T Nation

Burien Top Team's Mat Return

Current Training: Mat Return: 2x/week full body + TBD Day ahead of my return to jiu-jitsu in August (6.7 - present)

Recent Training

  • Spring Training / All-Star Break: Chest/back hypertrophy emphasis in push/pull split (3.29 - 6.4)
  • The Winter Swoler: Shoulder hypertrophy emphasis in hybrid full body split (1.25 - 3.19)
  • Arms of Autumn: Arm hypertrophy emphasis in anterior/posterior split (9.21 - 1.23)
  • Mad Midsummer Metcon: Crossfit style workouts (8.3 - 9.19)
  • Physique Unleashed 1.0: High rep Gironda style daily giant sets (6.1 - 7.24)
  • DC by DB 1.0: DC training with dumbbells, bands, and Power Tower (3.23 - 5.22)
  • HUBL:Heavy Upper/Bodybuild Lower 1.0: CT’s HP Mass + Compound Strength Circuits + Pull Day (1.6 - 3.13)


Update 3.18.20

The global pandemic has closed both my jiu-jitsu academy and my neighborhood gym. S&C goals for now - under these circumstances - are to focus on keeping weight <155 lbs, improving conditioning, and, if I’m lucky, a little shoulder/arm hypertrophy.

Update 3.7.20

Jiu-jitsu season is getting going, so shifting emphasis toward strength over size from now through September. Split adjustment is below. Periodizing based on rest periods (90, 60, 30 seconds, volume deload, increase weight)

Press / Row circuit
Delts assistance

Deadlift / Chin circuit
Biceps assistance

Squat / Dips circuit
Triceps assistance

Update 1.20.20

Beginning my planned post-Berlin (mid-Feb) program early. Focus is upper body pressing strength. Secondary is upper body hypertrophy. Running a combination of CT’s HP Mass for the press component, Gironda compound supersets for the pull component, and a pair of strength circuits (deadlifts/weighted chins and squats/weighted dips) to maintain lower body strength and hit upper body pressing/pulling muscles 2x/week. Split is:

Mon: Push
Wed: Deadlift + Chins
Fri: Squats + Dips / Pull

BJJ Tue and Thu
Cardio Sun/Tue/Thu/Sat

Update 12.18.19

December 2019-January 2020 Programming

Training 2x/week. Based on Waterbury’s 10x3 for Fat Loss program.

“Duck Season”
Ten Triples of:
Weighted Chins
Weighted Dips
Leg Press
Ab Cable Crunch (3 sets of 12-15)

“Rabbit Season”
Ten Triples of:
Back Squats
Chest Supported Row
Standing Overhead Press
Hanging Leg Raise (3 sets of 12-15)

Starting with about 67%-68% of my old TMs and looking to work up to 75% by early February. If I reach my weight loss goals, I’ll switch to a hybrid program HUBL DOGG (heavy upper bodybuild lower w/Dogg Crap protocols)

Update 11.25.19
Shiny Thing(s) Alert!

Update: 11.22.19

My return to strength training has arrived! Starting on Monday I’ll be doing a hybrid Beyond 5/3/1 + 5/3/1 Rest Pause Challenge program, with a Thibaudeau-inspired adjustment that reduces the weight percentages by eight or so in the Big Four, and increases the reps by three. For my accessory work, I’ll use the Rest Pause Challenge approach, with a target on the higher end of the rep ranges.

In my first year of serious weight training I focused on strength and rep ranges of five and under. I came within shouting distance of 2-3-4 plates (I did reach a 1 plate OHP). In my second year, I switched to a more bodybuilding focus, increasing frequency and rep ranges, which I think helped me maintain some muscle during a dieting phase.

Ahead of my third year, I want to try and take the best from both experiences, do shorter more intense workouts, and set myself up to smash some strength benchmarks by this time in 2020.

1RM Maxes as of 12/2018 at BW 145
OHP: 140
Bench: 220
Squat: 305
Deadlift: 355
PL Total: 880
Wilks: 314

Update: 11.3.19

Beginning High Volume Low Frequency Training this week. Will be training full body twice a week, and doing jiu-jitsu twice a week, and conditioning twice a week (2x2x2).

The full body work will use the set, rep, and progression scheme from CT’s Best Damn High Volume Workout for Natties program that I finished in September and had great success with. The only difference is I’ll be training 2x/week instead of three times, and distribute the workouts as:

Week 1: Heavy/Light
Week 2: Medium/Heavy
Week 3: Light/Medium

And so on. “Heavy” “Light” and “Medium” refer to CNS stress, not weight or RPE. I’ll run two cycles (12 sessions with sets of 4, increase weight, 12 sessions with sets of 5) now through the end of January (to account for a week off for holiday travel in December).

The goal with this program is to maintain lean muscle mass while losing about 10 pounds (6-7% weight loss) to get to 140 by year’s end. My transformation goals for 2020 are all about gaining muscle mass, so I’d like to start the year as lean as possible.

I’m also going to be focusing much more on diet and recovery over the next two months. Cutting back on alcohol (to reduce calories and improve insulin resistance) and a mandatory miniumum of eight hours of sleep are at the top of each respective to do list.

I’ll be following the basic principles behind CT’s Best Damn Diet for Natties/Primer 52, as well, with high calorie/high protein/low fat/high carb bodybuilding days (Mon/Wed), low calorie/high protein conditioning days (Tue/Thu), and a slight deficit the rest of the week. Looking for a daily average of about 1250 net calores a day to get where I want by year’s end.

Update 6.10.19

Began CT’s Best Damn High Volume Training for Natties program this afternoon. Missed am cardio, but everything else (workout and Best Damn Diet) on point. Running this for the 12 weeks between the end of the 2019 Transformation and the August Check in.

Update 6.3.19

With the 2019 Transformation in the books, now is the time to gear up for the second half of hypertrophy season (June-Aug), including the early August Transformation 2019 Check-in.

Gained size on arms, chest, and shoulders after Transformation 2019. Lost size around waist (good) and thighs (bad).

Goal is to reach the Golden Ratio in terms of body comp/proportion. Mostly that means adding a lot of size to my arms, as well as a bit more mass overall. All while keeping the waistline below 32". I’ll be using a 3x/week full body routine for the next 12-odd weeks, and may add in extra arm work since they are still my most lagging body part.

Update: 2.27.19

Two months into the T-ransformation Challenge for 2019. Last year I trained 5/3/1 and its variants exclusively and came within shouting distance of my 1-2-3-4 plate strength goals in the Big Four. Great strength gains on those programs.

This year, after starting with six weeks of the 5/3/1 Rest Pause Challenge, I’m going for hypertrophy. Started Thibaudeau’s Semi-Official “20 Pounds of Hollywood Muscle” Program in mid-February and will continue with that until early May.

I really want to spend the year getting the body I want composition-wise (bigger upper body and arms, smaller waist) and then return to making that body stronger in 2020.

(Original intro - Dec 2017)

Midway through my plan to make #50thenew30, I’m looking to accelerate the process by joining the T-Nation Transformation 2018 Challenge.

My goal is to have a body that can keep up with the 20-something and 30-something guys I train with in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. So both strength and conditioning are important. In 2018, I’ll be doing a version of 5/3/1 twice a week, BJJ training 2-3x a week, and a supplemental conditioning/recovery session (LSD-based) once a week (especially if I don’t get a third BJJ session in).

Here’s the hunk of marble I’ll be hammering away at over the next six months. Stats-wise, I’m 50 1/2 years old. 153.8 lbs in this picture. 5’ 6". I’ll add specific training, diet, and supplement protocols in another post.

You’re already looking pretty good for 50! Cant wait to see where your physique takes off to. Welcome man.

Thanks! Like a lot of folks, I’ll probably be leaning out to start with. But I’m looking forward to seeing what “doing things the right way” does for me!

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Played around with BodyWhat to get some more “before” stats for me to work from.
Bodyfat estimate: 16.8%
BMI: 24.5
LBM: 127 lbs
Shoulder to waist ratio: 1.41

First 5/3/1 session of the new year (and first ever) on Monday. I’ll post my squat/bench and OHP/deadlift workouts once every 30 days or so as a progress report.



5x10 at 100

Bench Press


accessory (as guillotine press)
5x10 at 65

BJJ training last night. Helped teach first hour, as usual. Trained three rounds (28 minutes total) during second hour and was definitely feeling it in the final eight minutes. After training, did 15 minutes of a post-train conditioning circuit I’ve been doing on and off for awhile (hipscapes, chin ups, hip thrusts, jump squats, tempo pushups).

This is pretty much an ideal jiu-jitsu training session for me right now from a conditioning perspective (i.e. 30 minutes Live Training + 15 minutes post-train conditioning). Sometimes when I teach the first hour, I end up training less in the second. One of my resolutions for 2018 is to make sure I get some training in, even if I’ve got to teach. Back at it Thursday evening.

This afternoon was the second leg of my 5/3/1 variation. I do resistance training twice a week. Haven’t done RDLs in a long time and my hams and glutes were letting me know all about it!



accessory (face pulls)
5x10 at 40/50/50/50/60



accessory (RDL)
5x10 at 115

Ended up teaching class tonight (I must have a second sense or something …) so no Live Training for me. Did a four sets of 500m row sprints after the class and will have to make up the rest of the conditioning Friday and Saturday at the gym. Probably 30-45 minutes on the treadmill on both days to get to my 120 minutes/week total.

One diet note. I’m not liking my reaction to the modest carbs I’ve been having with meals this past week. I thought bumping them back up toward more normal levels would be okay since I was starting the resistance training. But for week #2 I’m going to cut them back, reserving them for purely around training time and see if I like the results a little more.

What worked for Week One:
Resistance training sessions were very good. Liking the 5/3/1 protocol on Mondays and Wednesdays.

What didn’t work for Week One:
Too many carbs. Tried to have a serving of rice twice a day with meals to support resistance training and felt heavy all week. Weight was down on average two and a half pounds from my Transformation starting weight, (153.5 vs 151). So I shouldn’t complain. But felt and looked as if I weighed above 155.

It’s a mistake to count on jiu-jitsu training for conditioning. This was my big discovery last year and apparently I’m still learning it. A great, heart-pounding session on Tuesday, but then next to nothing on Thursday. I really have to separate my conditioning (all of it) from BJJ or the absence of the latter on any given night is going to undermine the former.

Plan for Week Two:
Keep up the resistance training as is. Cut carbs except for pre- and peri-workout for a week and see how I feel. Add fasted cardio Tuesday and Thursday mornings, which can account for 90 minutes of my 120 min/week cardio goal.

Cardio Routine

Start at 3.5% grade and 3.5 mph on the treadmill. Added 5% every quarter mile for about 45 minutes. Same speed. Ended up burning about 8.6 cal/min. Great opportunity to do BJJ tape study.

Still thinking about progression. May match 5/3/1 cycle (i.e., add 0.1 mph with start of new cycle).

Second week of my first cycle of 5/3/1 is in the books. Loving it, but I’m making another adjustment.

I’m switching to the Jack Shit protocol. Instead of the accessory work, I’m doing a set of four 500m row sprints. This is what I planned to do starting in April (beginning of “conditioning-emphasis season” for me). But to the degree that I think it will help me in the Transformation Challenge and improve my conditioning for jiu-jitsu (a major priority) while keeping my training time low, I think I’m going to start “conditioning-emphasis season” a little early this year.

FWIW, today’s numbers (max rep set only)

OHP 85 x 10
deadlift 205 x 10

500m row sprints. I actually did 525m for reasons I can’t figure out; so these are my 500m split times: 2:15, 2:18, 2:13, 2:15

First three weeks of 5/3/1 (NDJS) are in. Rep numbers in my max rep set are a little high. But I suspect they’ll come down to Earth within a cycle or two at the most.

Monday (max rep set only)
squat: 190 x 10
bench: 125 x 15

Wednesday (max rep set only)
OHP: 90 x10
deadlift: 215 x 10

Still doing a finisher of 4 x 500m row sprints. Current goal is to break the two minute mark for all four reps.

This weekend will mark four weeks into my T-ransformation, so probably a good idea for a photo update. I’ve dialed in the diet the past two weeks, as well, and hope to have noticeably leaned out a bit since the beginning of the year.

End of Month Report for January 2018 - First update
Just finished third cycle of 5/3/1 this week. This is after Saturday morning semi-fasted cardio. About 149.4 lbs on the scale, which is down 3-4 pounds from my starting weight.

Diet is pretty much the same every day right now: coffee and cheese for late breakfast, chicken and salad for lunch, pork/salmon/beef and salad for dinner. Two shakes (casein + BCAAs + “zero carb” Gatorade) a day. Usually after BJJ on Tuesdays and Thursdays I’ll have a carb to help settle me down (it’s after 9pm when I get home), and I almost always have a potato (loaded with butter, sour cream and, yes, caviar) with Saturday’s dinner.

A little inspiration for the next few years …

Finished my second three-week 5/3/1 cycle yesterday. Not my best effort on the PR lifts (especially on Wednesday, when both lifts were two reps short of what I was hoping for). But progress is progress.

Max rep set/PR set

squat 215 x 7
bench 160 x 7

OHP 105 x 5
deadlift 245 x 5

Things get a little weird for me for the next few weeks. I’m going to be without a gym for a week, then somewhere where I MIGHT have access to a solid gym (an affiliate of my home gym). If I were staying put, I’d be starting Cycle 3 on Monday. But I’m not sure if I should start a new Cycle, then take a week off, then maybe resume the following week, maybe not …

That said, I’ll probably just start the next Cycle and let the plates fall where they may. I think I’m still enough in the “beginner gains” stage that I might be able to pick right up where I left off after a week of no heavy lifting (or “hotel gym” lifting).

BTW, finally got serious about 5/3/1 and bought the Beyond e-book. Stayed up late last night pouring over it and plotting out the next six weeks of training with a pencil, a note pad, and a pocket calculator.

Next transformation photo scheduled for next Saturday may be harder to pull off due to travel. May skip February’s photo and wait for end of month March.

Hi Burien
In for your log, 53 years here and 5/3/1 myself.
As far as I can tell from your logs, you did 2 full cycles of 5/3/1
Only recorded the last 1’s week right

week 3 of cycle 1 you did: Sq 190, DL 215, B 125, OHP 90
week 3 of cycle 2 you did: Sq 215, DL 245, B 160, OHP 105

So for the first cycle of squats you had a TM at around 200 lbs and the second cycle TM was 225 an increase of 25 pounds, and for the others you have an increase of about 30, 35 and 15. wich is a lot.
I don’t think Jim would approve that you were improving the TM by that much. The program calls for a 10 pound increase for lower and 5 pound for upper.

I would suggest that you follow Jims advice for the next cycle an only increase by 10 and 5 pounds. At the MOST.

That out of the way and for your question: about what to do with a week off.
You have done 2 full cycles and could use a deload week as you suggest.

Monday you could go in work up to last weeks top weight and do a single no more and do that for all 4 lifts… if you have the time. Then you have a deload week, were you only do the “hotel gym” lifting. Not going balls out on anything, keep things nice and easy.
When you come back: increase TM by ONLY 10 and 5 pounds. OR repeat your last cycle beat your previst + sets by one rep. Squat and bench looks to be fine, but DL and OHP with only 5 on the last week, might be a little to high. You might find yourself stalling out pretty quickly.

Well I hope you’ll find your way through the next weeks. I guess what matters for you is Bjj, and not so much the lifting other than it being a supplement to Bjj.
Good luck.

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Thanks! I was using an online spreadsheet/calculator that said it would do all the calculations accurately. So much for that! That’s why I wised up and bought the e-book and plotted out my next two cycles by hand.

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Week Seven - Between Cycles

Squats only today. Elbow injury worsened after jiujitsu training last week, so I’m going to avoid pressing altogether this week and as much as I can next week.

Cardio tomorrow. Deadlifts only on Wednesday.

bar x 10
90 x 5
115 x 5
135 x 3
155 x 3

170 x 5
195 x 3
215 x 3

170 x 8 x 3

Cardio today. Treadmill walk. Incline 4.0 to 6.0 Speed 3.5 to 4.0 oover 2.75 miltes

8.77 cal/min for 47:30 minutes

Deadlift deload tomorrow. May try and sneak in an early morning cardio session on Thursday before I leave the Western world for awhile to get in virtually complete week.

I’ll be at a pretty ritzy hotel for a few days and am looking forward to some moderate accessory work (esp. leg extensions for better rectus femoris development) as well as a V-taper oriented session or two.

Week Seven - Between Cycles

Deadlifts only today. Felt a little elbow strain on the hang early on, but seemed to work itself out over the course of the sets.

bar x 10
105 x 5
130 x 5
155 x 3
170 x 3

195 x 5
220 x 3
245 x 3

195 x 8 x 3

Hotel gym lifting next week. But could be back in a real gym by the 4th.

One thought on today’s deadlifts: I’ve been following Dave Tate’s advice with regard to standing up between reps and it is really helping me get a better feel for the technique and appreciate DLs more. https://www.t-nation.com/training/the-dead-zone Specifically this: “To deadlift more weight, master starting strength, not reversal strength. To fix this, focus on training single reps, not multiple.”

Was feeling a little soft ahead of my FSL sets today. But thinking of each set as a bunch of singles instead of “eight reps” gave me a nice little psych edge.

Oh, and the American women just won gold in hockey. U-S-A!

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