T Nation

5/3/1 Progression


I'm using this as both an accountability method and a reference tool to track my progress.

Close grip bench


I thought I would hit 7 but not to be.

Incline bench



I'd rather do a 30 set pressing workout but I'm trying to move from the "workout driven" to the "strength driven" training philosophy Wendler refers to.

Squat day tomorrow.


This workout was done on 5/1.



These are done with a belt and are 2inches below parallel.

Stiff legged deadlift


Decline situps

3 sets of 15 reps.

Standing military today.


Is this your first cycle?

... not to be a Debbie Downer, but it looks like you may have started too heavy.


This is my fifth cycle of the program but its the first since switching exercises. I'd been using the floor press, front squat, and power clean previously. I'm gonna see how the next 3 weeks go and possibly adjust maxes at that point.


ah great then

how were your results?


Good, steady progress. I started with a 375 floor press max and ended up hitting 395. Front squatted 315X3 and power cleaned 285. I think there are two aspects that make this program effective if you've lifted for a long time. 1. Makes you cut down on the volume. 2. Lays down a very slight yet steady plan for increasing poundages.

I've always tried to add 20 pounds to my bench overnight instead of trying to add 5 pounds at a time with the long term goal of adding 20. How about yourself? What type of program are you using?



Standing military


I kept these ridiculously strict. I even had my knees locked for a few reps to make sure I got 0 leg drive. I felt like garbage though so no rep PR's today.

Upright rows


Cable low rows


Reverse pec dec

2 sets of 15 reps

Box squat Wednesday and close grips on Friday.


wow, very nice. I suspected you were going to state good numbers considering what you do now.

I'm starting my sixth cycle of 5/3/1. I've only been adding 5lbs to both upper and lower lifts.


That's probably pretty smart. It's tough to be patient but it will definitely yield the better long-term result. Good luck with your progress.


This afternoon I will be doing box squats to a parallel box in place of deadlifts for 5/3/1. I still can't mentally get back to heavy deads after the back injury I gave myself back in November. I've eased back into squatting but I haven't deadlifted with more than 405 since November. When I pull these days I pull timidly which equals shitty pulling. Hopefully this pansy-ass-ness will subside soon but until then I'll use the box squats to build up the lower back back and hips.


Yesterday did not go so well. Here's how it went.

Box squat 1/2 inch below parallel

385X5 (this took every muscle fiber in my entire body to complete, last rep was a straight good morning)

Back raise

BWX20 for 3 sets

Decline situps

3 sets of 15

Hammer curls


Pretty safe to say I overestimated my current box squatting ability. There will definitely be some adjustments made on the next rotation. I had planned on doing close grips Friday but I'm fairly angry about yesterday's performance so I might bump it up to today instead. Piss poor.



Close grip bench press

365X1 (dumb)
315X5 (dumber)

Incline bench press

245X6 (dumbness realized)

Pull ups


The 330X5 didn't feel too bad so I threw common sense out the door and did a few more stupid sets and then proceeded to pay for it on the inclines.

Sled dragging tomorrow.



Sled drag in tall grass

2 trips with 2 plates

6 trips with 3 plates

2 trips with 2 plates

The place I do sled work has several different grass heights to choose from. They are as follows:

short grass: 4 plates feels like 4 plates

medium grass: 4 plates feels like 5 plates

tall grass: 4 plates feels like 47 plates

I was wanting a high level of self punishment today so i went with the tall grass.


Accessory Day

Lat pulldowns


Hammer strength row

3 sets of 8

Tbar chest supported row

worked up to 2 sets of 5

Standing calf raise

4 sets of 8


The initial plan was to squat today. This did not go down as expected. As soon as I got up, I bent over to put on my pants and felt something in my back pull. I sat back up to try and assess the seriousness. Turns out it was pretty jacked up. I've been in this situation too many times so I really don't get that worried about it anymore. All I do is adjust the training some until things feel better. Decided to jump ahead and do my 3rd week of 5/3/1 close grips since standing military presses would not have been an option. I figured I could pull this off since it had been 72 hours since last time.

Close grip bench


Incline bench


Cambered bar bench

225X6 pause reps
225X6 pause reps

Black band pull aparts supersetted with face pulls

2 supersets.

I had a tough time keeping an arch on the bench but by the last set I felt pretty loose.

Off day tomorrow.


do you walk, jog, or some of everything?


This happens to me as well. Not too often but even that's too much. I 'think' it may be from an imbalance or not stretching enough. It's like my hamstrings pull on my lower back. Sometimes I'm noticeably crooked when it's really bad. Anyway, that's for me.


I always walk with the sled. I take long strides and try to explode out of every step to activate glutes, hamstrings, etc. Its amazing that the heartrate still jumps up so quickly even though you're not running or even jogging.

Man I feel your pain. It's gotta be a flexibility issue. That or just a re-occurring injury that never really heals. Maybe I should hit a yoga class or something.


I really notice it after deadlifts when my lower back is really tight. It goes away after about a week of limping, stretching, and icing. Actually I 'reinjured' it a couple weeks ago doing walking lunges to near failure -> so more hamstring and lower back tightness.

That's good to know about the sled dragging. I have a tire I pull as well and always feel like I'm cheating by not running. I'll try the long strides/lunging while dragging.


Hack squat

1 plate per side X 8
2 plates per side X 8
added knee wraps
3 plates per side X 10
4 plates per side X 8
4 plates + 25 lbs per side X 6

Standing military press


Upright rows


Decline situps w/25 lb plate

3 sets of 12

Low cable row

2 sets of 15 with 200 lbs.

Still too scared to squat with my puny back so I did the hacks to get some leg work in. I was okay with the reps on the military presses considering this workout was done at 6:45 a.m. Training that early in the morning has never been enjoyable for me. I've tried it off and on for years and never have actually felt good at any point in the process. I'm pretty sure a science book somewhere would tell you that the central nervous system just isn't prepared to train heavy whent its still dark outside. Sometimes the schedule necessitates either training in the morning or not at all. Then the decision makes itself.