531 Progression Log

I recently read Jim Wendlers 531 book and it just made so much sense that I figured instead of chopping and changing what im doing week in week out and making no real progress why not give a tried and tested method a go, set some realistic goals and put a realistic time line on these goals and hopefully reach them.

My current best lifts are
Squat 160k (HTC)
Deadlift 220k
Bench Press 120k
Military Press (No Idea)

These are my absolute best lifts I’ve ever achieved in the weight room but I would say they are not realistic true rep maxes because I achieved the 160k squat after adopting John Broz’s squat everyday method. Yes it worked I went from a 120k 1rm to a 160k 1rm in 12 weeks but this was squatting twice a day every day not exactly sustainable if you have a full time job and your out at sea 6 months a year.

Any how after not squatting twice a day everyday I attempted 130k and was crushed so although this method is brilliant and undoubtedly works if ya don’t keep it up your goals soon diminish. Ive deadlifted 220k from the floor a handful of times but every time I was wearing straps and my back was arched over like Quazimodos so obviously that isn’t good. As for Bench Press 120k most 16 year olds would laugh at this!!!

Time to get serious make a plan stick to it and achieve my goals!
I worked out from this my training maxes that I was going to use for the Programme
Squat 120k - 10% 107.5k
Bench Press 120k - 10% 107.5k
Sumo Deadlift 200k - 10% 180k
Military Press 70k - 10% 62.5k

Then I was so excited I programmed my full training for the next 12 months making the necessary increases for each lift and the Goals I have set myself for August 2014 are
Military Press 95k
Squat 175k
Bench Press 140k
Deadlift 230k

Hopefully I will achieve these goals in the given time frame!
Height 1.82m
Weight 87k
Body Fat 10-15%

8/8/13 531 Cycle 1
Bench Press
70k 5, 80k 5, 92.5k 9

B1 Thick DB Rows
55lbs 10,10,10,10,10

B2 Thick Bar Bench Press
50k 10,10
60k 10,10,10

Decided to employ The Boring But Big Method to kick things off these were done in superset format resting 90secs between each set

9/8/13 Cycle 1 Sumo Deadlift
105k 5, 122.5k 5, 137.5k 11

B1 Thick Grip Sumos
80k 8,8,8
Regular Clean Grip
80k 8

B2 Barbell Front Split Squat
20k 8,8,8,8

Burpees 10
Split Lunge Jumps 10
Squats 10
Squat Jumps 10

Haven’t really got the hang of this log yet, I’ve posted all my previous workouts and dated them but they haven’t appeared. Think I know how to do it now but rather than go through and post them all again I’m just going to begin from here.

9/9/13 Sumo Deadlift Cycle 2
127.5k 5, 142.5k 3, 160k 6

Felt fairly good here grip is going to be a factor though as I used double over hand for the first 3 reps of my last set switched to mixed grip but it just doesn’t feel right for the Sumo stance so I switched back to double overhand for the last 2 reps. Not a bad lift I guess, last cycle I did 5 reps at 155k so its heading in the right direction.

Followed this up with the EDT principle for Clean grip deadlifts and body weight back lunges

B1 Clean Grip Deadlifts
80k 5 reps 14 sets 70 total reps

B2 Bodyweight Back Lunges
5 rep per leg 14 sets 70 total reps

This was a freaky burn lower back and come to think of it the whole of my back was screaming and my thighs and glutes were pumped interesting to see how the doms feel tomorrow. Sweat was dripping immensely from everywhere my vest was saturated. This took about 40 minutes and I wanted to try out a new way to do lying leg curls so I gave that a go didn’t record any weights or reps it was just a tester and it worked very well so will implement it properly next time. Coming to the end of my 2nd cycle of 531 and cant really see a fault in the programming long may it continue. :slight_smile:

10/9/13 Bench Press Cycle 2
82.5k 5, 92.5k 3, 105k 5

Fairly pleased with this result as I haven’t Benched for 4 week due to there not being a bench press station on the ship which I was working on, heavy dumbbell work and military pressing ensured I didn’t lose any strength here. Form felt solid considered going for a true 1rm but its still early days ill just keep it on the back burner for now.

B1 Bent Over Rows
60k 5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5

B2 Bench Press
60k 5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5,5

Followed my bench up with bent over rows and bench press done in the Escalating Density format. Tough work obviously but felt as if I could have gone on for another 5-10 minutes so will look to increase the weight next time. However having said that I took 5 minutes rest and planned on doing semi supinated chins and dips on a 4010 tempo I managed 5 chins and 6 dips and was completely blazed so I called it a day there! Really enjoying this EDT the doms I’m experiencing from yesterdays Deadlift Back lunge combo is incredible good job I have a lift in my apartment block!!!

17/9/13 Standing Military Press
50k 5, 57.5k 3 62.5k 6

Well first time I’ve been to the gym since last Tuesday as Wednesday was a scheduled day off and Thursday was the beginning of a 3 day bender which at the time felt like a great idea but its taken me until Tuesday evening to recover. However the 531 programme is set up in such a way that your not using maximal weight although you are trying to max out with reps its not 100% intensity. With this in mind not to much of a bad performance in the standing military press probably would have been double figures for the reps but I’m not an athlete I’m still a young man and I live in tropical country and you need to let your hair down from time to time!!!

Assistance work went with the EDT style once again Neutral Grip narrow chins and dips

Chins 4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4,4
Total reps 40

Dips 7,7,7,7,7,7,7,7,7,7
total reps 70

Way down on last weeks performance and it took me all my grit and determination I could muster not to quit after 5 minutes here because I was fucked!!! I managed 69 chins and 114 dips last time around but its to be expected with the weekend I’ve had. Positives to take something is better than nothing. Onto Squats tomorrow :slight_smile:

18/9/13 Squat
85k 5, 95k 3, 110k 2

Got my plates mixed up a little here was supposed to go for 105k on the final set. This felt tough was a real grind of a session. Still its in the bank now onto the next one.

Escalating Density
Front Squat 1+1/4
60k 2,2,2,2,2

60k 5,5,5,5,5

Poor performance for my assistance Escalating Density Training felt knackered had no energy and gave up after 6 minutes. Disappointing workout will strive to put it right next time round!

23/09/13 Bench Press 531 Cycle 3
72.5k 5, 82.5k 5, 95k 7

Well its been 5 days since I last went to the gym Thailand has really got me in a headlock at the moment but I’m sure this phase will pass. Had a lot of alcohol since my last Bench session and not a lot of protein or nutrients of any form for that matter. 95k felt like a real grind for 7 reps and considering I managed 105k for 5reps last time around its quite a considerable drop. Its come as no surprise too much partying and making improvements in the gym don’t go hand in hand.

Assistance Exercises EDT
B1 Bench Press 60k 5 reps
24 sets 120 total reps

B2 Bent Over Barbell Row 60k 5 reps
24 sets 120 total reps

This was a turn up for the books managed 24 sets in 20 minutes where last time I only managed 16. I did have a training partner today though my friend who is also following 531 was on the bench next to me and we were working simultaneously pushing each other when we were getting tired. Training with a partner makes all the difference looking forward to my doms tomorrow :slight_smile:

24/9/13 Squat 513 Cycle 3
77.5k 5, 87.5k 5, 100k 7

This was a grind. After my second rep I felt like stopping but thought no sucked it up got my head right concentrated on breathing maintaining my form and managed a respectable 7 reps fairly happy with that.

Assistance work
EDT 20 mins

B1 Back Squat 60k 5 reps
12 sets 5 reps 60 total reps

B2 RDL 60k 5 reps
12 sets 5 reps 60 total reps

This was definitely a test of character was blowing after the first 5 minutes. For some reason I have extreme doms in my erector spinae lower back region probably because of the bent over rows from yesterday so my back was spasm-ing which made it extremely tough and after 8sets my quads in particular VMO were fried. I was really concentrating on maintain tension throughout the set on my squats so my quads had no respite what so ever. It made for a fantastic pump and already walking is becoming a pretty big problem :slight_smile:

25/9/13 Standing Military Press 531
42.5k 5, 50k 5, 57.5k 9

Felt strong here but I had extreme doms all over my back and I feel this was the limiting factor.

Assistance work EDT
Neutral Grip Chins
55 total reps

Wide Dips
100 total reps

Still down on my best performances but I find these 2 exercises harder than underhand medium grip chins and slightly narrower dips.

27/9/13 Sumo Deadlift 531
112.5k 5, 130k 5, 147.5k 8

Grip is becoming a problem for this stance usually when my grip goes is starting to go I adopt the mixed grip but it doesn’t feel right at all during this stance. What I tend to do is pause and reset but if I used wraps I know id do more reps but as Big Jim said your grip will soon catch up.

Assistance work
Regular Clean Grip Deadlifts
100k 5,5,5,5,5

Had a dental appointment and was running late so did 5 quick fire sets with my training partner just to get a sweat on.

3/10/13 Bench Press 531 Cycle 3
77.5k 3, 90k 3, 100k 3

Didn’t have a spotter and didn’t feel too strong im not calling it a stall because of the amount of partying ive been doing… No more partying now until Christmas so plenty of time to make progress. Ill keep plugging away and the numbers will continue going up.

Assistance work B-Pak Principles

Wide Grip Chins 4010 tempo rest 60s

NOS set no tempo

Wide 5 reps
Underhand Medium 4 reps
Neutral Grip 3 reps

Incline Bench Press 4010 rest 60s
40k 8, 50k 8

NOS set 4010
60k 6, 50k 5, 40k 3, 30k 3

Bent Over Rows 4010
40k 4, 20k 7

Dips 4010

This Assistance work was all based upon Ben Pakulski’s principles from MI40. If you don’t know who he is I suggest you go and look him up he knows little techniques to make every exercise more difficult and how to recruit maximum motor units. The bent over rows were incredible Ive done them with 120k before but using 40k or even just the bar felt incredible looking forward to the doms tomorrow.

4/10/13 Back Squat 531 Cycle 3
82.5k 3, 95k 3, 107.5k 3

Felt very tough like close to maximum effort Im working off a training max of 120k 107.5k for 3 falls short of this so might be time to start again as far as back squats are concerned. Back Squats are the bane of my existence I find them extremely difficult!

Assistance Work B-Pak
Squat 4010
60k 8,8

60k 8, 50k 5, 40k 4, 30k 3

RDL Toes on Plates
30k 8, 40k 8 50k 6

Called it a day there because my full back was in agony from yesterdays workout standing with your toes on small plates for RDL’s is a completely new ball game really feel your whole posterior chain being isolated even at those very light weights. Look forward to doing them again when my back isn’t screaming from DOMS. Squats were a decent pump especially in my VMO no rest between reps 4 second negative 1 second positive upto 95% lockout straight into the next rep muscles were under constant tension. Happy with my assistance work just my 531 that’s letting the side down :frowning:

7/10/13 Standing Military Press 531 Cycle 3 Morning Workout
47.5k 3, 55k 3, 60k 8

Was a little disappointed at first and even considered recalculating my training max and starting again as I said im going to with Squats but no the taret reps asked for 3 I managed 8 so that’s not to bad and as for Squats they asked for 3 and I did 3 so until I cant match the reps I wont recalculate.

Assistance Work

Escalating Density Training

Narrow Grip Neutral Chin Ups
56 total reps

Wide Grip Dips
101 total reps

Wow this was hard felt dizzy at the end thought id performed poorly but I actually managed 1 more rep on each exercise than I did last week so that’s progress I guess. Im definitely of the opinion that narrow grip chins are more difficult than medium under hand chins and wide grip dips are certainly harder than narrower dips.

Evening Workout
B-Pak Style Shoulders

Seated Dumbell Press 4010 rest 60s
20lbs 8, 25lbs 8,8, 40lbs 8

NOS Set 4010
40lbs 8, 30lbs 4, 25lbs 3, 20lbs 3

Seated Side Lateral Raises 4010 rest 10s
6k 8, 5k 8, 4k 6, 3k 6

Bent Over Rear Lateral Raise 4010 rest 60s
4k 8, 5k 8, 6k 8, 7k 8

NOS Set 4010
20lbs 8, 7k 6, 6k 5, 5k 5

Incline Bench Dumbell Front Raises 4010
5k 8, 4k 8,8,8

Standing Rope Face Pulls 4010
20 8, 25 8, 30 8

NOS Set 4010
35 8, 30 5, 25 3, 20 3

Decided that because of the poor months training Ive had that im going to do double sessions between now and going back to work to try and make amends in some way. I know it may lead to over training but I’ve done my research and as long as I keep both workouts short it shouldn’t be too much of a problem in the short term. As it happens both workouts were done and dusted in about 40 minutes which I think is fairly good. These Ben Pakulski principles I implemented in my evening workout were humbling to say the list but my shoulders have never felt so pumped :slight_smile: could really feel them working and burning through the exercises. It will be interesting to see how they are feeling in the morning because in all my years of training I’ve never managed to get any direct doms into my shoulder girdle. The weights I was using here were ridiculously light guys in the gym were looking at me as if I was a pussy but I was sweating buckets and really feeling the burn. If you lighten the load concentrate on contracting the muscles you actually want to work and use a controlled tempo it makes an enormous difference to the exercise. Happy with the days work!

10/8/13 Sumo Deadlift 531 cycle 3
120k 3, 140k 3, 155k 7

Not a bad effort here used double overhand grip throughout and didn’t seem to falter. I was resetting slightly after each rep though but I don’t see that as a problem. Felt I could have performed a few more reps but I had begin to jerk the weight off the ground as oppose to lifting it in a nice fluid motion so I called it quits there and then.

Assistance Work B-Pak

Lying Leg Curls 4010
1:8, 2:8, 3:8

NOS Set 4010
4:8, 3:6, 2:4, 1:4

Romanian Deadlift Toes on Plates 4010
30k 8, 40k 8, 50k 8

NOS Set 4010
60k 8, 50k 6

Stopped the exercise here because it was my lower back that was giving out when the intention was for my hamstring to suffer the brunt of the exercise.

Seated Leg Curl 4010
50lbs 8, 70lbs 8, 90lbs 8

Not a fan of this exercise seems to cause a lot of stress on my knees maybe the machine in the gym is a poor version also the 20lb plate increment seems excessive the difference between 70 and 90 felt huge.

Standing Calf Raises
80lbs 10,10,10

I have never committed to training my calves, I have probably only trained them a handful of times and the last time I did I did way too much to soon and the result was hobbling about for about 10 days… Not good. I’m going to attempt to train them regularly from now on starting with very low volume and gradually increasing as I become used to it. I only did 3 sets here but I know for a fact they’ll be hurting like id done 10+ tomorrow. Didn’t manage to get my double session in today because I had a few errands to run.