Time for a change.
Time to Pursue the (next) Goal
I knew after I finished The Defattening Project that my next big goal was “3/4/5” — bench press 3 wheels (315#), squat 4 wheels (405#), and deadlift 5 wheels (495#). I didn’t start on this immediately after I stopped defattening because I was enjoying the hypertrophy work (still do). But recently I’ve been thinking about it more, and it’s come time to officially start on this journey. Sure, I’m stopping the GMM after only 2 weeks, but I learned some years ago that once you’re certain of something, get on with it else you’re just wasting precious time. So, I’m getting on with it.
Back to 5/3/1
While I’ve really enjoyed Paul Carter’s programming and philosophy, I’m moving away from it. I don’t think I’ll totally abandon Paul’s stuff, and I’m sure someday I’ll come back to it. It’s just that 5/3/1 has proven itself to me in the past, and it’s quite proven “around the world” that it works. It’s simple, it’s got solid foundational principles, and it works.
I also look at what I’ve learned over the past few years, in general and about myself and what I do and do no respond to. I see what’s working, I see what can help me maximize potential, and 5/3/1 should play in that. And since it’s nice to start out with a pre-planned template, I found that the 2nd edition’s “Simplest Strength Template” jives with what I’ve learned and what I’ve been doing. Sure, Boring But Big is proven and was my first choice for how to start off again, but SST may well be a better thing for me right now. The volume is just a hair lower than BBB, but it’s a little more comprehensive to the whole body. I’ve found that a general approach of “3 exercises” with the first being the big compound strength movement, the 2nd being an almost-big movement for more reps, and the 3rd edging towards an isolation movement for even more reps — yeah, I respond well to that: SST takes that approach (more or less). As written, it also uses some of the “big assistance” movements that I’ve been enjoying lately, like front squats. And I gotta say: going back and Pressing again has been fun and I look forward to that.
It’s other things too, like the increased frequency — it’s not 1x/week but 2. It’s a general upper/lower split. With things like the PR set, it requires me to push myself; but there’s auto-regulation and the ability to deal with less than stellar days if you need it.
Really, it should be alright. I really miss how things rolled on 5/3/1, so I’m happy to try getting back to it.
A few things to note
I am going to try 4x/week. In the past I found 4x/week was too much for me, but I also know I didn’t have a lot of stuff on point back then. Could 4x/week still be too much for me? Certainly. If that happens, I’ll fall back to 3x/week. But I want to see how this goes now and take whatever learning I can from it. That said, in the past I’ve also done the 2-cycles in a row before deloading, but I will NOT do that here; I will take the deload on the 4th week. This is an attempt to balance things a bit in terms of the 4x/week load.
I will start out as-written, but I’ll change up as needed, in whatever way that might mean.
I picked my working maxes based on a few things. Some things I flat out had the hard data on, so it was simple math to figure out. Other things I had reasonable guesses on or close enoughs and went from there (e.g. I don’t have straight-leg deadlift numbers, but I did have stiff-leg — so I took the stiff-leg and adjusted downwards a little bit). Bottom line is to “start too light” so when in doubt, round down, underestimate, etc. because in time it’ll work up.
It felt so different from what I’ve been doing. 🙂
I’ve been used to 5/4/3/2/1 on the work up, so doing the same # of reps felt a little odd. Small thing, but still there.
When I was doing the last set, I just kept going 1 rep at a time. When I hit 10 reps, my first thought was to keep going, but I racked it because my brain said “You know, somewhere Wendler wrote that it’s reasonable to cap the 5+ set at 10 reps”. So I did. It was good, because another thing to remember is that you’re supposed to leave 1-2 reps in the tank — this is not going to failure. So much of my work the past many months has been AMRAP and to failure, so I have to break out of that habit and let myself rack it before I get to that failure point. I think 10 was actually legit that point anyways because I know 11 was possible, 12 was a maybe (i.e. make the call after I’d finish 11)… so yeah, good.
Everything else was generally good, but man… I bet I’m going to be so damn sore in my hamstrings, glutes, and lower back come tomorrow. That got a lot of work. So much that while I was supposed to finish with some hanging leg hip raises, I opted to just do crunches so my lower back could be a little happier. 🙂 First day and already calling audibles. My body will get used to things.
I recall last night looking at this thinking that on paper it should be a pretty easy day. And relatively speaking I’ve had tougher days, but it’s a reminder that just because it’s a “5” day doesn’t mean it’s easy and something you can just phone in.
So hey… felt a little strange, but yet, felt good. Happy. Looking forward to where this goes.
5/3/1 Simplest Strength Template
- bar x whatever
- 105 x 5
- 135 x 5
- 160 x 3
- 175 x 5
- 200 x 5
- 225 x 10
- Straight-leg Deadlift
- 145 x 10
- 170 x 10
- 200 x 10
- Leg Curls
- 30 x 15
- 30 x 12
- 30 x 10
- BW x 12
- BW x 12
- BW x 12
- BW x 10
- BW x 10
- BW x 10