Conkle's 5/3/1 - Somewhat North of Vag

Hey, this is my first log. I started it on a whim, and to prove it you can note the time of this post. If anyone reads it and gets something out of it, great. If no one does, not a surprise.

Current Numbers:
Press: 115
Sumo Deadlift: 215
Bench Press: 175
Squat: 195
Chinups (BW): 9

Short Term Goals: 135 Press, 225 Bench, 315 Sumo Deadlift, 315 Squat, 15 Chinups.


-No sports in high school, very sedentary, weak and small.

-First lifted weights Junior/Senior year of high school. Started at about 155 pounds.

-Began serious training Summer '08 with Rippetoe. End of summer, moved to Santa Cruz for college. Introduced to Dining hall – not the love affair that others have experienced

-Fractured my fibula Fall '08, unable to do lower body lifts for about two months.

-Lost lots of strength, ill-advised fat loss diet Winter '09. Was hovering around 170 pounds, not very strong. Spring '09 pledged for a frat. Drinking + No sleep = terrible workouts.

-Summer '09 - learned how to cook, revamped my nutrition, started to gain size. Picked up kettlebells, really started to focus on chinups. My back muscles and hamstrings were shortly thereafter recognized as existing. 175 pounds at ~9% bodyfat.

-Fall '09 Did Dan John’s 40-day program. Conventional Deadlift, Overhead Press, Chinup, Ab Wheel, Kettlebell Swing.

-Winter '09 - Started 5/3/1. Have done three cycles, using Overhead Press, Sumo Deadlift, Bench Press, Low-Bar Back Squat. Love it. I am using Bodyweight assistance and I do it in a circuit, with specialization exercises at the end of the workout.

-Plan to stay on 5/3/1 for at least a year, its simplicity is great. Going to the gym isn’t daunting anymore-- just get in, hit our numbers, do some assistance, get out.

-At posting, I weigh 180 pounds and I’d estimate about 13% bodyfat… will get it tested as soon as possible. My abs are well hidden beneath my abdominal fat, not that it concerns me… I just want to ‘get fucking hyooge’ as they say for a while. Prowler should keep me from being a huge lard ass.

Today: Trained at ~11:30

Bench: 5x115, 5x135, 8x150

Chinups, 10x3, 1x5
Pushups, 10x4, 1x10

Chins - 35, Pushups 50

Shoulder Superset “Delt Triad” Lateral raise x ~10, Front Raise x ~10, Overhead Press to failure
1x5 lbs, 2x10 lbs

Even though I raised my bench max by 10 pounds this month, I am still busting out a lot of reps on the “max reps” set, which I am pleased with.

Because I want to build up my Chin and Pushup volume, I’m adding in a lot of sets of just a few reps. I do it in a circuit with little to no rest.

Switching to lighter weights in the delt triad has helped me to actually use my deltoids instead of traps. Also has allowed me to control the weight instead of swing it around wildly. The last part of the superset is painful, though.

Postworkout meal: Half chicken, mixed fruit, mashed potatoes.

February 5th: Trained at ~2:00

Squat: 5x130, 5x160, 9x170
Comment: Fucked up on the addition, was supposed to be 130,150,170. Whoops.

Hang Clean: 5x75,5x85,5x95

A) Rear Elevated Split Squat 10x3 - alternating back leg every set
B) Ab Wheel from Knees 10x3

Cool-down- Stretch Calves, Hammies, Quads

PW: Half chicken, french fries, chicken strips, milkshake. Get fucking hyooge.

I’ve been noticing some butt wink, but I don’t feel any lower back pain so I’m just monitoring it as of now. I squat somewhat wide stance.

I’m glad I was able to get the 9 reps, I can feel the carry over from pulling Sumo for two cycles.

With the circuit of Bulgarian SS and Ab Wheel, I’m trying to make my hips more mobile and build up my abs’ work capacity, respectively. I take no rest between sets.


Trained at 1:00

Prowler Push, 50 pounds added

Distance : 6 blocks.

Didn’t feel like vomiting, but I was getting cramps up the side of my upper body when I was putting the prowler away. It was drizzling, and the rain surprisingly didn’t make the ground any slicker-- just as hard as usual.

PW: Broccoli, Potatoes, Chicken fajitas strips, meatballs.

Feb 8th, ~2:15

3x85, 3x95, 5x105

Chinup, 10 sets of 3
Dips, 10 sets of 4

Bent DB Row: 35 lbs for max reps

PW: Mashed potatoes, half chicken, mixed fruit

Comments: My shoulder was really bothering me after this session, rep 5 on the press was really a grinder. I didn’t sleep well the night before or eat well that day, either.

Feb 9th, ~1:00
Sumo Deadlift

3x155, 3x175, 7x195

‘natural’ GHR 1x4, 9x3
Ab Wheel 1x4, 9x3

Delt Triad, 1x5, 2x10

PW: 8 breaded, fried chicken strips, half chicken, two sides of french fries, oreo milk shake. GFH.

Comments: I am starting to get comfortable in the sumo style. I did some warm up sets with heavy DB’s because the barbell starts at 135, using smaller plates just doesn’t work.

I’m trying to build up my Ab Wheel and GHR work capacity, so I’ll be adding one rep per workout for a while, see what happens.

Feb 10th, 11:00

Prowler Push for distance, unweighted.

Pushed the prowler about in a ‘round trip’ of about 6 blocks. Took about 20 minutes, could barely process thoughts after I was done.

The difference between unweighted and weighted is that your lower back gets a huge pump, and you have to rest a lot less. It’s the most endurance work I fancy doing.

Feb 11th, 12:30


3x125, 3x140, 6x160

Pendlay Row,
1x5x95, 5x3x135

“Kroc” Row (form less important than getting the reps)

35x20, 50x15, 60 lbs- about 12


Worst day ever. My shoulder felt like shit and I couldn’t get a proper warm up in because of the group exercise class.

I had planned to keep doing lots of chins and pushups, but with my shoulder hurting, I decided to do rows instead. It felt good. On the Pendlay Rows, I’m not used to them, but it was strange that my hamstrings and low back felt a lot of work, but my back felt very little.

Kroc Rows I’ve never done before. Basically, you just pick a heavy weight and do as many reps as you can, using any body English you want. I didn’t really feel it anywhere, but I felt demolished after each set so that’s a good sign.

I think it’s time to ditch bodyweight training for a while and focus on weights.

As for the shoulder… I will start doing some Turkish getups to strengthen it.

Feb 12, 12:30, Lower


3x150, 3x170, 10x190

Hang Clean
3x75, 3x95, 3x100

Ab Wheel (from knees)

5:00 Uphill Walk Treadmill

PW: Chicken, Fries, Milkshake. GFH.


Best lower day in a long time, immediately following one of the worst upper body days. My shoulder somehow tingled after squatting, hm.

I’m adding in 5:00 of cardio after every lifting session because I noticed the creep of some excess pudge. 20:00 a week should help stave some of it off, on top of prowler training.

Basically, my goal is to get to 200 pounds while not becoming morbidly obese. At that point, I will cut fat-- I’m trying to avoid a cycle of bulking up a bit, then cutting, then bulking, meanwhile ending up hoving at the same weight in the end.

I’m confident with 5/3/1 I’ll continue to get stronger, bigger, and more fit because of the prowler and cardio.

Feb 13th, 12:00

Prowler Push, 50 lbs added

1/2 mile

Comments: Just miserable. Not much else to say. But I felt great the rest of the day.

Feb 15th,

5x90, 3x100, 1x110


Face Pull (high pulley)

3x15x40 lbs

5:00 Uphill Treadmill Walk

PW: Tomatoes, Mozzarella, Apples, Ham. Basically just raided the cabinet.


The Press feels very shaky. Also, some pain on the very tip of my shoulders on the heaviest sets. I am considering dropping my training max by 15 and trying to hit new rep maxes on the lower weights.

My shoulders haven’t felt 100% strong and stable since I started pushing the prowler a lot, so I want to give them a bit of slack. I’ll need to be pretty conservative if I want to train for years to come.

I’m going to switch from bodyweight to BBB. I want to hypertrophy the shoulder girdle and accomplish some “armor building” as Dan John puts it.

Feb 16th, 2010 11:15 AM

Sumo Deadlift

5x165, 3x185, 7x205

Sumo Deadlift (with a dumbell)

5x10 at 85 lbs.

“Natural” GHR from lat pulldown station

2 sets to warm up, 1 work set, then stopped because of a strange knee pain.

PW: Chicken, Fries, Shake, GFH, the usual.


Due to shoulder pain and stagnation I’m starting the BBB template. Yes, I was too impatient to wait till next cycle, so sue me. I’ve planned out my program, with progression from week to week and one extra assistance exercise in addition to the 5x10 of the core lift.

Anyways, BBB looks simple but it’s terribly tiring. I have no doubt I will be sorer than sin tomorrow.

I used a dumbell for the 5x10 sets because putting light weights on a barbell completely changes the form of a deadlift (only 45 plates put it at the right position). It’s essentially the same, but I have to watch out for the crown jewels in the top position.

Feb 17, 2010
12:00 Pm

Prowler Push - Unweighted

.8 miles


Still hard. I had the pleasure of having many gardeners–excuse me, landscapers, on their lunch break to cheer me on. Housewives taking their brisk walks, too. All were overjoyed at the sight of a shirtless lad pushing a sled in the middle of the street.

I’ve perfected the art of blowing my nose and pushing at the same time, due to being slightly sick.

PW: Cold cuts, berries, oranges.

Feb 18, 2010


5x135, 3x150, 7x160
Note: I screwed up-- was supposed to do 170 for reps. I beat my PR for 160 though, so it’s all good. I’ll progress next month normally.


Pendlay Row:

3x5x95, 3x5x115

PW: Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Fruit

Comments: Felt good. I thought “Wow, 7 reps for my 1+, good day,” but then soon realized it was so good because I fucked up on the amount of weight I put on the bar. Simple math, so grade school.

My elbow hurt for maybe 5 hours postworkout but it’s died down. The BBB was very easy today, but I’m just working up to doing 50% weight for 5x10. Then the results (and pain) should start to show themselves.

Pendlay rows- I went lighter, but I feel most of the stress on my legs and lower back… once they are no longer the weak link, I should start to see good results from this exercise. Including: Bench, Deadlift, and Squat improving.

Feb 19, 2010


150x5, 170x3, 190x7

5x10x85 lbs

Ab Wheel: 4 sets to failure

Uphill Walk on treadmill, 5:00

PW: Milkshake, chicken, potatoes

Comments: My squats felt very stiff today. I need to focus more on stretching my hammies and hip flexors. I’m opting not to push the prowler on Saturday because (I’m posting this on Saturday) my legs need some time to recover.

I should be able to continue to progress on squat without any problems for a long time considering my performance. 315 here I come!

Feb 21, 4:30

Prowler Push - 50 lbs added

.5 miles

Comments: Difficult, but not quite the Bataan Death March it used to be. I guess I’m getting used to pushing the beast, and in a couple weeks I need to add weight or up the distance.

Feb 22, 6:30 AM

Press - Deload

5x50, 5x60, 5x70,

5x5x55 lbs

Chins - 4x3

‘Kroc’ Rows - 40 lbs for reps. Could have done more, but it just got boring after a while.

5:00 Uphill Treadmill Walk

PW: Fruit, nuts, cold cuts

Comments: Running on about 4 hours of sleep. Went to the gym cause I wasn’t really sure what else to do. It’s obvious that I need to dial down my press weights, maybe the prowler pushes interfere with upper body recovery. Dropping my training max to 100 next month, coasting it for a while.

Feb 23, 2:00

Sumo Deadlift - Deload

5x90, 5x110, 5x135


GHR - 2 slow and easy sets of about 5 reps. Accentuate the eccentric (say that 5 times fast).

5:00 Uphill Walk

Comments: Lower Back is a bit tight. Otherwise, easy. I used DB’s for the lighter than 135 sets.

Here’s an article I read about Sumo Deadlifting.

I wasn’t really sure what they were talking about half the time, but I picked up some good form advice near the end.

I switched to Sumo because it feels more natural to me, and I have less tightness or pain resulting. Nothing fancy. My numbers initially dropped, but I’m confident that in the long run my numbers will be much better. Long term goals, baby.

Feb 27, 2010

Squat - Deload

5x80, 5x100, 5x120


Couple of sets of chins

…Then Got kicked out of the gym (UC Santa Barbara) for wearing my vibrams. Dicks.

Comments: I had to drive 4 hours today (visiting SB) so my back is bothering me. Sitting for that long is no good.