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CaptainArmbar's 5/3/1 Log


Right then.

Long-time reader, first time poster. After coming last in a strongman comp recently I've decided that I ought to up my game a bit by making myself accountable to you, the T-Nation massive.

My Goals: My main interest is getting better at fighting, mostly grappling, which I've been doing for about five years now. My secondary interest is getting terrifyingly strong. I live in the UK, so I don't take my shirt off in public much - so body comp's a distant third.

My PBs: 200kg deadlift (at a seminar, lots of pressure), 127kg squat, 95kg bench, 85kg push press, 17 pullups, all at 75kg bodyweight.

My Training: I first got serious about training with Starting Strength, which saw all my lifts rocket for about four months, then jumped over to Joe DeFranco's Built Like A Badass - which was fun, if only because it told me exactly what to do so I didn't really have to think in the gym. After that I faffed around with Crossfit and Crossfit Endurance (!) for a while and ran a (slow) marathon. Now I'm three months into my first serious go at 5/3/1, which is working great so far. I tend to do two lifts each day (Mon: deadlift/bench, Wed: squat/push-press) and do minimal assistance work so I'm not too fried to grapple. I save Friday for conditioning/strongman stuff/fun (hill sprints, farmer's walks, vanity work, or grip sessions).

This is my training log.


Week two of the current cycle, training maxes are: Bench: 92kg, Dead: 175, Push press: 85 Squat: 110

This week's training:


3 x 65
3 x 75
9 x 82.5

3 x 122.5
3 x 140
4 x 157.5


5 rounds:
Deadlift 10 x 90kg
Pressups x 20

BJJ in the evening.

Tuesday: BJJ


Push Press:

60 x 3
70 x 3
77.5 x 9


77.5 x 3
87.5 x 3
100 x 12

Overhead squat:
30kg x 10 x 5 sets


Friday 22 July: Experimenting with Martin Rooney's Hurricane Training

Treadmill: 10mph, 10% incline. Sprint 30s, rest until heart rate gets back to 120bpm. Repeat 9 times.

3 x 12 dips

3 x 10 seated rows @ 60kg


Tried bikram yoga yesterday. If it's good enough for Dan John...


Monday 25th July

5 x 70kg
3 x 80kg
4 x 87.5kg (terrible, puts my predicted 1rm back down to 95kg, which is my actual 1rm from ages ago. Shit)

5 x 130
3 x 155
4 x 167.5

Incline bench:
5 x 10 x 50kgs, 90s rest

Dips: 3 x 15


Thursday 28th July

5 x 85kg
3 x 92.5kg
10 x 102.5kg

Still a rep record, just, but fucked up the plates. Annoying.

Push Press

5 x 65kg
3 x 75kg
6 x 85kg

Not a rep record. Just couldn't get this going right from the first rep. Disappointing.

Next week: deload. Then the maxes go up again.


Climbed Snowdon on Saturday and kayaked Sunday so skipped Monday's deload workout. Then somehow thought it would be a good idea to try for a squat PB.

3 x 10 air squat
2 x 5 x bar
5 x 70
2 x 100
1 x 120
1 x 130
135 FAIL

So a PB by 2.5kg, but not what my rep PRs would predict. Good I suppose, but still slightly disappointing.


Are you looking for strength to grapple or are you looking to lift big in the gym?


Mainly lift big. I don't feel like my strength's a limiting factor in my grappling, if anything I could probably work harder on my cardio. Why do you ask?


Just curious if where the focus was and how you should be training. I compete in jiu jitsu and grappling as well and my program for strength, power, and conditioning looks a little different than yours. I am also a strength and conditioning coach so if you need some help let me know. I will throw you some tips.


Cheers. I wouldn't mind adding more of a power element to my training if you've got any suggestions as to how - I like the basic structure of 5/3/1 because it's quite simple, but I was wondering if there's any point to throwing in some plyometrics or simply swapping in more explosive moves - power clean instead of deadlift, say. Trouble is that my gym's pretty busy and not very well equipped.


Also, updates:

Friday 5th August
5k run

1, 2, 3...10 pullup ladder

1, 2, 3...10 dip ladder

Saturday 6th August - Judo

Sunday 7th - Bikram (the girlfriend made me do it)

Monday 8th


5 x 62.5

5 x 72.5

6 x 82.5 (no spotter, maybe had more in the tank)


5 x 117

5 x 135

8 x 147.5 kg

Incline: 5 x 6 x 60kg (40X0 tempo)

Dips: 2 x 15


Wednesday 10th August

Push Press

5 x 57.5
5 x 67.5
10 x 75kg


5 x 77.5kg
5 x 87.5kg
12 x 100kg

3 sets:
8 x 18kg each hand seated shoulder press
8 x 18kg each hand incline dumbell bench
60s between sets

2 x 10 pistols each leg


Well I usually format my days like this... I do not split muscle groups ever, however planes of motion instead.. here is a 3 day program which I use for power, strength, and a little conditioning as well

Foam roll 5-10 minutes
Active / Dynamic warm-up (contact me for warm-up)

Box jumps 6x
Ball roll-outs 6x
wall slides 10x
-All this 3x in circuit fashion

Hang Clean or power snatch (5x, 4x, 3x)
Anti-rotary Landmines (12x, 12x, 12x)
External Rotation (12x, 12x, 12x)
-Exercises done in circuit fashion

Weighted Chins (6x, 5x, 4x)
Walking Lunges (12x, 12x, 10x)
Squats with same weight as lunges (5x, 5x, 5x)
Isometric Neck (20 seconds both sides)
Flat Bench or DB Press (5x, 4x, 3x) tempo 5-0-1
-Exercises done in circuit fashion


3 sets of treadmill tabatas with 2 minutes rest between sets. Always incline 15

Foam roll 5-10 minutes
Active / Dynamic warm-up (contact me for warm-up)

3 plyo-hurdles to a sprint
Anti-rotary 12x
Wall slides 12x
-all this 3 times

1 Arm Snatch (6x, 5x, 3x)
Ball Roll-outs (10x, 10x, 10x)
External Rotation (12x, 12x, 12x)
-Exercises done in circuit fashion



30 seconds treadmill, incline 15, 8mph
8 burpees
8 med ball slams
8 plyo pushups
4 times through agility ladder
6 burpees
6 med ball slams
6 plyo pushups
1/2 mile on airdyne bike or stationary bike

3 rounds with 1 minute break between each

Foam roll 5-10 minutes
Active / Dynamic warm-up (contact me for warm-up)

Lateral Bounds (16x, 12x, 10x), when doing 12x and 10x hold 25lbs plate
Side Plank 40 seconds each side
Wall Slides (12x, 12x, 12x)
-Exercise done in circuit fashion

Weighted Jump Squats 50lbs (6x, 5x, 5x)
Alternating Overhead Dumbbell Press (12x, 12x, 10x)
Core Get-ups (10x, 10x, 10x)
Isometric Neck 20 seconds both sides
- Exercises done in circuit fashion

The following is all done with a weighted vest
Inverted Rows on TRX (6x, 5x, 5x) 5-?0?-1 Tempo
Incline Pushups (6x, 5x, 5x) 5?]0?]1 Tempo
Single Leg Squats (6x, 5x, 5x)
Monster Walks with elastic around the ankle
-Exercises done in circuit fashion


Sled Test
?2 pushes, 5 medball slams, 5 burpees
?2 pushes, 4 medball slams, 4 burpees
?3 pushes, 3 medball slams, 3 burpees
2 pushes, 2 medball slams, 2 burpees
?1 push, 1 medball slam, 1 burpee


Cheers man, helpful stuff. Haven't got a sled to push or anywhere that will let me slam a med ball, but I'll experiment with incorporating the other stuff.


Push a car or truck! Use bands instead of med ball :wink:. Just place the band up high and try to pull it through your legs as explosively as possible.


I'll try the band thing - not sure if I know anyone wih a car or truck. Oh the joys of living in London.

This week I've decided to experiment with doing one lift a day, partly so I can do more assistance work, partly so I'm relatively fresh for each lift.

Monday 15th August

3 x 67.5kg
3 x 77.5kg
7 x 85kg

Then: Bench
5 x 6 x 60kg, 40X0 tempo

5 x 5 x chinups, 40X0 tempo

5 x 10 dips


Missed last week's deadlifts because of a snatch/vertical jump workout on Tuesday. So:

Thursday 18th August

Warmup - various stuff

Push Press

5 x 57.5
5 x 67.5
10 x 75kg


5 x 77.5kg
5 x 87.5kg
12 x 100kg

3 sets:
8 x 18kg each hand seated shoulder press
8 x 18kg each hand incline dumbell bench
60s between sets

2 x 10 pistols each leg


This week am trying to do the one lift a day thing with more assistance work:

Monday 22nd August

Deadlift warmup:
60kg x 5
60kg x 5
90kg x 3
100kg x 2
110kg x 1
120kg x 1

Deadlift work sets:

135 x 5
150 x 3
172.5 x 3 (felt like I had more in the tank, but the form was getting sketchy and I worry about my back)

Power Clean

5 x 5 x 60kg

3 x Glute/Back circuit

10 back extensions, 15kg plate
15 gym ball glute/ham raises


I like this last workout however I would have thrown the power clean in before the deadlift. I much prefer have my clients perform explosive movements like cleans before their compound movements. The CNS is fresh at this point and the exercise will help you activate the CNS. Actually you might find you can deadlift a little more if you perform an explosive movement before.

Before I do my squats I love to do about 4 sets of box jumps or plyo hurdles and I have seen a difference in my squatting strength from this. As for your back on the deadlift you should really use a trap bar (shrug bar). I just bought one for my gym and its a big load off the back.