T Nation

Trying to Become a Dark Horse... Eventually


#1

I think I’m doing this right. I’m in the training logs section so here we go. I have fully embraced the T Nation culture and I’m going to be recording my sessions on here instead of in a notebook from now on. I’m a millennial. It’s what we do.

I’m a big 5/3/1 guy and chances are if you’ve seen any of my other posts, I mentioned 5/3/1. I’m a Wendler fanboy I guess. Because the shit works and I love it.

Stats:
20 years old
6’2 (not going to grow any taller)
207lb
325/275/405 are my most recently tested maxes (14 Nov 2017)
405/300/455 (26 Feb 2018)
415/315/455 (3 March 2018)
305x12, 250x8, 425x3 are my best rep maxes.
345x9, 225x15, 455x2 (24 May 2018)

Some background to explain why my maxes are what they are:
In high school, my throws coach had us almost exclusively doing Olympic lifts. Had a 115kg C&J and 90kg snatch at ~85-90kg bodyweight, so those lifts were good. All I ever did outside of that was front squats for 5x5 and bench for 3x10. Played football, threw shot & disc (I was better at throwing than football. I was and still am way too small to play line) and never considered powerlifting.
I wasted my freshman year of college “bodybuilding.” Too much cardio, too many sets of calf raises, not enough protein. So I got nowhere. I’ve been powerlifting (I know 5/3/1 isn’t the perfect powerlifting program but I love it anyways) for a little over 3 months. All my tested maxes were right before I started 5/3/1. I hope I’m not forgetting anything. I don’t know if any of this is relevant. Who cares.

14 Nov 2017 - Bench
245 x 3+ (9)
3x6 225, 3x6 205 pause bench
3x8 70s pause DB floor press
amrap wide grip pull ups
amrap face pulls

Notes: Kinda pissed about my + set. Had a random guy spot me, I asked for a liftoff and told him I was going for 10 beforehand, and he literally (and I mean LITERALLY) HELD ONTO THE BAR FOR EVERY REP. So I didn’t know what to make of that. It threw me off big time mentally because I’ve never had anyone do that before. I can’t blame him, because if I was stronger I would’ve gotten 10 regardless. So I just fist bumped him and said “thanks homie.”

15 Nov 2017
Rest


#2

I give very clear instructions when I ask for a spot. Saves any Confusion.


#3

My friend’s dad once told me: “You know what happens when you assume?” I said, “No. What?” “You make an ass of u and me.”

Very woke old guy. English is not even his first language and he blew my mind with that. Even if the spotter didn’t realize it today, we both looked like asses in my mind. I will follow your lead Mark. Thanks dude


#4

If your spotter is holding onto that shit don’t start the first rep. Hold it, look him in the eyes and growl:


#5

hahahaha


#6

16 Nov 2017 - Squat
320 x 1+ (9)
Tempo squats 3:0:1:0 3x6 275
Leg Press 2x8 8 plates, 2x8 10 plates
Good Mornings 4x10 95
Light face pull

Notes:
Very happy with my + set. 9 on a 1+ is good for someone on their first cycle, and this was the last session of my 6th, so I’m feeling good about where I’m at right now. The gains keep coming!
I’ve been trying to incorporate different explosive exercises to increase my power coming out of the hole – I rotate through box squats, pause squats, tempo squats, and speed squats. It’s hard to tell if it’s working or not, because I’ve been doing well with them and without them; however, being more explosive is never a bad thing, so I’m going to make these variations a staple for squat days. If you guys have any other thoughts on the subject, please share.
I was running short on time and decided to superset my leg press with good mornings. I got home this afternoon after being at school from 7-3 after 5 hours of sleep the night before, and through all of that, I felt good. I was itching to get in the squat rack all day. I got home, took a power nap, woke up, and felt DOMS in my hamstrings from something that I don’t remember doing. That’s never happened to me before, but I don’t think it really impacted my squats that much so I don’t care. I didn’t want to push the good mornings hard because of the mystery soreness – but I still wanted to make sure I worked the entire posterior chain in some capacity today.
I threw in some light face pulls with about 30 seconds of rest in between sets of 10-15. It feels more like mobility work than anything, and it’s been helping my shoulders stay healthy with the increased pressing volume.
I touched on it earlier, but I got 5 hours of sleep last night. Wednesday & Thursday are the longest days of my week by far. Class 8-3 with a study group from 5-11 every Weds followed by Thursda morning chem lab from 7-9:50 & a&p lab from 10-12:50 with another study group from 1:30-4. Thursdays are generally not days when I see giant PRs. The school schedule is out of my control though. What IS in my control, and what I messed up on, is the nutrition. I barely ate on Wednesday because I was in class/studying all day, and same with Thursday. My water intake has been atrociously low, amounting to about 52 oz all day today. Considering the circumstances, I am very pleased with tonight’s session. That’s 100% on me, and I know that the weights are relatively light which is the only reason I can get away with messing up my nutrition. In a year, if I pull this shit, I’m going to suffer in the weight room big time. Oh well. We’ll get it straightened out.
Bench tomorrow :slight_smile:


#7

I’m just going to question that logic slightly: if you’ve been doing well with and without them, how do you know they make you more explosive? Is being explosive what you need to work on most? What about mass? Or technique? What about specific weak points?

Don’t get me wrong, I really like the idea of following main lifts with a variation to hit a weakness or work on a specific quality. I think, though, you need to look at how you use them.

With tempo squats, for instance, my understanding of how you did them was with a three count eccentric, no pause and a one count concentric. I’m not sure if that will actually help explosiveness, although it may well help with mass. It is likely paused squats with your normal eccentric would work better, or regular squats focusing on accelerating as violently as possible. The issue I have with slow eccentrics on a main movement is that it may end up making you slow you eccentric down more than you need out of habit.


#8

This. Every rep of every set from warm up to the end… 24/7/52. Will refund you if you’re aren’t as explosive as possible in a few months.


#9

This is correct.

What I was thinking was just that I’d take a slow eccentric and then accelerate upwards as violently as possible. Your point about slow eccentrics becoming a habit is something I hadn’t thought of and that’s a really good point. Since I’ve been handling weights lately that I’ve never had on my back before (4 months ago, 325 was my squat max and tonight I had 320 for my + set) it feels better for me to go slowly on the eccentric portion. I don’t know if it’s a psychological thing, and I’m scared because I’ve never repped this much weight before, or if I’m just too weak and unstable to take it down quickly.

I suppose I’ll keep it then because I need more leg mass, but I should stop labeling it as an explosive movement then I guess LOL thanks Mark


#10

I’ve been doing this lately and it really does help. It doesn’t feel as good (good = easy in this case) as warming up with slow reps, but my + sets benefit from it so much. And that’s all that matters. So I will continue to do this.

Question: Since I treat all my reps like that anyways, is there any point in adding extra work for explosiveness, or am I getting a good dose already?


#11

Don’t have the studies/can’t be fucked looking but would bet that appropriate dedicated speed/power/explosiveness work would improve that attribute. How significant the effect size… who knows.

Whether or not it’s worth it is up to you. If you have the time/canfuckedness or it really is a weakness that is not improving with compensatory acceleration training then by all means.


#12

17 Nov 2017 - Bench
255 x 1+ (7)
Pause bench 4x10 185
Pause db floor press 4x8 85s
Pull ups 4x10 bodyweight
Skull crushers 3x10 90
Hammer curls 3x10 40s

Notes
Not happy with today. I had as much mental hype as it’s possible for me to have (which is a good amount imo) but physically there just wasn’t a whole lot there tonight.
From my understanding, in an ideal 5/3/1 cycle, the athlete adapts faster than the weight increases. Realistically, that will only last for so long; what I’ve read indicates that this ideal 5/3/1 phase where [adaptation > intensity increase] lasts about 7-10 cycles. I have just finished my 6th and my squat is still adapting at roughly the same rate that the intensity is increasing at, but tonight could be a sign that my bench is starting to adapt slower than the intensity is increasing. My last 1+ was 250, and I got 250x8.

I’m also following Jim’s recommendation of deloading every 2 cycles. I just finished my 6th which means it’s time for my 3rd deload. I messed up my squat deload last time: The last two sessions leading up to my deload were 295x8 (pr) and 305x8 (pr). After the deload, which lasted 6 days and consisted of bench - rest - squat - rest - deadlift - rest, I came back and was barely able to squat 280x7 for my 5+. I benched 225x12 which tied my old pr, but for some reason my squat suffered badly. I think a big reason for my squat suffering is that I really didn’t eat as much as I should’ve; I wasn’t hungry because I wasn’t training for a week.

My plan for this deload is to have it last 4-5 days instead of 6 while eating in a bigger caloric surplus than I did last deload. I will do some research and find a better deload option in terms of keeping intensity higher. If anyone knows of a deload option that Jim recommends for 5/3/1 besides 40/50/60% for 5s, please let me know. Thanks


#13

Just some days mane. You can program and control for everything in your life as best you can but still there’s gonna be shit days. 1 shit workout makes no big difference in the grand scheme of things.

Tbh I get legit hyped maybe 3-4 times per year. Lasts for about 4-5 hrs. Good times. I feel like I’d burn out fast if I got hyped up frequently

Sounds like a strange way to deload to me… You sure that’s what Wendler recommends?


#14

Yeah in the original 5/3/1 article, he outlines the deload as 40% x5, 50% x5, and 60% x5 and assistance as needed. I did that last time and I ended up working to about 215lb for my “top set” of squats lol. Came back and was weak as fuck, it was awful.

My buddy is running a program that has a lot of 4x7s and 8x3s, and his deload stayed at roughly the same intensity of his regular training days (80-85%) but with half the volume and he didn’t miss a beat. I think it might be worth trying, what do you think?


#15

To be fair you weren’t eating enough. Deloads let your body “catch up” on recovery which is why you keep eating as you would. Less work but same recovery allows for catching up. If you don’t eat enough you detrain and you still have as much accumulated fatigue as before.

Don’t let Wendler hear this but the way he suggests sounds kinda sub optimal. Your buddy’s approach will probably serve you better. Volume generates more fatigue then intensity so decreasing volume is the way to go. Keeping intensity high allows you to stay used to heavy weight so that when you come back the bar doesn’t feel extra heavy.

Have a google of deloading and look on YouTube for more.

Chuck us the template to your program and let’s see if we can get a deload week fleshed out.


#16

I hear you on the eating part. Makes sense and I’ll keep trying to get as close to 2800 calories as I can.

I’m using a tweaked version of the original 5/3/1 template which is 4 days/week, bench + squat + OHP + deads.

Over a 7 day spread it would look like this:

Day 1: Squat 5+
Day 2: Bench 5+
Day 3: Rest
Day 4: Bench 3+, Deads 5+
Day 5: Squat 3+
Day 6: Rest
Day 7: Bench 1+

I only do deads once a week. I’ve found that they fatigue me too much with the + sets alone. I bench every other training day with low volume (50-70 total reps). I squat as often as I can, wherever it fits into the aforementioned order.

I’m on a 2 on, 1 off split right now. Idk if that gave anywhere near enough detail. Let me know, thanks


#17

but what was OHP lel?

Accessory work? For deload either cut it out completely or drop 20-30% and go through the motions

Volume
Count/estimate the number of working sets and reps for SBD+P per however long your split is or choose an arbitrary length of time that accurate reflects the amount of volume/work you do. Then we are gonna chop this in half or 60% if that ends up being too little volume.

Intensity
Heavy enough loads so that you are used to it coming back from the deload but leaving plenty of reps in the tank on sets. Maybe 75% or more of training max of the previous cycle.

Then divvy up all the things in a week or however long you want your deload to go for. Longer than a week is probably too much so maybe 6 days if it works better for you.


#18

I don’t mess with OHP. There’s a couple reasons for it but it’s mostly because I don’t think it has enough carryover to bench to warrant giving itself it’s own day and pushing back my squats/deads/bench back.

Accessory work for bench: 2-3 pressing exercises for 3x8-10. 2 pulling exercises for 3-4x10.

Squat: Pause squat variation 3-4x6, quad isolation (leg press/extension) for 4x10-15

Deadlift: Barbell rows 3x8, amrap pullups, curls, face pulls

What is SBD+P? I’m about to head to the gym for my squat deload. Thanks for your help dude I’ll keep you posted on how this works!!


#19

Squat Bench Deadlift Press


#20

19 Nov 2017 - Squat Deload
Squat 5x2 295 (~80% of my 1rm, ~90% of my TM)
Box squats 3x5 225
Leg Extensions 2x10 90
Face Pulls 3x8

Notes
Trying a different style of deload as recommended by @khangles. I took 30-40% of my volume off everything but kept the intensity fairly close to normal (except for box squats because I was tired).

I’m not indulging in any of my homemade pre workout or caffeine this week. I felt very low energy today during my workout. I think the reason is that I was out of bed and straight to the gym because it closes very early on Sundays; poor nutrition, no pre workout, and I went to bed exhausted from my shift last night.

Overall I’m still pleased with my workout. I felt like I got some quality work done, and it shouldn’t be too difficult to recover from because the volume was so low. I will take tomorrow off, bench Tuesday, deadlift Wednesday, and rest Thursday (Thanksgiving). That will give me 6 straight days of a combination of rest days and deload sessions; I should be ready to hit some big squat numbers on Friday morning. Stay tuned