T Nation

Zen and the Art of Being Epic (Sheiko for Strongman experiment starting at pg 11)


"Between the time when the oceans drank Atlantis, and the rise of the sons of Aryas, there was an age undreamed of. And onto this, Conan, destined to wear the jeweled crown of Aquilonia upon a troubled brow. It is I, his chronicler, who alone can tell thee of his saga. Let me tell you of the days of high adventure!"

So...still lifting. I finished Sheiko 29 and 37 pre-holiday...then got the flu in a bad way. I lost some strength, especially in my back, and managed to gain 10lbs of chub. I am currently in my 2nd 531 cycle after a GPP 2 weeks in January. I have a new job as National Director of Recruitment for a small but growing insurance group. This position is more stressful, and much more responsibility, but considerably more money than my previous position. Great Thor's hammer! When I started lifting it was because I was unemployed and adrift career wise, and frankly had nothing better to do. Now I am getting leadership advice from one of the true leaders of our industry, and being groomed for great things. What a long strange trip it's been!

I try to keep a log so I can see my progress, if someone reads it, that's nice too.

I tried 531 a while ago but didn't like to low volume. What I missed was that the assistance work (big but Boring)solve my masochistic need to be in the gym for hours at a clip.

I've found that lifting 3x week is what my joints and schedule can handle so I modified 531 slightly to make it work on a weekly cycle. I combined squat and OHP to a Sunday W.O. This has worked well so far.

current maxes, Squat 335, DL 335, Bench 215, OHP 95

So today,
3 x 210
3 x 240
3 x 270 a little knee pain here, which, from experience is me being quad dominate. I could not find my groove today, but didn't miss a rep
10 x5 @ 155 this is damned brutal

3 X 65
3 X 75
3 X 85 this is new territory for me. I have had crappy shoulders since high school so I am super careful pressing. Someone finally taught me to do these right, so I am progressing quickly here. My current max is cautious 95, but I think 135 will happen by June.
10 x 5 at 65



Bench on Tuesday
3x 155
3x 185
3x 205 a little higher than program, but I was having a hero day
10 x 5 x 155 this is where I earn Cadbury eggs for carb back loading

today, Thorsday
3 X 205
3 X 235
3 X 265 + 1 extra rep
10 x 5 x 155 eff'n hell
Abs--I did something I saw online, I thought on Death to Fitness, but I cant find it tonite. Simply load the bar and unrack to front squat, stand and enjoy. I hit some ab support muscles that I am already feeling. It is supposed to be more a functional ab exercise than anything else because it's focused on supporting weight in an upright position. Either way, I like it so far.



Congrats on the job. Curious about the OH - have you done more in the past, or now grinding your way up?


Grinding my up. I have avoided them before because of bad shoulders, but good things happen with technique, however slowly that might be.


week 3 day 1
5 x 225
3 x 255
1 +2 x 285
10 x 5 x 165
5 X 70
3 X 80
1 +2 X 95 this felt really strong. I was temped to test for a new 1rm max but wanted to get moving
2 x 95 just fer the hell'of it
10 x 5 x 60
I finally found the article. I did the same front squat position ab workout, AKA front squat hold. Here is a link to the article I found it in.


Agreed. Good work.


? 5 x 165
? 3 x 185
? 1+2 x 205
? 10 x 5 x 165
Cable rows 10 x 5, 140-180
? 5 x 225
? 3 x 250
? 1+1 x 280 I had more in the tank, 280 comes off the floor without hesitation or slowdown and felt like a new PR would happen if I tested, but I held off
? 10 x 5 x 170
This is the end of my 2nd full cycle in 531. I'm surprised at how happy I am with it especially compared to Sheiko. I feel stronger, I might test maxes in the "de-load" week coming up.


Nice. I've been using 5/3/1 for over a year and I'm very happy. You just have to think long term.


Deload week! day 1

5 x 135
5 x 155
5 x 185
good mornings
3 x 10 x 95

5 X 45
5 X 55
5 X 65

Overhead squats to tie it all together
8 x 65
8 x 65
5 x 75

My knees have stiff sense last week, I ordered some ElitFTS knee sleeves, with any luck they'll be here soon and fit. I think it is due to not properly warming up, and the cold evenings and cold gym. One shoulder is a little tender, I think due to bedroom fun and sleeping funny, but but this is what deload is all about.

Everything else feels great, and I had to really discipline myself to stay in the prescribed weights.

Carb Backloading is also going good, although I am really half-assing it. I can't function at work (in my leadership role where I have to be civil, and not curse) with breakfast. I usually have a no carb 3 eggs (from the backyard chickens, a lot of cheese and 3-5 sausages. If not I end up with a corn muffin or two so I don't murder anyone. lunch is most often cheap fried chicken strips or sushi for business lunches and dinner varies on no gym days. I excel the loading part, and have laid waste to the local Cadbury egg stores. I try to keep gluten to a minimum mainly because it keeps my sinuses under control.

Even 1/2-assing it I am clearly thinner (note, not thin)and more muscular, and definitely stronger. I think I owe Keffer some thanks.


I hear you. I lift in an unheated home gym (sometimes below zero) and suffer from that cold knee stiffness you speak of. I'm not one for lots of warm up sets with a bare bar either, but I have found that 10 mins on a stationary bike at quite a quick cadence gets me a nice pump in my quads around the knee (vastus medialis?) and really helps warm them up and makes my knees all cushiony soft for squatting.

Also, knee sleeves on the radiator for an hour beforehand when it's really cold. Toasty!


It's not "below zero" there by any stretch, it's the local Gold', if it was I'd be prepared for it. The weight room is usually 55ish f and they always seem to have the ceiling fans on. I can deal with this, but I prefer shorts, especially when I squat for freedom of movement, so the combination of all this means that with 531's relitively light workload I have trouble staying "warm." I think the knee sleeves will solve this, and either way summer will.


5 x 105
5 x 135
5 x 155
5 x 10 x 135 a lot of focus on back arch and proper shoulder placement
3 x 10 x 80
Tricep pushdowns
10 x 120
8 x 150
6 x 180
4 x 200 I love these, they?re not really in the program but I use them to replace dips, because I am too damned heavy to do enough dips to make a set. Also, I crunch up a little so I get some ab work in.

EZ bar Curls, why the hell not? Everyone else is doing it! 8 X 60, 6 X 80
I?m sure deloads are necessary, and I think this one is necessary for me, but I am struggling to make it a ?working vacation? instead of full throttle.


5 x 135
5 x 155
5 x 185 All did conventional style. I almost always sumo, but I have been mixing conventional into warm-up and assistant (BBB) sets. This was the first time I did 100% conventional. I felt much stronger this time in conventional than I have in the past.
5 x 10 x 135, again all conventional
Seated cable rows
3 x 10 x 140, 160, 180


Hmm, another person who's avoiding gluten. I gave it up years ago and feel great. How long since you cut down?


Cav, I did it pretty gradually. It has helped my sinuses a lot, other than that I don't think it is all that big of a deal.

531 cycle 3, week 1
5 x 205
5 x 245
5+1 x 265
4 x 265 Kraken wanted another krak at it
4 x 10 x 155
5 X 65
2 X 75 shoulder weirdness
3 x 75
4 x 85 shoulder weirdness

front squat holds @ 135
over head squats
10 x bar
5 x 65
face pulls, AKA fook you shoulder weirdness
10 x 90
8 x 130
8 x 130

Also, the knee sleeves are doing what I hoped, slight support and warming my knees enough so the aches are fading. The squat session was a breeze, even with someone doing swinging squat rack curls with 70lbs who failed to rack his weights and the replaced by Mr 400 lb squat curtsy. He loads the bar, unracks and bends at the waist and knees for a rom of 12-16 inches. He's been doing this for a year but looks as strong as a typical sally-bitch. Only my guess, but if he tried to hit actual depth 185 would pin him to the floor.


5 x 145
5 x 165
2 x 195
3 x 195 shoulder weirdness again, no pain but it just didn?t feel right.
5 x 10 x 160 frustrating because I breezed through these and almost lost count a few sets.

Cable flys- 2 x 10 90, 110
DIPS! Highly assisted but 3 x 10. I am sore from one elbow across the upper back to the other and lats. I feel like I hit every bench support muscle I needed to. I think/hope this will help build support muscles around my shoulders.


5 X 200
5 X 230
5 + 1 X 260 These came off the floor with ease.
I was pressed for time, and I like a max effort sort of day here and there so?
1 x 315
1 x 335 easy! The last time I pulled this (in early December) it took 3 tries to get it and it felt like 30 seconds between floor and lockout. This time it was smooth like 350 was a given.
0 x 350 probably too big of a jump. 3 tries, I could get it off the ground but I could feel my back round if I pulled any more. Frustrating, but I was pretty fatigued. The 5 in 531 on DL is rough and I probably should have saved this for another day.
I could feel a little CNS fry and that pleasant T dump. Not hurt, but I definitely did some work.

Hanging leg raises, great Thor's hammer these suck!


531 cycle 3 week 2
3 x 225
3 x 250
3 x 280 all a little higher weight than they should be
5 x 10 x 160
3 x 8-10 225, 315, 405 leg presses to recruit the glutes

3 X 70
3 X 80
2 + 2 X 90 Finally realized my problem was I was flaring my elbows. This made my shoulders go slack and put pressure on the joints.
10 x 5 x 60 slammed through these!


3 x 155
3 x 185
3+2 x 205 Keep you elbows in, pause, push like hell! I probably had 2-3 more in the tank, but the 10 x 5 is still murder.

funny gym moment of the day--an older woman who has a backside you could show a Rick Ross video on, who spends most of her workout with it in the air, waving it like she just don?t care, came over to me looking pissed off and said, ?how many more sets do you have??
I said, ?five.?
She said, ?I?ll be back, ?I was half deaf listening to 90?s reggae dancehall at full volume but it sort of sounded like a threat.

10 x 5 x 155 "6 million ways to die, choose one!"

Heavily assisted Dips 5 sets to a safe failure.
Tri push downs
3 x 10
Cable curls
3 x 8-10 100, 120, 130


3 X 225
3 X 245
3 X 275 I didn?t fully warm-up, the guy with the 400lb curtsy was working through his sets on my favorite rack, right in front of the only reasonable place to deadlift. I tried to warm-up on the leg press, but it was not effective in the long run. I felt ?off? the who work out and a little drained but I got through the minimum. 275 felt like 315 did last week.
10 X 5 X 165 stopped at one point to ask one the IT (Indian Technicians) to tell his 100lb friend to straighten his back so he doesn?t hurt himself doing 55 lb cleans. They can?t believe I never wear a belt deadlifting, but they wear every strap, glove and brace they could find at Sports Authority, so maybe they own stock there.
Hanging leg raises
3 x tears, jeeezus! These make me long for the days of sit-ups with my hands behind my head.