T Nation

5/3/1, So Simple, It Just Might Work


Training Log, 5/3/1 - Month One, actually started on October 11/2010

Former Powerlifting PBs:
Military Press - 205 lbs
Deadlift - 515 lbs (suited), 440 (raw)
Bench - 347.5 lbs (shirted), 305 (raw)
Squat - 475 lbs (suited), 405 (raw)

Eight months of working in a construction camp, two hours from downtown NoWhere(tm) and one month of reintro to the world of regular gym attendance has resulted in working weights of:

Military - 185, Dead - 425, Bench - 280, Squat - 370

Stay tuned for workout reports!


Monday, Oct 11/2010 - Month One, Day One, Deadlifts

I like Deadlifts, so this is where I start...

Warmup - stationary bike and stretching

135 x 12
225 x 10
280 x 5
320 x 5
365 x 5
225 x 12 drop set

Assistance Work
Pull ups, 28 reps
One arm DB Rows, 105 x 8
One arm DB Overhead Presses, 85 x 8

Seemed to just flow, lots of power and energy. Might be the novelty factor of a new program, or the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend giving me extra go!

When I returned home, I realized I forgot to hit some ab work... I do that sometimes, so I hit the floor for some crunches. Not the best, but it's something!


Tuesday, Oct 12/2010 - Month One, Day Two, Bench

As a tall lifter (6'4), bench can be a challenge... actually, challenge isn't a strong enough word!

Warmup - stationary bike and stretching

MT bar x 15
145 x 12
185 x 5
210 x 5
240 x 7
175 x 10 drop set

Assistance Work
Inclne DB Press, 85 x 10
Overhead Tri Press, 85 x 12
Cable Flyes, 35 x 12, just for fun!

I manage about 12 to 15 total sets of assistance work... but since the man says not to focus too much on the assistance work, I don't. The benches seemed pretty smooth. The last set was stopped at partial failure... that is, when the form gets wonky. No further...


Thursday, Oct 14/2010 - Month One, Day Three, Squats

Everyone loves squat night! The pain, the anguish... the feral growling...

Warmup - stationary bike and stretching

145 x 15
245 x 5
280 x 5
315 x 5

All reps performed in an ATG manner. No drop set this time around. Felt a bit of a grabby sort of twinge in the right hamstring/adductor. Nothing serious, no real pull or tear, but definitely a warning!

Assistance Work
Reverse Hypers, 5 sets of 12, even without weight, this one gets the heart to hammer!
Legpress, worked up to 540 lbs for sets of 12 to 15, light headed and euphoric
Hanging Leg Raises, 2 x 15, the gym was very busy, folks kept getting in the way
Ab Rollouts, from knees 3 x 12, using a 75 lb parallel curl bar

I like squat/leg workouts much better when they are over!


Friday, Oct 15/2010 - Month One, Day Four, Military Press

Military Press is an exercise I don't focus on too much. Which is too bad, cuz as far as old school strong man type training, there's nothing more real than pushing big weights overhead!

Warmup - stationary bike and foam rolling, pretty stiff after yesterday's Squats

MT bar x 15
125 x 5
140 x 5
160 x 10

Might have under-estimated my military press... everything felt really easy! So I got all excited and just kept going. Then again, my shoulders were pretty sore the next morning... so I'll stick with it

Assistance Work
Incline DB press, Dips, TBar Rows and DB Tricep Extensions... about 15 sets for 10 to 15 reps with as much weight as I could handle. Might be why my shoulders were so tight and sore the next morning!

And that's week one of 5/3/1 in the bag!


thats a cool ohp dude. have you found anything to be super beneficial for it? im finding 5/3/1 + BBB good for now


Impressive lifts man! I'll be following to see how it progresses.


Monday, Oct 17/2010 - Month One, Day Five, Deadlifts

I still like Deadlifts...

Warmup - stationary bike, stretching and a little foam rolling, probably not enough!

145 x 12
225 x 10
300 x 3
340 x 3
385 x 4 - pretty happy with that!
225 x 12 drop set

Assistance Work
Leg Curls, 5 sets 12-15 reps, I really don't enjoy machine work
Lunges, 3 sets with just the MT bar... found a weak point! I will be doing more unilateral work after this wake up call!
One arm DB Overhead press, couple of sets just for fun after the poor Lunge performance
Leg Raises, 3 x 15
Sit-ups, 3 x 15, pretty gased by the end of this!

Not to beat a dead horse... but the 5/3/1 program is just what I was looking for. Simple, straight forward program with good focus. Notice, I said simple, not easy!

caveman101: Thanks for the props! OHP is good gut-check type movement. Things I've found to help progression? Always stand. Never do 'neck' press movements... pinches my nerves. Don't use a belt, focus on trunk stabilizers. Add some single arm presses to find/fix any balance problems. Hope that helps.

Racer377: Putting my training log out in the open is new idea for me. Figure it'll help keep me focused... And knowing there's folks checking in is real help, thanks!

I read some other logs of 5/3/1 experiences to get me started... maybe I'll serve the same purpose for someone else


yeah i always stand (never got the hang of seated), cool man


Wednesday, Oct 19/2010 - Month One, Day Six, Bench

Pretty fatigued today. Real Life (tm) getting in the way of my fun

Warmup - stationary bike and stretching

MT bar x 15
135 x 12
200 x 5
225 x 5
255 x 3
185 x 10 drop set

I barely managed my last triple. I started out great, threw in a few extra reps and was totally gased for the rest of my training. There's a lesson in there somewhere...

Assistance Work
Dips, 2 x 12
Inclne DB Press, 3 x 10, 75 lbs
DB Rows, 3 x 12, 90 lbs
Pulldowns, 3 x 12, 170 lbs

Well, sometimes you get the bear and sometimes the bear gets you. And sometimes the bear takes a dump in your shoes...


Thursday, Oct 21/2010 - Month One, Day Seven, Squats

Everyone loves squat night!

Warmup - stationary bike, stretching and foam rolling... AKA how to make a powerlifter cry!

145 x 15
205 x 8
260 x 3
300 x 3
335 x 6 - this was really in the groove, power was just flowing!
225 x 10 - drop set

After my piss-poor performance on the bench for my last workout, I was looking for a little redemption... I'm satisfied with what I got!

Assistance Work
Reverse Hypers, 5 sets of 12, I'm really starting to hate this movement... likely means I really need it!
Legpress, worked up to 630 lbs, again with the light headed/euphoria. Always cool!
Hanging Leg Raises, 3 x 15, had a hard time feeling this one for some reason
Sit-ups, 3 x 15, yup, old school as it gets, good feeling here

This was just a great workout. Good energy, lots of power. Now, if I could find a way to bottle the good workout feeling... I'd be rich!


Day 8 - Military Press

Had to blow this one off... too much Real Life(tm) getting in the way of my fun


Sunnday, Oct 24/2010 - Month One, Day Nine, Deadlifts

Deadlifts... for max effort!

Warmup - stationary bike and stretching. I forgot to foam roll, too excited to get to pulling!

145 x 12
225 x 8
320 x 5
365 x 3
405 x 4 - really smooth and powerful, really happy!
225 x 12 drop set

Assistance Work
Machine Hack Squat, 5 sets 12 reps, 225 lbs
Leg Curls, 5 sets 12-15 reps
Leg Raises, 3 x 15
Sit-ups, 3 x 15

Very happy with the 5/3/1 program, so far. The progression is nice and smooth and I only have a couple more max effort sessions before deload week... And then, I'm really looking to amp things up next month. I just gotta remember to control my enthusiasm!


Wednesday, Oct 26/2010 - Month One, Day Ten, Bench

Benching for Max Effort...

Warmup - stationary bike and stretching, probably not enough stretching... the GF was calling me out on this. She was right.

135 x 15
185 x 8
210 x 5
240 x 3
270 x 1
225 x 10 drop set

Well... I managed the goals, just. My training partner wouldn't let me go for extra reps after the single. Seems my tail was coming off the bench on both the triple and the single. I could have managed another rep or two, but the form was broken. He was right... dammit, I hate admitting that!

Assistance Work
Pull-ups, 6 x 5, my form goes all "crossfit kip ups" after 5 reps... gotta work on this one, dropping some extra chunkage would help!
Bent BB Rows, 3 x 12, 185 lbs
Inclne DB Press, 12,10,10,8,6 70-85 lbs
Tricep Press-downs, 3 x 20
DB Tricep Press, 3 x 15

Still pretty happy with the whole concept of this training program. Looking forward to see how things stack up when I increase the target weights next month.


Thursday, Oct 28/2010 - Month One, Day Eleven, Squats

Everyone loves squat night! Especially when it's max effort time...

Warmup - stationary bike and foam rolling... Had to rush this a bit, my training partner was waiting...

145 x 15
225 x 8
280 x 5
315 x 3
355 x 1.5 - I say 1.5 cuz the first rep was fine, I cut the depth by about an inch on the second and did I ever pay for that! Total grind rep... I got it, but it still doesn't count!
225 x 10 - drop set

Good journeyman workout... I hit my goals and powered through.

Assistance Work
Reverse Hypers, 3 sets of 15, Yup, still hate this movement... which is exactly why I do it! Feeling a little dizzy so I cut it to only 3 sets
Legpress, worked up to 630 lbs, Always cool to shove around lotsa plates
Hanging Leg Raises, 3 x 15
Sit-ups, 3 x 15, still with the old school

A satisfying workout, nothing fantastic... just grind out the goals and keep my head on straight. Really interested to see what happens next month


Friday, Oct 29/2010 - Month One, Day Twelve, Military Press

Gotta catch up on my postings... Hallowe'en and stuff got in the way. I still hit my workouts, I just didn't post them!

Warmup - stationary bike, stretches and foam rolling. It's true, to properly roll out the quads and hamstrings, you really do look like "a monkey humping a football", but it works!

MT bar x 15
105 x 8
145 x 5
165 x 3
190 x 4

Okay... it's official, I really underestimated this one! I was supposed to got for 180 as my max rep. 190 was well within my grasp.

Assistance Work
Wide Grip Chins, Incline DB press, BD Rows and DB Tricep Extensions... about 15 sets for 10 to 15 reps with as much weight as I could handle. Felt like a very easy workout, even at the end of a long week on the jobsite.

And that's the end of the heavy week, now onto de-load!


Sunday, Oct 31/2010 - Month One, Day Thirteen, Deadlifts - Deload

Wanna try something scary for Hallowe'en? How about Day 13/Deadlifts/Deload, all on Hallowe'en!

Warmup - stationary bike and foam rolling... very scary!

145 x 15
170 x 5
215 x 5
255 x 19!

Wow... the pretty colours!

Assistance Work
Chins, 30 reps spread over 4 sets
Standing Single DB Presses, 4 sets a side, maxed at 8 reps with 80 lbs
BB Rows, 4 x 15, 135 lbs
Crunches, 5 x 25, old school
Alternating DB Curles... couple of sets, I was waiting for the GF to finish her workout!

That was... interesting. I don't think I've ever deadlifted anything for 19 reps, so that must be a PB! Wasn't sure what to expect from a de-load week... but, this was pretty cool! You know, once I picked myself up of the floor...


Tuesday, Nov 2/2010 - Month One, Day Forteen, Bench

Deload Benching

Warmup - stationary bike and stretching...

MT bar x 15
115 x 5
140 x 5
170 x 25!
135 x 12 drop set

Assistance Work
Inclne DB Press, 5 x 12, 65 lbs, total pump
BB Rows, 5 x 12, 135
DB Tricep Press, 5 x 15, pyramid up to 85 lbs

That was... different! I know I have never benched anything for 25 reps, so that'd be PB. Very weird feeling to say the least! Felt like far too light for work sets and it was over in no time at all. The set of 25? That was very... weird. By 15, I felt nothing. In fact, it took focus just to maintain form and not toss the weight around. By about 21 or 22, I could no longer feel my forearms! I ground out the last few and when I stood up I could literally feel the blood rush back into by limbs... Not to belabor a point but, weird.


Thursday, Nov 4/2010 - Month One, Day Fifteen, Squats

Everyone loves squat night! But what about deload protocols?

Warmup - stationary bike and foam rolling... It amazes me how much sweat foam rolling causes

MT bar x 15
150 x 5
185 x 5
225 x 16
135 x 12 - drop set

Again with the weirdness at higher reps... By rep 12 or 13 my form was getting a little loose, firing the hips and then heaving up the weight. At rep 16, I still had lotsa of go, but the form was gone!

Assistance Work
Reverse Hypers, 3 x 15, Still hate this movement... not quite as dizzy as I have been
Good Mornings, MT bar, 3 x 12
Lunges, MT bar up to 95 lbs, 5 x 10, starting to get the feel for this
Hanging Leg Raises, 3 x 15
Crunches, 100 reps, very old school, but nice

Okay, I'm starting to see the effect of the de-load protocol... serious pump and serious soreness the next morning. At least, I hope that's the effect I should expect!


Friday, Nov 5/2010 - Month One, Day Sixteen, Military Press

The final deload workout, severely underestimated Military Press. Not a movement I usually do... one that will be a permanent part of my routine

Warmup - stationary bike, stretches and foam rolling... Another thing that is a permanent part of my routine, foam rolling. Hurts like an SOB, makes you sweatt, but really improved next day mobility and recovery!

MT bar x 15
75 x 10 - this was weird, normally this would a DB in each hand!
95 x 5
115 x 16

Again with strangeness of deload week. The weight is easy, the reps just sort of flow... that is until all the blood drains out of my arms!

Assistance Work
Pull ups - various hand positions 40 reps total,
Incline DB press 5 x 12, 65 lbs
Bent BB Rows 5 x 10, worked up to 185 lbs
Crunches and leg raises, while I waited for the GF to finish her workout

And that's the end of de-load! I get it, I need it... I'll do it. But I just don't have to enjoy it! Nothing sexy about the actual work outs. Who likes light weights that hurt?

But... the GF says she likes it just fine! Something about the mass, the power and the pump...