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Average Joe to...


After messing around with various weights and conditiong regimes over the last X number of years, none of which I stuck to for very long and all of which came with poor nutrition habits, very little accountablility and not much determination, I stumbled across Wendler's 5/3/1 earlier this year, and after some initial experimentation, am running a Frankenstein program of Stronglifts and 5/3/1, to address my weaknesses while doing the things I enjoy. I train 5 days a week.

My current stats:

Age: 26
Height: 187 cm (being from the UK, all my numbers are going to be metric)
Weight: 91 kg
Waist: 34-35"

Squat: 107.5kg
Front Squat: 95kg
Power Clean: 85kg
Deadlift: 135kg
Bench: 72.5kg
OH Press: 50kg
Row: 85kg
Pullups: 8 unbroken

(none of the 1RMs have been tested recently, so could be completely wrong)

My goals are simple right now: size and strength. Hopefully this program, along with decent nutrition and proper tracking, will allow me to achieve that.

If anyone has any questions/comments/crticisms, fire away, other than that I'll be posting up every training day and seeing how it goes.


5/11/14 - Squat and Bench

Squat (5x5):

Bench (5/3/1 - cycle 6, week 1):
45x12, 8, 10

30 pullups


6/11/14 - Deadlift

Deadlift (5/3/1):
87.5x15, 12, 15, 8

Ab rollouts:

Weighted glute bridges:
20x15, 15

Deadlifts felt good, started using a belt a couple of months ago, makes a world of difference for ME sets. Ab rollouts tough as hell, need some serious work!

3753 kcal, 255 C, 206 F, 209 P.


7/11/14 - Squat and Press

Squat (5x5):

Press (5x5)

Pullups (varying grip):
6, 6, 6, 6, 4

Kroc Rows:
36x16, 10

Tough session, a couple of grinder reps in the squats, and OH Press as ever continues to beat me down. Enjoyed it though, and amde all the reps, so can’t complain.


3,741 kcal, 249 C, 172 F, 224 P


8/11/14 & 9/11/14

No training to speak of, a short walk both days was pretty much the extent of it.

Nutrition a bit all over the place too. Defnitely made my macros on Saturday (bulletproof coffee, eggs and potatoes in the morning, hot dogs in the afternoon, and a midnight McDonalds session), but they were not clean and I definitely felt the effects on Sunday. Sunday was a small breakfast, a huge roast dinner and then some roasted pork belly slices later in the day, with some tortillas and salsa in the middle, so not ideal either. Weekends are always a big downfall for me, and are without a doubt the biggest reason why my bf % is not where it should be. Big improvements needed.

Back on form today though.

10/11/14 - Squat and Press



Pullups (varying grip):
8, 6, 5, 5, 6

20kg x10, 8

Felt the squatting in my lower back today, really seemed to take a lot out of me. No failed reps again though, so a solid session overall.

3,580 kcal, 186 C, 206 F, 242 P


11/11/14 - Pull

AM weight: 92.0 kg

Power Cleans (triples):
60, 70, 75, 80 (2.5kg PR)

Pendlay Rows:

Pullups (varying grip):
6, 4, 5, 5

Power cleans have been in and out of my training over the last few months, but I feel as though the program is a bit light on heavy pulling, so I’ll keep them in for now and see how it goes. Previous PR for a triple was 77.5, and 80 went up pretty well today. My max single is 85, and I think the limitation is as much technique as it is strength, as I feel I possibly could have pulled 85 for a triple.

At some point I want to get a bit more into Olympic lifting (I did a bit during my time at Crossfit) so most of my pulls are with a clean-width hook grip. My thumbs are taking a beating but it’s good practice. I was pleased with the rows, last week I worked up to 85kg, but this week did all 5 sets at that weight.

I’m noticing a trend with my nutrition that fat intake is pretty high, and carb intake fairly low. This seems to have happened quite naturally, so I will monitor the scales over the next couple of weeks to see if an adjustment is needed.


Uncle Bird is in.



[quote]theBird wrote:
Uncle Bird is in.


Good to have you on board, although this does now mean I’m accountable to someone other than myself!

Just read through your log as well, like the look of the new routine you’ve got, love the 5/3/1 methodology.


12/11/14 - Squat and Bench

Bench Press (5/3/1 BBB):
42.5x13, 17, 10, 8, 2

Missed my AM gym session due to waking up late, so had to do a make do session in my garage in the evening. Haven’t trained in the evening for a long time, and after sitting in an office all day, and then sitting on a train, I took a while to warm up and the max set on bench was definitely below par. It was supposed to be 67.5, but I only actually have 65kg worth of weights (including the bar). Ebay visit is necessary I think! Didn’t squat in the end because it was getting late and I needed to eat…Domino’s.


13/11/14 - Deadlift

Deadlift (5/3/1 BBB):
132.5x10 (Rep PR)
87.5x12, 12, 13, 13

Ab Rollouts:

A surprising session this morning, I started to feel my lower back in the first working set, but really concentrated on form and breathing technique and pulled a 2 rep PR on my final set, which I was really pleased with. That gives me an estimated 1RM of 177kg, which I think in reality is quite a way off!
As far as the BBB sets go, I use 60% of my TM and just try to get to 50 reps in as few sets as possible, sometimes this will backfire and it will take me 6 or 7, but today was 4, which was decent.
Ab rollouts continue to be ridiculously difficult, I find the hardest part is not letting my lower back collapse as I get towards full extension. More work needed!


14/11/14 - Squat and Press

Warmup (50x5, 60x5, 70x3, 82.5x2, 92.5x2)

Pullups (varying grip):
7, 6, 4

Warmup (20x5, 25x5, 30x3, 35x3)
42.5x5, 3(+2 push press)

Train was 25 minutes late this morning, so had to cut my training short. Squat was ok, no failed reps but lower back feeling it so finding it difficult to remain solid.
Press was almost a write-off really, failed after 3 reps of the second set and had pretty much run out of time anyway, so ended it there. As the weights get heavier, I’m finding that my lower back is just not quite recovering enough, so at the suggestion of LoRez (thanks buddy), I’m making two changes to Friday’s session:

  1. Weights for the squat and press will be maintained from the previous session rather than increased.
  2. I will switch the order around, doing press first, followed by squat.

Weights for squat will therefore increase twice per week, and the press will increase just once a week. I will run this for the next few weeks and see how things feel.


17/11/14 - Squat and Bench

AM weight: 93.3kg

Warmup (bar, 50, 65, 75, 85, 95 for 3-5 reps)

Warmup (30x5, 37.5x5, 45x3)
72.5x3 (+1 spotted)
45x15, 11, 11, 9, 4

Pullups (varying grip):
7, 5, 5, 4

Went to a wedding on Saturday, ate and drank far too much, as a result my weight this morning is up 1.2kg from 6 days ago, hopefully that will level out during the week. It’s a short training week this week, I’m away with work in the latter half, so I will run Wednesday-Friday’s sessions in the first 3 days, in order to complete my latest 5/3/1 cycle.

Squatting went well, the last time I tested 1RMs (which was some time ago) I struggled getting 107.5kg for a single, so 5 solid sets of 5 at 105 is a huge deal for me. Benching was not quite so good, I got a spot for the final ME set, but because I didn’t want to keep the guy hanging around (he didn’t seem too happy at being asked!) I rushed my setup and never felt quite right. Still, it equalled my rep PR for that weight, and next cycle will be a new PR if the gains keep coming.


Nice squatting.

I wouldn’t worry about the extra kg’s from the wedding. Your weight will be back to normal within a week.



18/11/14 - Deadlift Day

Deadlift (5/3/1 Cycle 6, week 3):
Warmup (60x5, 72.5x5, 87.5x3)
140x6 (+5kg PR)
87.5x13, 13, 14, 10

Ab Rollouts:

Weighted glute bridges:

Had been looking forward to this day for a while, my deadlift has been progressing really well, so this was the first session where I was going to hopefully beat my previous 1RM, and for reps. I felt good warming up, and 140kg went up easily, I think another 10-15kg probably could have gone without too much difficulty. I have realised though, that my reps are more touch ‘n’ go than they are fully reset singles, so I will adjust accordingly for the start of the next cycle. As I understand it, this will make it significantly more difficult and I think reps will therefore be quite a bit lower.
Ab rollouts are getting better, I’m slowly extending the ROM each session, so will keep it at 3x5 until I can get fully extended.

Going through a major audit at work at the moment, and hunger is being replaced by nerves. Think I will have to start drinking a litre or so of whole milk every day until it’s over, just to keep the calories and protein up.


24/11/14 - Squat and Press

AM weight: 91.7kg

Squat (5x5):
Warmup (bar, 57.5, 67.5, 77.5, 87.5, 97.5)
107.5x5x5 (Rep PR)

OH Press (5x5):
Warmup (bar, 25, 30)

Pullups (varying grip):
7, 6, 6, 6, 5

50 calf raises on the stairs in work

This week would ordinarily have been a deload week, having finished a 5/3/1 cycle, but I only trained 2 days last week due to work commitments so I took that as my deload and jumped straight back into it today.

Squatting was great, I was given a new set of knee sleeves at the weekend as an early birthday present, so used them for the first time today for my work sets. I have always struggled with my knees, have a couple of issues with them and they are the biggest limiting factor for squatting, together with my lower back, which I have had issues with for about 12 years. The difference was immediate, I felt so much better and more stable, and at no point felt like I was going to fail a rep. Today’s weight used to be my 1RM, which was tested on about March/April, so to do the same weight for 5 solid sets of 5 felt great.

OH Press was ok, I belted up for the last 3 sets, I just really need to push through this barrier with the movement, as my numbers are going to start becoming a bit lopsided otherwise. I’m doing as much band/pre-hab work with them as I can, to keep them healthy and just see where we go.

Weight is back down to normal today, but will keep the kcals coming and hope for a nice steady increase over the next few weeks.



Pendlay Rows:
80 x 5x5


3 way shoulder raises w/ 6kg DBs

Rear Delt Flyes:
6kg x 2x20

Rowing Sprints:
10x250m (r 60s)
Average split/500m: 1:44.6
Average spm: 28

Still trying to figure out how best to use this day, but I think this is the basic template I’ll use for now. With the amount of time I spend in work, I get very little time to do any evening cardio/conditioning work, and given that I have had surgery on both shoulders, albeit several years ago, additional shouler work is probably a good thing. Will push to get the splitime on the rowing below 1:40 over the next few weeks.


26/11/14 - Squat and Bench

Squat (5x5):
Warmup (bar, 60x5, 70x5, 80x3, 90x2, 100x1)
110 x 5x5 (PR)

Bench (5/3/1 Cycle 7, week 1):
Warmup (30x5, 37.5x5, 42.5x3)
65x8 (=Rep PR)
47.5x14, 12, 12, 10, 2

Pullups (varying grip):
6, 5, 5, 4, 5, 5

Squat PR! Very good session, I thoroughly enjoy squatting these days. One or two tough reps, but again, nothing too close to failure. Bench was decent, weight and reps were the same as week 2 of cycle 5, but I think it’s still on an overall upward trend. Assistance was fine, arms were fried for the last couple of sets of pullups.



AM Weight: 91.7 kg

01/12/14: Squat and Press

AM Weight: 92.5 kg

Squat (5x5):
Warmup (bar, 60x5, 72.5x5, 82.5x3, 92.5x2, 102.5x1)
112.5 x 5x5 (PR)

OH Press (5x5):
Warmup (bar, 25x5, 30x5, 35x3, 40x1)
45 x 2, 4, 3, 3, 3

Pullups (varying grip):
5, 8, 6, 5, 4, 2

Another PR squat session, long may that continue. Currently resting 3 minutes between sets, sometimes I feel like it’s too long, but the numbers are still going up, so will keep to that for now.

Press was shocking, last session I made all 5x5 with 42.5kg, but another 2.5kg and suddenly I struggle to make any reps. Pressing again on Friday, so will see how that goes.

Arm strength completely shot by the last 2 sets of pullups.



Power Cleans:
Warmup (high hang, hang positions)
60 x 3
65 x 3
70 x 3
75 x 3
80 x 3

Front Raises:
5kg x 30

Lat Raises:
5kg x 30

5kg x 100

Rowing sprints:
10 x 250m (rest 1:15 b/w sprints)
1:39.0 average/500m

Power cleans fine, will up each set by 2.5kg next time. Lots of raises, particular focus on rear delts as they don’t get hit much with my other work. Sprints were good, I was expecting it to take a month or so to get below 1:40 splits, but it took just two sessions. Will target 1:35 over the next few weeks now. Feels good to do some conditioning, will adjust if it starts to affect my squat sessions though.


03/12/14 - Squat and Bench

Squat (5x5):
bar x 5 sec pause x a few
60 x 5
72.5 x 5
85 x 3
95 x 2
105 x 1
115 x 5x5 (+2.5kg PR)

Bench (5/3/1 Cycle 7, week 2):
30 x 5
40 x 5
47.5 x 3
55 x 3
62 x 3
70 x 6 (+1 rep PR)
47.5 x 15, 10, 10

Another day, another squat PR. Last two sets were tough, I took a video of the last set and will put it up later. I only use belt and knee sleeves for the work sets, and my last warmup is always about 10kg below my working weight.

Bench was good as well, hit a rep PR. This was the same weight as week 3 of cycle 5, so it’s slow progression but I’ll still take it. Had to cut the assistance short and skip pullups as I was running late for work. The squat part of the session seems to be taking longer and longer!