T Nation

The Open Boat



I've been lifting since March of 2009, principally using 5-3-1, but I'll admit to some bastardization of it based on my stubborn refusual to reset my maxes as dictated. That stubborness has left me treading water or regressing to some degree on the four main lifts. I'm making a new start. Here are my stats. With respect to the lifts, the numbers represent my best and are not necessarily my most recent.

Age 40
Height not quite 5'4"
Weight not quite 120

Military 70x3; Bench 95x4; DL 225x1; Squat 135x1

Today was DL day. It began with an 8 mile run.

DL bar x10; 135x5x2; 155x15. I was happy with this.
Good mornings 65x10x5
Hanging Leg raises (kipping) 15x5

I hope this isn't a double post, and I hope this is the correct way to start a log. I have issues with technology. But, I'm trying.


What do you mean by not resetting your maxes?

Personally I'd re-think running 8 miles before dead lifting tho.

Technologically your post is fine ( :


your priorities and organization seem off, but i guess i'll learn more if you keep posting.

this is PW. take a look around. and reset your fucking maxes.


hi dianab,

Thanks for the technological emotional support. I'm afraid I need it.

Under 5-3-1 you reset your max when you are not progressing anymore--ie you're not able to add weight and hit the reps you need through your next cycle. So, you take a step back so you can move forward. I like to think of it as getting a running start, which helps you break through a wall. But, I've tended to keep my "max" for each lift at a weight that I can hit for 4 or 5 reps. That approach hasn't really allowed me to make forward progress. As hard on my ego as it is, I need to make more of an effort to truly train submaximally. Someone else may be able to explain this better, but that is how I understand it.

I've heard that the running works against me with respect to strength gains. I don't really worry about that though. I love running. And I've been running my whole life. The strength training has made it even more enjoyable. I'm so light and strong; it often feels effortless, and I am running better than I ever have.

I am also really committed to the lifting. I struggle to balance all of my activities with each other and with the demands of my life. My schedule is not ideal, and I often end up compressing more physical activity than I should on my weekends. I'm trying to do better with that But I'm having fun, and feeling good.


My first thought too.

Why not run after you lift? That would really be preferable. There's no way that running eight miles before a session doesn't affect your performance. No way at all.


Welcome, Nadia.

I have to agree with the running suggestions. I'm guessing you run daily? My best friend is the same way. If you're looking to make gains in your lifts, you're going to have to sacrifice a bit. Or would "compromise" be a better word?


ditto! nice lifintg---- my goodness! i think you've blast throe dl's if you did them first! great job !


If you're having fun it's all good.
I am a bit confused with your goals tho.
Are you looking to become stronger? If so, put the lifting first. That doesn't have to be forever, but if you really want to break thru your rep maxes, it'll go a long way to helping you.
If you are looking to be a better runner, it sounds like so far the weight training has helped you accomplish that. If you are looking to just be fit and healthy with a good mix of strength and cardiovascular endurance, it looks like you've got it down.
In regards to 531, there are some great logs in the Over 35 forum that might give you some ideas as well. I wouldn't feel too bad about bastardizing the program, it's a great template to give you a baseline, but I find each lift has it's own set/rep scheme for each person. For me to increase my 1 rep max, 3 is the magic number, 5 is a warm-up and singles only apply to benching on any sort of "regular" basis. If I can perform more than 8 reps of any lift, then it's not heavy enough. So to me, if you can pull 15 reps @155, this is not going to help your rep maxes as much as strength endurance.
Obviously that's just one example, so it'll be interesting to see more of your training.


Ah, wow. I run, but definitely not on the days I lift. Eight miles would knock me out for the rest of the day.


Bench Today. I set my max at 85.

Bench barx10; 60x5; 65x5; 75x19. That's a rep PR for me, previous best 75x15. I thought about going for that 20th rep, but I have a shitty rack, and no good pin position.

Rows barx10; 60x10; 65x10; 75x10

Vups 15x3

SOme press handstand work/drills

I don't run daily--3 maybe 4 times a week, with a longer run on the weekend. I'm open to running after I lift. I often work out early in the am and running seems like an easier and gentler way to wake up than DLing.
Not having clearly defined goals is a problem with my training right now. I need some or at least one.


I can understand that. I like to train mornings, but the spine takes time to hydrate and deadlifting after getting out of bed is probably not a great thing.

What I'd suggest is do your long run on a day you don't do weights, or at least, deadlift or squat. Running puts a fair bit of strain on the lumbar region as well. Do your run on bench day, or on a day you don't lift at all.



I missed your post somehow. I'm not really sure how to respond to it. I'm doing my best to implement 5-3-1. I understand from your perspective I'm doing it wrong. I thought the graver mistake in the implemenation was the one I had been making--in setting my maxes too high. I figured I couldn't go wrong setting them low.


Have you tested your maxes or are you estimating them? Just curious, because using a 1 rep max calculation (which is never right on any given day anyways) your max @10x75 is 100lbs.
I think you are stronger than you think you are.


as long as you understand that its mostly just my perspective that youre doing it wrong, we'll be ok. my way is the right way and the only way. just like everyone elses. :slightly_smiling:

one more thing-

if you were doing your best to implement 5/3/1, this wouldnt be the case.

but srsly. bastardize it all you want, even if you like running. your lifts will improve more if you run after you lift.


How are you setting your 1 RMs? Obviously 85 lb. isn't your max if you can rep 75 lb. 19 times. It seems like a program like 5/3/1 requires somewhat accurate 1 RMs to get the most benefit. So I would think setting your maxes way too low would waste a lot of training time, unless you enjoy repping away. I come from a position of hating anything more than five reps. Actually three or fewer would be my preference.

It does all depend on your goals, though, which you admitted needed refinement. For many of us, it's maximal strength. But not all of us.


I appreciate you stopping by. And I am open to any advice or criticism you want to throw my way. That's why I'm here. My training is disorganized right now. I'm working on getting it together. Hopefully, it won't take me long. I hate floundering. It's so unbecoming.

I'm guessing at my maxes. Until recently, I had been very focused on hitting a certain number of pull-ups by a certain date. To that end, I dieted (which saps my strength like no amount of running) and put the main lifts on the back burner. Now coming off a two week deload, and with a few welcome pounds added to my frame, I'm in the happy position of being stronger than I was expecting to be. This feels like success. And it feels good. I'll up my numbers soon.

I enjoy hitting rep maxes, so I don't mind repping away to that end. Also, training alone, I feel more comfortable with the lighter weights and the higher reps. The most I have ever benched is 95lbs x4, and when I went for 100lbs, I got stapled. That experience has made me slow to add weight--probably too slow.


I learned today that I can not cut and paste from a word document without getting ????. Damn-it. I hate typing in these little grey boxes.


OK, so really, if you want to stop regressing and blast thru some previous maxes, find someone to spot you on all 4 lifts and get a true 1 RM.

Reset your percentages

Start running after lifting




Up early today. Foam rolling, running 5 miles, stretching. No lifting today.

Still trying to balance my activities. I'm not sure if I'm better off consolidating them and having more off days or spreading them out and doing a little each day. Regardless, the plan for the week is this: 3 lifting days; 3 running days; 1 day off.

Mon: running

Tues: military & squat. (I trying to learn how to not GM my squat so I'm keeping the weight light)

Wed: running am; adult gymnastics pm

Thurs: off.

Fri: DL

Sat: Long run

Sun: Bench


It only does that from a PC. If you have a Mac, it won't.