T Nation

Alec's Can-I-Still-Call-It-5/3/1? Log


I've modified the triumvirate 5/3/1 program as written up in the T-Nation article so that it only contains 2 gym days instead of 4. Last week I tested my maxes, and got a 380 Deadlift, a 135 Military Press, a 315 Squat and a 205 Bench Press. I'll be focusing more on the upper body lifts, both on account of the workout days adjustment (MP and BP will be the first exercises for the two days) and by adding a back-off set after my final 5/3/1 set at the second working set's weight. Here's my first workout:

8/3: MP/DL, Wave 1 Week 1
1. Military Press: 80x5, 95x5, 105x10, 95x7
(Warmups: 50x5, 65x5, 75x3)
~2 minutes between working sets
2. Deadlift: 220x5, 255x5, 290x8
(Warmups: 135x5, 170x5, 205x3)
3 minutes between working sets
3a. Dips x8,8,6@BW
3b. Chinups x6,3,3@BW
30 seconds between each set, 1 minute between supersets
4a. Good Morning: 3x6@185
4b. Hanging Knee Raise 3x8@BW
(First set was Leg Raises x6, but form was awful)
30 seconds between each set
5. Barbell Curl Drop Set: x3@80,75,70,65,60,55,50.
Barbell Curl x7@45
Time: ~58 minutes

It's going to be a while before I can work up to 5 sets on all the accessory work, but I'm ok with that. That last deadlift felt almost as tough as my max deadlift last week :confused:

That's all for now; comments and criticisms welcome, I spose.


I am doing the 3 day version of the program. It will be interesting to follow someone doing the 2 day version. Good luck this will be fun to follow.


Thanks for stopping by, Apostate.

8/4: Conditioning - Kettlebell Circuit, 2 Rounds
2KB Clean and Push Press x7
2KB Bent-Over Row x8
Windmill x5 (each side)
2KB Front Squat x5
Hand-to-Hand Swing x24
30 seconds between exercises
My Kettlebells are 24kg.
Round 1 at 2:30pm, Round 2 at 12:30am - busy day :confused:


8/5: Conditioning - Crossfit Workout
(Warmups - Dive Bomber Pushups on Knees, Samson Stretch, Cossack Stretch
400m jog w/10lb Medicine Ball)
250m Sprint with 10lb Medicine Ball
40sec rest
6x Tabata 12" Box Jumps (20sec on, 10sec off is 1 rep)
6x Tabata Bottom-to-Bottom Squats (First two sets as rx'd, then resting at the top)
(20sec on, 10sec off is 1 rep)
1 minute rest
250m Sprint with 20lb Medicine Ball
Score: (Tabata Reps (125) - Sprint 1 Time (:31) - Sprint 2 Time (:34)) = 60

I'll try not to be too upset if I can't squat big tomorrow.


8/6: BP/SQ, Wave 1 Week 1
1. Bench Press: 75x5, 95x5, 115x3, 125x5, 140x5, 160x11, 145x10
3 minutes between working sets
2. Squat: 115x5, 140x5, 170x3, 185x5, 215x5, 240x12
3 minutes between working sets
3a. Dumbbell Bench Press - x10,10,7@65
30 seconds rest
3b. Dumbbell Bent-Over Row - 3x10 (l,r)@65
1 minute rest
4a. Leg Press - 3x8@10 Plates
4b. Glute Ham Raise - 3x8@BW
~30 seconds between each set
Time: ~1hr

Going to try to control my majoring in minors issues by keeping the same sets and reps on assistance work for this cycle - except for chins and dips, those can go up if they want to :stuck_out_tongue:

I'm surprised I got so many squats today, but I'll take it.


Friday I took off - I was going to get some foam rolling in, but I didn't :confused:

8/8: Crossfit Workout - Team Workout for time (done in Teams of 2):
Row 1000 Meters, Resting person must hold medicine ball overhead (500m each)
80 Box Jumps, Resting person must hold medicine ball overhead (40 Jumps each)
Run 400 Meters Together with Medicine Ball (200m with ball, 200m without)
80 Swinging Medicine Ball Walking Lunges (40 Lunges each)
Run 400 Meters Together with Medicine Ball (walked 200m without, ran 200m without)
40 Burpees, Resting person must hold medicine ball overhead (15 Burpees, couldn't hold the ball)

I didn't make it through the whole workout because I set a personal best on the rower at the beginning - 500 meters in 1:28.4. The Box Jumps were on an 18 inch box, which was quite easy except the one time when I didn't jump high enough and tore open my shin; I kept going after that, though, and I made it through the first run and the lunges before I died... I walked the first half of the second run couldn't even hold the medicine ball overhead (it was 14lbs) when it wasn't my turn to do burpees. Anyway, on account of all that when I got home I did this:

Penalty Work, done in 5 sets:
5 Hill Sprints
45 Burpees

I ran up my backyard, which is probably a 60 degree slope, and tried to rest as little as I could - took about 12 minutes. Time for another day off :stuck_out_tongue:


There IS a two day version in the book. Might be worth checking out.

When I've been pressed for time, I combined MP and SQ, then BP and DL. Really not sure if it makes a difference though. Your accessory lifts look good. Personally, I would try to find a way to do some of the work at home or on other days. Such as pull-ups, curls, db rows at home.


Thanks for looking it over - I'm getting the book as soon as I get a job, but until then I can only sort of afford to go to the gym, even :confused: I'm going to stick with this setup for this cycle and probably make some significant changes at that point, but I'm hoping to use my progress as a means of judging how to balance the two days a bit better, and I'll need a bit more time to have something for myself to look over. That makes sense I hope... :confused:

Here's today's circuits, as promised:
Kettlebell Circuit 1 - 2 Rounds (1 at 7:30pm, 1 at 9:00pm):
Double-KB clean and military press, 6 reps
Alternating renegade row, 6 reps (each side)
Turkish get-up, 3 reps (each side)
One-arm front squat, 8 reps (each side)
One-arm KB swing, 15 reps (each side)
30 seconds between exercises
I thought about going for three rounds, but after not feeling up to doing two in a row I decided to be conservative in the progression :confused:

Edit: I did the third one after all, about ten minutes ago. Good decision, I think - we'll see tomorrow :stuck_out_tongue:


Well you've "scraped" together a nice routine. I don't have a ton of time to spend at the gym, but if I did I would be doing something very similar ... for assistance that is.


Thanks man - I'm already seeing that some parts are better than others :confused:

8/11: MP/DL, Cycle 1 Wave 2
1. Military Press: (50x5, 65x5, 75x3), 90x3, 100x3, 115x10, 105x8
3 minutes between working sets
2. Deadlift: (135x5, 170x5, 205x3), 240x3, 275x3, 310x8
3 minutes between working sets
3a. Dips x10,10,7@BW
3b. Chins 4,4,3@BW
1 minute rest between exercises
4a. Good Morning x6@205; 2x6@135 (Form was bad with 205)
4b. Hanging Leg Raise 3x4@BW (Much more difficult - raised to ~90 degrees)
~45 second rest between exercises
5. Barbell Curl Drop Set x5@85,75,65,55; x10@45

Very pleased with my sets this time :slight_smile: I need to get a lot more chinup reps somehow, though.


8/12: Crossfit Workout
Superset for time:
Jump Rope x80,60,40,20
Pushups x40,30,20,10
Time: 11:30

I'm pleased to have actually survived one of these, but I'm still a ways away from doing a workout as prescribed - this one had a 50 set and double unders instead of regular jumps if done to specs.


Took yesterday off entirely - felt good. Chest was still sore from the pushups, but it didn't seem to make that much of a difference.

8/14: BP/SQ, Cycle 1 Wave 2
1. Bench Press: (75x5, 95x5, 115x3), 130x3, 150x3, 170x9, 155x7
3 minutes rest before last two sets
2. Squat: (115x5, 140x5, 170x3), 200x3, 225x3, 255x8
3 minutes rest before last set
3a. Dumbbell Bench Press - 3x10@65
3b. Dumbbell Bent-Over Row - 3x10 (l,r)@65
3c. Leg Press - 3x8@10 Plates
3d. Glute Ham Raise - 3x8@BW
~2 minutes between giant sets
Time: ~45 minutes

I only had an hour to workout when I got to the gym, so I streamlined my workout a little - I only rested as long as I needed to to change plates on the main lifts until the all out sets, and I did the assistance work as a giant set. The latter approach may be worth doing again, actually - I think I did more work in less time that way, so I'll try it again on Monday. A good day, all in all.


8/15: Crossfit Workout - Team workout for time:
Plank Hold for 60 seconds
800m run
40 squatting medicine ball throw (10lb ball)
250m sprint, second half backwards
1 wheelbarrow walk
40 medicine ball situps (10lb ball)
400m run
Time: 14:52

Glad to finish, much less finish in a timely fashion :slightly_smiling:


Pussed out today :frowning: The gym was closed when I got there, and my head's been killing me all day so the kettlebells didn't look that exciting :confused:

I'll just have to make for it at the end of week, I spose - doing kettlebells and gym stuff tomorrow is probably not a good idea.


Ended up mixing things up again today - I got a free week pass to a Gold's Gym in the area so I'll be splitting up my 5/3/1 days and take advantage. Here's today:

  1. Military Press: (50x5, 65x5, 75x3), 95x5, 105x3, 120x8, 110x5
    3 minutes between working sets
    2a. Chinups x5,5,5,3@BW
    2b. Dips - x8,8,8,6@BW
    1 minute between supersets
  2. Bicep Curl x2 (huge cheat)@95,85;
    x4(moderate cheat)@75,65
    x6(somewhat strict)@55,45

I think the curls were actually overkill - if I'd done 5 sets of the assistance work I wouldn't have been able to curl anything anyway :confused:


This is shaping up to be a great week to have right before a deload, oh my brothers. Today's work:

  1. Deadlift: (135x5, 170x5, 205x3), 255x5, 290x3, 325x10
    3 minutes between working sets
    2a. Good Morning - 4x8@135
    2b. Hanging Leg Raise - x4,3,2@BW
    Very happy with my deadlifts today - still can't get a handle on proper good morning form, though.. :confused:

Three hours later, I did this:

Crossfit Workout: 15 minute Cindy
As many rounds as possible of:
5 pullups, 10 pushups, 15 bodyweight squats
8 rounds, 5 pullups, 10 pushups
(first 20 pullups were strict chins, last 25 were negative only)


Still pussing out on the Kettlebell stuff this week - yesterday I was so sore in my chest and back from cindy I didn't feel up to it, and today... well, today I should have done it I think :frowning:

Here's today's training:
Bench Press, Cycle 1 Wave 3
1. Bench Press: (75x5, 95x5, 115x3), 140x5, 160x3, 180x8, 165x8
3 minutes between working sets
2a. Dumbbell Bench Press - 4x8@65
2b. Dumbbell Bent-Over Row - 4x8 (l,r)@65
1 minute between supersets


Today's work:

Crossfit Workout - Bodyweight Fight Gone Bad
3 Rounds for 1 minute each of:
Rowing (Calories), Box Jumps (24" box), Pushups, Situps, Pullups (Strict Chinups);
1 minute between rounds
Total Reps: 231 (95 + 80 + 56)

Squat, Cycle 1 Wave 3
1. Squat: (115x5, 140x5, 170x3), 215x5, 240x3, 270x9
3 minutes between working sets
2a. Leg Press - 2x5@6 Plates,8 Plates; 4x8@10 Plates
2b. Leg Curl - 2x5@80,100; 3x5@120; 1x5@80.
1 minute between supersets


Composition Check today:
212.6 lbs
23.2% BF (Tanita Scale)

Flexed Bicep: 16"
Chest: 42"
Upper Abs: 37"
Waist: 38"
Hips: 39.5"
Thigh: 25"
Calf: 17"

I'm trying not to obsess, so I won't do this again for a month. I figure if I keep upping my conditioning and my weights, maybe I can improve without being unable to focus on anything else. I've taken some before pictures, but I don't think I'll put them up :confused: I've seen them, and that's good enough for me.


Finally fit this in:

8/23: Kettlebell Circuit 2 - 3 Rounds:
Double-KB clean and push press, 7 reps
Double-KB bent-over row, 8 reps
One-arm windmill, 5 reps (each side)
Double-KB front squat, 5 reps
Hand-to-hand KB swing, 24 alternating reps
45 seconds between exercises, 120 seconds between sets
Time: ~25 minutes

My first deload starts tomorrow. I'll be keeping my conditioning work but staying out of the gym, I think - this is a good time to work up to two kettlebell circuits a week, methinks.