5 3 1 Weight Lifting Program: October 2017 Update

| November 6, 2017 | 2 Comments

We’re halfway through our 4th 4 week lift cycle of the Jim Wendler 5-3-1 weight lifting program.

We started in June, and have consistently lifted three times a week. We were both sick last month, and that marked the first time I’d gone a full week without lifting at least once.

This system is a good antidote for the harsh reality that I neglected my body and became skinny fat for most of my adult life. I stopped lifting Olympic weights in my late 20s and while I’ve done some strength training fairly consistently throughout my life nothing is the same as lifting big heavy stuff. I sit in a chair between 12 – 16 hours a day, and if you add in the 5 – 7 hours of sleep I get … that’s a lot of time being inactive.

I’m not sure if I’ll get back to doing 4×4 squats at 395#, but doing the 5-3-1 is damn better than sitting on my ass thinking about yesteryear.

A few notes about the program:

Things I Like

We’ve rarely exercised the option to stop working out after the main lift, but it’s a great option to have. The She Shepherd and I usually keep the other one going if we’re having a low motivation day, but sometimes when we are both blah or I am pressed for time we just do our 3 warmup sets and our 3 main sets and call it a day.

I understand why CrossFit folk are excited about Personal Records (PRs). It’s a smart way to keep motivated. The 5-3-1 has similar achievements, suggesting that when I complete a day’s lift I’ll have moved more volume than ever before, or if I do a specific lift 8 times instead of 5 I’ll set a PR.

I may never get back to how much I used to lift, but progress is constant with the 5-3-1 program. Downturns are planned according to the program’s design.

The deload principle absolutely has kept me from plateauing, although I am sure most of my issues right now are mental and not physical. One thing that was difficult about kettlebelling is that everysingleworkout was potentially vomit inducing. 3 – 4 times of a near-puking experience a week was difficult for me for me to maintain for more than two or three months.

The 5-3-1 has challenged me, but thanks to the deload sessions I can focus on something other than taint straining effort every once in awhile. If I am not lifting a ton of weight, I focus on my range of motion and making sure I am doing the exercise correctly. For example, I’ve been trying very hard to do my squats below parallel like I used to do.

Deadlifts are fun.

Things I Don’t Like

Nothing, really. Which is unusual for me to write, because I hate something about everything.

I was nervous that I wasn’t exerting myself enough. That I wasn’t getting stronger fast enough. That I could be doing better.

It was getting to me so badly that I stopped the workout last month and re-tested all of our one rep maxes. Turns out they were pretty close to what 5-3-1 expected us to do. Trust the process. Do the work. So back we went.

What’s Next

We’re going to continue our 5-3-1 program until we finish 12 cycles. That should probably put us a in the program for a little over a year.

We may add more work. I’m thinking about revisiting the GMB.io Elements program again. It was goofy, and fun, and I feel a little stiff now that we’re doing less mobility work.

In the meantime, back to the basement. It’s fun down there.

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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2 Comments on "5 3 1 Weight Lifting Program: October 2017 Update"

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  1. Marc Muench says:

    Hey SBS I know for me I spent many years as a couch potato, Then I found Cross fit. I F en LOVE it. It is what I was missing in my workout … competition is what I was missing. I am the type of person who would get bored doing the same stuff over and over. I really needed that carrot dangling in front of me. I wont say I am always up going in to do the workout but after the feeling of accomplishment makes it worth it and I feel great after.

    • Short Barrel Shepherd Short Barrel Shepherd says:

      Dude, been so proud of you. Keep it up! You are setting a great example for your son, in the gym and outside of it.

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