02 Apr

5/3/1 For Women – Cycle 4 Recap

As of today I’m deloading from cycle 4 of the 5/3/1 for Women Training Programme.

My original plan was to follow the program for 3 cycles but I’ve been loving it so I’m going to keep going for another 3, at least.

Each cycle is 4 weeks. It focuses on building strength in the big multi-joint lifts: squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press by increasing weight and decreasing reps each week (5 reps/ 3 reps/ 1 rep/ deload, hence the name 5/3/1).

Read more about how it works here:Β 5/3/1 Training

Main Lifts

Cycle 4

I’ve slaughtered PR’s in 3 of the 4 big lifts in Cycle 4 which feels totally empowering. I was pretty content with my loads inΒ Cycle 1 so being able to push heavier weights than ever is kind of blowing my mind right now.

Deadlift: 225lb for 3 reps
Push Press: 115lb for 4 reps
Squats: 210lb for 3 reps (though I don’t think my form was spot on for these ones)
Bench Press: 135lb for 3 reps (not a PR, unfortunately)

Cycle 5

I’ve recalculated my loads for cycle 5 by adding 10lbs to my Cycle 4 1RM for Squats and Deadlifts and adding 5lb for Bench and Push Press, then taking 90% of these as my baseline number. This is putting me at some frighteningly heavy lifts that I’m quite nervous for, but I’m going to try to crank them out to the best of my ability and if I can’t make them then I’ll have to take a couple steps back.

Accessory Lifts

Cycles 1-3

I was doing a variation of the ‘boring but big’ accessory lifts:

– the Main lift, then
– the Main lift in a different form (eg. squats + front squats, bench press + dumbbell bench press, etc), then
– 3 accessory exercises with a higher rep range (10-15)

Unsurprisingly, this was getting boring so I’m switching it up for the next 3 cycles to include more cardio.

Cycles 4-6

Cardio time! I’m doing some variations of complexes and circuits that I make up myself or steal from crossfit football. I like it because I get an elevated heart rate and a good sweat in 10-20 minutes.

Something like this took me only 8min:

5 rounds of:

10 Inverted Rows
15 Kettlebell Swings
3 Burpee Broad Jumps

Deload Week

Deload week is awesome. It gives me a chance to recover and gives me more time for cardio and yoga.


I’m getting most of my cardio from my accessory lifts now. I’m cutting back on my ‘cardio only’ workout days so I can have more time for yoga (. . . for super exciting reasons which I plan to divulge soon!).

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10 thoughts on “5/3/1 For Women – Cycle 4 Recap

  1. Great results! Sounds like you’re happier with (higher weight + fewer reps) than (lower weight + more reps), correct? Why is that? Thanks!

    • It’s just a preference of mine. I feel accomplished when I lift heavier, and I can lift significantly heavier when I work in the 3-5 rep range. Also, I tend to get bored halfway through my set if I’m doing any more than 8 reps.
      There’s nothing wrong with lifting more reps though. It’s great for gaining size and building muscular endurance.

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