Week 1 – 5/3/1 – Day 1

Cycle #1

So, today was pretty awkward for me since it was a Press day.  I really wanted to do some squats so I did 5 reps of 135, 3 reps of 185, 3 reps of 225 and a 315 squat lockout.  It’s definitely a nice change not having to squat every workout, but I’m starting to miss them already.

Press:  5×65, 5×75, 5×80

Still pretty easy.  My right rotator cuff felt it was about to pop out my shoulder at anytime.


Bench Press: 5x10x75  Right shoulder was working harder than usual.  Squeezing the shoulder blades together makes the lift awkward.  Elbows naturally get tucked near lats instead of flaring out.

Chin-ups:  6/4/3/2/3 – Wendler mentions that if I can’t perform at least 10 that I should be performing lat pull downs instead.  I’ll go ahead and do that for bench press day.

Curls:  10×50, 7×50, 5×50 – Going to lower the weight on this.  I was struggling on the second set already.  Assistance should be fairly light and not hinder core lifts.

Tricep pushdown:  10×30, 10×40, 8×40:  Going to stay at 30 lbs for the next pressing day.

Madcow5x5 to Wendler’s 5/3/1

So after some thinking, I decided to cut my Madcow routine short.  The reason being that I feel like I’ve hit a plateau on weight progression on my lifts.  The final stats I’ve achieved from this Madcow cycle is pretty close to what I finished with on my 6 month SL5x5 cycle.

Squat:  275 -> 275
Bench:  165 -> 155 
Press:  90 -> 95
Deadlift:  290 -> 285

As far as gains of raw poundage, well…it looks as if I didn’t improve much at all.  But, on the flipside, Madcow is also considerably more volume compared to when I was doing SL1x5 near the end of my SL cycle.  I definitely think diet also played a significant part in me getting stuck at these poundages for a long time.  My body weight has been steady at 180 lbs for the last 3 months.  I would also say my body fat has been at roughly around the same 11-13%- maybe a bit higher.  I may start incorporating more milk into my diet again to get my caloric intake up to par with training intensity.

So after some deliberation with myself, I decided that the best course of action to get me the biggest gains possible is to hop on Wendler’s 5/3/1 periodized strength routine.  This program is designed to be executed in “cycles”.  Each cycle is comprised of 4 weeks.  The set/rep scheme for each week is as follows

Week 1:  5 x 65%, 5 x 75%, 5 x 85%
Week 2:  3 x 70%, 3 x 80%, 3 x 90%
Week 3:  5 x 75%, 3 x 85%, 1 x 95%
Week 4:  Deload – 5 x 40%, 5 x 50%, 5 x 60%

Each week is broken down into 4 days of work outs.

Monday:  Press
Tuesday:  Squat
Thursday:  Bench Press
Friday:  Deadlift

After the 5/3/1 core lifts are performed, a variety of light assistance exercises can then be performed to supplement.  I made a mistake today of going a bit too overkill on the assistance.  This week will be my time to familiarize myself with assistance exercise intensity and to make sure I record poundages on these exercises to ensure that I don’t go overboard for the following weeks.  What I like about this program is in my ability to change these assistance exercises to allow me to accommodate weak points in my core lifts.

Assistance exercises:

Monday:  Superset (5×10 Bench @ 50% TM + 5×10 Chin-ups/Lat Pulldowns), 3×10 Curls, 3×10 Tricep Pulldowns
Tuesday:  5×10 Squat @ 50% TM, Ab Wheel 5×10-20
Thursday:  Superset (5×10 Press @ 50% TM + 5×10 DB Rows), 3×10 Curls, 3×10 Tricep Pulldowns
Friday:  5×10 Deadlift @ 50% TM, 5×10 Hanging Leg Raise