T Nation

Jay's 5/3/1 Strength Phase


Quick background on me. I started lifting again three years ago. I started with some of Coach Thib's training methods found on T-Nation, then I read 5/3/1 and used Jim's method for about 6-months. I made my best gains while using 5/3/1 but ran into a plateau I couldn't get past. Between that and the fact I love to learn more about training I bought some books on Westside and the Cube Method. Too make a long story short, I read the Beyond 5/3/1 book and now my training has come full circle. I just finished my 3rd cycle and decided to create a training log to get some feedback.

I've been using the 5/3/1 Strength Phase in-conjunction with Last Set First and Joker Sets. This feels like the most complete training method I've ever used. I usually approach a training session with a set plan but I often find myself adjusting based on how I feel.

  • Deadlift 1RM
    Start: 405lbs
    Current: 410lbs

  • Olympic Squat: I have hip flexor issues no matter how much I stretch or roll so I just switched to the Olympic squat to see if that helps.
    Start: 320lbs 1RM

  • OHP 1RM
    Start: 155lbs
    Current: 175lbs

  • Bench 1RM
    Start: 230lbs
    Current: 250lbs

I wanted to get this log started even though I'm taking a deload this week.


Any ideas on why you plateaued?


Don't get me wrong, I definitely made some good gains with the basic 5/3/1. I think part of the issue was when I hit that wall and would do a reset, then the lack of heavy weight kind of hindered me a bit. I wasn't smart enough to just add in heavy singles and such a long the way. By the time I worked back to the weight I had plateaued at I wasn't use to really moving heavy weight and I just kept hitting the wall.

The new strength phase 5/3/1 with Joker Sets and Last Set First adds a good amount of heavy work and volume. My lifts have come a long way in a short period.


This week will be a deload week but since I'm just starting the log I'll post what my last two workouts are. I can remember off the top of my head my other two. LOL

Friday - Cycle 3 5/3/1 Squat session: I actually decided to change form from wide to narrow / Olympic stance. My hip flexors have been causing me problems for a while and it doesn't matter how much I stretch and foam roll, so I thought this might help while still being able to squat.

a) Oly Squat: I didn't know my 1RM, so I used this session to find it, 320lbs. I did a back-off set of 225lbs for AMRAPs and moved onto accessory work.
b1. Squat Press 5x10 @ 450lbs
b2. Glute Bridge 5x10 @ 185lbs
c1. Leg Extensions 2x25 @ 60lbs
c2. Leg Curls 2x25 @ 60lbs
- Sprinter sit-ups x 50 reps
- Eliptical interval sprints: 10sec sprint / 30sec jog

Saturday - Cycle 3 5/3/1 Bench Day
a. Bench Press (TM = 215lbs)
- warm-up sets
- 5 @ 170lbs
- 3 @ 190lbs
- 1 @ 205lbs
- 1 @ 225lbs
- 1 @ 240lbs
- 1 @ 250lbs
- 7 @ 225lbs
- 15 @ 190lbs
- 8 @ 170lbs (paused reps)

b. DB Bench 2 x 15+ @ 70lbs
c1. Tricep Pressdowns 5 x 8-10 @ 70lbs
c2. DB Lat Raises 5 x 8-10 @ 35lbs
d. Tricep Rope Extensions 3 x 15 @ 25lbs

Abs: V-Situps x 50 | Standing cable Ab pulldowns 2 x 50

Cardio: Elliptical interval springs 20sec sprint / 40sec jog for 10-minutes then 10-minute light jog

Edit: I'm dealing with some tendonitis in my bicep so I stayed away from any "pulling" type exercises after my DL session last week. I'm hoping that combined with a deload week will help my arm to recover. Normally my OHP and Bench session will definitely include some Rowing, Chin/Pulls-up, and / or Lat Pulldowns.


Cycle 3 - Deload Week

This week was suppose to be a deload week and it's not been great. I had to put two sessions together today (squat / OHP) and I only got about 3 hours of sleep on top of it. I worked up to my TM for both exercises and it didn't feel very solid but I got the sets in, did 2 sets of ABs and went home.

Oly Squat
8 x 95
6 x 135
6 x 185
3 x 225
1 x 275
1 x 290
10 x 225 (felt like doing a back-off set)

8 x 45
8 x 95
6 x 115
3 x 135
1 x 155
1 x 160

- Sprinter Sit-Ups x 50
- Standing rope pull-downs @ 50lbs x 50 reps


Cycle 4 5/3/1 Strength Phase - Week 1 3/3/3

I'm not going to bother posting my last de-load day, kind of a waste; I hate de-loading.

Olympic Squat
warm-up sets
3 @ 205
3 @ 230
3 @ 260
TM @ 290 AMRAP (6 reps)
3 @ 260 (8 reps)
3 @ 230 (10 reps)
5 x 5 paused reps @ 205lbs

Did a super-set of the 5x5 paused reps with straight-legged deadlifts
- 1 x 10 @ 185
- 1 x 10 @ 195
- 3 x 10 @ 205

Sprinter Sit-Ups x 50 reps
Leg raise with a Pike x 25 reps
Standing cable pulldowns @ 55lbs x 50 reps

I decided to get some good ab work in today as I just felt like I needed it; I will get in some conditioning work tomorrow.


Cycle 4 5/3/1 Strength Phase - Week 1 3/3/3
OHP Day:
Warm-up sets
3 @ 110
3 @ 135
3 @ 145
AMRAP @ 160 (TM) - got 4 reps
3 @ 145 (7 reps)
3 @ 135 (8 paused reps)

b. Neutral DB OHP: 2 x 15 @ 40lbs: 1st set 20 reps / 2nd set 15 reps (probably going to use 45lbs next week)
c1: Chin-ups 3 x 10
c2: Dips 3 x 10
d1: Hammer Strength Lat Pulldown 4 x 6-8 @ 230
d2: Tricep Pressdown (cambered bar): 4 x 10 @ 70

Abs - V-Situps x 50

Cardio: Elliptical interval sprints: 40-sec jog / 20-sec sprint

Overall I felt really good coming into this workout. I better of having eaten about 3,200 calories yesterday and about 378grams of carbs all after 4pm (ugh...). Gotta love carb back-loading. Since I'm not lifting tomorrow today is low-carb, hopefully I can get rid of whatever is left from last night's carb-up.