5/3/1 Cycle 1 Week 2 Bench, Squat, Deadlift

10×65 / 5×95
3×115 / 3×125 / 3×140

Bench was pretty heavy.  Thumbless grip.  Trying to figure out why the load is more concentrated on the right arm.  Frustrating.

5xBar / 3×95 / 3×115
3×140 / 3×160 / 3×180

Warm-up set was pretty painful for the right shoulder.  Will need to do mobility exercises prior to get the shoulders prepped for low bar position.  Interestingly…I decided to narrow my grip width by a lot and it actually lessened impingement on the shoulder.  Usually, it’s the other way around due to lack of shoulder flexibility.  This also allowed me to have a more upright position and avoid doing a good morning on the positive.  Lowered lower back engagement so no sore back.

3×155 / 3×175 / 3×205

Pretty solid on these.  Was very happy to do these again.  Deadlifts are by far my favorite of the compound lifts.

Seated DB Press:  10×35 / 8×35 / 6×35

Somehow did worse on these than previous db pressing.

Chinups:  3 / 2.5 / 2.5 / 2 / 1.5 / 1.5

Actually did the other 4 sets.  These felt very strong.  No doubt getting some help from the curls.

Incline Bench:  8×85 / 6×85 / 4×85

Struggled with these a lot.  Again, same issue with regular benching, right lats, triceps and upper chest were getting more strained than left side.

Preacher Curls:  3x10x40

Pretty easy, struggled from fatigue on the last set, but I think I can get up to 50 for next time.

DB Bench:  3x10x35

Pretty easy as well.  Not sure of the dumb bell path, was using a pretty narrow path.  May go a bit wider to get more of the pecs involved.

DB Rows:  3x10x45

Pretty fatigued by the end of the session, but managed to complete all sets.  Was jerking a bit on the last few reps of the last set

5/3/1 – C3W4 – Squat

Squat:  5×105 + 5×135 + 5×160
BBB Deadlift 70%:  5×105 + 5×135 + 3×160 + 3x10x190

Hill Sprints:  5×40 yards

Hill sprints were much more difficult today.  I think I’m going to continue with the 5/3/1 for another 3 months and restart the Boring But Big Challenge.  I still think I can gain some progress with this linear-style type of progressive loading.  I’m pretty satisfied with my squat and deadlift at the moment.  I’m really hoping I can continue with the progression to get me to 315lb squat 1RM and 405lb deadlift 1RM.  It’s definitely doable, I think.  Outside of the progressive loading, I think what will truly determine my success towards these 2 goals is strengthening my weak points in each lift.

The big common denominator between these two lifts that can serve as a bottleneck if I don’t train it more is my core.  With a stronger core, I will no doubt have an easier time towards the 315 and 405, squat and deadlift.  In addition to these, I really want to strengthen my bench and ohp.  185 1RM bench is not impossible.  135 ohp is also not impossible.  I’m pretty sure I could push press that if I really wanted to, but I’m going with strict ohp as my basis.  Core work will definitely carry over well into the ohp for stabilizing and boosting confidence with lifting a loaded bar over my head.

Aside from the main lifts, I also want to progress on my dips and chinups.  I’ve been running 5/3/1 + reps between chins and dips and alternating the two on the Press and Bench days.  Chinups, will no doubt be the most difficult to progress on.  I’d like to be able to dip and chin both +25lbs for 1 rep.

Finally, I’ve begun to realize that my cardiovascular fitness is not up to par with my strength.  The voyage to my apartment involves two flights of stairs.  While it’s completely not unusual to get a little winded going up these flights for the average joe, it is fairly unusual for me, in my opinion, to be breathing a little heavy reaching the top of the stairs.  On top of the other goals, I’d really like to improve this aspect of my training that has long been neglected.  At the moment, I’m able to complete 5 full 40-yard sprints up a hill.  My goal is to be able to do up to 10-15 of these with a minutes rest between.

In summary:

Squat: 1x315lb
Deadlift:  1x405lb
Bench:  1x185lb
Press:  1x135lb
Dip:  1xBW+25lb
Chin:  1xBW+25lb
Hill Sprints:  10-15×40-yards

5/3/1 – C3W4 – Press

Press:  3x5x45
Hang Cleans:  5x10xBar
BBB Bench 70%:  10×45 + 10×65 + 8×85 + 3x8x105

Dips:  5xBW + 3xBW+5 + 3xBW+10
Chinups:  6
DB Bench Press:  3x10x25
Tricep Extensions:  10×45 + 10×50 + 10×55

Hillsprints:  5x40yards

Rest week.  Doing some additional accessories for the shoulders and chest.  Also played around with hang cleans.  I’m currently practicing it with an empty bar and following this video step-by-step.

The db bench press was bothersome for my right rotator cuff.  Found a dipping belt at the gym!  Did 5/3/3 on the dips and reps on the chinups.  Felt pretty strong on the reps, went down slow and controlled to avoid aggravating the shoulder joint.  Also went deep enough to have my arm hit 90 degrees to get good ROM on the exercise.  Drove back to apartment after and did some hill sprints.  The 2 sprints were pretty easy going.  Turned it up for the next 3 and was pretty spent afterwards.  I’ll have to see if I can find a grassy hill.  The concrete isn’t too friendly on the impact, running up the hill.

5/3/1 – C3W3 – Press + Squat

Press:  3x5x45 + 5×55 + 3×65 + 10×70 (93.96 1RM)
BBB Bench 70%:  10×45 + 5×65 + 3×85 + 5x8x105

Squat:  5×105 + 5×135 + 3×160 + 5×190 + 3×230 + 2×255 (262.29 1RM)
BBB Deadlift 70%:  10×190 + 2x8x190

Dips:  5/3/2
Chinups:  3

Treadmill:  5min. @ 3.0 speed

It’s somewhat frightening how well the body can adapt to stressful stimuli and become better adapted the next time it experiences a very similar stress.  The last 3 months of the Boring But Big challenge has allowed me to observe this first hand.  Last week, I struggled with completing the BBB 70% bench press, while today, I had a relatively breezy time going through the sets.  I also had an epiphany while doing the bench.  For some time now, my form has been causing my right triceps/chest to work much harder than my left triceps and chest.  One thing that I tried differently, on a whim, was to squeeze the bar.  As I squeezed the bar, I also flashbacked to reading about gripping the bar as if you were trying to snap it in half.  This immediately engaged my left lats and left chest much more and as a result I was able to quickly feel a better balance of the bar across my chest.

5/3/1 – C3W2 – Press + Squat

Press:  5×30 + 5×40 + 3×45 + 3×55 + 3×60 + 3×70 (78.76 1RM)
BBB Bench 70%:  8/8/6/5/4 x 105

Squat:  5×105 + 5×135 + 3×160 + 3×190 + 3×215 + 3×240
BBB Deadlift 70%:  5x10x190

Overhead and bench presses were tough.  1RM dropped on the press.  Couldn’t finish out the 5×8 on the bench BBB.  Did squats with a slightly narrowing stance, engaged the quads a bit more than hamstring, but lift felt slightly easier.  Deadlift was grueling, but after 3 sets, muscles felt attuned to the stress and was able to continue and finish all 5 sets.  Rested for long periods towards the end, around 2-4 minutes between sets.  Hopped on the treadmill and walked for 5 minutes.