I am training with weights for several years and doing martial arts for more than a decade. After trying a lot of different programs, styles (crossfit for a year), ..., I recognized, that I am not doing progress the way I thought I should. I just wanted to much different things. My bodyweight didn't get higher, my weights I was lifting stayed almost the same. I was looking for something new. Something simple. I didn't want to train skills and complex movements, I just don't have the time for it.
After reading in a lot of different forums I read about Jim Wendler and his 531. This was in late summer 2016. I liked the simplicity it provided. I bought the second edition and the beyond book and after reading them twice each, I was ready for it.
I started right away with a low TM and a classic 5/3/1 with PRs every training. I trained 2-3 days a week. I did the 4 main lifts, I did Croc Rows, Chins, Dips and the wheel. I always did the same (2 main lifts per day, 2 times a week). Then I found out about 5's PRO / 5x5 FSL and I did this for some cycles. I didn’t do any overhead squats, muscle ups, 10EMOM, AMRAP, .... I just did my lifts, did some assistance and went home. At begin, I chose a very low TM. The first weeks I thought the training was too easy. I was able to do so much reps at the PR-set. I sometimes doubted this would work. At this time I pushed the assistance and just kept on doing it. During this phase the techniques of the main lifts got much better. Doing the same things all the time help so much! I started to eat more, I cooked much more and since then I eat a ton of rice and chicken all the time. I eat a LOT of eggs every morning and sometimes in the night. I added so much carbs every day and I also take my weight-gainer on busy days. At the begin it was hard to shift up the daily food intake. But you get used to it and now it’s easy for me to eat several times a day an eat bigger portions. This resulted in getting bodyweight. I gained about 7 kg since september 2016 and I really didn’t get a lot of bodyfat.
In the end of January I wanted to test my strength. With two friends I tested my 1RM of my deadlift and my press. I deadlifted so much more than my goal was. During my 5/3/1 training I never deadliftet more than 135 kg. At the 1RM test I was able to deadlift 200kg (old PR: 165kg) for one rep. This is HUGE for me and made me so happy. Same thing with the press. I was using almost the same weights for a long time and after only 5 months of 5/3/1 I was able to improve the weights so much! Even I never went for high weights during the training, it was so easy for me to go for those personal records.
Then I became greedy.
I read about the leader & anchor thing and wanted to adjust my training. I took my newest 1RM and calculated the TM. I know that you should be able to go for 5 nice reps at the last set oft he 531 week. But I overestimated myself. I wanted to go higher, to use my new built strength. I was creedy. I started with 5’s PRO and BBB for all lifts. On my second week from my new cycle I had a hard time to push the 5 reps of the last set in some lifts. I did it and I am sure that I will be able to do it also in the 531 week. BUT I am very sore, I had big trouble in my 5x10 sets and I don’t know if I really can add weight for the whole 3 cycle – program. After my personal records I thought that I could lift so much more than the cycles before. BUT I know know that my success was just because of I started this light. I did just exact the things Jim tells you.
I will now finish this cycle and then eventually use my 7th week protocol to redefine my TMs.
My advice for all 5/3/1 starters: listen to Jim, it WORKS, start low, don’t rush up high. You will get stronger with this system. Don’t overcomplicate things, don’t get creedy. Trust in yourself, trust in the system and don’t miss a single training. Have fun with it, enjoy the success! Do the programs and templates how they are written. Do agile 8 or limber 11 every day. Do your jumps and throws! Go for some hills!
@ Jim: Thanks for everything, you helped me so much in finding MY way of training. It’s simple, it works, I will continue!
PS: English is not the language I normally speak or write in!