T Nation

Upper/Lower Split for Strength and Size


#1

I just finished up my first week of 5/3/1. I like it, but I'm not a fan of the warming up method. For me doing 2 work sets across before my max sets seems to fatigue me unnecessarily and put me in a sub-optimal position for the max set. Particulariy for deadlifts, my lower back was pretty fried after 2 sets of 5 before my main set of 5. (And yes, i did start light, basing calculations of of 90% training max). prefer ramping up, using triples, doubles, and singles.

I came up with this upper/lower split used primarily for strength, but also for size. It incorporates training methods from 5/3/1, texas method, and others. Let me know what you guys think.

Lower:
Squat: ramp up to 3-5 rm and do 3 back off sets
Deadlift: light work 6x1 at 85%
Abs: 4-5 sets

Upper:
Bench: ramp up to 3-5 rm and do 3 back off sets
Dips: 5x10
Chins: 5x10
Optional: 3x10 bicep, tricep, rear delts

Lower:
Deadlift: ramp up to 3-5 rm and do 0-1 back off sets
Squat: light work 6x4 at 70%
Abs 4-5 sets

Upper
Military press: ramp up to 3-5 rm and do 3 back off sets
Bench: light work 6x4 at 70%
Chest supported row: 5x10
Optional: 3x10 bicep, tricep, rear delts

Notes: for the optional upper body work, only pick 1-2 of those options to minimize unnecessary work.

Ramping example:

If your 5 rep max squat is 280:

45:5
135:4
185:4
225:3
245:2
265:2
280:5

Back off sets: 3 sets across at 90-95% of max set. (255-265).


#2

Will you ramp up, working to a rep max every week, or spend time building up volume with the weights you work up to during week 1?


#3

I’ve always found the first two “programmed” sets for any 5/3/1 week to be a pretty effective warm up/ramp before the top end set. Maybe it’s the way I’ve understood your post but it sounds to me like you’ve misunderstood the program.

In your above example, in which I’m estimating a 330lb TM, your top sets would look as follows:

5 x 215
5 x 250
5+ x 280

Which isn’t too different from what you’re currently doing.


#4

[quote]dagill2 wrote:
I’ve always found the first two “programmed” sets for any 5/3/1 week to be a pretty effective warm up/ramp before the top end set.
[/quote]

Kind of how I feel; I never really saw them as work sets. They just ensured a something of a warm-up.


#5

[quote]jimmyclemma wrote:
I just finished up my first week of 5/3/1. I like it, but I’m not a fan of the warming up method. For me doing 2 work sets across before my max sets seems to fatigue me unnecessarily and put me in a sub-optimal position for the max set. Particulariy for deadlifts, my lower back was pretty fried after 2 sets of 5 before my main set of 5.[/quote]

This may actually be an indication that your conditioning needs work. What do you do for it?


#6

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]jimmyclemma wrote:
I just finished up my first week of 5/3/1. I like it, but I’m not a fan of the warming up method. For me doing 2 work sets across before my max sets seems to fatigue me unnecessarily and put me in a sub-optimal position for the max set. Particulariy for deadlifts, my lower back was pretty fried after 2 sets of 5 before my main set of 5.[/quote]

This may actually be an indication that your conditioning needs work. What do you do for it?
[/quote]
This was my first reaction too (although I’d have called it work capacity), but the “sets across” thing threw me. I take “sets across” to mean several sets at the same weight which is not part of 5/3/1 programming.


#7

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]jimmyclemma wrote:
I just finished up my first week of 5/3/1. I like it, but I’m not a fan of the warming up method. For me doing 2 work sets across before my max sets seems to fatigue me unnecessarily and put me in a sub-optimal position for the max set. Particulariy for deadlifts, my lower back was pretty fried after 2 sets of 5 before my main set of 5.[/quote]

This may actually be an indication that your conditioning needs work. What do you do for it?
[/quote]
This was my first reaction too (although I’d have called it work capacity), but the “sets across” thing threw me. I take “sets across” to mean several sets at the same weight which is not part of 5/3/1 programming.[/quote]

I always understood work capacity to refer to ones ability to recover from workouts (hence why Bulgarian training necessitated an insane work capacity) while conditioning meant more recovery WITHING a workout, but the terms get muddied.

But yes, it’s also possible the programming itself got mucked up.


#8

[quote]FlatsFarmer wrote:
Will you ramp up, working to a rep max every week, or spend time building up volume with the weights you work up to during week 1?[/quote]

I was planning on ramping to an “easy” 5 rep max for the 1st week, i.e. Maybe 10-15 lbs less than my absolute 5 rep max.


#9

I calculated the program correctly, using the blackironbeast.com calculator. I think maybe my work capacity might be a little low. I just respond better to lesser weight jumps and lower reps in my ramping. Any thoughts on my routine though?


#10

[quote]jimmyclemma wrote:
I calculated the program correctly, using the blackironbeast.com calculator. I think maybe my work capacity might be a little low. I just respond better to lesser weight jumps and lower reps in my ramping. Any thoughts on my routine though? [/quote]

Will you be including any conditioning, or is that routine all of the training you will do?


#11

I wasn’t planning on doing any conditionimg. Maybe a few farmer’s walks here and there.


#12

What JW reccommends is 3 warm up sets. Then your three main sets. That is 6 sets total. And you are fatigued?

You are looking at 7 sets…

Am I missing something?


#13

Similar but better…


#14

[quote]JFG wrote:
What JW reccommends is 3 warm up sets. Then your three main sets. That is 6 sets total. And you are fatigued?

You are looking at 7 sets…

Am I missing something?[/quote]

The ramping up method I was using uses lower reps, which cause less fatigue. It also has lower jumps in weight, which better primes you for heavier weights. Compare these schemes for the deadlift:

5/3/1 (5’s week)

150x5
185x5
220x3
240x5
275x5
315x5+

Ramping
135x5
185x4
225x3
255x2
275x2
295x1
315x5+

Using wendler’s scheme, I find myself more fatigued for the main work set.


#15

I’m sure your routine can make someone bigger and stronger. It’s honestly pretty hard to train wrong, as long as the intensity is there. However, that’s why I bring up conditioning work as, at present, I don’t think your current routine will allow you to develop the conditioning level necessary to bring this intensity to the training.


#16

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I’m sure your routine can make someone bigger and stronger. It’s honestly pretty hard to train wrong, as long as the intensity is there. However, that’s why I bring up conditioning work as, at present, I don’t think your current routine will allow you to develop the conditioning level necessary to bring this intensity to the training.[/quote]

What do you recommend for conditioning?


#17

[quote]jimmyclemma wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:
I’m sure your routine can make someone bigger and stronger. It’s honestly pretty hard to train wrong, as long as the intensity is there. However, that’s why I bring up conditioning work as, at present, I don’t think your current routine will allow you to develop the conditioning level necessary to bring this intensity to the training.[/quote]

What do you recommend for conditioning? [/quote]

I like

-High rep squats (1x20, drop sets/strip sets, rest pause, etc)

-Front carry medleys for 50’ (usually 2 implements, sometimes 3)

-15 minute non-stop circuits (classic is KB swing for 10, chin for 5, dip for 5)

-Interval training (stolen straight from Dan John, use the tabata timing of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest for 4 minutes. I’ve done this with safety squat bar squats, slam ball slams, and log/barbell clean and press, and burpees all with amazing and terrible results)

-10 minutes of every minute on the minute movement (I’ve done this with 3 sandbag clean and presses along with 3 log cleans each minute. I’ve had my wife do it with 3-4 burpees as well, both are great at making life suck)

-100 burpee challenge (try to get it done in under 10 minutes)

-Sled drags (don’t run with the sled, just drag it)

Really, the only wrong way to condition is to not do it.


#18

You are doing around 2500 lbs less. That is why you are not “fatigued” doing it your way. In lament terms, you took a deload…

your conditioning (as mentioned above) and/or your diet is off.

Nothing wrong wit 5/3/1, the weight is too much for you.

Edit: Just saw “one week”… Your 1RM is too high and/or your TM is not right.


#19

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

I like

-High rep squats (1x20, drop sets/strip sets, rest pause, etc)

-Front carry medleys for 50’ (usually 2 implements, sometimes 3)

-15 minute non-stop circuits (classic is KB swing for 10, chin for 5, dip for 5)

-Interval training (stolen straight from Dan John, use the tabata timing of 20 seconds work, 10 seconds rest for 4 minutes. I’ve done this with safety squat bar squats, slam ball slams, and log/barbell clean and press, and burpees all with amazing and terrible results)

-10 minutes of every minute on the minute movement (I’ve done this with 3 sandbag clean and presses along with 3 log cleans each minute. I’ve had my wife do it with 3-4 burpees as well, both are great at making life suck)

-100 burpee challenge (try to get it done in under 10 minutes)

-Sled drags (don’t run with the sled, just drag it)

Really, the only wrong way to condition is to not do it.
[/quote]
I’ve tried most of the above and can safely say they are all good ideas. I definitely can’t say I like almost any of them, especially anything involving burpees because burpees suck.

My personal “favourites” are:

Barbell complexes
Carrying medleys
EMOM movements (1 x powerclean, 3 x front squat is what I’ve used most)
Hill sprints
Row sprints
"Crossfit style" doublets, pick two non-competing, “big” movements and just go batshit on them. Personal favourite: trap bar deadlift and ring pull ups or farmers walks and kB swings.


#20

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]dagill2 wrote:

[quote]T3hPwnisher wrote:

[quote]jimmyclemma wrote:
I just finished up my first week of 5/3/1. I like it, but I’m not a fan of the warming up method. For me doing 2 work sets across before my max sets seems to fatigue me unnecessarily and put me in a sub-optimal position for the max set. Particulariy for deadlifts, my lower back was pretty fried after 2 sets of 5 before my main set of 5.[/quote]

This may actually be an indication that your conditioning needs work. What do you do for it?
[/quote]
This was my first reaction too (although I’d have called it work capacity), but the “sets across” thing threw me. I take “sets across” to mean several sets at the same weight which is not part of 5/3/1 programming.[/quote]

I always understood work capacity to refer to ones ability to recover from workouts (hence why Bulgarian training necessitated an insane work capacity) while conditioning meant more recovery WITHING a workout, but the terms get muddied.
[/quote]
I’ve always understood work capacity to be your ability to do a certain amount of work in a given time ie. within a workout, whereas conditioning in my mind is more about cardiovascular fitness. I’m slowly learning that people can hear very different things to me from the same set of words.