5 3 1 Weight Lifting Program: Cycle 1 Complete

| July 31, 2017 | 0 Comments

The She Shepherd and I are doing the 5-3-1 Weight Lifting Program by Jim Wendler. We just completed our first four week cycle. This workout was mentioned by personal safety coach, career law enforcement officer, writer, and world traveler Greg “Gorillafritz” Ellifritz.

I picked the 5-3-1 because it met most of my criteria:

  • heavier weight, fewer reps than other routines I have done
  • something that could be done at home
  • something that could be done in an hour or less
  • something that provided a guided, pre-planned set of movements and goals
  • was primarily big, compound movements, with bonus points for as few movements as possible so The She Shepherd could learn them more quickly

The 5-3-1 program is centered around four key movements: squat, bench press, deadlift, and overhead press. “Assistance” work is made up of other movements that help you get better at the key four movements.

The program has a lot of flexibility outside of the four key movements. I enjoyed being able to choose (within a list) of activities. This was particularly important to me as I got back into lifting with free Olympic weights. The time off has not been good for my personal records :\

There are also key variations of the 5/3/1. We are doing the standard variation, but there are a lot of variations for stronger, more experienced lifters. There is also a beginner variation if you (mostly) completely new to weight training.

Doing no more than five reps per set is helpful at maintaining focus and intensity, something else that I appreciated.

The assistance movements are technically optional, and Wendler wrote that sometimes he only had enough time to go to the gym, hit his big lift of the day, and leave.

I’ve ditched out once due to time, but it was nice to know that as long as I came in and did the big lift I was good.

I use an unofficial, definitely not Wendler approved 5-3-1 app for Android. It helps me keep track of what lift I’m supposed to do, how much I’m supposed to be lifting, and my personal records. It also breaks down the plates I need.

So far, the workouts have all been about 30 – 40 minutes, including warm up and assistance movements.

I have gotten stronger, but that can be said for almost any new program. Most programs seem difficult at first, then you make gains, then you plateau. An interesting feature of the 5-3-1 program is the deload cycle. After attaining some new goals, you reduce the weight by a predetermined percentage and drive upward again.

I bought the 5/3/1 eBook on Amazon and read most of it before beginning. There’s a lot of discourse about the different workout variations, and I skipped over these as they don’t yet apply to me. Check out the sections on diet and sleep, especially if you are new to lifting.

I’ve adjusted my diet based on the book and the workout program. I was on an intermittent fasting regime until I started this ; now I have to have breakfast to get a jump start in ingesting the recommended amounts of protein a day.

I look forward to what the next few cycles bring. I’d be happy if I earned half of the improvement Greg Ellifritz did.

About the Author:

Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd is a regular guy and works to make Web sites and mobile apps easier for people to use. He spends his free time attending fight-focused firearm, knife, and combatives training, motorcycling, writing, and playing games. His daily carry is a Glock 19 pistol and an AR15 .300 Blackout pistol in a backpack.
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