07 Oct

Four Things

suncountypanthers

Teaching yoga to teenage athletes is my new favourite thing. I’ve been teaching vinyasa yoga to a local Minor Midget hockey team, Sun County Panthers, as part of their conditioning and stretching regimen. I had the opportunity to teach to a local high school football team as well. I love it. These guys are skilled athletes but their minds are all over the place and, as I say to them (over and over and over), “the ability to keep your head in the game is what distinguishes the good athletes from the great ones.” Yoga can get them there and it’s awesome to see that idea slowly start to sink in with them. Especially the ones that are serious about getting drafted. Not to mention that a lot of these guys need to build their upper body strength, stretch their inner thighs, and release tightness in the hips. All the things they’ll get out of a vinyasa class.

weights

I’m getting weaker. At least, I feel like I’m not getting stronger as quickly as I’d like to. My grip strength is pathetic and it’s hindering my deadlifting. My squats have been mediocre. I don’t have a weightlifting partner so I’ve been relegated to the smith machine for bench pressing anything over 140lbs. Though I did recently manage a 140lb push press for 2 reps of which I was extremely terrified and subsequently extremely proud. So there’s that.

lost-weight

It happened to me again last week. Some guy at the gym said, “You look good! You look like you’ve lost weight”. While my mental response was “I always look good, sir.” my verbal one was “Thanks. I didn’t.” I’m still holding strong at 166lbs. My opinion on that whole scenario has remained mostly the same since the last time. I’m at the gym frequently enough that it’s not weird that people would notice my body shape; that’s not what is awkward. I appreciate that the man was trying to pay me a compliment but in it lies several untrue implications, including 1)That I want to lose weight, and 2)That I am more attractive when I appear thinner. I certainly don’t fault the guy for his compliment but next time he could try saying something like “Your deadlift form is impeccable.” It’s a compliment that would be much better received.

Borgen

Everything I know about Danish politics I learned from Borgen. Or I’m starting to learn anyway. I just started watching this political drama from Denmark after reading nothing but good reviews. I want to say it’s like House of Cards except the just and fair main character, Birgitte Nyborg, is the exact opposite of first class asshole Frank Underwood. Maybe that’s why I like it already.

10 Jun

5/3/1 Cycle 18

I pulled back on the volume of weight that I would be lifting for Cycle 18 because I failed to meet my target lifts in Cycle 17.

Read more about how it works here: 5/3/1 for Women and 5/3/1 How To

It was a good move and, overall, cycle 18 went well. I managed to hit every prescribed lift, even on my ‘5 rep’ days (which I actually find harder than my ‘1 rep max’ days).
I did feel weak and tired at times during the cycle, which I blame on low iron, but I managed.

Cycle 18 Main Lifts

Deadlift: 255lb for 2 reps

Push Press: 130lb for 3 rep

Squats: 240lb for 2 reps

Bench Press: 150lb for 2 reps (flying solo)

The loads are decent but not PR-worthy and I feel like I should have been able to crank out more reps.

What’s Next

I headed to GoodLife Fitness this week to start Cycle 19.

I added the standard amount of weight to my Cycle 18 loads (see here or here for 5/3/1 how-to’s). Unfortunately it’s been rough so far. But! I’m only 2 workouts in so I’m trying to stay positive and see how the next 2 workouts go.

Set up for a 5 rep deadliftAll set up for a 5 deadlifts

It might just be that I haven’t been eating properly the last few days, it might be that I’m tired from a weekend of landscaping. It might be that I haven’t been getting as much sleep as I’d like (What I’d like, if we’re being honest, is 9 hours). I don’t know why I’m feeling so weak and off point this week.

The Yogic Approach

Warrior 2 Pose - YogaWarrior!

I’m going to use this as a learning opportunity though because what’s really cool is that I can take a completely yogic approach to weightlifting.

Yoga teaches me to tune into the subtleties of my body so that I can really be aware of when I feel that I’m off my peak and when I feel strong and energetic. I want to use this ability to pay attention to what I’m doing (with diet, exercise, stress, sleep, etc) when I’m feeling my best so I can use that knowledge to optimize my training.

Don’t worry, I’ll continue to keep you posted as I go. . .

14 Mar

5/3/1 Cycle 15 Recap

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So, uh, yeah. I know I said this at the beginning of my last 5/3/1 recap, but cycle of 5/3/1 was indeed UNREAL folks.

Read more about how it works here: 5/3/1 for Women

The last time that I had recapped with you at cycle 11 I took a step back in my training programme and repeated cycle 11 because I wasn’t quite prepared for the targets that I was supposed to reach.

Sometimes you have to cut back to make progress, and progress I did indeed make.

Not only did I break all of my Personal Records last week but I had this especially exciting news. . .

I bench pressed my body weight!

Finally! I’ve had this goal for 2 years now though have been making the most effort on it in the last 14 months or so.

165lbs wasn’t actually part of my calculated lifts for this cycle, but when I pressed up 160lbs for 3 reps (mostly on my own, but with a bit of the husband’s help on rep 3), Matt encouraged me to try 165lb, my body weight.

I was so ecstatic when I pressed the weight up all by myself.

Goal, achieved. Boys working out beside me, jealous. Even my dad was impressed (and he is, by nature, not an easy man to be genuinely impressed).

My bench press goal was so exciting it overshadowed all the other loads that I hit last week, and they were pretty impressive in themselves.

Main Lifts

Again, I can’t even believe these numbers are real.

Deadlift: 265lb for 1 reps

Push Press: 135lb for 1 rep – finally put up 45’s on the bar!

Squats: 250lb for 2 reps

Bench Press: 165lb for 1 rep – did I mention, that’s my body weight?

I haven’t calculated my loads for cycle 16 yet so I’m nervous about what I’ll see, but I’m also very excited too.

Diet

I mentioned last week that my friend, a holistic nutritionist in training, gave me a diet to follow to help me gain muscle. I had initially gained a pound right away but I lost it again so I’m back at where I started.

I’ve averaged 2500 cal per day with a 36% fat, 44% carb, 20% protein mix.

Aside from not having put on weight yet, I have been feeling much more stable (emotionally) and I my sugar cravings have been reduced which I attribute (I think) to having more fat in my diet. Or it could be more muscle too. Or it could be just eating more in general and not withholding food only to binge on sweets later. Not sure yet. I only know it’s working so I’ll keep it up.

I intend to keep tracking my macros and following her recommendations because 1) I’m her guinea pig and want to give her accurate results, and 2) I’m liking it so far.

Will check back in with progress as I squeeze in time. Things have been hectic lately 😛

30 Jan

5/3/1 for Women – How To

Weightlifting

I dig 5/3/1 so hard.

I have never had so much success with a weight training programme as I’ve had with this 5/3/1. I’ve been working through it for over a year now (which, in itself, is saying something) and with it I’ve seen tremendous strength gains and I’m never bored.

I got a facebook message from a reader asking me for some more detail on how the programme works so I figured it was high time for another update on the how-to’s of 5/3/1.

What is the 5/3/1 Programme?

It’s a weightlifting programme created by powerlifter Jim Wendler that focuses on building strength.

5/3/1 revolves around the basic multi-joint lifts: squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press.

The plan is based on a slow progression of reasonable and attainable strength over time.

You really have to be able to commit to several cycles to see results. It may seem slow going at first, but you are able work toward your goals while still seeing some motivating improvements that keep you going.

How does it work?

Find Your Base Loads

Figure out the maximum weight you can lift for one rep (or a good estimate of it) for the following lifts: squats, deadlifts, bench press, and overhead press.

Take 90% of that number (eg. if your 1RM is 100lb, use 0.9*100=90lbs). This is your base load from which you will determine how much weight you will lift for every workout.

Plan Your Workout Days and Rest Days

Each Cycle of the plan is four weeks—three weeks of strength building and one week for de-loading and recovery.

The Cycle is based on 4 workouts per week—one of the four major lifts (bench, squat, deadlift, overhead press) each day. Figure out a way to spread out your workout days and rest days to fit everything in so that it works for you.

I like to workout two days back-to-back with one or two rest days in between, eg) Sun, Mon, Wed, Thu.

Week One – 5 Rep Week

You’re working in the 5 rep range this week. For each workout day, calculate your reps and weights as follows:

Warm up: As many reps as necessary at light weight.
Set 1: 5 reps at 75% of base load
Set 2: 5 reps at 80% of base load
Set 3: At least 5 reps at 85% of base load (if you can do more than 5, then do as many as you can)

Repeat the same structure for each of squat, deadlift, overhead press, and bench press day, using the appropriate base load for that exercise.

Week Two – 3 Rep Week

You’ll be working heavier for fewer reps this week. For each workout day, calculate your reps and weights as follows:

Warm up: As many reps as necessary at light weight.
Set 1: 3 reps at 80% of base load
Set 2: 3 reps at 85% of base load
Set 3: At least 3 reps at 90% of base load (as many reps as you can)

Repeat the same structure for each of squat, deadlift, overhead press, and bench press day using the appropriate base load for that exercise.

Week Three – 1 Rep Week

You’ll be repeating some of the loads from the last two weeks for sets 1 and 2 then you’ll go for as many reps as possible at 95% of your base load for your final set.

For each workout day, calculate your reps and weights as follows:

Warm up: As many reps as necessary at light weight.
Set 1: 5 reps at75% of base load
Set 2: 3 reps at 85% of base load
Set 3: At least 1 rep at 95% of base load (as many reps as you can)

Repeat the same structure for each of squat, deadlift, overhead press, and bench press day using the appropriate base load for that exercise.

Week Four – De-load Week

This is your deload week for recovery. You will perform exactly 5 reps in each set with lighter weights, never pushing yourself to failure. For each workout day, calculate your reps and weights as follows:

Warm up: As many reps as necessary at light weight.
Set 1: 5 reps at 60% of base load
Set 2: 5 reps at 65% of base load
Set 3: 5 reps at 70% of base load

Repeat the same structure for each of squat, deadlift, overhead press, and bench press day using the appropriate base load for that exercise.

I’m done a Cycle, now what?

When you’ve completed a 4 week cycle, it is time to progress your loads.

Add the following weights to the one rep maximum that you determined at the beginning of the 4 weeks:

Squat + 10lb
Deadlift + 10lb
Bench Press + 5lb
Overhead Press + 5lb

(eg. if your 1RM for bench press was 100lbs, your new 1RM is 105lb)

Using these new numbers, recalculate your Base Loads for each exercise, and start a new cycle!

You can do as many cycles of the programme as you like. You could practically cycle this programme forever.

What if I didn’t hit my targets?

If you don’t make the calculated load in any of the exercises, go back and re-calculate your 1 rep max and start over.

I generally step back 2 cycles which drops my 1RM by 20lbs for squat and deadlift and 10lbs for bench and push press.

What else do I do besides the 4 main lifts?

That’s up to you.

Wendler recommends adding additional exercises called ‘assistance work’ to each workout day to supplement your 4 major lifts and assist you with your goals. These are some of the plans that he recommends:

Assistance Plans

Boring But Big. Main lift, the main lift again for 5 sets x 10 reps (50% 1RM), and another accessory exercise for 5 sets.

The Triumvirate. Main lift, and two assistance exercises – 5 sets each.

I’m Not Doing Jack Shit. Main lift, and nothing else.

Periodization Bible by Dave Tate. Main lift, and 3 exercises – 5 x 10-20 reps each.

Bodyweight. Main lift, and 2 bodyweight exercises such as the pull up, sit ups, dips, etc.

This post from Muscle & Strength gives some good examples of accessory work.

This All Sounds like a Lot of Math, Lunks don’t do Math

Errr…sure they do?

But, if you want to keep it brainless anyway then lucky for you I’m an Excel Wizard by day and came up with this 5-3-1 Training Calculator.

No calculations needed (not even the base load!). You just have to know your one rep maximum for squats, deadlifts, bench press, and push press. The calculator will figure out the rest.

Just pop in your one rep max for each exercise into the calculator where the red arrow is and it will spew out the loads that you’ll be using for the next 3 full cycles of the programme.

Easy like Sunday morning.

Click here to download the Calculator Spreadsheet

How’s it working for you?

I love it so much. I love knowing exactly how much I have to lift each day. It pushes me to work harder every single week.

Since November 2012 I’ve made some pretty big improvements in my lifts.

Squats: 185lb to 235lb (27% improvement)
Bench: 135lb to 150lb (11% improvement)
Deadlift: 225lb to 250lb (11% improvement)
Push Press: 105lb to 130lb (24% improvement)

On paper they may not look like much, but it is extremely challenging to make modest improvements when it comes to strength training, so I’m really proud.

I had a few setbacks during the year (as a result of a 3 week yoga teacher training and a 2 week vacation) and I had to step back a few cycles in order to regain my strength. Overall, though, it’s been awesome and I’m going to keep on keeping on.

I’ve already set some new goals for myself and plan on using 5/3/1 to attain them:

-165lb bench press (ie. a body weight bench press)
-275lb deadlift

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Resources:

If you want to know more about how the programme works, check out this post on Muscle and Strength. It’s super comprehensive.

20 Nov

5/3/1 Cycle 11 Recap

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This cycle of 5/3/1 was UNREAL folks.

I blew away every single weightlifting PR I’ve ever had. Ever. 

Last cycle I was just happy to have finally regained all my lost strength. This cycle though I’m ecstatic. I’m proud. I’m completely shocked.

I fucking love this programme.

Read more about how it works here: 5/3/1 for Women

Main Lifts

I can’t even believe these numbers are real.

Deadlift: 250lb for 2 reps

Push Press: 130lb for 1 rep

Squats: 235lb for 4 reps

Bench Press: 150lb for 1 rep

I’m happy to have my husband back at the gym to spot me, just when I need him again (I was pretty terrified of crushing myself to death on that 150lb bench press) or injuring myself with the squat.

Accessory Lifts

Each day I did 4 exercises with a related muscle group to supplement my big lift. I performed 4 sets of these at mid range reps (5-8).

I haven’t been doing too much cardio, so I feel like I should start incorporating some more cleans and snatches to get my heart rate going. I’ll keep this in mind for my next cycle.

31 Oct

5/3/1 for Women – Cycle 10 Recap

I’m a bit behind on posting the recap of my 10th cycle of 5/3/1 (I’m nearly halfway through cycle 11 now).

5/3/1’s primary goal is to progressively increase your strength in the big lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench press, and overhead press). You don’t have to waste time on minor muscle groups (holla if you loathe biceps workouts!) because muli-joint lifts target multiple muscle groups so you gain strength everywhere.

If you’ve been reading my blog the last while you know how much I love this programme but I’ll keep saying it over and over (I love this programme, I love this programme!) so that maybe one day you’ll give it a try. If you want to consistently get stronger you’ve got to follow a programme like this that has you pushing yourself harder and harder every week.

There. I’ve said my piece.

Read more about how it works here: 5/3/1 for Women

Main Lifts

I’m happy to report that I’ve regained all my strength, you guys!

It took me 3 months to recover the strength that I lost with just 3 weeks of yoga teacher training.

I know it sounds totally ridiculous and it was a mental struggle for me to have to cut way back on my loads, but it worked to help me rebuild my strength. I’m excited (and also terrified, tbh) to move forward and start lifting heavier than I have before.

For cycle 10 I was working on the same loads as I completed in cycle 6 right before yoga Teacher Training. Compared to then, I’ve improved marginally in terms of reps, which I’m really happy about.

Deadlift: 240lb for 2 reps

Push Press: 125lb for 4 reps (PR’d that shit!)

Squats: 225lb for 3 reps (without a spotter!)

Bench Press: 120lb (added weight on Smith machine) for 3 reps

I’m so happy that I was able to push up more weight than ever with my push press this cycle (for 4 reps, no less!).

My bench press loads are increasing (very slowly, but increasing nonetheless) to the point that I definitely need a spotter to prevent me from crushing myself to death, or I have to use the Smith machine. I hate the Smith machine. It has it’s purposes, but everything feels so much easier because you don’t have to self-stabilize. It feels like cheating.

But I hate asking for a spotter even more. Most guys, if they don’t think you’re hitting on them, will take too much weight off and say “It’s all you! It’s all you!” No sir it is, in fact, all you. Plus as they lean over to help me I somehow manage to spit in their faces on an exhale and disgust us both. So until the husband makes his triumphant return to the gym (at the same time of day as me) then Smith machine it is.

Accessory Lifts

I don’t even know what I did this cycle. It was very unorganized, which is very unlike me. After my big lift I did a handful of exercises (usually 3 or 4) with a related muscle group, sometime for around 6 reps, sometimes for up to 12 reps. I’m not sure I liked this unorganized approach, but that’s what happens when you don’t plan your workouts before you get to the gym.

Unfortunately I haven’t planned anything better and I’ve been doing the same thing so far in cycle 11. Must rectify this situation.

25 Sep

5/3/1 for Women – Cycle 9 Recap

I just finished my 9th cycle of 5/3/1. That’s 36 weeks on the same programme. I’m still loving it.

5/3/1 focuses on increasing strength in the big muli-joint lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench press, and overhead press) and lets you vary the other exercises that you do in addition to these lifts (ie. your accessory lifts)

Read more about how it works here: 5/3/1 for Women

Main Lifts

You may recall that I had to cut way back on my loads because of all the strength that I lost during my 3 weeks of yoga teacher training. I had failed at moving the required weight so I had to take 2 steps back to rebuild.

For cycle 9 I was working on the same loads as I completed in cycle 5 back in May. Compared to May, I’ve improved marginally in terms of reps, which I’m really happy about.

Deadlift: 230lb for 4 reps

Push Press: 120lb for 5 reps

Squats: 220lb for 2 reps

Bench Press: 140lb for 1 reps

 

This cycle, I’m most proud of my push press, not only because it was a PR, but also because I was only a little scared and I wasn’t figuratively shitting my pants in terror of hoisting that much weight overhead. That’s progress.

Accessory Lifts

I focused on complexes and circuits that involved intervals or moving a little weight very quickly. This way I elevate my heart rate and a get a good sweat going in just 10-20 minutes.

I vary the accessory exercises every day and my favourites always include sprints. This cycle my favourite was:

Sprint 1km
10 push-ups
Sprint 1km
15 push-ups
Sprint 1km
20 push-ups
Sprint 1km
25 push-ups
Sprint 1km
25 push-ups
Sprint 1km
20 push-ups
Sprint 1km
15 push-ups
Sprint 1km
10 push-ups

Deload Week

Lots of yoga, a bit of running, and a little lighter weightlifting.

25 Jul

5/3/1 for Women – Cycle 6 & 7 Recap

With all the yoga I have been talking about lately you’re probably wondering how my weight training is going. Well, last I left you with was a recap of cycle 5 of the 5/3/1 for Women Training Programme, that I had been working through– a programme that focuses on increasing strength in squats, deadlifts, bench press, and overhead press by increasing weight and decreasing reps each week. Read more about how it works here: 5/3/1 Training

Cycle 6

Well right before I went away for yoga teacher training I squeezed in my 6th cycle of the programme and it was AMAZING.

Deadlift: 240lb Push Press: 115lb Squat: 225lb Bench Press: 135lb

I finally hit my big squat goal: 225lb!

I set this goal for myself back in January of 2012 so it’s been a long time coming. I recommitted to it on my 27th birthday and this time I accomplished it within the year! You can imagine just how happy I was to squat it for not one rep, but two! New goal: 300lb squat. In cycle 6 I also set a personal record in deadlifts. As for push press and bench press, I had to reduce the weight for cycle 6 since I missed my goals during cycle 5 and I needed to build up my strength in these lifts before going forward any further. For my accessory lifts– ie. the stuff I do other than squats, deads, and presses– I continued to focus on the complexes and circuits that I make up myself or steal from crossfit football. This helps me build power and get my heart rate pumping.

Cycle 7

Immediately after cycle 6 I dove into yoga teacher training and completely cut weightlifting out of my life for 3 whole weeks. So much strength lost in so little time. When I came back I tried to repeat the cycle 6 loads and I failed miserably at deadlifts and squats, feeling weaker and unable to lift for as many reps as I did just weeks before. It is disappointing, discouraging, disheartening. The big problem with strength training is that so much emphasis is tied to the numbers. You hit a goal and you’re over the moon, but when you can’t make a weight and have to decrease the load then your motivation plummets. In the life of a weight lifter there are few things as discouraging. I need to remember that it’ll take time to gain back what I’ve lost. Taking a page from the 5/3/1 book I’m taking two steps back for Cycle 8<%2

19 Dec

5/3/1 for Women

I’ve been working on the same workout programme for about 3 months now, incorporating lots of Olympic style lifts and high intensity, cross-fit style lifting into my daily workouts read more about it here and here. It’s been great so far because my workouts have had a tonne of variety and I’m completely spent after almost every session (all that intensity!). I’ve been noticing more definition in my traps and biceps, and my legs are stronger than ever. All in all, it’s been great.

But I rarely stick with the same programme for more than 3 months. I like to keep a lot of variety in my workouts to keep my body guessing. My focus for the next programme is strength and body building. Normally I put together my own thing but this time I figured I’d try someone else’s programme: Wendler’s 5/3/1

5/3/1 Programme

This programme created by powerlifter Jim Wendler uses the basic principles of strength training and has been getting lots a good feedback on the internet for being a great plan for increasing strength. Says Wendler about the programme: “I want be able to do a bunch of different activities and still kick ass in the weight room. I want to be as mobile, flexible, strong, and in as good a condition as I possibly can. That’s how I came up with 5/3/1.”

5/3/1 revolves around the basic multi-joint lifts: squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press.

The theory is to start with weights lighter than what you’re doing now which gives you more room to progress slowly and build strength.

I’m concerned that my inflated ego will bust and lifting less than I’m used to might bring me down and psych me out of wanting to lift. But eventually I’ll be hitting will be better than what I’m doing now, so that’s what I’ll have to look forward to.

The plan is based on slow progress. You can’t progress quickly. It just doesn’t happen. I know this.

I had delusions of grandeur in January when I published weight training goals to increase my squat by 70lbs (to 225lbs) and my bench press by at least 50lbs (to my body weight). Umm . . . yeah right, Sam.

So I’m hoping this programme will allow me to progress a little more reasonably while still seeing some motivating improvements.

Here’s how it works:

You can do as many cycles of the programme as you like. You could practically cycle this programme forever.

Each cycle is 4 weeks long and you’re training 4 days per week—one of the major lifts (bench, squat, deadlift, overhead press) each day. The sets and loads used for each of the major lifts are:

Week 1: Warm-up, 65% x 5, 75% x 5, 85% x 5+

Week 2: Warm-up, 70% x 3, 80% x 3, 90% x 3+

Week 3: Warm-up, 75% x 5, 85% x 3, 95% x 1+

Week 4: Warm-up, 60% x 5, 65% x 5, 70% x 5

+On the last set each week means really push for as many reps as you can get.

The base number used in your calculations is actually 90% of your 1RM (one rep max).

So if your 1RM is 100, then you’re calculating based on 90 so 65% would be 58.5lb(=65%*90%*100lb) not 65lbs. I calculated my 1RM from here.

Use this lovely spreadsheet to calculate your daily lifts for 3 cycles of 5/3/1: 5-3-1 Training Calculator

After 4 weeks, you repeat the cycle adding 5lbs to the 1RM for your presses and 10lbs to the 1RM for your deadlift and squat and then recalculate your loads. (again you can use this spreadsheet to calculate your daily lifts: 5-3-1 Training Calculator)

For a more detailed explanation check out this link

Accessory Lifts:

The core lifts aren’t the only thing you work on though. You also do additional exercises that supplement the major lifts and assist with your goals with plans like these:

Boring But Big. Main lift, the main lift again @ 5×10 (50% 1RM), and another accessory exercise for 5 sets.

The Triumvirate. Main lift, and two assistance exercises – 5 sets each.

I’m Not Doing Jack Shit. Main lift, and nothing else.

Periodization Bible by Dave Tate. Main lift, and 3 exercises – 5 x 10-20 reps each.

Bodyweight. Main lift, and 2 bodyweight exercises such as the pull up, sit ups, dips, etc.

For myself I wanted a “bodybuilding” style so I planned:

– Main lift

– Main lift in a different form (eg. squats + front squats, bench press + dumbbell bench press)

– 3 accessory exercises with a higher rep range (10-15)

What I’m digging:

I like the specificity of it. I know exactly what I should be lifting before I even get into the gym (or I should know, otherwise I’ll be hauling a calculator with me to the squat rack every day) and there is clear progress every week.

Lately my progress has been stalling a bit, especially on squat and bench, so I’m excited to see what happens on this programme even if it means starting lighter to get there.

What concerns me:

Wendler seems very specific about using 90% of your 1RM as a base for calculations but I’m not convinced. The loads that I calculated for my last set in week 3 (the one rep set) are weights that I can crank out for 4 to six reps of right now. What’s the point? Even after 12 weeks I won’t hit my current one rep max even once.

So instead I tried calculating my lifts based on my 1RM alone but the result seemed a lot more difficult in the second and third cycle of the programme and I wasn’t convinced I’d be able to hit the numbers.

95% of my one rep max looks like the magic number here. It’s offers the most reasonable progress. I’m going with that as the base of my calculations, at least for cycle 1, and then I’ll reassess from there.

My Variation of the 5/3/1 Plan:

Click the thumbnail for a Workout PDF of my 5/3/1 Variation.

P.S. It prints best as a booklet.

Cycles: At least 3 cycles (ie. 12 weeks) to start with. I’ll reassess from there.

Schedule: Mon: Bench Press, Wed: Push Press, Fri: Squat, Sun: Deadlift

Load Calculations: Base cycle 1 lifts on 95% of my 1RM then reassess the base number for my calculations (maybe I’ll drop to 90% of my new 1RM for cycle 2).

Accessory Lifts:Main lift , main lift in a different form (eg. squats + front squats, bench press + dumbbell bench press, etc.), 3 accessory exercises of the same muscle group with a higher rep range (10-15) varying from week to week.

Cardio: Tue & Thu: HIIT (sprints on the treadmill, spin bike, or in the pool)

I plan to start this week. I’ll keep you updated with my progress after cycle 1. (added: Read my cycle 1 recap here)

P.S. I called this 5/3/1 for Women because I am a woman and I couldn’t find a tonne of info online on women using this programme (here’s one and here’s another). It’s identical to the 5/3/1 plan because the programme isn’t for men only. Women can lift like the best of them.

Need More Info?

5/3/1 How To

Cycle Recaps

Cycle 1
Cycle 4
Cycle 5
Cycle 6 & 7
Cycle 8
Cycle 9
Cycle 10
Cycle 11
Cycle 15

05 Dec

My Walk

My husband’s new work schedule means I get to see him at the gym during the week now. This works out nicely for me because I have an automatic spotter. Last night he helped me crank out four 135lb bench press reps, three of which were solid and ‘all me’.

Matt’s usually easy to find at the gym because 9 times out of 10 he’s wearing bright yellow (the man has an curiously large collection of yellow t-shirts).

Unfortunately he never wears his glasses there, so him seeing me is an issue. Except apparently yesterday when he was running on the treadmill on the second floor:

“I saw you go get barbell clips* from the front desk downstairs. I knew it was you because you walk like a Muppet.

A Muppet? Really?


Unimpressed

Matt later demonstrated my walk: chest sticking up, arms swinging wildly, strides short and quick. I concede that it could be somewhat puppet-like.

But that’s cool, I’ll take it as a (weird) compliment. It just makes me the most adorable person in the gym.

*Our gym keeps barbell clips under lock and key and it drives me insane having to ask for them every day. They must be the sterling silver kind or something because nobody can be so cheap that they can’t afford to replace a few barbell clips from time-to-time, right?