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My 5/3/1 + Superhero Experiment


After reading through the Superhero program Livespill and seeing the conversation on combining 5/3/1 and the superhero complex's I decided to give this a go. My wieght is currently at 205 lbs at a height of 5'8. My goal is to drop about 15 to 20 pounds of extra flab I am carrying while increasing my wieght in all the big lifts.

Current 1RM are:

Deadlift - 405 lbs
Squat - 350 lbs
Bench - 250 lbs
Push Press - 225 lbs

My workout days will be layed out like this:

Monday - 5/3/1 Deadlift + 6 circuits of the Deadlift complex
Tuesday - 5/3/1 Bench + 6 circuits of Bench complex
Wednesday - Rest or Hill runs + Sprints
Thursday - 5/3/1 Squat + 6 circuits of Squat complex
Friday - Back and Biceps Mountain Dog style
Saturday - Hill work + Sprints
Sunday - REST

I will not be doing a overhead pressing day for at least the first 4 weeks due to some shoulder issues I am having. I will be replacing that day with additional back training and some direct bicep work.

I will try to take some "before" pictures over the weekend and post Monday along with day 1.


Monday morning workout:

5/3/1 Deadlift day followed by 5 rounds of the superhero deadlift complex

Deadlift work sets:

245lb x 5
275 x 5
315 x 10

Deadlift complex:
5 rounds
Rack pulls - 495lb x 3
Trap Bar Deads - 335lb x3
Hang Clean - 185lb for first set 205lb for last 4 sets x 3
Jump Good Morning - bw x 10
Broad Jump Series x 10 reps

I tried to complete one complex every 5-6 minutes. The complexes were fairly brutal after my all out last set of deads. The broad jump series absolutely kills me after all the heavy pulling. I didnt get around to getting pics of myself over the weekend, I will try to get a few tonight and post tommorow with my bench workout.


Pic of my complex setup. It is a good thing I workout early in the morning or I may not be able to get my hands on enough bars and plates to make this work. Silver plates on the trap bar are hundo's.


I had thought about this as well, but I have some other things coming up I need to train for. I'll be curious to see how you progress though and will probably join you in this in about a month.


Dude, this would be freaking intense, maybe even a bit too much. Good luck.


It was definetly a lot of pulling volume and I was drenched in sweat and gassed by the time I was finished with the complex portion. But I think it is going to be good for what my current goals are. I will get a large dose of heavy wieghts and hopefully drop some extra chunk I have been carrying with the complexes.


For your bench day, I say try alternating OHP and Bench complexes, because personally the OHP complex is my favorite


Bench Day:
1RM 250ish
Work sets based of 250lb x .9= 225lb

5/3/1 Bench Press
Work Sets
145 x 5
175 x 5
195 x 13

Bench Complex - 6 rounds
1st 3 circuits
Top Half Bench - 265lb x 3
Bench Press - 205 x 3
Dips w/ 45lb chain over my shoulders - 4-6 reps
Med ball chest pass at wall - 8 reps w/ 12lb ball
Plyo pushups - 6-8 reps

2nd 3 circuits
Top Half Bench - 265lb x3
Incline Bench - 185lb x3
BW Dips - 6-8 reps
Med Ball chest pass at wall - 8 reps w/ 12lb ball
plyo pushups - 6-8 reps

Got through all 6 rounds I had planned on doing on the complexes today. I switched up bench w/ incline bench after three complexes just for something different, and I also replaced speed bench with dips with a chain over my shoulders. This was a SERIOUS pressing workout compared to what I have been doing and I am sure I will be feeling it tommorow. It is kind of amazing though - I dont feel completely drained after these workouts due to the low reps ranges. Feeling very good after two workouts.

I did get a chance to take a couple pics last night so I will get those posted this morning. Also, I meant to post my supplements I am currently taking for anyone who cares. Currently just taking Jack3d pre-workout and drinking Surge during and after I lift, and thats about it. I know some people arent huge fans of Jack3d but I absolutely love the stuff. I workout very early in the morning and nothing seems to get me woke up and ready to get after as well as that stuff. Im also taking Flameout during the day and debating starting some Alpha Male I ordered awhile back and havent taken yet.

Pics to come later.


As promised here are just a couple pics

Back shot


And side - obviously you can see I am carrying a good chunk of fat around my love handle area in the back pic.


@byukid - I would love to do the overhead press day for both 5/3/1 and the complex portion but have been having some serious shoulder joint pain after overhead pressing days lately. Hopefully after a couple weeks of no OHP I can back into them.


I subscribed to this, as I'm interested in your results. Did you taper back your training maxes? I only ask because of the high reps you were able to get.

Did you consider doing normal complexes post workout?


I was actually thinking I may need to bump up my training maxes with the high reps I got, especially on bench. Deadlifts felt hard after the 4th or 5th rep but bench was no problem at all until I got to about 10. I will probably do squats Thursday with the wieght I was planning on using then re-evaluate.


It actually makes sense because you are doing two, full programs.


Today was a off day so I went and did some hill work and a couple sprints, nothing too crazy. Did 6 sprints up the hill followed by a couple 75 yard all out sprints on a flat surface.

Here is a pic of my hill. It is normally used for sledding in the winter time. I swear this thing looks bigger and steeper in person.


Squat day

5/3/1 work sets:

Made it through 5 rounds of complexes today
Top half squat - 495lb x 3
Squat - 275 x 3
Snatch - 135 x 3 (first time I have ever done these in my life)
Vertical jumps holding 25 lb plate x8
Vertical jumps x 8

I personally think the squat complex is the most taxing of the bunch. The quick progression from very heavy top half squats to regular squats and vertical jumps is brutal. I think I am going to bump up my work set max numbers from what I was originally figuring for the 5/3/1 portion for next week. My final sets for the week went:

315 for 10 on deads
195 for 13 on bench
275 for 10 on squat

If I could get some input from guys with a lot experience with 5/3/1 that would be great. Should be able to get that many reps on my final set or should I bump up my max 10-20 pounds and refigure my percentages?

Shoulders are still bothering me so I won't be doing 5/3/1 or complexes for OHP this week. Instead i will be hitting back and bi's tomorrow.


Back and Bi's

Meadow's Rows - 3 sets of 8-10 reps each arm w/ 90 pounds on the t-bar (no clue what the bar itself weighs)

Deadstop DB Rows - 3 sets of 8 each arm w/ 100lb db's

Top half pulldowns - 3 sets of 8 w/ 210lb - dropset dropping the weight to 170 and doing 6-8 pulldowns with full range of motion

DB Shrugs - 3 sets of 8 w/ 100lb db's holding for 3 seconds at the top of each rep

Cross body Hammer Curls - 3x8 w/ 40lb db's

Barbell Curl - 3x8-10 w/ 75lb with 3 second decent

Also threw in a few sets of rope pushdown for just a little Tricep work although I got plenty from my pressing day.


When first starting out 10 or so reps is pretty much the norm, that way you can gradually fall into just hitting the 5s,3s,and 1s, that is if you want to go slow. If you, believe/feel like, you can go a bit heavier instead of the 5 and 10 lbs increase than do it, just know that you will more than likely stall quicker and have to reset earlier than someone taking smaller jumps, or you can do a large jump than a small jump and play around with it from there.


Hopefully this doesnt post twice, I tried posting 10 minutes ago and it doesnt look like it took.

Deadlift Day

Had a great deadlift day today. Made it through 5 rounds on the complexes, adding one rep to every lift from last week.

5/3/1 Deads
Work Sets
255lb x 3
295lb x 3
335lb x 8

Deadlift Complex - 5 rounds
Rack Pulls - 495lb x 4
Trap Bar Deads - 335 x 4
Hang Cleans 205 x 3-4
Broad Jump Series - 8-10

I did not up my max %'s from last week even though I had fairly high reps on all my final sets. I will however be upping my training max for Bench day tommorow.

At the urging of my wife I will also be logging my diet. Diet has always been by far the most difficult thing for me to stick to when trying to drop fat. I love burgers, pizza, french fries and pretty much anything else that is high in carbs and shitty for me. I will be taking in a pretty good chunk of carbs in the morning since that is when I workout, then tapering that down as the day goes on. After about 10:00AM I will be going fairly low carb, high protien and moderate fat. Hopefully logging my food intake here will keep my accountable and away from the garbage.


Bench Day

I was feeling strong this morning so I bumped up my working max %'s for 5/3/1 and also did more wieght on the complex portion than last week.

5/3/1 Bench
Work Sets
165lb x 3
185 x 3
215 x 8

Pressing Complex - 6 rounds
First three rounds:
Top Half Bench w/ about 5-6" Range of motion - 315 x 3-4
Bench Press - 205 x 4, 225 x 3, 225 x 3
Dips w/ 45lb chain around my neck - 5 reps
Chest passes with 12lb med ball - 8 reps

2nd 3 rounds:
Top half bench w/ about 8" range of motion - 275 x 3
Incline bench press - 205lb x 3
Dips w. 45lb chain - 5 reps
Chest passes with 12lb med ball - 8 reps

Workout felt great and I actually could have probably done 1-2 more rounds through the complex if I had more time. I condisder bench to be by far my weakest lift so it feels good to make some progress and feel strong throughout a pressing workout. I switched up both the hieght of the pins for the top half bench and from bench press to incline halfway through the complex portion for some variety and to hit different areas. All in all, very good workout.

Diet yesterday:
pre workout (5:00 AM) - CLiff bar, 1 and 1/2 dose jack3d
During and after workout - 2 heaping servings of Surge Recovery
B-fast (7:30AM) - Bowl of Kashi cereal w/ almond milk
10:00 - Handful of natural almonds
12:15 - lunch- Salad w/ 10oz chicken breast and raspberry vinagrette
4:00 - banana
7:15 - Subway 6 inch chicken breast on flatbread with double meat topped with some franks red hot sauce

Would have preffered not to have the carbs with the sub for supper but had to work alittle late and needed to just pick something up on my way home. Not a fantastic day diet wise, but not terrible.