I switched the assistance because I used the chins between work sets this time. I just dropped the bar to the ground immediately after completing each set of press, banged out some rows, and power cleaned it back to the rack. I think I'll continue doing this in the future.

Close grip bench:
45x5
105x5
135x5x2
145x5

All CGBP sets at 135 and 145 done with very slow negatives because why the fuck not.

Curls:
45sx8

Curling for about the third time in a year. I don't like this exercise.

Pullups:
BWx5x2

I was very tired at this point and not really feeling pushing myself. All in all, a very good workout. I really like 5/3/1 so far.


#7

5/11/11:

Today should have been a rest day, but I really felt like lifting.

Power snatch:
45x5x3

Squat:
(warmup)
45x10
95x5
135x5
155x5
(working)
180x5
205x5
230x9

Front squat:
135x10x4
135x7

I fell backward on my last set of front squats, which is almost a good thing, considering I usually tend to lean forward a bit too much. I should probably lower the front squat weight to 115, so I'll probably do that during next week's session.


#8

A few decisions I've made:

-Lighter BBB work for the lower body lifts
-Doing more pullups between upper body main lift sets
-Doing Kroc rows
-GMs instead of snatch-grip deads
-More speed moves to start workouts
-Using GHR and RH whenever possible
-Kick more ass in general

Here's what the workouts should look like in the future:

Push press 3x5
Press 5/3/1 with staggered chins
Press 5x10
Javelin press 2x10
Kroc rows 2x20+

Power snatch 4x3
Squat 5/3/1
Front squat 5x10
GHR 4x8
RH 3x20

Bench 5/3/1 with staggered chins
CGBP 5x10
Javelin press 2x10
Kroc rows 2x20+

Power snatch 4x3
Deadlift 5/3/1
GMs 5x10
GHR 4x8
RH 3x20

Any suggestions? Am I a moron? Is anybody even there?


#9

5/13/11:

Great session today. I got more pulling volume in, and it felt fantastic.

Pullups:
BWx5

Bench (staggered with pullups-BWx5x6):
(warmup)
45x10
85x5
125x5
(working)
155x5
180x5
205x10

Close grip bench (staggered with pullups-BWx5x5):
135x5

Javelin press:
45x10x2

Kroc row:
60sx20

I had never done Kroc rows before, and they were a little light, but I'm trying to be smarter (or maybe just more of a wuss) and ease into things. Maybe they don't qualify as a Kroc row yet, but I don't really give a shit.

Next up: deadlift!


#10

5/16/11:

Got back in the gym today after two days off. Meant to go yesterday, but the gym closed earlier than I thought it would.

Power snatch:
45x4

Deadlift:
(warmup)
135x5x2
165x3
(working)
190x5
215x5
245x10

Good mornings:
95x10x5

Squats to deep pins:
95x10x2

Lat pulldown GHR negatives:
BWx3x3

A decent session. Tried using hook grip for deadlift, and it hurt my thumbs like hell. My grip sucks something fierce; hopefully it won't hold me back too long. I'm trying to do towel chinups throughout the day to improve this. It's really sad that my grip gives out at such a light weight.


#11

Also of note: the gym on my campus that has the glute-ham raise and reverse hyper is now closed for the summer. Bummer.


#12

5/17/11:

Power snatch:
45x4

Push press:
45x5

Press (staggered with chins-BWx5x9):
(warmup)
65x5
85x5
105x3
(working)
120x5
135x3
150x3
160x1
165x1
95x10x5 (BBB)

Decline DB triceps extension:
27.5sx10x2

DB row:
65x20

Face pulls:
40x20
50x20

Did singles at 160 and 165. Both felt pretty easy even though I'm venturing pretty close to my PR of 170. I feel pretty confident that I could put up 175 fresh without much of a problem.

I'm really loving pressing these days. The bar speed is great, and I feel really comfortable doing the exercise.


#13

5/19/11:

Power snatch:
45x4x2

Press:
45x5

Squat:
(warmup)
45x10
95x5
135x5
155x4
175x3
190x2
(working)
205x5
230x3
260x3
275x1
285x1
290x1

Front squats to pins:
115x10, 8

Good mornings:
95x10x2

I felt like total dick during the assistance work, so I decided to stop altogether. My hamstrings are still sore from deadlifts, and I worked up to some pretty heavy (for me) singles on the squats, so it's not the end of the world.


#14

5/21/11:

Power snatch:
45x4

Deadlift:
135x3

Bench (staggered with chins-BWx5x9):
(warmup)
45x10
85x5
115x4
155x3
(working)
180x5
205x3
230x2
240x1
250x1

Press:
95x10

DB bench:
60sx10x5

DB row:
70x20

I did paused bench today. Feels pretty good. Apparently 250 flew up like nobody's business, so I could probably hit 265 (my max) paused without much of a problem.

Did DB bench instead of close grip bench. Both are cool.

DB rows felt easier with 70s than they did with 60s. Killer.


#15

5/22/11:

Power snatch:
45x4

Deadlift:
(warmup)
135x3
185x3x2
(working)
215x5
245x3
270x1
285x1
300x1

Good mornings:
95x10x5

Well, my grip sucks dick. My whole deadlift sucks dick. It should come up pretty quickly, then, right? The good mornings felt pretty good today--I think I'm really starting to get the form.

Deload week coming up. Then I get to come back and lift some heavier shit.


#16

Do you use a mix grip?

I've done 1 cycle of presses now but i didn't bother deloading. My upper body can take a lot of volume and frequency, lower body is much different.

btw what happen to the other 8 sphere's lol


#17

I use hook grip, mostly. Mixed grip never felt too natural for me, but I would probably use it for a weight that I knew I needed it for. The other thing is that on heavier weights, I lose the hook, so I end up just lifting double overhand. I just figure that most people can deadlift 300 or so without mixed grip.

As far as the deload, I'm going to probably take the next few days off (I have to do pre-production for an album for the next two days anyway), then do a press/squat day Thursday and a bench/dead day Saturday.

And Sphere Nine is just a Divine Comedy reference.


#18

5/26/11:

Deload week! I took a few days off, so I put press and squat together and plan to put bench and deadlift together tomorrow.

Press:
45x5
65x5
80x5
95x5

Squat:
95x5
110x5
135x5
165x5

A few front squats and chins and that was it.


#19

Just wondering why the extra working sets?? I assume the ones you needed to hit were 5x215, 3x245, and 1x270, then just had some left in the tank and went for more?


#20

I'm doing a variation of 5/3/1 where I switch the first and second weeks (3/5/1) and add extra singles on the first and third weeks. On those weeks, I don't go anywhere near all-out on the top written set. I really like it because I get to do heavy singles without ruining recovery and still get to go for rep records on the second week.

In general news, I was only able to get one workout in during this deload week. I've been incredibly busy. I planned on doing two days (combining press/squat and bench/dead), but it's already been a week since my last non-deload workout, so I'm just going to skip ahead and start the next cycle. I should being going to the gym soon to do some press.