Kdjohn: Physical Philosophy & Iron Insights

Long time lurker, sometimes poster. I started a training log early this year or late last year (can’t remember), but I quickly ditched it.

This time, however, I’m going to use it as a way to keep me accountable and on-track.

Hailing from the frozen North (AKA, Canada), I first started getting interested in physical pursuits as a teenager when I began training various martial arts. This resulted in me fucking around with lots of high-rep body weight training, then fucking around with kettlebells, then fucking around with barbells, before finally becoming more structured in the last couple years.

As of writing this, I’m 27 and roughly 5’8”. I have no idea what my current bodyweight is, nor body fat percentage, but I’ve never cared about those specifics.

Get bigger. Get stronger. Simple.

I’ve never been particularly big, strong or fast, but endurance has always been easy for me. I’d like to bump my weak skills up, particularly adding size.

For as long as I can make it work, I’ll be running 5/3/1, as out if everything I’ve tried, I’ve stuck with it the longest and enjoyed it the most.

I’ll be doing a Leader 6-week Leader cycle of 5’s progression, with Boring But Big at First Set Last weights, followed by 25-50 total reps of assistance

This will the be followed by an Anchor cycle of 3/5/1 with PR sets on 3’s week and 5/3/1 week, followed by 5x5 at First Set Last weights, with 50-100 total reps of assistance.

This will be run 3 days a week, with the 4th session bleeding over into the next week. Conditioning with be done 1-2 days a week right now, and with be left loose so I can regulate depending on how I feel.

Food. All the food. Trying to gain weight, so I really won’t be picky.

Let’s get on with it.

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Training Maxes:
Squat: 295
Bench: 190
Deadlift: 405
Press: 130

I recently dialled back my training maxes due to the increased volume of BBB, and also because I have a 2-week old son who robs a small amount of my sleep.

The discrepancies between my upper and lower body lifts are because I suck at pressing, didn’t have the ability to bench for the longest time, and I like lower body movements more (especially deadlifts).


  • Squat (main): 170x5, 190x5, 220x5, 250x5
  • Squat (supplemental): 5x10 @ 190
  • Banded hamstring curls: 50 total reps


  • Squats felt good. Learned a trick about tucking the elbows under the bar on the way up to help tighten the back. Really helped me feel like the weight was under control and wasn’t crushing my back.
  • I really like spending one session just focusing on specific movement patterns or muscle groupings, which BBB is awesome for. I lost focus really fast on full body programs or supersets.
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  • Bench (main): 125x5, 140x5, 160x5
  • Bench (supplemental): 5x10 @ 125
  • Banded tricep pressdowns: 50 total reps


  • Bench felt good. I might be one of the few people that actually feels the bench press working their chest, but I also use a slightly narrower, elbow-tucked position to protect my shitty shoulders.
  • Jim Wendler might show up at my house and beat me to death, but I felt like I could’ve done a bit more assistance work. Might add some extra shoulder work into the benching session next time.

What percentage are you using for tm? I am thinking about doing this in January and I’m wondering what a doable tm is.

I’m using 85%. Usually I use 90%, but the 85% has been nice for making sure I control every rep.

Ok cool. Keep up the good work. Interested in seeing how the program works out.

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We are actually pretty close on press and squat. Wanna see who can get closest to 400 squat and 185 press by January?

I basically do zero 1RM attempts these days anymore, because it’s not important for my personal training parameters. So you’d probably win, haha.

I don’t either outside of testing for a program. But ok.


  • Deadlift (main): 125x5, 170x5, 220x5, 270x5, 305x5, 345x5
  • Deadlift (supplemental): 5x10 @ 270
  • 1-arm dumbbell row: 1x25 @ 75, 1x15 @ 80, 1x10 @ 85


  • Deadlifting is possibly my favourite exercise. Just love it.
  • I liked pyramiding up with the DB rows, but I definitely could’ve gone heavier. Next time.

Press (main): 70x5, 85x5, 95x5, 110x5
Press (supplemental): 5x10 @ 85
Bradford press: 50 total reps @ 70
Bent over lat rows w/ band: 50 total reps


  • I’d never utilized the Bradford press before, but I know I need to because my sticking point for both the press and bench is just below 90 degrees of the elbow, which to my understanding is a shoulder weakness. This makes sense, as I’ve busted up my shoulders more times than I can count from training martial arts. I didn’t count the sets it took to get to 50 reps, but HOLY SHOULDER PUMP, BATMAN!
  • I don’t know the actual term for “bent over lat rows”, but I was in a bent over row position, with my arms extended up by my ears. The band was stretched and anchored in front of me, and I rowed it tightly into my ribs, going from internal arm rotation at the start, all the way into external rotation at the end (keeping my arms tight at my side).


  • Squats (main): 120x5, 170x5, 205x5, 235x5, 265x5
  • Squats (supplemental): 5x10 @ 205
  • Bulgarian split squats: 25 reps/side


  • I don’t know if it was the lack of sleep or what (still love my son, though), but that last set of 5’s on the main squat sets felt unbelievably heavy. Benching, pressing, even deadlifting I can do half asleep and not feel a performance drop, but not with squatting.
  • Aaaaaand speaking of my son, I ended up having to take almost a 45 minute break between my main squats and the rest of my workout to help my wife out with him. Not a big deal, seeing as she does most of the heavy lifting overnight taking care of him. It just threw me off a bit coming back to finish up.
  • I think I’d rather do sled pushing/dragging for single leg work as opposed to stuff like split squats.
  • ALSO; I’ve figured out that I comfortably squat with a low bar, shoulder-width, toes out stance. I attribute this to narrow hips and my tendency to have much stronger hamstrings than quads.


  • Conditioning: sprints/playing tag with my dogs, 20-25 minutes


  • It wasn’t raining today (hooray!) so I opted to do some sprints outside. I let my dogs play outside while I was doing my sprints, since we have tons of property, but it always turns into a game of tag where they chase me and I try to quickly dodge around them so as to not bulldoze them over and/or trip myself. Turns into a fun sprint/agility drill combo.


  • Bench (main): 120x5, 135x5, 150x5, 170x5
  • Bench (supplemental): 5x10 @ 135
  • “Chest press” w/ band: 50 total reps
  • 1-arm DB row: 1x25 @ 80, 1x15 @ 85, 1x10 @ 90


  • My bench is absolute garbage. Definitely the lift I have the least experience with, due to shoulder issues for so many years.
  • The “chest press” was because I attempted to do band resisted push ups, but because my arms are short it kept slipping off my elbows and I was getting pissed off. So I just stood with it looped around my back and did a semi cable crossover/chest press combo. I think next time I’ll loop it behind my adjustable bench and use the band and bench like a machine chest press.

Still not bad for having a history of shoulder issues and not benching much. Three things that helped me a lot were playing around with my grip, learning to tuck my elbows , and trying to bend the bar.

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I’ve managed to get my grip sorted out, but I definitely start losing elbow tuck quickly under fatigue. “Bending the bar” is something I know works for me, but I always forget to employ it. Good reminders, thanks!

Lol to be honest the number of cues I can actually focus on goes down as I reach the end of my set too. By the time I’m at the last rep or of I’m pushing really heavy weight for me then all I am thinking is PUSH.

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  • Deadlift (main): 120x5, 170x5, 220x5, 285x5, 325x5, 365x5
  • Deadlift (supplemental): 5x10 @ 285
  • Kirk shrug: 50 total reps @ 120 (sets of 25/15/10)


  • I need to get more plates for my ghetto home gym. Currently I only have up to 375 in plates.
  • In other news, while most people seem to dread the 5x10 of deadlifts while doing BBB, I love it. Deadlifting is oddly like meditative for me.

Is this your first time running 531 5 x 10 @fsl? Or have you done a full cycle yet?

Yeah, it is. I like spending a lot of time concentrating on one movement or a handful of similar movements within a session, so it’s perfect for me.