Hey everybody, long story made short.
I'm a career fireman, had a spinal injury and surgery. Been cleared for full duty, lifting and all for a couple months now. I've always been a fan of 5/3/1, and want to stick with it. But I have a LOT of catching up to do in strength and mass gain. I'm 6'1", 190, 17% body fat, weak and not in the best shape either. A few months of injured status will do that to you.
Bench: 165 (my injury primarily de-innervated my upper right body, so bench took the biggest hit)
Military Press: 115- and this has been stuck around here for years. 5/3/1 has yet to improve it.
I've had several coaches tell me that I need some substantial lean muscle gain in order to improve my strength, and that I should do that before moving back into rebuilding my conditioning. I'm inclined to agree that hypertrophy, then strength, then conditioning is the proper order to move in.
Before I hit injured/no duty status I found doing 5/3/1 pyramid really enjoyable. Doing the top set for a PR and then the first set for a PR (or even repping out on top, middle and first set) is an enjoyable challenge and seemed to me to be a great way to get higher volume at a higher weight. I recently read Paul Carter's "strong 15" and see that he basically uses a rep scheme very similar to 5/3/1, but only rep's out on the lighter working set.
My question is- for a fireman, working 24 hours, off 48. Who needs to at least maintain conditioning for now, and then get it back to rockstar levels later. Who needs to get stronger on all fronts, and "build armor" (gain lean muscle) to take the beatings of my job better. Is 5/3/1 pyramid a good choice? Should I add in extra assistance? For example front squats on DL day, snatch pulls on squat day? Is a program like the BBB challenge a better option? Or is Paul Carter right that the single, all out set is where the growth happens?
Does anyone here have experience with the many varieties of 5/3/1 that use extra volume? 5/3/1 Pyramid? BBB? Paul Carter's Big-15? Anything else?