Monday, November 1, 2010


"Weak points come from not doing the things you suck at doing. The difference between a successful athlete and a crappy one is they always do the things they have to do, not what they want to do."
- Dave Tate

Today I'm starting Jim Wendler's 5-3-1 strength program. It's a percentage based system designed to build consistent strength gains over time.

You start by taking your one-rep max (1RM) for the squat, deadlift, standing press, and bench press, then base your working percentages on 90% of that 1RM. I'm calling it the "working" 1RM or W1RM. Mathematically it looks like this: W1RM = 90% 1RM.

Then you go through the 4 week cycle below for all 4 lifts:

Week 1
Set 1 65% x 5
Set 2 75% x 5
Set 3 85% x 5+

Week 2
Set 1 70% x 3
Set 2 80% x 3
Set 3 90% x 3+

Week 3
Set 1 75% x 5
Set 2 85% x 3
Set 3 95% x 1+

Week 4
Set 1 40% x 5
Set 2 50% x 5
Set 3 60% x 5

Each time you see 5+, 3+, or 1+ you are supposed to go for max reps with that weight.

At the end of 4 weeks, adjust your W1RM by adding 10 lbs to your squat and deadlift, and 5 lbs for the presses. Then begin the 4 week cycle anew.

You can also check out T-Nation's article covering the 5-3-1 program.

65% W1RM x5 @195lbs
75% W1RM x5 @225lbs
85% W1RM x5+ @255lbs

The fives at 195 and 225 felt easy. And I didn't really mentally prepare myself for the fight that 5+ @ 255 became, and only managed 13 reps. That set was work! Truthfully though, a bit of a cupcake:

cup⋅cake [khup-keyk]
1) to wimp out
2) giving in to the pain

Being a disappointed with my 5+ set, I felt like getting more lifts in, but I reminded myself to be smart and follow this program by the numbers. So live and learn right? The next 5+ set I do definitely won't be weak sauce!

Perhaps not the greatest start to 5-3-1... but still feeling good on a Monday! I'll take it. Peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment