T Nation

Starting 5/3/1, Can't Even Handle Bodyweight?


#1

Hi guys,

I am just starting to get fit having not done anything in years, down to injuries (no longer a problem) and after that if I am being honest with myself not respecting myself and letting my body and attitude go to shit.

I had a sudden feeling of momentum a few weeks ago and simply picked up my trainers and a hoody and went running. It took me an hour to do 3 miles.

The day after I got my pullup bar, situp bench and cleared the floor for pressups. I managed zero pullups, 1 pressup and 8 situps.

3 weeks later I have been eating more sensibly and running and doing some bodweight stuff, which now stands at

3 mile run - 30 minutes
strict pressups - 10
situps - 20
pullups - 0

So still shit but a work in progress.

Working on myself has made me think about things and I have been to my AFCO, I am in my early 20's and want to make something of myself and figured a great way would be serving my country.

Anyway a few days ago I saw someone on a military forum (for potential recruits to ask questions about the training, daily life, talk to each other etc) talking about how he does something called 5/3/1.

Turns out he is already in the forces though and when I asked about advice for someone in my situation, he basically indicated that He does not feel qualified to offer specific lifting advice but did say that he thinks the old advice of just run and do chinups is not great and that most current royal marines do not do things that way anymore and that the site only recommends that to avoid lawsuits from idiots who hurt themselves.

He pointed out that jim posts on this site and has his own forum so I thought I would ask the man himself.

TLDR;

Would you recommend 5/3/1 to someone who can barely do 10 pressups and no chinups? Should people that weak/fat and heavy even be lifting weights?

PS.

Ordered your book from Amazon, if I shouldn't do it now at least I will have it for later on :slightly_smiling:

Thanks in advance.


Getting Smoke Checked
#2

[quote]Perlenbacher15 wrote:
Should people that weak/fat and heavy even be lifting weights?
[/quote]
I am not Jim but yes to this question. Lifting weights is exactly what you should be doing, along with continuing to work on your body weight movements.


#3

You should add more info like height, weight if/how long youve lifted before.
5/3/1 is centered arround 4 lifts: deadlift, squat, ohp and bench, have you ever done any of those?
In your situation id recomend a basic fullbody workout or maybe starting strenght, focus on the basic lifts with a good ammount of cardio for fat loss.
Also, dont forget to dial in your nutrition.


#4

[quote]pedro1597 wrote:
You should add more info like height, weight if/how long youve lifted before.
5/3/1 is centered arround 4 lifts: deadlift, squat, ohp and bench, have you ever done any of those?
In your situation id recomend a basic fullbody workout or maybe starting strenght, focus on the basic lifts with a good ammount of cardio for fat loss.
Also, dont forget to dial in your nutrition.[/quote]

I looked at it but I am running and need to get lighter. I am also not a powerlifter or someone who wants to prioritise lifting over running, swimming etc. I have the specific goal of joining the RM, so while i don’t need to be doing marathons I need to be swimming and running and fairly regularly.


#5

He didn’t ask if you’re a powerlifter, obviously you’re not a powerlifter because you are very weak (by your own admission, no offense intended).

If you want to get stronger, start a full-body barbell workout, focused on the 4 big lifts mentioned above. 5/3/1 is a good program, but given how untrained you are you might be better off starting first with some basic linear progression (lift 3 sets of 5 and add weight every workout).

If you want to focus on running and swimming and conditioning then you could do this only twice per week e.g. Monday Squat and Bench Press, Thursday Press and Deadlift. But many people would recommend focusing on strength at first for a while because it will have a big effect on your general fitness.


#6

[quote]craze9 wrote:
He didn’t ask if you’re a powerlifter, obviously you’re not a powerlifter because you are very weak (by your own admission, no offense intended).

If you want to get stronger, start a full-body barbell workout, focused on the 4 big lifts mentioned above. 5/3/1 is a good program, but given how untrained you are you might be better off starting first with some basic linear progression (lift 3 sets of 5 and add weight every workout).

If you want to focus on running and swimming and conditioning then you could do this only twice per week e.g. Monday Squat and Bench Press, Thursday Press and Deadlift. But many people would recommend focusing on strength at first for a while because it will have a big effect on your general fitness. [/quote]

I have a background when younger in triathlon and the idea of doing a routine like starting strength while running, swimming even without biking seems silly.

Even the guy who wrote starting strength says do not run his program unless you are at a calorie surplus, not doing extensive cardio etc. He has a forum and from what I have seen does not promote his program for people who want to do anything than a linear program which of course can not be done in a calorie defecit. Also recovery even in a calorie defecit would still be almost impossible for someone who needs to swim and run 3-4 times a week.


#7

Why do you need to be in a caloric deficit? Is your goal to perform better or to lose weight?


#8

[quote]The-German wrote:
Why do you need to be in a caloric deficit? Is your goal to perform better or to lose weight?[/quote]

Well pretty much every person who I have seen talk about linear progression like Mark Rippetoe, Glenn Pendlay, Medhi etc all say that linear programs are for young people who have plenty of time to recover and are willing to eat lots of food.

As someone who needs to emphasize running and swimming and needs to lose bodyfat and whose main goals are not lifting/powerlifting, I see no reason why I would sacrifice my goals for something that is not my goal.

Also browsing through the forum Jim Wendler has said Linear progression can be limiting especially if one if training for a sport or something like that, which seems logical.


#9

Linear progression can produce good short term results, but it’s difficult to sustain over long periods of time.

When I did Starting Strength I put on 6 lbs of bodyweight whilst loosing 2 inches off my waist.

If you want to loose fat the quickest way is via resistance training. Trying to loose weight via cardio typically produces modest weight loss at first, but you quickly plateau once your body becomes strong/efficient enough to move your mass through space. The exception to this is HIIT, which tends to do a pretty good job motivating your body to burn more fat.

The cool thing is that strength training and HIIT are compatible… you just need to be smart about your programming. Fortunately, 5/3/1 was developed with conditioning in mind… weighted vest walks (which can be done with a weighted pack and will help prepare you for rucking), hill sprints, prowler pushing, etc.

My recommendation is to figure out a reasonable amount of time to get yourself into shape, then spent the first part of it focusing on strength and HIIT, then as you get closer to recruitment switch gears to focus more on long distance work.


#10

What are the physical entrance requirements?

I would concentrate on getting on top of those (assuming that is a goal you want to reach shortly and not in 5 years)


#11

[quote]tsantos wrote:
What are the physical entrance requirements?

I would concentrate on getting on top of those (assuming that is a goal you want to reach shortly and not in 5 years) [/quote]
I’ll be honest and probably piss some people off. Unless we are talking navy seals or some other elite force, you are looking at some pretty basic stuff. Run a few miles, do some sit ups and push ups…any tman that takes this shit remotely seriously can crush the requirements of most organizations.

The OP seems to think lifting weights will hurt his ability to lose fat and be able to do some running and swimming. This is ass backward. It will help him more than he understands.

Hit the gym 2-3 days a week, do your swimming and running intelligently(you shouldn’t just be going for longevity entirely in your training here). Eat good, natural foods and eat enough. Forget this caloric deficit shit and just eat. You body will change for the better. You will get better at your “skills.” You will stop limiting yourself so damn much.

You aren’t asking to be a jacked 7% body fat, squat 800 and run 10 miles. You are looking for very general fitness.


#12

[quote]The-German wrote:

[quote]tsantos wrote:
What are the physical entrance requirements?

I would concentrate on getting on top of those (assuming that is a goal you want to reach shortly and not in 5 years) [/quote]
I’ll be honest and probably piss some people off. Unless we are talking navy seals or some other elite force, you are looking at some pretty basic stuff. Run a few miles, do some sit ups and push ups…any tman that takes this shit remotely seriously can crush the requirements of most organizations.

The OP seems to think lifting weights will hurt his ability to lose fat and be able to do some running and swimming. This is ass backward. It will help him more than he understands.

Hit the gym 2-3 days a week, do your swimming and running intelligently(you shouldn’t just be going for longevity entirely in your training here). Eat good, natural foods and eat enough. Forget this caloric deficit shit and just eat. You body will change for the better. You will get better at your “skills.” You will stop limiting yourself so damn much.

You aren’t asking to be a jacked 7% body fat, squat 800 and run 10 miles. You are looking for very general fitness. [/quote]

I agree completely with this post, you have a ton of potential for growth here. Coming from someone serving in the armed forces, your best training gains will come from the gym. They will transfer into every facet of your ‘tested’ training. It will make you stronger, faster, and even will change your mindset.

Focus on following a “SINGLE” routine, with correct form, while trying to perform better in the gym than you previously did (progression is key). The strength and size gains will come. Focus on nutrition and recovery, this will guarantee great gains. Too many people rip themselves off from their newbie gains, which can be the most important when building a strong foundation.


#13

[quote]The-German wrote:

[quote]tsantos wrote:
What are the physical entrance requirements?

I would concentrate on getting on top of those (assuming that is a goal you want to reach shortly and not in 5 years) [/quote]
I’ll be honest and probably piss some people off. Unless we are talking navy seals or some other elite force, you are looking at some pretty basic stuff. Run a few miles, do some sit ups and push ups…any tman that takes this shit remotely seriously can crush the requirements of most organizations.

The OP seems to think lifting weights will hurt his ability to lose fat and be able to do some running and swimming. This is ass backward. It will help him more than he understands.

Hit the gym 2-3 days a week, do your swimming and running intelligently(you shouldn’t just be going for longevity entirely in your training here). Eat good, natural foods and eat enough. Forget this caloric deficit shit and just eat. You body will change for the better. You will get better at your “skills.” You will stop limiting yourself so damn much.

You aren’t asking to be a jacked 7% body fat, squat 800 and run 10 miles. You are looking for very general fitness. [/quote]

Just to clarify I am joining the Royal Marines basically it will look like this:

Just to pass the initial test to let me do pre training I need to do the PJFT

The Royal Marines Pre Joining Fitness Test is slightly different. You will have to complete two 2.4km runs (1.5 miles) each with the treadmill set at a 2% incline. To pass you will need to do the first run in under 12 minutes 30 seconds. Then complete the second 2.4km run immediately afterwards in less than 10 minutes â?? regardless of your age.

You also have to get a high score on the bleep test and most serving RM moderaters on the forums are saying the standards for pullups are going up to 18 and pressups are rising from 60 in 2 minutes to something higher too.

Then I would have to do the 2 day course which consists of speed marches, running, PT etc, I think this includes 10 miles speed marches with kit etc

Then they have a week one which weeds more out before starting training.

The actual training then consists of 32 weeks of training with speed marches of up to 20 miles, regular rucking and running, commando assault courses, weeks out in the field, 30 mile marhces over dartmoor etc.

It is more similar to special forces in the US than your marines.


#14

Should weak fat people be lifting weights, Yes unless they are happy being weak and fat.

If you can Squat, Dead lift, Bench and Press you are able to do it, no real magic to it. Jim Even wrote a beginner program for those who felt it was required

Running isn’t going to help much in the journey from 0 - 20 chin ups on testing day, however picking heavy shit up and putting it back down again will.

In the unlikely event you haven’t seen it there was a channel 4 series about life at the Royal Marines Commando School this should give you a better idea of what your in for.

Please note I have absolutely ZERO experience in the military so I really cannot comment if this is the “best” program for you but I can say that you can do it if you want, I just like picking things up.


#15

[quote]Perlenbacher15 wrote:

[quote]The-German wrote:

[quote]tsantos wrote:
What are the physical entrance requirements?

I would concentrate on getting on top of those (assuming that is a goal you want to reach shortly and not in 5 years) [/quote]
I’ll be honest and probably piss some people off. Unless we are talking navy seals or some other elite force, you are looking at some pretty basic stuff. Run a few miles, do some sit ups and push ups…any tman that takes this shit remotely seriously can crush the requirements of most organizations.

The OP seems to think lifting weights will hurt his ability to lose fat and be able to do some running and swimming. This is ass backward. It will help him more than he understands.

Hit the gym 2-3 days a week, do your swimming and running intelligently(you shouldn’t just be going for longevity entirely in your training here). Eat good, natural foods and eat enough. Forget this caloric deficit shit and just eat. You body will change for the better. You will get better at your “skills.” You will stop limiting yourself so damn much.

You aren’t asking to be a jacked 7% body fat, squat 800 and run 10 miles. You are looking for very general fitness. [/quote]

Just to clarify I am joining the Royal Marines basically it will look like this:

Just to pass the initial test to let me do pre training I need to do the PJFT

The Royal Marines Pre Joining Fitness Test is slightly different. You will have to complete two 2.4km runs (1.5 miles) each with the treadmill set at a 2% incline. To pass you will need to do the first run in under 12 minutes 30 seconds. Then complete the second 2.4km run immediately afterwards in less than 10 minutes â?? regardless of your age.

You also have to get a high score on the bleep test and most serving RM moderaters on the forums are saying the standards for pullups are going up to 18 and pressups are rising from 60 in 2 minutes to something higher too.

Then I would have to do the 2 day course which consists of speed marches, running, PT etc, I think this includes 10 miles speed marches with kit etc

Then they have a week one which weeds more out before starting training.

The actual training then consists of 32 weeks of training with speed marches of up to 20 miles, regular rucking and running, commando assault courses, weeks out in the field, 30 mile marhces over dartmoor etc.

It is more similar to special forces in the US than your marines. [/quote]

I don’t mean to be rude, Perlenbacher15, but I think you need to be realistic here. You are, at a minimum, 6-12 months of hard training away from just passing the PJFT. I think you would be hard pressed to find a single successful Spec Ops warrior that couldn’t do a pull-up as an adult. I’m really not trying to be a dick.

As a former U.S. Marine, I found the best way to improve my 3 mile time was to run short (1-1.5 miles) runs 2-3 days a week (usually after lifting) and longer 4-6 mile runs 1-2 days a week (AM). The reason is two fold. First the short runs help to increase conditioning without overtaxing recovery and second the longer runs helped master/build the mental aspect of a longer run.

As far as the other portions of the tests. Calisthenics are your friend. Pull-ups are your friend. I would train them daily to some degree. Use bands to get started. I would not advise using the lat pull-down machine. I have never seen a person improve their pull-ups without doing pull-ups.

5/3/1 would be a great way to build a base level of strength; however, in your particular case I would not do any accessory work other than calisthenics. I wouldn’t bench either, but that’s up to you.


#16

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]Perlenbacher15 wrote:

[quote]The-German wrote:

[quote]tsantos wrote:
What are the physical entrance requirements?

I would concentrate on getting on top of those (assuming that is a goal you want to reach shortly and not in 5 years) [/quote]
I’ll be honest and probably piss some people off. Unless we are talking navy seals or some other elite force, you are looking at some pretty basic stuff. Run a few miles, do some sit ups and push ups…any tman that takes this shit remotely seriously can crush the requirements of most organizations.

The OP seems to think lifting weights will hurt his ability to lose fat and be able to do some running and swimming. This is ass backward. It will help him more than he understands.

Hit the gym 2-3 days a week, do your swimming and running intelligently(you shouldn’t just be going for longevity entirely in your training here). Eat good, natural foods and eat enough. Forget this caloric deficit shit and just eat. You body will change for the better. You will get better at your “skills.” You will stop limiting yourself so damn much.

You aren’t asking to be a jacked 7% body fat, squat 800 and run 10 miles. You are looking for very general fitness. [/quote]

Just to clarify I am joining the Royal Marines basically it will look like this:

Just to pass the initial test to let me do pre training I need to do the PJFT

The Royal Marines Pre Joining Fitness Test is slightly different. You will have to complete two 2.4km runs (1.5 miles) each with the treadmill set at a 2% incline. To pass you will need to do the first run in under 12 minutes 30 seconds. Then complete the second 2.4km run immediately afterwards in less than 10 minutes �¢?? regardless of your age.

You also have to get a high score on the bleep test and most serving RM moderaters on the forums are saying the standards for pullups are going up to 18 and pressups are rising from 60 in 2 minutes to something higher too.

Then I would have to do the 2 day course which consists of speed marches, running, PT etc, I think this includes 10 miles speed marches with kit etc

Then they have a week one which weeds more out before starting training.

The actual training then consists of 32 weeks of training with speed marches of up to 20 miles, regular rucking and running, commando assault courses, weeks out in the field, 30 mile marhces over dartmoor etc.

It is more similar to special forces in the US than your marines. [/quote]

I don’t mean to be rude, Perlenbacher15, but I think you need to be realistic here. You are, at a minimum, 6-12 months of hard training away from just passing the PJFT. I think you would be hard pressed to find a single successful Spec Ops warrior that couldn’t do a pull-up as an adult. I’m really not trying to be a dick.

As a former U.S. Marine, I found the best way to improve my 3 mile time was to run short (1-1.5 miles) runs 2-3 days a week (usually after lifting) and longer 4-6 mile runs 1-2 days a week (AM). The reason is two fold. First the short runs help to increase conditioning without overtaxing recovery and second the longer runs helped master/build the mental aspect of a longer run.

As far as the other portions of the tests. Calisthenics are your friend. Pull-ups are your friend. I would train them daily to some degree. Use bands to get started. I would not advise using the lat pull-down machine. I have never seen a person improve their pull-ups without doing pull-ups.

5/3/1 would be a great way to build a base level of strength; however, in your particular case I would not do any accessory work other than calisthenics. I wouldn’t bench either, but that’s up to you. [/quote]

Hey dude,

Yeah I totally agree about the time I need, the recruiter told me the exact same thing at the AFCO. So did most of the poster on the military forums who were ex RM. I am looking at around 15-18 months before even starting my application process.

That was why 5/3/1 appealed to me so much. I have a long time to get ready for it. It is also probably the fastest growing trend i see on the RM training logs.

I am thinking of doing something along the lines of 4 days a week wendler, conditioning everyday like in the letter to my younger self wendler article, three of those being incremental mileage based on monthly progress, which would look like this:

  • means conditioning
  • means conditioning that will be increased by 0.5 miles every month

Monday
531
*kettlebell swings

Tuesday

  • 3 mile run

Wednesday
531
*weighted walk with dog

Thursday

  • 3 mile run

Friday
531
*barbell complexes

Saturday

  • 3 mile run

Sunday
531
*burpees


#17

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:

[quote]Perlenbacher15 wrote:

[quote]The-German wrote:

[quote]tsantos wrote:
What are the physical entrance requirements?

I would concentrate on getting on top of those (assuming that is a goal you want to reach shortly and not in 5 years) [/quote]
I’ll be honest and probably piss some people off. Unless we are talking navy seals or some other elite force, you are looking at some pretty basic stuff. Run a few miles, do some sit ups and push ups…any tman that takes this shit remotely seriously can crush the requirements of most organizations.

The OP seems to think lifting weights will hurt his ability to lose fat and be able to do some running and swimming. This is ass backward. It will help him more than he understands.

Hit the gym 2-3 days a week, do your swimming and running intelligently(you shouldn’t just be going for longevity entirely in your training here). Eat good, natural foods and eat enough. Forget this caloric deficit shit and just eat. You body will change for the better. You will get better at your “skills.” You will stop limiting yourself so damn much.

You aren’t asking to be a jacked 7% body fat, squat 800 and run 10 miles. You are looking for very general fitness. [/quote]

Just to clarify I am joining the Royal Marines basically it will look like this:

Just to pass the initial test to let me do pre training I need to do the PJFT

The Royal Marines Pre Joining Fitness Test is slightly different. You will have to complete two 2.4km runs (1.5 miles) each with the treadmill set at a 2% incline. To pass you will need to do the first run in under 12 minutes 30 seconds. Then complete the second 2.4km run immediately afterwards in less than 10 minutes �¢?? regardless of your age.

You also have to get a high score on the bleep test and most serving RM moderaters on the forums are saying the standards for pullups are going up to 18 and pressups are rising from 60 in 2 minutes to something higher too.

Then I would have to do the 2 day course which consists of speed marches, running, PT etc, I think this includes 10 miles speed marches with kit etc

Then they have a week one which weeds more out before starting training.

The actual training then consists of 32 weeks of training with speed marches of up to 20 miles, regular rucking and running, commando assault courses, weeks out in the field, 30 mile marhces over dartmoor etc.

It is more similar to special forces in the US than your marines. [/quote]

I don’t mean to be rude, Perlenbacher15, but I think you need to be realistic here. You are, at a minimum, 6-12 months of hard training away from just passing the PJFT. I think you would be hard pressed to find a single successful Spec Ops warrior that couldn’t do a pull-up as an adult. I’m really not trying to be a dick.

As a former U.S. Marine, I found the best way to improve my 3 mile time was to run short (1-1.5 miles) runs 2-3 days a week (usually after lifting) and longer 4-6 mile runs 1-2 days a week (AM). The reason is two fold. First the short runs help to increase conditioning without overtaxing recovery and second the longer runs helped master/build the mental aspect of a longer run.

As far as the other portions of the tests. Calisthenics are your friend. Pull-ups are your friend. I would train them daily to some degree. Use bands to get started. I would not advise using the lat pull-down machine. I have never seen a person improve their pull-ups without doing pull-ups.

5/3/1 would be a great way to build a base level of strength; however, in your particular case I would not do any accessory work other than calisthenics. I wouldn’t bench either, but that’s up to you. [/quote]

I agree here with the majority of what usmccds423 is saying here. I would personally recommend hitting the big 3 lifts and all accessory work being focused on bodyweight movements. Lift 3 days a week and run/swim 3-4 days a week. Nutrition is going to heavily decide how long it takes for you to transform yourself. The goal should be to recomp rather than cut.

Also something I meant to mention earlier. You stated that a few reputable guys say linear progression is for young guys…yet you said you are early 20s. No offense but if you think you are too old for this being under 30 you are failing yourself before you make it out of the gate. You are reading too damn much.


#18

^Well let us know how that goes. You should start a log.


#19

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
^Well let us know how that goes. You should start a log. [/quote]

Thanks man, I appreciate the advice.

I won’t be starting that routine for a few months as I am currently only focusing on losing weight because I have to be at a certain BMI (stupid measuring system I know) to join so I want to handle that first, for both health reasons and losing fat will allow me to be able to do chinups and more bodyweight movements.

I have set a very strict defecit and I am not even tempted to cheat on my diet, I have been doing it all this week and have lost over two pounds, add that onto my weight already lost and I have lost around 25lbs.

So I am calculating I will be focusing purely on weight loss for at least 15 weeks. This will allow me to get my weight down to around 165-170lbs and will give me time to save up for the home gym I am putting together, consisting of a rack, bar and plates and utility bench, plus flooring.

I will start a log but I it is probably going to be a bit boring for the next couple months.

Again, thanks dude.


#20

[quote]Perlenbacher15 wrote:

[quote]usmccds423 wrote:
^Well let us know how that goes. You should start a log. [/quote]

Thanks man, I appreciate the advice.

I won’t be starting that routine for a few months as I am currently only focusing on losing weight because I have to be at a certain BMI (stupid measuring system I know) to join so I want to handle that first, for both health reasons and losing fat will allow me to be able to do chinups and more bodyweight movements.

I have set a very strict defecit and I am not even tempted to cheat on my diet, I have been doing it all this week and have lost over two pounds, add that onto my weight already lost and I have lost around 25lbs.

So I am calculating I will be focusing purely on weight loss for at least 15 weeks. This will allow me to get my weight down to around 165-170lbs and will give me time to save up for the home gym I am putting together, consisting of a rack, bar and plates and utility bench, plus flooring.

I will start a log but I it is probably going to be a bit boring for the next couple months.

Again, thanks dude.[/quote]

No problem man. I hope it works out, I’m always pulling for military types. I’m not a Royal Marine, but if you have any questions about the military in general I’m happy to give you the American point of view. Feel free to ask away in my log.