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Excelsior's 5/3/1 Log


Week 1 day 3 of 5/3/1 & widowmakers with deadlifts and overhead press. It was a pretty good session even with a little bit of an outside distraction that just would not let me focus.

DL:245lb x5
285 x5
325 x11
245 x15

OHP: 100lbs x5
115 x5
130 x10
100 x15

Ending a session not rundown like with the prep and fat loss program feels great. Unfortunately, I have yet to get in any assistance work. I don’t want to lose the progress I made with my pullups as that has been a priority for me but until I can do the workouts without distraction and interruptions the main work and supplemental will have to suffice. Maybe when I start krypteia I’ll get the assistance work back in there.

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Week 2 day 1 and I’m not going to lie. I had A LOT of anxiety going into this session today. I didn’t know how I’d do with any of the weight not to mention the widowmakers for the squats. Maybe it was residual aggression from the day or the therapeutic nature of a session for me, but it felt great. What’s even better is that I know progress is being made.

Sq: 240lbs x3
275 x3
310 x10(PR)
240 x20

BP: 160 x3
180 x3
210 x11(PR)
160 x19(failed 20th rep)

That 310 for 10 was an achievement for me in more than one way. Months ago before I got the Forever book I had done a cycle of basic 5/3/1 just to do something until I figured out what to do since I had just finished Starting Strength. I ended up getting 315 for 9. I was pretty happy about that at the time. Recently, I was a little underwhelmed by my performance feeling as though I had gotten weaker. Tonight I got the 310 for 10 which puts my estimated 1rm at ~412lbs. Overall, an increase in my squat since that point and I can only imagine it’ll continue to get better.

For my bench tonight, I was actually kind of surprised by it. I hit 205 for 11 which gives an estimated 1rm of ~279. I’ve never even tried to hit anything higher than 235 for 1. So seeing that only makes motivation easier. I have a desired achievement of 315+ and seeing that type of estimate is extremely promising. The widowmaker surprised me just as much because I kept hitting reps up until 14 then went rest pause until the 20th rep where my triceps failed to lock out and I barely got the bar racked. I really didn’t think I’d get close to that, but as Jim says the body adapts you get stronger.

So to be honest, all in all tonight did not seem bad at all. I didn’t feel like any rep was a grind except the last few widowmakers for the bench. Everything else felt…I want to say easy but more like less difficult than I was expecting. When it comes to widowmakers it’s said that if you’re not on the floor recovering in a pool of vomit and seeing God you didn’t go hard enough. With next week’s weight of 260, if it feels the same as this week should I keep pushing it another 15-20 pound and continue with another cycle of 5/3/1? I’m tempted to challenge it and go for another 3 weeks depending on how I feel next week. If anyone reading has any thoughts let me know.

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Week 2 day 2

Sq: 240lbs 5x5

BP: 160 5x5

facepulls 2x25
pullups 5x10 @ bodyweight(no bands)
swings 2x25 @25lbs
85lb BB curls (just because I felt like it)

This session went really well and I wanted to add in some curls just because I felt like it. The bodyweight pullups are kind of a feat for me since I’ve never done that many without a band before. If I can get 5x10 with bodyweight, I’ll see about adding some weight eventually which is, not going to lie, kind of exciting. I have a rogue squat rack that has a fat bar for pullups so I’m thinking of implementing that to help with my grip and forearms also.

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Week 2 Day 3
Still going very well with the widowmakers though I am capping everything at 15 except for the squats which I’m pushing all the way to 20.

DL: 265lbs x3
305 x3
340 x10
265 x15(widowmaker)

OHP: 110lbs x3
125 x3
140 x10
110 x15(widowmaker)
Again, not a bad day, but the heat in the garage had me pretty drenched throughout. Next week will be week 3 then the deload. After that I’ll be starting krypteia.

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Week 3 day 1. A new week and new percentages and today was the day I had been waiting for to see how a true widowmaker felt. I definitely had to take a few minutes to get up off my knees without getting a little dizzy. Bench press was also a milestone in breaking a barrier that has eluded me since high school.

Sq: 260lbs x5
295 x3
330 x8
260 x20(widowmaker)

BP: 175 lbs x5
200 x3
225 x8(PR)
175 x15

Jim says in the description of 5/3/1 and Widowmakers if you can’t get excited about PR’s and widowmakers then you might as well bow out of weightlifting. There’s definitely a sense of pride in setting a PR on multiple lifts and watching those lifts gradually increase with each cycle. All is looking well for the end of this cycle and then the next step in my journey which will be a commitment to Krypteia.

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Wk3 day 2. Another day in the log and another descent day lifting. The squatting felt heavy and I could feel it in my back. Probably from not bracing enough throughout each rep or something. Benching was okay and didn’t aggravate my shoulder too much.

Sq: 260lbs 5x5

BP:175 5x5
35lbs DB incline press 5x10

pullups: 10, 10, 5 +2 singles

I was unable to do many sets of pullups and may need the bands after all to complete more sets until I’m a little bit stronger with better range of motion. Next up is deadlifts and overhead press then the deload.

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Wk 3 day 3. I actually did this session last night but didn’t have the time to put in the log on here.

DL: 285lbs x5
325 x3
360 x8(straps)
285 x15(straps)

OHP: 115 x5
130 x3
145 x8
115 x15

Deadlifts had me lightheaded and nauseated afterwards. Took me a minute to catch my breath and get OHP setup. Still a pretty good session and good numbers considering I capped the deadlifts well short of failure knowing I still had the widowmaker set to do. This week will be a 7th week protocol then onto a large commitment in the Krypteia. I’m very eager/excited/anxious to get that started and I may do a TM test just to make sure I’m not going to be starting too high for this next phase.

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Today was day 1 of 2 for a 7th week protocol TM test. I’m doing the TM test due to starting the Krypteia program come next week and need to be sure of my training maxes before I start. Today I knocked out squat and bench.

Sq: 250lbs x5
285 x5
320 x5
355 x5(PR)

Bench: 170 x5
190 x5
215 x5
240 x5(PR)

BB curls: 95lbs 2 x8 supersetted with 85lb for 3
85lbs x8 ->65 x6->45x8

All reps on the 100%TM felt good with good bar speed other than the last rep for the squat. That last rep was slow out of the hole but once I got out of the bottom it went up with descent bar speed. Then I threw in a few set of curls just because. My arms have always seemed a bit on the small side and now almost disproportionate to the rest of my frame. So some curls were thrown in for kicks and giggles to bring up something I feel is lagging. Tomorrow I’m going to try to knock out the deadlifts and OHP so I can have some days off before starting the Krypteia on Sunday.

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Stopped by to see what you’re up to and it seems like you’re doing well! Your profile listed your goals and your TM test just beat a couple of those. Nice work!


Thanks. I haven’t looked at those numbers since I first put them in so I guess it’s time to update them and thanks also for stopping by.


Second TM test day with DL and OHP

DL: 135lb x5,5 (warm up)
225 x5(warm up)
275 x5(straps)
310 x5(straps)
350 x5(straps
390 x5(PR, straps)

OHP: 110 x5
130 x5
145 x5
160 x5(PR)

I did some warm up sets leading up to the work sets for the deadlifts since going straight into the work sets at 275lb would have left me ill prepared and not technically sound to lift the heavier weights. The 390 x5 felt like how my 350 used to feel, pulling at my pecs real bad. For some reason pulling heavier weights leave me straining in my chest and I’m not sure why. If anyone has any insight or cues to help with that, please let me know. I used straps for all the working sets because I don’t want my weak grip strength to hold back my deadlift and this was a TM test of my deadlift not grip strength.

The OHP went surprisingly well. I’ve always had issues with my shoulders so seeing the OHP continue to go up without pain in my shoulder is fantastic. Next two days will be rest days even though I’ll be at work but it’s not a labor intensive job. It’s just stressful and mentally demanding so hopefully come Sunday, which I will still be working, I won’t be too drained after work to start Krypteia. Fingers crossed.

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So today was the first day of Krypteia with overhead presses and ummm I’m pretty sure I missed something. I figured having done the prep and fat loss program I was going to need to just jump and get to work. Well half way through I checked the time and…it had only been just over 6 minutes. Needless to say I drastically slowed down with more rest time at about 60-90 seconds at least. Looking at everything after the fact, I believe I missed a few sets. I think I missed some warm up sets that would have gotten a couple more sets of the assistance in there to bring their totals to 50 reps each. As it stands, what I ended up finishing was the main work and 40 reps of each assistance exercise. I’m going to update my excel sheets to reflect the missed sets and use that starting with the squats session.

OHP: 110lbs x5
40lb DB squat x10
OHP: 130 x5
40lb DB SLDL x10
OHP: 145 x5
40lb DB squat x10
OHP: 110 x5
40lb DB SLDL x10
OHP: 110 x5
40lb DB squat x10
OHP: 110 x5
40lb DB SLDL x10
OHP: 110 x5
40lb DB squat x10
OHP: 110 x5
40lb DB SLDL x10

So with all that I ended in 21:52. Even with the added sets I’m sure this prep phase should still be able to be done under 45:00 minutes but squats and deadlifts will probably present a challenge as they did in the prep and fat loss program. I’m ready for the challenge and await the results of the full program.

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Before I get into my log for tonight I just have one thing I have to say first on a very important day for myself.

Seven years ago today, the girl of my dreams became much more than just a reality. She became my life, the mother of my two beautiful girls. She believes I’m her anchor while she works and goes through school to get her doctorate, but she is my rock. My foundation. Unwavering, unyielding, and immovable because I would crumble to nothing without her. She has been the love of my life since 8th grade and will be forever and always.

So now on to my log with Wk 1 day 2 with squats today.

Squats: 180lb x5
35lbs DB incl press x10
Sq: 215 x5
pullups x10(w/ one band)
Sq:250 x5
35lbs DB incl press x10
Sq:285 x5
pullups x10(w/ one band)
Sq:320 x5
35lbs DB incl press x10
Sq:250 x5
pullups x10(w/ one band)
Sq:250 x5
35lbs DB incl press x10
Sq:250 x5
pullups x10(w/ one band)
Sq:250 x5
35lbs DB incl press x10
Sq:250 x5
pullups x10(w/ one band)

Finished 36:55. I figured I would have remembered what it felt like when I did the prep and fat loss program, but somehow I forgot how much it would take out of me. Day off tomorrow to rest then it’ll be bench press day.

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I know I haven’t posted in about 3 weeks, but I unfortunately was forced out of the gym and into a rest period with no stress for the betterment of my health. My stress level must have been much higher for longer than it should have been. Between work and my training sessions, I’m betting my cortisol was way too high. The stress eventually physically manifested as an infection above my eye brow that required a 10 day course of antibiotics and what is known as a reactionary node where one of my lymph nodes swelled. I took myself out of the gym especially since my last session had me in dire straights. I didn’t post the log but know that it happened and went well other than the fact my face and head were swollen and pretty itchy. Now nearly 3 weeks later I have finally had the infection resolved with no more than two small scabs above my eye brow where the infection began.

So I am finally getting back in the gym and doing more a bare bones type 5/3/1. I’m looking at the 5’s Pro full body with FSL where I do the 5’s pro on one day then the FSL on a later day of the week. There will be modifications made such as days/week depending on my recovery.



chinups(w/ fat gripz)7,6,5,3,4
I’m tired of my grip giving out on me so I’m working in something I hear is very good at building it up quickly, fat bar chinups.
I’m going to take the next cycle or two and coast or maintain whatever you want to call it. Then once school starts up for the kids and the weather finally starts to cool off I’m switching to a weight loss phase to get rid of my persistent visceral fat that has only been perpetuated by my stress and high cortisol. I’ve focused on strength a lot, but overall health has to come first.

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Week 1 day 2 with this new program. Still keeping the extra work down except for doing some pullups with the fat gripz.

255lbs x5
295 x5
330x 1(grip failed on 2nd rep), 5(w/ straps)

105 x5
120 x5
135 x5

pullups w/ fat gripz: 5,5(then jump rope x100), 5,4,2

Deadlifts were going pretty good and I decided to test my grip a bit on the last set. It failed me miserably on the second rep so I put straps on, reset, then repped out 5. I will get my grip strength up no matter what. Pushing my grip outside my comfort is the only way to do that with weight I haven’t handled before to build some confidence and using the fat gripz on the pull up bar. The jump rope was just lagniappe I decided to throw in for no reason other than I felt like it. Tomorrow I should be able to do the FSL for the bench and squats. I’ll start the next week Sunday and go from there with a rest day on Monday.

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Yesterday I ran sprints instead of doing the supplemental work. Surprisingly enough I was only planning on doing 3-4 sprints as normally that’s all I can muster running about 75-85%. My backyard is about 90 ft(30yds) wide and I do suicides doing down, back, down, back. I walk the same distance for a rest period and just go right into the next sprint. To my astonishment, I pulled off 7 sprints. I didn’t even start huffing and puffing until the 3rd or 4th sprint which is when I knew I had to really push it a little more. The next time I do sprints(I’d like to start doing them at least twice a week for conditioning/fat burning) I’ll push the intensity a bit more closer to 90% and possibly decrease the rest period if necessary.

This is one of the reasons why 5/3/1 is such a great program. You go through a cycle and you can easily re-evaluate your situation as needed. In my case, the need for conditioning and fat loss has come to the forefront for now and I’ll just be maintaining strength until my waistline comes back closer to 34" again(I’m sitting at 36" or so). I wouldn’t care so much about the fat loss aspect if it wasn’t for the fact that I’ve had high cholesterol since my early 20’s. I was on a statin for a while, but had to stop taking it as it caused bad muscle cramping and impeded my ability to perform training sessions and even get a good night’s sleep when I’d wake up in the middle of the night with a debilitatingly painful cramp in my thigh or elsewhere.

Not my usual log and sorry for the long post but anyway sprints were done. Today will be an off day for my daughter’s birthday party this afternoon then I’ll see if tomorrow will the start of my next week.

Aut viam inveniam aut faciam.


Didn’t type up my log here from the other day so here it is.

Week 2 day 1(7/15/18)

250lbs x5
285 x5
320 x5

170 x5
190 x5
215 x5

pullups w/ fat gripz: 7,6,5,5,5
jump rope x100

Nothing too exciting with the main work. The pullups with the fat gripz is getting easier but the problem I’m having is the fat gripz are rotating as I do them. I may just have to bite the bullet and rotate the bar around where I can use the fat bar on my squat rack and leave the fat gripz for other uses like deadlifts or something. I’m also going to start progressing with the jump rope and seeing if I can go for longer time or do intervals with it up to 10-15 minutes and really start working the conditioning more and more.

As I said in one of my previous posts I’m having to re-evaluate how I’m going to program my days. Looks like I’m going to do a 2x2x2 from Forever with no supplemental work. I’m keeping the pullups in every session increasing the reps(hopefully) each time. Today I’m going to try something new which is one-arm DB snatches from here. I’m going to aim for a full 20 minutes(I have straps in case my grip starts to fail on me) and maybe more pull ups or something. Being that this will be a conditioning session I’m going to play it by ear trying a new movement for me. I’ll post the session as soon as I can after I actually get it done tonight. I’ll keep monitoring weight and more importantly my waistline for progress.

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Did my conditioning for the night and feeling pretty good about it. Started off warming up with some jumping jacks then jumping rope for 65-75 jumps. Lost count after continually missing for some strange reason. I guess i was thinking too much about hitting stuff around me(i was trying to jump rope in a very small area of my garage) and ended up hitting myself or everything around me. It was a lost cause at that point but my heart rate was up so I moved on to the actual movement. I did one-arm DB snatches using 25lbs. Followed the routine from here going 15 seconds then resting 15 seconds alternating arms each time. I went for 20 minutes and was soaked from sweat by the end. My left hand’s grip also started to feel weaker as I went but held out for the full 20 minutes. Finished off with a “cool down” of jump rope x100(did much better this time around). Don’t know if I burned 400 calories in that time frame but I’ll take any little bit. Tomorrow will be an “off day” with work then maybe cutting the grass if it actually stays dry then maybe some mobility/prehab work.

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Wk 2 day 2

Didn’t push the conditioning today since I was doing main work today. I walked around my couch for 30 minutes earlier in the day. Then after the kids went to bed I got into the gym.

275lbs x5
310 x5
350 x5

110 x5
130 x5
145 x5
110: 5x5
pullups 5,5,5

I did the main work then threw in a FSL 5x5 for the OHP just to get some more volume for my weak shoulders. Tried to get in more pullups but my shoulders were feeling the wear and tear too much so I stopped it at 3 sets of 5. Tomorrow will be another rest/mobility/whatever day with work.

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Yesterday I cut the grass which without a self-propelled mower is a lightweight version of a prowler push I’d imagine. It took me an hour or so to get that done, after having changed the oil in my car so calories burned all around yesterday.

Today was Wk 3 day 1
Did sprints earlier in the day for more conditioning doing the same as days before. 70-75% doing down, back, down, back with my yard being about 90ft wide. Was able to improve to 10 reps at the 70-75% effort so there is improvement. It made the main work session harder, but between the conditioning and the slight calorie deficit I’m working with I’m not surprised.

Sq: 265lbs x5
300 x5
335 x5

180 x5
205 x5
230 x5
With conditioning being the main focus as well as bringing down body fat, I’m limiting the sessions to pretty much just the main work as of now. Maintaining or even gaining strength will be a plus but I’ll leave that for another cycle.

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