T Nation

Excelsior's 5/3/1 Log


#1

After MANY years of lurking around here (since '05-'06 even though my profile says I joined in '08) I’ve decided to put up my own log. I’ve been working out off and on since high school having played football, track, cross country and even competitive cheerleading(and not the clap my hands and yell type of cheering…well not the only type of cheerleading). After college, I went away to college to cheer for a major SEC college where my freshman year I easily put on 30lbs in a few months(lean mass) after training with the same guy who got me into cheering in the first place. I went from ~150lb to 185 in that short time frame but was still relatively weak, especially in the shoulders and arms which as you can imagine, if you’ve ever seen competitive cheerleaders, they hold girls above their heads with one arm for sometimes extended periods of time.

The training I did with my friend there definitely helped but it was mostly due to “noob” gains since high school football did some kind of periodization that left me spinning my wheels and not really getting any stronger. After my one year at the SEC college I ended up moving back closer to home due to an illness of a family member and just trained sporadically with no real place to workout(my parents house didn’t have much room for my weight bench anymore).

Fast forward to now, I’ve recently gotten back into training with a circuit that helped my conditioning before jumping onto Starting Strength from the beginning of November to the beginning of January. My lifts went as follows:
Squat: 225lbs-3x5 --> 330lbs-3x5
BP: 160-3x5 --> 220-3x5
OHP: 110-3x5 --> 150-3x5
DL: 200-1x5 --> 375-1x5

After taking a forced deload due to getting nauseated/ill and then dealing with an ER visit for my daughter, I came back after about 1-2 weeks off picking back up with Madcow’s 5x5. I felt that Starting Strength was too much for me at the those weights and pushing it left me unable to recover properly before the next workout. With recovery in mind I decided to go from Starting Strength to Madcow’s so that my progression would still be linear but only every week instead of every workout. I’m about to start my fifth week on Sunday and my lifts are now at:
Squat: 350lbs-1x5
BP: 225-1x3
OHP: 150-1x5
DL: 375- 1x5

From here on while still on madcow’s it should be a weekly PR until I stall. I’m not sure exactly when that’ll be but I know I won’t make it a full 12 weeks but even going another 2-4 weeks would be nothing but PR’s. I know that’s something that many here don’t see as often if their more advanced but in all honesty the PR I felt best about was the 225 for reps. That’s been something I’ve wanted since high school and I finally got it 10 years later with only a few months of work. I’d kick myself for that but it wouldn’t help me to achieve my new goals. So I’ll leave it at that. If there’s any questions about anything ask away. I’m always lurking and who knows, this log might keep me more accountable than the last few times I had to stop short of my goals(I’ve hit 220 for reps multiple times before being derailed due to life and what not). Anyway, have at it and kudos to anyone who actually read this long intro.


#2

Today started my 5th week of madcow 5x5 with squats and bench press.
Squat:
45lbs- 2x5
175lbsx5
220x5
265x5
305x5
350x5

Bench Press:
45lbs-2x5
115lbsx5
140x5
170x5
195x5
225x5

On squats, the 350lbs felt heavy enough. Apparently so much so that I could feel myself drift forward on the last rep, but was able to get the rep without any complication or slowing down the bar speed too much. It wasn’t a grind for the rep, just felt out of the “groove.”

Bench felt great. I’ve had issues with my right shoulder for years now but not even an inkling of discomfort or even soreness. And as I said in my initial post, 225x5 was a goal for me since high school. My white whale if you will. Now that I’ve finally gotten it I’m not letting it go and intend to go as high as possible over the next ten years. My next achievement for bench to reach for is going to be 315 because, well, it’s 3 plates, but I’ll have plenty of mini goals to strive for until then. Hopefully it won’t take me nearly as long to get to 315 as it did to get 225.


#3

Today was week 5 day 2 of madcow 5x5 so squats were kind of a deload while I continue to push OHP and DL higher for more PR’s on each one.
Squats:
45lbs- 2x5
175lbs x5
220x5
265-2x5

Overhead Press:
45-2x5
95x5
115x5
135x5
155x5

Deadlift:
135 with fatgripz- 2x5
250x5
290x5
335x5 w/ straps
385x5 w/ straps

I know I shouldn’t rely on the straps so much for deadlift but in all honesty I let my grip hinder me too many times before. I’m not exactly in a push to go for a competition or anything. Maybe one day, but not now. I just want my lifts to be as high as possible. If and when the day comes I decide to do competition I’ll put A LOT more emphasis on my grip training. After I stall out on this phase of my training, I’ll put more work in on grip strength with more chinups/pullups, plate pinches, etc.

The 385lbs deadlift did not leave me winded much less lightheaded. I probably could have done many more reps with it had this been a 5/3/1 template, but only went for the 5 reps stated in the program. Again, no rush and no need to risk injury from fatigue, but 405lbs for reps is going to be right around the corner(2-3weeks) and that’ll be another achievement I can cross off the list.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#4

Today was week 5 day 3 and I had no energy or motivation whatsoever. Whole family’s been sick this week and I’m sure I’ve got a bit of it feeling rundown and headaches here and there. Decided it would not be in my best interest to do a full session and left it with just the bench for the day and I even cut that short too. I really could not focus for anything after work.

Anyway here’s what I DID do:
Bench Press:
115lbs x 5
140 x 5
170 x 5
195 x 5
230 x 3 (still a PR)

This is the first time I’ve done any training during the Lenten season which means no meat on Fridays for me and didn’t realize how much it would take it out of me if I didn’t prepare accordingly. Diet today was probably subpar which didn’t help my energy or recovery from whatever I feel like I have. I’m going to take the weekend to see how I feel. If I’m good to go for another week I’ll pick it back up. If not, I’ll do a 5/3/1 7th week protocol then move on to the next phase of my training which will consist of the prep and fat loss program from 5/3/1 Forever.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#5

R&R is important for recovery. Finally getting around to doing something I’ve been wanting to do for months. Everybody enjoy you’re weekends even of it’s not a day off.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#6

So after consideration of how my last session went on Friday, I decided to deload this week so that I could move onto the Prep and Fat Loss program from 5/3/1 Forever. Deload went fine, but it seems as though I may have run into trouble with my assistance work.

Here’s how it went for me:
Bench Press
160lbsx5
180x3
205x1
225x1

Assistance supersetted
plate raises w/ 25lbs: 3x12
pullups: 3x10
good mornings at 45lbs: 12, 7(sharp pain in left hamstring), 12

The second set of good mornings I felt a sharp pain in my left hamstring around rep 5. 6 and 7th reps the pain persisted so I ended the set there. I used the safety pins on the rack to try and “foam roll” my hamstring. The pain went away through the last set but was still tight which is why I could hit 12 reps without a problem. Now about an hour or so post workout it seems the tightness and soreness are there with a vengeance. Looks like no more hamstring work for a bit including my deadlifts this week unless this heals up quick enough.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#7

It’s been a while since I did a legitimate deload and I could feel it tonight. I did squats tonight and they felt HEAVY. I’m not even sure why since my left hamstring has felt fine with maybe slight soreness and the last time I did squat I was doing 350lbs for 5 reps.

Squats:
45lbs-2x5
240x5
275x3
310x1
345x1

curls (65lbs)- 3x10
plate raise(25lbs)- 3x10

Hopefully after a good run of the prep and fat loss program after this week of deloading I’ll be feeling much more energetic and just all around better and stronger.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#8

Last day of my deload, I lumped my press and deadlift together.

OHP:
45lbs-2x5
110x5
125x3
140x1
155x1

DL:
265x5
305x3
340x1
380x1

DB BP:
35lbs-3x15

pullup(neutral grip)-8, 6, 5, 4

Good Morning:
45lbs- 3x10

Considering earlier in the week my hamstring had a sharp pain, I was reluctant to do the deadlifts. No pain whatsoever so I even decided to do some good mornings and even those felt good with no pain. Come Sunday, I’ll be starting the Prep and Fat Loss program for 6 weeks.


#9

It’s been a few days since my deload and was finally able to start the Prep and Fat Loss Program after coming down with strep this weekend. It put me out of commission Saturday and Sunday, then Monday I had to work and still wasn’t 100%. Tonight I felt good for the first time since mid-Saturday and was able put in the work for this program. I started with the bench press day to get things rolling.

BP:90lbsx5
facepulls x25
BP: 115x5
facepulls x25
BP:135x5
bodyweight lunges: 15/leg
BP: 160x5
lunges: 15/leg
BP: 180x5
chinup x15(with bands)
BP: 205x5
chinup x15(with bands)
BP:160x5
chinups x11(with bands)
BP: 160x5
DB rows(25lb) x20/arm
BP:160x5
DB rows(25lb) x20/arm
BP:160x5
swings(25lb plate) x20
BP:160x5
swings(25lb plate) x20

Kind of disappointed to miss the last few reps for the chin-ups even with bands. An eventual goal is to get to the point to do 10 solid reps of body weight chin-ups/pull-ups sooner than later. Maybe after this six week program it’ll be within arm’s reach if not already attained.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#10

Day 2 of week 1 of the prep and fat loss program and it was more intense with the squats thrown in instead of the bench press. It took a little longer to finish this session but I was able to finish it in less than 45 minutes.

Sq: 140lbsx5
hanging leg raises x 20
Sq: 175x5
leg raises x 20
Sq: 205 x 5
leg raises x 20
Sq: 240 x 5
dips x 20
Sq: 275 x 5
pull up x 10 (with bands)
Sq: 310 x 5
dips x 20
Sq: 240 x 5
pull up x 10 (with bands)
Sq:240 x 5
plate raises(25lb) x 10
Sq: 240 x 5
pull up x 10 (with bands)
Sq: 240 x 5
plate raises(25lb) x 10
Sq: 240 x 5
pull up x 10

I had to push through for the last few sets being still kind of spent from the session the day before. I was somewhat winded and feeling the lightheadedness at times so as Jim says, if you’re feeling that way then you need these sessions. In six weeks, I’m pretty sure I’ll notice a difference.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#11

Today I did day 3 of week 1 of the prep and fat loss program. I tried to wake up early (5:30am) but it was just not meant to be. I was really sore and tired so I pushed it back until an opportunity arose around 12:30pm to train. Today was overhead press day.

OHP: 60lbs x 5
facepulls x 25
OHP: 80x5
facepulls x 25
OHP: 95x5
bw lunges: 15/leg
OHP: 110x5
bw lunges: 15/leg
OHP: 125x5
chinups x 15(w/ bands)
OHP: 140x5
chinups x 15(w/ bands)
OHP: 110x5
chinups x 15(w/ bands)
OHP: 110x5
25lbs DB rows x 20
OHP: 110x5
25lbs DB rows x 20
OHP: 110x5
swings(25lb plate) x 25
OHP: 110x5
swings(25lb plate) x 25

Overall, it was a good day. Nothing really held me back other than my lack of grip strength and strength in my back for the chinups. The last set of chinups was a struggle after rep 7 essentially taking a break after each rep until I hit 15. I was not going to miss more reps. I’m determined to bring my back and grip up to snuff once and for all and leaving reps like that is part of the problem. Quitting when it gets too hard is easy. Pushing past that mental and physical barrier(without injury, of course) is the hardest thing. Now I’m eating a bowl of zucchini pasta in a tomato basil soup sauce due to it being Lent and no meat. On top of that, I’m going to get a protein shake and a banana in for some carbs and much needed protein.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#12

I’ve got two days worth of sessions to put up. Fell behind due life in general but still working. This is going to be day 4 of week 1.

DL: 150lbsx5
leg raises x20
DL: 190x5
leg raises x20
DL: 230x5
leg raises x20
DL: 265x5
dips x 20
DL: 305x5
pullupsx10 (w/ bands)
DL: 340x5
dips x20
DL: 265x5
pullupsx10 (w/ bands)
DL: 265x5
25lb plate raises x 10
DL: 265x5
pullupsx10 (w/bands)
DL:265x5
25lb plate raises x 10
DL: 265x5
pullupsx10 (w/bands)

This session truly sent me to the edge ending with nausea and leaving me on the floor. It beat me up but I finished it. Not necessarily in the time frame I wanted but it was done. I ended up finishing up in 47:24. Again, longer than I wanted but it’s the first week and it was deadlift day which taxes the whole body anyway so I’m not really surprised it took its toll.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#13

Today’s actual session was for bench for day 1 week 2. Felt pretty good and finished it faster than last time shaving off almost 8 minutes. Granted this was the 5’s week of the 3/5/1 progression but still progress was made nonetheless.

BP: 80lbsx5
facepulls x 25
BP: 100x5
facepulls x 25
BP: 125x5
lunges 15/leg
BP:145x5
lunges 15/leg
BP:170x5
chinups x17
BP:190x5
chinupsx15
BP: 145x5
chinups x15
BP:145x5
25lb DB row x20
BP: 145x5
25lb DB row x20
BP: 145x5
swings x25
BP: 145x5
swings x25

I ran through this session pretty quickly and easily so next week may see a progression in the weight for the accessory lifts just to keep it challenging without overdoing it if this week continues to progress in the same way.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam


#14

I once again am trying to get caught up on a backlog of my session so I’m just going to get right into it. This is week 2 day 2.

Sq:120lb x 5
hanging leg raises x 20
Sq: 155 x 5
hanging leg raises x 20
Sq: 190 x 5
hanging leg raises x 20
Sq 225 x 5
dips x 20
sq: 260 x 5
pullup x 10 (w/ bands)
Sq: 295 x 5
dips x 20
Sq: 225 x 5
pullup x 10(w/ bands)
sq: 225 x 5
25lb plate raises x 10
Sq: 225 x 5
pullup x 10(w/ bands)
sq: 225 x 5
25lb plate raises x 10
sq: 225 x 5
pullup x 10 (w/ bands)
Finished all of it in 39:07


#15

week 2 day 3 done yesterday.

OHP: 55lbs x 5
facepulls x 25
ohp: 70x5
facepulls x 25
ohp: 85x5
bodyweight lunges x 15/leg
ohp: 100 x 5
lunges x 15/leg
ohp: 115 x 5
chinup x 20
ohp: 130 x 5
chinup x 15
ohp: 100x5
chinup x 15
ohp: 100x5
25lb DB rows x 20
ohp: 100x5
25lb DB rows x20
ohp: 100x5
25lb swings x 25
ohp: 100x5
25lb swings x 25
Finished in 33:47


#16

Tonight was week 2 day 4. Deadlift day.

DL: 135lb x 5
hanging leg raises x 20
DL: 170 x 5
hanging leg raises x 20
DL: 210 x 5
leg raises x 20
DL: 245 x 5
dips x 20
DL: 285 x 5
pullups x 10(w/ bands)
DL: 325 x 5 (reps 4 & 5 used mixed grip)
dips x 20
DL: 245 x 5
pullup: 10
DL: 245 x 5
25lb plate raises x 10
DL: 245 x 5
pullups x 10
DL: 245 x 5
25lb plate raises x 10
DL: 245 x 5
pullups x 10
Finished in 39:54. Times have definitely improved since last week and seeing improvement is very encouraging. I will eventually start removing the two bands for pullups and increasing weight in accessory lifts to keep it challenging and to keep increasing strength in those areas. 4 more weeks to go.


#17

Once again, I’m playing catch up with my log. A recurring theme but unfortunately seems unavoidable when my sessions take place at night before bed. Anyway, first session was yesterday with bench press.

BP:100lbs x5
facepulls x 25
BP:125 x 5
facepulls x 25
BP:145 x 5
bodyweight lunges x 15/leg
BP:170 x 5
lunges x 15/leg
BP:190 x 5
chinups x20(w/ bands)
BP:215 x 5
chinups x17(w/ bands)
BP:170 x 5
chinups x15(w/ bands)
BP:170 x 5
25lb DB row x 20
BP:170 x 5
25lb DB row x 20
BP:170 x 5
25lb swings x 20
BP:170 x 5
25lb swings x 20
Finished 41:41. This one had me nearly vomiting but it was mostly because I had a heavy meal that sat in my stomach for longer than I thought it would. Not to mention, a “cheat day” on Sunday due to Easter left me feeling more sluggish than usual.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#18

Today was squats.
Sq:155lb x 5
hanging leg raises x20
Sq:190x5
leg raises x 20
Sq:225x5
leg raises x20
Sq:260x5
dips x20
Sq:295x5
pullups x10(w/ bands)
Sq:330x5
dips x20
Sq:260x5
pullups x10(w/bands)
Sq:260x5
25lb plate raises x10
Sq:260x5
pullupsx10 (w/bands)
Sq:260x5
25lb plate raises x10
Sq:260x5
pullupsx10 (w/bands)
Finished 39:24. Felt a little rough but still manageable though I’m wondering if the volume might be a little high come the next three weeks when the TM increases and there’s two more sets of the supplemental work. I’ll keep going and just adjust my TM after all is said and done if necessary.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#19

Had to take two days off but was able to come back strong today for overhead presses. Actually, by the end of it I felt really good. It wasn’t “easy” but I definitely wasn’t nearly as winded. I took a little bit more time(less than a minute) than the last session but got more work in, improving in the chinups, moving heavier weight, and so on. Session today went as follows:

OHP: 70lbsx5
facepulls x25
OHP: 85x5
facepulls x25
OHP:100x5
bodyweight lunges x15/leg
OHP:115x5
lunges x15/leg
OHP:130x5
chinups x20(w/bands)
OHP:145x5
chinups x20(w/bands)
OHP:115x5
chinups x15(w/bands)
OHP: 115x5
25lbs DB rows x20
OHP: 115x5
25lbs DB rows x20
OHP: 115x5
25lbs swings x25
OHP: 115x5
25lbs swings x25
Finished 34:26. I don’t think I’ve clarified the bands that I use on the chinups bit they are the green mini resistence bands from elitefts. I use two of them at a time and plan to decrease down to one for the next three weeks so I can increase the difficulty and work back up to the top end of reps on those chinups. I am making it a goal to do the chinups and pullups without any bands within the next cycle or two of 5/3/1.
I know the old adage of “do what you suck at” to see improvement but I’m very surprised at just how quickly it actually works when you stick with it. My lats look much wider than they ever did and feel much stronger. I won’t revel in it but hopefully by the time I start the krypteia program in mid-May I’ll actually be doing bodyweight or even weighted pullups. Motivation to keep going.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


#20

Did deadlifts today and will take two days off due to work the next two days.

DL: 170lbs x5
hanging leg raises x20
DL: 210x5
hanging leg raises x20
DL: 245x5
hanging leg raises x20
DL: 285x5
dips x20
DL: 325x5 (reps 4&5 were mix grip)
pullups x10 (w/ bands)
DL: 360x5 (w/ straps)
dips x20
DL: 285x5
pullups x10(w/ bands)
DL: 285x5
35lb plate raises x10
DL: 285x5 (rep 5 used mix grip)
pullups x10(w/ bands)
DL: 285x5
35lb plate raises x10
285: 285x5
pullups x10(w/ bands)
Finished 43:18. Wasn’t completely exhausted at the end of this one but still winded a bit. I still took a little bit of rest upwards of 90s or so towards the end especially as my grip began to fail on me. The extra rest kept my grip from giving too much and prevented me from having to use straps or mix grip to complete the reps. I tried to use chalk as much as possible when grip started to get weak. Another goal of mine is going to be doing my higher weights without straps and a double overhand grip. I try not to use a mix grip as much as possible especially with heavier weights due to the risk of a biceps injury. With the lower weight, I can focus on the reps and still challenge my grip to get it up to par.

After the session, I cut the grass which acted as a kind of prowler workout. Obviously a lawnmower won’t ever replace a prowler but I wasn’t trying to tax myself after a deadlift session. This was made especially true after one point towards the end of cutting the grass my left quadricep cramped up and just stayed locked up for nearly a half hour. I tried working it out by messaging it, taking a softball and kneading the muscle, even eating a banana, 400mg magnesium, water(of course), and a coq10 for good measure. It wasn’t until after a shower the muscle finally seemed to relax. Anyway, it’s all good now but still feeling everything so two days off should do me some good. So until then…

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.