T Nation

Starting a Year of 5/3/1


I have decided to start a public training log to document the progress that I make over the next year.

Some background on me:

I am 37 years old, 6 ft, 234 pounds. I would guess that I am currently in the mid-teens in BF%.

About 7 years ago, my weight got up to almost 280 pounds and I was hideously out of shape and my doctor told me that all my levels were high… blood pressure, cholesterol, etc. I don’t even want to guess body fat level… probably 30-40%.

That was a wake up call for me and I went nuts with cardio and a Bowflex and shaved down to a skinny fat 190. After getting through that phase, I started to read a lot more about weight training and I wanted to get stronger and actually train… not be a cardio queen. I found Burn the Fat, Feed the Muscle by Tom Venuto and actually started to train.

Fast forward to present. My father passed away last March and I ditched the gym and decided to hit the bottle a little too hard for a few months and got back out of shape. But in September, I decided to get back and really commit to it. I wanted to not only get leaner, but I wanted to get STRONG. I ran a few programs (the Arnold Blueprint from bodybuidling.com for one) and made significant progress, but I dont feel like that volume is sustainable in the long run. With that said, I am currently the strongest I have ever been.

I was looking for a program that I could run constantly that I would see progress with and I had obviously read quite a bit about 5/3/1. I read Beyond 5/3/1 and decided that this could and should be my go forward plan. I actually posted in the 5/3/1 forum and Jim pointed out that apparently I suck at reading comprehension, so he was kind enough to write out a Leader/Anchor program for me.

Right now my goals are this - Squat 405x3, Bench 315x3, Deadlift 550x2, and OHP 225x3

Current 1RM on each is Squat 375x1, Bench 275x1, Deadlift 500x2, and OHP 205x1

Assuming I can hit these goals by the middle of this year, I would like to continue busting my ass to get these numbers even higher and possibly compete in a local powerlifting meet in 2018.

I will be running 2 cycles (6 weeks) of the Leader program, which will look like this:

Main Lifts - 5s progression using 5/3/1 percentages.
Supplemental Work - Second Set Last for Bench and OHP (5x5) - First Set Last (5x5) for Deadlift - Boring But Strong (10x5@70%) for Squats
Assistance Work - 25-50 reps from the 3 categories

Using Defranco Agile 8 for warmup/mobility and jumps/throws (15) before the main lift.

This will be followed by 2 cycles of the Anchor Program which will look like this:

Main Lifts - 3/5/1 - PR sets & Jokers (weeks 1 and 3)
Supplemental - FSL (5x5) - (5x3 on Deadlifts)
Assistance - 50-100 reps from the 3 categories

Agile 8 and Jumps/Throws (20 reps)

After 2 cycles of each, then a deload. Rinse and Repeat.


Workout - Saturday 12/31/16:

Agile 8
Medicine Ball chest pass - 3x5

Main Lift - Bench Press

Super Set with Pendlay Rows @ 135lbs (3x10)

Supplemental - Bench Press - SSL
5 sets of 195x5

Superset with Incline Dumbell press @ 70lbs (3x10) and Barbell curls @ 75lbs (50 reps)

My workout went a lot faster than usual, but I took long enough rest periods to not turn it into a conditioning circuit.

Workout - Sunday 1/1/17

Agile 8
Standing Long Jumps (deep landing) 3x5

Main Lift - Deadlift

Superset with Ab Wheel (50 reps)

Supplemental - Deadlift - FSL
5 sets 320x5

Superset with Front Barbell Squat @ 115 (3x10)

I haven’t used the Front squat a great deal, so I’m using it as assistance work at lighter weights. My 3rd set on the main lift was only 3 reps because I didn’t chalk up and it was actually my grip that gave way. I was pissed.

Workout - 1/3/17

Agile 8
Medicine Ball Slams - 3x5

Main Lift - OHP

Superset with Dumbbell Rows @ 80 (3x10)

Supplemental - OHP - SSL
5 sets of 125x5

Superset with Dips (BW x 30) and Kneeling Tricep Rope pushdown (50 reps)


Workout - 1/5/17

Agile 8
Standing long jumps (deep squat landing) - 3 sets of 5

Main lift - Squat


Superset with Ab Wheel (50 reps)

Supplemental work - Squat - Boring But Strong

10 sets of 230x5

Superset with chin ups (15 reps) and Romanian Deadlifts @ 185 (3 sets of 10)

This was a lot of volume, but it felt great. I loaded the RDLs at a moderate weight and really focused on keeping the stress on my hams/glutes.

I feel the glute/ham assistance work is needed because my squat stance is just outside shoulder width (with slight out toe), and while I feel it in my posterior chain, I’m fairly quad dominant.


Workout - Saturday 1/7/17:

Agile 8
Medicine Ball chest pass - 3x5

Main Lift - Bench Press

Superset with Pendlay Rows @ 135lbs (3x10)

Supplemental - Bench Press - SSL
5 sets of 210x5

Superset with Barbell curls @ 75lbs (50 reps)

Incline Dumbell press @ 70lbs (3x10)

I chose not to superset the incline press this week so as not to impact my supplemental bench work.


Workout - Sunday 1/8/17

Agile 8
Box Jumps - 3 sets of 5

Main lift - Deadlift

Superset with Ab wheel - 50 reps

Supplemental - Deadlift - FSL
5 sets of 320x5

Superset with front squats - 3 sets of 10 @ 135 lbs


Tuesday - 1/10/17

Agile 8
Medicine Ball slams - 3 sets of 5

Main Lift - Overhead Press

Superset with dumbbell rows - 3 sets of 10 @ 80 lbs

Supplemental - OHP - SSL
5 sets of 135x5

Superset with dips (50 reps) and tricep pushdown (50 reps)


1/13/17 - LEADER - Cycle 1-Week 2 (3s week) - Workout 4 (Squat)

Agile 8

Standing Long Jumps - 3x5

Main Lift - Squat

Supplemental - Squat - Boring But Strong
10 sets of 5 @ 230

Assistance Work (Superset with Main/Supplemental)

Hanging Leg Raises - 25 reps
Chin Ups - 40 reps
Push Ups - 50 reps


1/14/17 - LEADER - Cycle 1 - Week 3 (5/3/1) - Bench

Agile 8

Medicine Ball (25 lb) chest pass - 3x5

Main Lift - Bench (5 PRO)

Supplemental - Bench - SSL
5 sets of 225x5

Assistance (superset w/main & supplemental work)
Pendlay Rows 3x10

Barbell Curls - 50 reps

Farmers Walks (trap bar) - 315 lbs for 40 yards - 5 rounds (200 yards total) - 10 minute time limit

1/15/17 - LEADER - Cycle 1 - Week 3 (5/3/1) - Deadlift

Agile 8

Box Jumps - 3x5

Main Lift - Deadlift (5 PRO)

Supplemental - Deadlift - FSL
5 sets of 340x5

Assistance (superset with main & supplemental work)

Chest Dips - 30 reps
Face Pulls - 50 reps (50 lbs on cable)
RFE split squat - 30x10 (per leg)

I knew that I wasn’t going to get that 4th rep. I was feeling rough as hell today with some sort of stomach virus, but I wasn’t going to let that shit wreck my program. I will probably leave my deadlift TM where its at for the next cycle though. I judged this cycle off of trap bar deadlift (which I had been doing), but I switched back to the barbell.