T Nation

Endurance Athlete Goes 5/3/1

Cycle 1, Week 2, Day 3 â?? OH Press [3 x 3]
Overhead Press:
WU
3 x 3: 60 x 3, 70 x 3, 80 x 6
JOKERS: 85 x 3, 90 x 3, 95 x 2
FSL: 60 x 8, 8, 7, 7, 6
3x3 supersetted w/ Good Mornings: 45 x 12, 60 x 12, 70 x 12

Accessory
A1 - Chins: 9, 8, 7, 6, 6 (10lbs x 3, 2, 2, BW x 3, 2, 1, 1)
A2 - Dips: 10lbs x 10, BW x 10, 10, 10, 10
B1 - Seated Military Press Machine Press: 40lbs x 12, 12, 10, 8, 6, 30lbs x 6
B2 - Rear Delt Fly: 40lbs x 12, 12, 12, 12, 12 [30 sec rest after mil press, 60 sec rest after rear delt fly]

Core
Decline Sit Up: 10, 8, 6, 5, 5 [40 sec rest]
Swiss Ball Crunch: 4 x 25 [20 sec rest]

I was much more comfortable with the press this week. I like doing triples, so I went with the regular 5/3/1 programming instead of the 5s pro. The good mornings felt out of place here so I cut them out after a few sets. Some nice progress as 90x1 last week turned into 90x3 and 95x2.
Same total of chins as last week, so I did a few of the leftovers with 10 lbs added. Maybe next week Iâ??ll keep that in mind and complete 5x10 chins so I donâ??t have to do weighted leftovers? Weâ??ll seeâ?¦

Cycle 1, Week 2, Day 4 â?? Front Squat [3 x 5]
Front Squat
WU
3 x 5: 105 x 3, 120 x 3, 135 x 10
JOKERS: 145 x 3, 155 x 3, 165 x 2
FSL: 105 x 5, 5, 6, 7, 8
3x5 & Jokers supersetted w/ Weighted Chins & Hanging Leg Raises:
Chins: 5 x 3 w/ 20lbs added (BW: 5 x 5); Hanging Leg Raises: 10 x 5

Accessory
A1 - Bulgarian Split Squat: 65lbs x 8, 10, 10, 10, 10, 12
A2 - Romanian Deadlift: 165 x 10, 12, 12, 12, 12
A3 - BB Shrugs: 165 x 10, 12, 12, 12, 12 [45-60 seconds between pairings]

Core
B1 - Straight Leg Raises: 4 x 10
B2 - 45 Degree Back Extension: 4 x 10

Really loving this day. The heavy front squats paired with weighted chins and leg raises, followed by an up tempo assistance superset that really gets the heart pumping is a great way to get work done, break a sweat, and leave the gym feeling unstoppable. Also saw some good progress across the board from the week before. Front squat went from 125x11 to 135x10. Form and bar speed felt worlds better this week as well.

Cycle 1, Week 3, Day 1 â?? Bench [5/3/1]
BB Bench Press:
WU
5/3/1: 110 x 5, 125 x 3, 135 x 9
JOKERS: 145 x 1, 160 x 1, 170 x 1
FSL: 115 x 6, 6, 6, 6, 6
5/3/1 & Jokers supersetted w/ chin ups: 10 x 5
FSL supersetted w/ DB Curls: 20s x 12, 12, 12, 12, 10

Accessory
A1 - DB Incline Bench: 30s x 15, 15, 15, 15, 13
A2 - DB Row: 35 x 15, 12, 12, 12, 12 [60 sec rest between pairing]
B - DB Decline Triceps Extension: 15s x 10, 10, 10, 10 [45-60 sec rest]

Core
Decline Sit Up: 4 x 10

Feeling great about the progress so far. 125x3 is what I maxed out with a few weeks before starting 5/3/1. 125x9 was my last set of week 1. Now I hit 125x3 as a prelude to 135x9. Using Jokers I maxed out at 170lbs, then hit some good volume with 115x5x5. The fifty chins I do in between the bench are becoming an afterthought because theyâ??re becoming so easy. Iâ??ll probably add a rep to each set as this progresses. The accessories continue to improve as well and Iâ??m very glad I chose this program over a beginner linear program. So much variability that the sky is the limit and I donâ??t feel like Iâ??m progressing at a snailâ??s pace due to joker sets and FSL down sets. Iâ??ve been reading and re-reading â??Beyond 5/3/1â?? and there are so many interesting templates that Iâ??m forward to giving a try. After a couple more cycles of Jokers/FSL Iâ??ll decide on a few lifting goals and go from thereâ?¦

Cycle 1, Week 3, Day 2 â?? Deadlift [5/3/1]
Deadlift:
WU
5/3/1: 140 x 5, 160 x 3, 175 x 20
JOKERS: 195 x 1, 215 x 1, 235 x 1
FSL: 140 x 8, 8, 8, 8, 8 [60 sec rest]
5/3/1 supersetted w/ Hanging Leg Raises: 5 x 10

Accessory
A1 - Back Squat: 95lbs x 12, 12, 12, 12, 15
A2 - Reverse Hyper: 50lbs x 12, 12, 12, 12, 15 [60 sec rest between pairing]
B - Standing Single Leg Curl: 30lbs x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10 [30-45 sec rest]

Core
Weighted Swiss Ball Crunches: 20lbs x 15, 15, 15 [45 sec rest]
Side Bends: 45lbs x 20, 20, 20 [45 sec rest]

More great progress. Pulled 175 for 20 reps, worked up to a 235 single with jokers, followed by a nice and easy 5x8 with FSL weight. Before starting the program I pulled 175x3 and 205x1. Loving the beginner gains, but I donâ??t think Iâ??ll ever be a fan of 20 rep deadlift sets.

Cycle 1, Week 3, Day 3 â?? OH Press [5/3/1]
Overhead Press:
WU
5/3/1: 70 x 5, 80 x 3, 85 x 6
JOKERS: 90 x 1, 95 x 1, 100 x 1
FSL: 60 x 8, 8, 7, 6, 5 [60 sec rest]
FSL supersetted w/ Decline Sit Ups: 5 x 10

Accessory
A1 - Chins: 10, 10, 9, 8, 6 [10lbs x 3, 2, 2, rest/pause set w/ 15 seconds]
A2 - Dips: 10lbs x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10 [90 sec rest between pairing]
B1 - Seated Military Press Machine Press: 40lbs x 12, 12, 10, 9, 7 / 30lbs x 5
B2 - Rear Delt Fly: 40lbs x 12, 12, 12, 12, 12 [30 sec rest after mil press, 60 sec rest after rear delt fly]

Core
Straight Leg Raise: 5 x 10 [45 sec rest]

Finisher
Swiss Ball Crunches (Pushups): 50(25), 50(18, 5, 2). 4:20.

I get bored easy between sets so I impromptu threw in sets of decline sit ups during the press. Chugging along and my focus on the press is still form, so Iâ??m not pushing the envelope too hard. Getting 100lbs over my head was a cool feeling though. 7 leftover chins this week. I had some extra time and energy so I threw in a random finisher.

Cycle 1, Week 3, Day 4 â?? Front Squat [5/3/1]
Front Squat
WU
5/3/1: 115 x 5, 130 x 3, 145 x 9
JOKERS: 155 x 1, 170 x 1, 180 x 1
FSL: 115 x 6, 6, 6, 6, 6
5/3/1 & Jokers supersetted w/ Chins: 10, 10, 10, 5, 5, 5, 5
FSL supersetted w/ Hanging Leg Raises: 5, 5, 5, 5, 5

Accessory
A1 - Bulgarian Split Squat: 65lbs x 10, 10, 10, 12, 15, 15
A2 - Romanian Deadlift: 175 x 12, 12, 12, 15, 15
A3 - BB Shrugs: 175 x 12, 12, 12, 15, 15

Core
B1 - Straight Leg Raises: 5 x 10
B2 - 45 Degree Back Extension: 5 x 10 w/ 25lb plate

Progress on front squats for cycle 1: 125x11, 135x10, 145x9. Bar speed and form have been getting better each session. Iâ??ve added 10lbs each week to the RDLs and shrugs. My grip was starting to give out during the last couple reps of the last set of shrugs.

A couple thoughts after completing cycle 1:

1.) I’m really glad I chose this over a beginner linear progression program. I already have an understanding of the lifts and I know whether my body is firing on all cylinders or not, so I feel like an LP would have been more of a hinderance than anything else. By utilizing joker sets and multiple FSL sets, I feel like I’m getting everything and then some.

2.) I am no where near as sore as I thought I’d be. I do find myself much hungrier than when I was running 80+ mile weeks in the heat of the summer, so eating has become almost a part time job the past few weeks. Too bad I can’t get paid for it, but I’m not complaining. I sleep 8-9 hours a night and walk the dog for an hour every evening, so I’m sure that’s helped with recovery.

3.) The chins/core work supersetted with the main lift has been a huge benefit. Wendler talks about supersetting chins/curls with the bench in Beyond 5/3/1 and I’ve noticed a drastic improvement in core and back strength.

A couple progress pics to follow…


These were taken during week two of my second cycle…


Less bones than a month ago and the beginnings of Baby Traps?

ycle 2, Week 1, Day 1 â?? Bench [3 x 5]
BB Bench Press:
WU
3 x 5: 100 x 5, 115 x 5, 130 x 12
Jokers: 140 x 5, 150 x 5, 160 x 2
Down sets - 5x5 @ 80% of TM: 125 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5 [90 sec rest]
3x5 & Jokers supersetted w/ chin ups: 10 x 6
Down sets supersetted w/ BB Curls: 50 x 10, 10, 10, 8, 8

Accessory
A1 - DB Incline Bench: 35s x 15, 15, 12, 10, 10
A2 - DB Row: 40 x 12, 12, 12, 12, 12 [60 sec rest between pairing]
B1 - DB Decline Triceps Extension: 15s x 4 x 10
B2 - Decline Sit Up: 4 x 10 [30 sec rest between pairing]

Iâ??ve switched a couple things up this cycle. First, I bastardized the progression a bit by increasing the TM by 10 lbs for the bench. I donâ??t plan on doing this in the future, but looking at the weight I had a feeling Iâ??d be looking at 15+reps this cycle and didnâ??t really want to get in that territory with the bench. Also, instead of FSL for multiple sets, I chose to do 5x5 at 80% TM. Both of these changes were made to cut back a bit on volume because my chest grows at twice the rate of my other body parts.

Anyway, 130x12 felt great. I didnâ??t have a spotter so I made sure to leave a couple in the tank. I felt like I couldâ??ve gotten 160x5, but I showed restraint and capped it after a couple nice, explosive reps.

Cycle 2, Week 1, Day 2 â?? Deadlift [3 x 5]
Deadlift:
WU
3 x 5: 135 x 5, 155 x 3, 175 x 20
JOKERS: 195 x 5, 215 x 5, 235 x 3
Down sets - 5x5 @ 80% TM: 165 x 5, 5, 5, 5, 5 [90 sec rest]
Down sets supersetted w/ Hanging Leg Raises: 5 x 10

Accessory
A1 - Back Squat w/ SSB: 95lbs x 8, 8, 8, 8, 10
A2 - Reverse Hyper: 70lbs x 12, 12, 12, 12, 12 [60 sec rest between pairing]
B - Standing Single Leg Curl: 30lbs x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10 [45-60 sec rest]

Core
Weighted Swiss Ball Crunches: 25lbs x 15, 15, 15 [30 sec rest]
Side Bends: 45lbs x 20, 20, 20 [no rest]

Hopefully the last progression bastardization. Increased TM by 20 lbs for the deadlift because getting 20 reps on the 1+ day just felt wrong. So, same weight here as last weekâ??s 1+, so I had to get 20 again. The set was easier than last week and the jokers felt better too. Last week I maxed out at 235x1 and this week it turned into 235x3. Iâ??ll take it.

Cycle 2, Week 1, Day 3 â?? OH Press [3 x 5]
Overhead Press:
WU
3 x 5: 65 x 5, 70 x 5, 80 x 9
JOKERS: 85 x 5, 90 x 3
FSL: 65 x 8, 8, 7, 7, 7 [60 sec rest]
3x5 / Jokers / FSL supersetted w/ Decline Sit Ups: 5 x 10, 4 x 5

Accessory
A1 - Chins: 10, 10, 10, 8, 7 [10lbs x 3, 2]
A2 - Dips: 20lbs x 8, BW x 15, 15, 12, 12
B1 - Seated Military Press Machine Press: 40lbs x 12, 12, 12, 10, 10, 30lbs x 5
B2 - Rear Delt Fly: 40lbs x 15, 15, 15, 15, 15 [30 sec rest after mil press, 60 sec rest after rear delt fly]

Core
Straight Leg Raise: 5 x 10 [30 sec rest]

I am usually more focused on how the chins will go on this day because Iâ??m still so new to the overheard press that I donâ??t really care too much about it yet, but this session had me pumped. In cycle 1 I pressed 80lbs for 6 reps, so getting 9 reps here was an awesome feeling. I took it easy on the jokers and focused on grip and form. Iâ??m still not sure what grip will work the best for me. Iâ??ve read a few articles and watched a few videos, but nothing feels great yet.
Only 5 chins short this time. Iâ??ve put on almost 10 lbs since the beginning of cycle 1, so itâ??s good to know my relative strength is still improving. My goal is getting all 50 chins by the end of this cycle.

Cycle 2, Week 1, Day 4 â?? Front Squat [3 x 5]
Front Squat
WU
3x5: 105 x 5, 120 x 5, 135 x 12
JOKERS: 145 x 5, 160 x 5
FSL: 105 x 8, 8, 8, 8, 8
3x5/Jokers/FSL supersetted w/ weighted chins: 10 x 5 w/ 15lbs

Accessory
A1 - DB Bulgarian Split Squat: 70lbs x 8, 8, 8, 10, 12
A2 - Romanian Deadlift: 185 x 8, 8, 10, 12, 15
A3 - BB Shrugs: 185 x 12, 12, 12, 15, 15 [60 sec rest between exercises]

Core
B1 - Straight Leg Raises: 5 x 12
B2 - 45 Degree Back Extension: 5 x 12 w/ 25lb plate [no rest between exercises]

Itâ??s December and Iâ??m in Michigan, but the gym had to be 80 degrees for this workout. It turned my favorite session into a sweaty, grumpy hell. I ditched the hanging leg raises and focused on the weighted chins (Iâ??ll probably save the leg raises until the end from here on). Noticed that my lower back feels much stronger as Iâ??m able to get really low and come up with no kind of forward bend. My sticking point is honestly wrist pain as the set goes on. Anything above 8-10 reps and my wrists start hating me.

Cycle 2, Week 2, Day 1 â?? Bench [3 x 3]
BB Bench Press:
WU
3 x 3: 110 x 3, 125 x 3, 140 x 12
Jokers: 150 x 3, 160 x 3, 170 x 3
Down sets - 5 x 3 @ 90% of TM w/ pause at bottom: 140 x 3, 3, 3, 3, 3 [90 sec rest]
3x5 & Jokers supersetted w/ chin ups: 10 x 7
Down sets supersetted w/ BB Curls: 50 x 10, 10, 10, 8, 8

Accessory
A1 - DB Incline Bench: 40s x 12, 12, 10, 9, 9
A2 - DB Row: 45 x 10, 12, 12, 12, 12 [45-60 sec rest between A1/A2]
B1 - DB Decline Triceps Extension: 15s x 4 x 12
B2 - Decline Sit Up: 4 x 12 [no rest between B1/B2]

The 3s week is quickly becoming my favorite of the cycle. Heavy triples on the joker sets felt really good so I decided to try out 5x3 at 90% of TM for the down sets. Iâ??ve been thinking about where to go for my next cycle and I might try some form of BBB with 5x5 @ 80% -> 5x3 @ 90% -> 5x1 @ 100% TM. The BBB 13 week challenge is looking enticing.

As for the workout, 140x12 and 170x3 both felt great and I left a couple reps in the tank on both. I upped the weight on the assistance and paired the decline triceps extension and decline sit ups out of laziness because I didnâ??t feel like getting off the damn bench.

Cycle 2, Week 2, Day 2 â?? Deadlift [3 x 5]
Deadlift:
WU
3 x 5: 145 x 3, 165 x 3, 185 x 20
JOKERS: 205 x 3, 225 x 3, 245 x 1
Down sets - 5x3 @ 90% TM: 185 x 3, 3, 3, 3, 3 [90 sec rest]
Jokers & 5x3 supersetted w/ Hanging Leg Raises: 7 x 10

Accessory
A - Back Squat w/ SSB: 95lbs x 10, 10, 10, 10, 12, 12 [60 sec rest]
B1 - Reverse Hyper: 80lbs x 10, 10, 10, 12, 12 [Paired w/ leg curl. Minimal rest between]
B2 - Standing Single Leg Curl: 30lbs x 10, 10, 10, 10, 10

Core
Weighted Swiss Ball Crunches: 30lbs x 15, 15, 15, 15 [30 sec rest]
Side Bends: 45lbs x 20, 20, 20, 20 [no rest]

More 20 rep deadlift fun. I recorded a video of the set so everyone else could share in the misery. Form critiques are also welcome because after ~12 reps I have enough trouble keeping count, so focusing on proper technique is almost impossible.

EDIT: Video is sideways, so here’s a link:

Cycle 2, Week 2, Day 3 â?? OH Press [3 x 3]
Overhead Press:
WU
3 x 3: 70 x 3, 80 x 3, 85 x 9
JOKERS: 90 x 3, 95 x 3, 100 x 2
FSL: 70 x 8, 8, 8, 6, 5 [60 sec rest]
3x3 / Jokers / FSL supersetted w/ Swiss Ball Crunches: 10 x 15

Accessory
A1 - Chins: 10, 10, 10, 8, 8 [15lbs x 2, 2]
A2 - Dips: BW x 5 x 15
B1 - Seated Military Press Machine Press: 40lbs x 12, 12, 12, 10, 8, 30lbs x 5
B2 - Rear Delt Fly: 50lbs x 5 x 12 [30 sec rest after mil press, 60 sec rest after rear delt fly]

Core
Straight Leg Raise: 5 x 12 [30 sec rest]

Still alternating grips on the barbell for the overhead press. Iâ??m leaning towards thumbless rather than a full grip. My elbows are definitely flaring out a bit as the weight gets heavier, so Iâ??m still improving form. Otherwise, pretty standard session. In week 2 of cycle 1 I pressed 80lbs for 6 reps and this week I pressed 85lbs for 9 reps. Also, only 4 chins leftover this time (compared to 14 leftover in week 2 of cycle 1). Not bad considering Iâ??ve put on a good 10 lbs since that time, but Iâ??d really like to get 5x10 before this cycle is over.

Cycle 2, Week 2, Day 4 - Front Squat [3 x 3]
Front Squat
WU
3 x 3: 115 x 3, 130 x 3, 145 x 12
JOKERS: 155 x 3, 165 x 3, 175 x 2
FSL: 115 x 8, 8, 8, 8, 8
3x3 / Jokers supersetted w/ weighted chins: 20lbs x 5 x 3; 30lbs x 5 x 3
FSL supersetted w/ pull-ups: BW x 5 x 5

Accessory
A1 - BB Bulgarian Split Squat: 75lbs x 10, 10, 10, 12, 12
A2 - Romanian Deadlift: 185 x 10, 10, 12, 12, 15 [60 sec rest between exercises]

Core / Traps
B1 - Straight Leg Raises: 5 x 12
B2 - 45 Degree Back Extension: 5 x 12 w/ 30lb DB
B3 - BB Shrugs: 135lbs x 15, 15, 15, 12, 12 [all reps w/ 2 sec pause at top]
[Minimal rest between exercises]

Phew. This day is fun, but very tough. The second half is almost a full blown conditioning workout. I moved the shrugs out of the Squat/RDL superset for a couple of reasons: (i.) My grip was hindering the last few sets of RDLs and shrugs, and (ii.) Joe Defranco talked about training traps in his latest podcast and mentioned lowering the weight and making sure youâ??re getting full ROM and pausing at the top. Moving them into the core/back extension superset allowed me to lower the weight and have better grip across the board, while still keeping the workout to an hour.

Cycle 2, Week 3, Day 1 Bench [5/3/1]

BB Bench Press:
WU
5/3/1: 115 x 5, 130 x 3, 145 x 11
Jokers: 155 x 1, 170 x 1, 185 x 1
Down sets - 5 x 1 @ TM w/ pause at bottom: 155 x 5 x 1 [90 sec rest]
5/3/1 & Jokers supersetted w/ chin ups: 5 x 8; 5 x 5
Down sets supersetted w/ BB Curls: 50lbs x 5 x 10

Assistance:
A1 - DB Incline Bench: 40s x 5 x 12
A2 - DB Row: 50 x 5 x 12 [~60 sec rest between A1/A2]
B1 - DB Decline Triceps Extension: 20s x 12, 12, 10, 10
B2 - Decline Sit Up: 4 x 10 [no rest between B1/B2]

Final week of the first two cycles…

Cycle 1: 135x9; top joker set 170x1.
Cycle 2: 145x11; top joker set 185x1.

The 185 single went up so fast I thought about doing a couple more reps, but racked it before I did something stupid. Instead I chose to do 5 singles at my current TM for my down sets this week. The weight felt really light, so I paused at the bottom and exploded up each time. Assistance work flew by and I was out of the gym in less than an hour.

Cycle 2, Week 3, Day 2
Deadlift [5/3/1]:
WU
5/3/1: 155 x 5, 175 x 3, 195 x 20
JOKERS: 215 x 1, 235 x 1, 255 x 1
FSL: 155 x 5 x 8 [90 sec rest]
Jokers & FSL supersetted w/ Hanging Leg Raises: 8 x 10

Assistance
A - Back Squat w/ yoke bar: 95lbs x 6 x 12 [60 sec rest]
B1 - Reverse Hyper: 90lbs x 5 x 8 [Minimal rest between pairing]
B2 - Standing Single Leg Curl: 40lbs x 5 x 8

Core
Weighted Swiss Ball Crunches: 35lbs x 4 x 15 [30 sec rest]
Side Bends: 45lbs x 5 x 20 [no rest]

Final week comparison of the first two cycles:

Cycle 1: 175x20; top joker set 235x1.
Cycle 2: 195x20; top joker set 255x1.

Another cycle full of 20 rep deadlifts. The biggest â??problemâ?? Iâ??m having with 5/3/1 so far is deciding whether to continue these 20 rep deadlift sets or bastardizing the progression. Iâ??m leaning towards the latter. 20lb increase, here I come!

Cycle 2, Week 3, Day 3
Overhead Press [5/3/1]
WU
3 x 3: 70 x 5, 80 x 3, 90 x 9
JOKERS: 100 x 1, 105 x 1, 115 x 1
FSL: 75 x 8, 8, 8, 7, 6 [60 sec rest]
Jokers & FSL supersetted w/ Swiss Ball Crunches: 10 x 25

Accessory
A1 - Chins: BW x 5 x 10
A2 - Dips: BW x 5 x 15 [90 sec rest between]
B1 - Seated Military Press Machine Press: 40lbs x 12, 12, 12, 11, 10, 30lbs x 6
B2 - Rear Delt Fly: 50lbs x 5 x 12 [30 sec rest after mil press, 60 sec rest after rear delt fly]

Core
Straight Leg Raise: 5 x 12 [30 sec rest]

Final week comparison of the first two cycles:
Cycle 1: 85x6; top joker set 100x1.
Cycle 2: 90x9; top joker set 115x1.

Great session. I ended up hitting all my goals, including the 5x10 chin ups.