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Biggest Bang, Lowest Buck Exercises

Hey everyone. I’ve been running 5/3/1 for close to a year, and I’ve been battling some pretty damning health issues for a while now. What I’ve found is that I can’t accumulate too much volume, lest I run myself into the ground. Recovery is horrible, as would be expected from someone who can’t digest their food.

With that being said, my goal is to reduce the amount of stress I’m putting on my body while still getting strong as possible as I heal from severe amebic colitis. I’ve thought about approaching this in a variety of ways. Here are three I’ve been considering:

  1. Drop 5 x 5 FSL work on all lifts, supplement lower body days with sled drags and ab work instead of barbell supplementary/assistance work.

  2. Keep 5 x 5 FSL work on all lifts, drop all lower body barbell assistance work (for example: replacing good mornings with sled drags)

  3. Keep 5 x 5 FSL work + assistance work for all lifts and add sled drags to lower body days. But, each cycle would be done in the course of 2 months rather than one (so, I’d be training 2x/week instead of 4x/week).

Currently, I’m running 5/3/1 with 5 x 5 FSL (along with Jokers when I feel up to it) and two assistance exercises (in the range of 50-100 reps) per session.

For upper body days, my assistance exercises are chin-ups, band tricep extensions, and push-ups. No more than two of these three exercises are done within the same session. I’ll frequently push these into the 75-100 rep range. I’m not concerned that these are too taxing, because 1.) it’s not heavy work and 2.) they’re comparatively easier to recover from than my lower-body assistance work.

For lower-body days, my assistance exercises are ab wheel rollouts, good mornings, and Dimel Deadlifts. No more than two of these three exercises are done within the same session. I currently keep the range on these exercises from 25-50 reps, because it does sometimes take me longer than 3 days to recover from the work done in a session.

Any help you guys could offer me here is really very much appreciated. I lost 5 pounds in the last two days (currently going through a bit of a flare).

Why not just cut assistance in half? If you are under recovering due to digestive issues your best bet would be to lower total volume to the point where you can recover. Maybe switch to truimlative or something else. Point being if you’re doing too much volume then back it off.

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Maybe the 2x2x2 program would be helpful here

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Option 1 seems to be the most intelligent of the three.

Why not pyramid back down on your main work, as in Beyond?


65% x 5
75% x 5
85% x 5+
75% x 5
65% x 5

That’s a bit of extra volume but still a lot less than 5x5 FSL or widowmakers

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Option 1.

There is also the Jack Shit template where you only do the main lift. You could start over with that and slowly add volume back in until you reach the tipping point.

It is also good for those pressed for time or who need a break. You certainly won’t get weaker doing just it for a while.

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Hey guys. Thank you all for your replies. They’re greatly appreciated. They make a lot of sense, and they’re definitely something I’ll incorporate into my training.

Do one of the templates from the first book where you deload every 4th week. Deadlifts day just do minimum reps or one over.

The last 1 or 2 workouts before you deload do a massive volume of assistance and conditioning work. This will really build your work capacity over time/will become tolerant of much more volume.

Look up a bunch of TC Luoma’s recent articles on gut health also

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I’ve found very little about this dude when I google him. Is he “legit?” I generally like his articles but am just wondering who he is, you know? Obviously a big part of T-Nation but I just don’t know much else about him.

As far as i’m aware he’s still basically Executive director/Editor in chief of this site

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I think he founded the original site (T-Muscle).

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