I have been using the base 5/3/1 program since last September and love it; however, I plan to switch to Krypteia this coming week as it is more in-line with my training goals. That being said, I have several important questions regarding the program.
First, I stupidly decided to try to cut some weight a couple of months ago even though I was only around 15-17% body fat. As I had spent the last year and a half or so desperately trying to gain weight and had no experience with cutting weight, I grossly underestimated the destructive effects of cutting on strength - in retesting my maxes this week, I failed miserably on every lift. My plan is to take an additional 10% off of my lifts (besides the press, as my press was never that good to begin with and weathered the storm the best out of my main lifts), as I believe would be standard protocol if I were to plateau on a lift, on top of to the 15% TM reduction that Jim advises. Is this a sound plan for setting my Krypteia training maxes, or should I go even lighter? As an indicator of how downhill my lifts went, my TM on the bench was 230 pounds before trying to cut and I was only able to 2-rep 185 when I retested my maxes.
Second, I’m slightly confused as to one aspect of Krypteia. While it is obvious that the first three sets of the main lifts are intended to be warm-up sets before going into 5’s PRO and the FSL sets, Jim only gave examples of the “3x3” week where the warm-up sets are 40, 50, and 60 percent of the TM - for the “5x5” week, would these sets be done at 35, 45, and 55 percent and 45, 55, and 65 percent for the “5/3/1” week? If that is the case, which I suspect it is, my first warm-up set on the press would only be 40 pounds (weak press, I know) during the “5x5” week. I assume it would be fine to simply press the 45-pound bar for the first set instead of going on a desperate search for a light bar to use for a single warm-up set?
Next, how much of a caloric surplus should I have? I’m not trying to bulk hard and put on 50 pounds or anything, but I would like to put on more muscle mass and shed a little bit of fat - which Krypteia is supposed to be great for, according to 5/3/1 Forever.
In addition, what should I do regarding the weighted chins in Krypteia? Quite honestly, my biceps are turds even though I don’t neglect them. I should be able to pump out the 6 sets of 10 chins (although it might get dicey in the latter sets), but adding weight is simply not going to work - at least, not for my first Krypteia run-through. As for the assistance requiring dumbbells, is there any way to actually program this, rather than just making sure it’s a challenging weight? Also, until the semester begins next month, I only have access to dumbbells up to 50 pounds - how much of a problem will this be?
What should I do for hard conditioning and direct core work - if anything? I know the book advises against hard conditioning while doing Krypteia in most cases but, as I am a volunteer firefighter and plan to attend my county’s Sheriff’s Academy after college, it is imperative that I do at least some running. Complicating things is that I’ve been conservative with my running in recent months, due to a nagging case of shin splints that I don’t want to re-aggravate - should I follow the running template laid out in 5/3/1 Forever, or start with one of Jim’s sprinting workouts per week and work up to 3 as I adjust to it? Would it be more ideal to run on days I lift, or on off days? As I understand it, direct core work is ill-advised with Krypteia?
Any advice would be greatly appreciated!