T Nation

Stronger Than a 5th Grader


So I've been around a while and mostly lurked. It's time to put up a log and track my progress. Just want to get get stronger, some more muscle, and trim down the fat. Been sitting south of vag for a long time, it's time to move north.

Background: lifted on and off for about 20 years. Never was too serious about it since high school and competing in oly lifts. I let myself go to shit a few years back after some "hard times" cry me a river, I know. Ballooned up to 340 lbs of pure vag. Last August I changed that, I'm now sitting at about 225 lbs. In the process lost some muscle and strength due to low cal diet, cardio (boo!) and mostly full body workouts. Looking to get it back. Everyone starts somewhere, I'll let you all inspire me for bigger numbers.

Plan: Follow 5-3-1 along with sled drag sprints 3x a week.

Phase 2 Week 1 Day 1
90x5, 105x5, 120x8, 75x5x10
DB shrugs
45x10, 50x10, 55x10
Rear delt machine thing
55x10, 70x10, 85x10

Happy with the money set. Got 3 more reps then prescribed. Pantera makes we want to break things. Dinner: pork loin cuts with steamed brussel sprouts, and a bowl of mixed melon.


P2 W1 D2
10xbar, 10x95, 10x135, working: 5x170, 5x195, 10x225 <--PR
BBB 5x10x135

Assisted Dips
10x35, 8x25, 7x15, 4xBW

Assisted Chins
10x55, 8x45, 5x35, 3x25

Storming outside so no sled sprints, did complexes instead
1x6, 1x6, 1x5, 1x5, 1x4, 1x4 1 minute rest between each 75 lbs
BB Rows
Hang Clean
Front Squats
Military Press
Good Mornings

Happy with the PR on deads. Pissed that the lbs aren't higher, but that is motivation. Steady progress is the goal.


welcome - you have a lot of company in the cult of 5-3-1 around these parts


Thanks for the welcome soldog. I've been reading a lot of the posts over the years and it just seems this section of the forums, has more like minded folks hanging around. Glad to be here and hopefully I can help contribute.


Welcome to the party for the old and insane, PMac. SD is right, you have a lot of 5/3/1 company in these parts..That is a seriously fine weight drop you did..look forward to following your PROGRESS!


nice work!


Thanks for the support and welcomes, more motivational fuel.

I'm going to ramble a bit. Last night I was thinking about my current goals and plan. In the past I've had a few surgeries on my knees for meniscus tears and have had issues with both my shoulders and my elbows. I tend to rush into things and I don't always think about the consequences. My ego and pride get in the way of making smart decisions and often times I end up unable to do something for periods of time or have to see the doc for another knee issue.

With all that said I decided I'm going to back down the weights on my bench and squat days by about 25% in order to work on form and build up some strength. I haven't been able to do any benching or squatting for the past year due to lack of funds and my home gym consists of an oly bar and weights.

I've joined a gym, so that is no longer an issue. At this point I'd rather err on the side of caution and form versus going all out, in a frenzy and hurting something due to stupidity.

So if the numbers for squat and bench look low, I'm taking my time building up form and some strength before I go all out. My numbers in general are low, but I'm putting the ego in check and moving forward. Looking back at "what I used to do" ain't gonna get me where I want to be and the past produced some injuries that could have been avoided. I'll post the workout later today when I'm done. Guess I better get back to work now before the boss yells at me.


P2 W1 D3
Bench (25% below my "normal" training max #s)
10xbar, 10x95, 10x95 working: 5x100, 5x120, 18x140
BBB 5x10x115 super set seated rows w/BBB 4x10x115

DB rows
10x55, 10x60, 10x65, 20x70

Incline *DB bench
10x45, 10x50, 10x55, 8x55

I think I may have went way TOO low on bench. My shoulders felt great today and I had no pain in them. My elbows still sound like a tap dance recital, but relatively pain free. The weight seemed ridiculously light and the only reason I really started to sweet was because I super set some seated rows with the BBB. I'm going to stick with these numbers though through this phase of 5-3-1 just to get these muscles back into moving a little weight. I went a bit heavier on incline bench and had a little discomfort on the last set, but nothing to really be concerned about. I expect after this cycle my bench numbers will increase rather fast since I was always a strong bencher vs the other lifts.

Edit: added DB to incline not just plain ole incline


P2 W1 D4 lots of foam rolling and stretching
10xbar, 5x95, 5x95 working: 5x115, 5x135, 10x150
BBB 5x10x105

Leg Press
4plates x10, 6plates x10, 8plates x10, 8 plates x10 (that's total plates, not each side...)
Calf raises 4x10

Tried doing some towel leg curls and on the second set at rep 8 my left hammy knotted up so I did some ghetto GHRs instead and still ended up knotting up the hammy on the 3rd set. This needs to be a focus for me. Need to work on hammies for my accessory work for a while.

Sled drag/sprints 10x50 yards x sled+75 lbs. Lungs burning, legs on fire, drenched in sweat...driving home, I drove in 2nd gear for a good 3 miles before I realized I needed to go to third...I think these things are gonna get me in good shape or maybe just kill me in the end.


Very sensible. And since everyone allows me to hang around and log here, you'll always have the assurance that you're not the weakest one around.


Pound for pound though you put me to shame. Keeping moving forward, don't look back.


P2 W2 D1
10xbar 10x65 10x85 working: 3x100 3x110 6x125
BBB 5x10x75

Shrugs 4x10

Rear Delt Deck 4x10

Workout was somewhat flat. Got in, got out.

On a more positive note, only two more tests to take this semester. Hoping to get in about 24 units next semester. Will be tough with work, but I need to graduate.

Seems "diet" is not a big topic on the 35+ boards. I'm not really doing anything special just eating good foods and lots of protein. Is that the norm round these parts? I just got finished with 12 months of dieting and losing 115 lbs, so the thought of cutting out my 12 oz steaks for lunch or dinner just doesn't sound appealing. Plus the bacon with my eggs in the morning is a nice bonus. To note, I'm still losing about .5-1 pound a week since I slowly got back into "normal" eating, so not too worried if I eat a few extra cals here or there. Figured I'm eating anywhere from 3k-4k cals per day and still slowly dropping some inches from the belt line, so that's a good sign.


P2 W2 D2
10x135 10x155 10x175 working: 3x185 3x210 7x235
BBB 5x10x135

Leg Curls 4x10

hyper extensions 4x10 used 25 lbs, 35 then 45 for the last two sets.

Focusing on my posterior chain for my accessories. Going to add RDLs after squats on Sat. Really focused on my DL form today. Realized it wasn't as solid as I thought. May take a cam with me on sat for squats and next week for deads to see how it looks. Going to do some sled sprints tomorrow after work. Should be interesting.


I look forward to the vids.


P2 W2 D3
10xbar 10x95 10x95 working: 3x110 3x130 15x145 <- super set super-set chins/pulls 5x10 assisted
BBB 5x10x115

DB rows 10x55 10x60 10x65 20x70

Incline DB
10x45 10x50 10x55 8x60

decent day. Feeling my deadlift workout more this week versus last. Did some abs and a little grip strength work yesterday along with jumping some rope. Forgot my garage door opener at work ( detached garage with no side door) so didn't get my sleds in yesterday. Have to head back to work in a few to cover and do some stuff so I don't have to stay late tomorrow. Sleds on sat after squats.


Welcome. You're right in that diet doesn't seem to be a hot topic in these parts except perhaps to discuss the divinity of bacon and whatnot.

There is a lot of support here and significantly less drama than in other parts.


Well the sled drags might kill you, but, I could think of worse ways to die.... Wait, give me a minute...


P2 W2 D4
Guys were in the 3 squat racks in my new gym (more to com on this) so I did a few sets of legs curls and some extra hip activation stuff

10xbar 10x95 10x135 working: 3x135 3x155 8x175
no BBB

10xbar 10x135 10x155 10x155 10x175

Leg curls
10x100 10x110 10x110 10x120

Seated calves 4x10

So to start, I found out yesterday the gym I joined less then a month ago is being closed by today, Oct 16th and my membership was transferred to another gym. I was heated. I wanted nothing to do with this. Grumpy old man syndrome set in. Slept on it and went in to the new gym today. I'm now damn happy with the change. This place has a dedicated leg room with 3 squat racks, chains, shit tons of weight, a few leg press machines, AND CHALK USE IS ENCOURAGED. The owner is a damn cool guy along with his partners. Of course they have all the cardio amenities, TRX stuff, spin classes etc. Also seems like a few big, strong dudes work out there from what I saw today and the females are definately an improvement ont he ones at the old gym. All in all, damn happy this happened. Gotta keep grumpy old man in check more.

Second big thing was I watched a ton of Mark Ripptoe videos on youtube, and really listened to what he was saying. Realized my squat form was and probably is shit, but I'm making improvements. My feet were too close together, my feet were not pointed out much before, I was lifting with my chest pushing up not my hips. So today I really focused on these things. Lifting my butt up first and keeping solid form on the back. The weight today felt so damn light doing the reps. It is amazing what focusing a little on technique can do for the transition to strength. So I'm damn stoked about this and need to keep working on my form. The strength will come as long as I stay focused.

I'm probably going to buy his "Starting Strength" book in the next few days so I can get some more insights. Anyone have any input on if this is the book to help me re-program my form and technique? Is there another book that would be more beneficial?


For what it's worth, I don't agree with this advice. I can't imagine lifting my butt up first in a squat. I always lead with the chest.

But the bottom line is that everyone has to find what works for them. And sometimes that's counter to popular advice.

Sounds like a major score on the new gym.


I have read the book and be careful and read what he is saying. I do not think that you should push up your butt, it is a matter of keeping the chest and the butt in the right angel with each other and start by pushing with the legs and then follow thru with pushing the hips forward when things get heavy.