Today marks the beginning of a new workout routine that I will be following for the next 12-16 weeks. This plan will take me into the fall and will be based around the popular 5/3/1 program. I have had awesome results with 5/3/1 in the past, but find that I plateau after 4 cycles. After the 4 cycles I change up my workouts and follow a 3-4x week total body routine focused completely on multi-joint lifts. I find after this break from 5/3/1 and a new variety of exercises I come back and stronger than ever within 2-3 cycles of the 4 week 5/3/1 mesocycle.
This past week I worked up to max, or near maximal attempts to get a gauge for my strength in the conventional deadlift, bench press, overhead press, power clean, and squat. Overall I was pleased with the results, as I was following wave loading schemes of 7-5-3, 5-4-3, and 3-2-1 or various similar exercises.
My maxes took place over the course of a week and were as follows:
Power Clean: 275×1 rep
Felt and looked pretty good. I may have been able to go higher, but I was satisfied with 275. My only PR of the week, I decided to attach a video for shits and giggles. Here you go!
Deadlift: 435×1 rep
This was okay, by no means a PR, but had good speed throughout the lift with minimal grind. I was pre-fatigued to an extent as these were performed after deadlifts on Monday morning. With this max used for my training I should perform the reps with good speed and prevent too much neural fatigue as heavy, grinding deadlifts wipe me out.
Overhead Press: 205×1 rep
I hit 205 without issue. Unfortunately I missed at 215 and have struggled to go over 205 using a strict press. This was the third lift in Monday’s A.M. session after power cleans and deadlifts.
Bench Press: 315×1 rep
Def. satisfied with this number, not a PR but still solid considering I haven’t benched heavy for the past 6-8 weeks. I have felt out of the grove with this lately, but was pretty wired on black tea+ a caffeine pill on Monday’s P.M. session.
Squat: 445×1 rep
Squats felt great! I performed a ramping workout on Wednesday with Squats into the low 300’s to ramp up the nervous system without fatigue. Friday I worked my way up hitting singles up until 445. I performed these wearing my Chuck Taylors, but soon will be switching to Do-Win squat shoes. I am interested to see how much of a difference the shoes make in both my squat and clean.
Using these numbers I multiplied them all by .95 to get my training max. From that point on I am following the 5/3/1 protocol and using sub-maximal weights plus a few additional singles on weeks 1 and 3 of each month long cycle to ramp up my weight and intensity before de-loading on the form week.
My workouts will be structured as follows:
200 Jumping Jacks
Soft Tissue/Active mobility work
Dynamic Movements + additional glute activation
Lower Body Days: 3×3-5 Jumps; Upper Body Days: 3×3-5 Medicine Ball Throws
Day 1: Overhead Press 5/3/1 superset with Pull-ups or horizontal row
Assistance work: DB Chest Press Variations, Upper Back work, Biceps
Day 2: Deadlift 5/3/1 superset with knee, ankle, hip mobility drills
Assistance work: Strict barbell rows, good mornings, ab wheel rollouts+ additional hamstrings and glutes
Day 3: Bench Press 5/3/1 superset with horizontal or vertical pull
Assistance work: Close Grip Cable Row/other row variation, Triceps, Upper Back assistance work
Day4: Power Clean and Squat 5/3/1 superset with ankle, hip, knee mobilization
Assistance Work: Timed Leg Press Sets, Dragon Flags (abs)
Generally, I like to take weekends off from structured training and enjoy some recreational exercise. The weekend allows me to recharge my batteries, maintain focus, and prepare for the next week. This past Sunday I decided to get re-acquainted with hill sprints for the first time at 5000+ feet. I ran 6 80-90 meter hill sprints at about 80-85% top speed and felt great. Nothing too challenging, but it’s always better to start too easy and too light than too hard.
I am looking forward to this training routine as I always make good gains following the 5/3/1 protocol. I strongly recommend 5/3/1 for intermediate to advanced lifters as you will make consistent gains for months if you plan things out correctly. Besides the warm-ups outlined above I typically foam roll and perform mobility drills for my T-Spine, Hips, knees, and ankles on a daily basis. This only takes 10-15 minutes and keeps me relatively injury free.