A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

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A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Fat Cat » Tue Feb 25, 2020 12:56 am

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One Year of 5/3/1...the previous workout represents the final workout of 12 month-long cycles of 5/3/1. Templates which I used during that time include Boring But Big, Bodybuilding, Full Body, and NOV Powerlifting. Basic observations:

- Press advanced from 125 estimated max to 155 real max; this was the only lift which I had to recalculate at 0.9 to continue making progress. Total improvement was only 30 lbs. but I'll take it because goddamn strict pressing is hard. Mostly this is because I have a not-very-good left shoulder which is notably less strong than my right. Assistance work that has made a positive difference for me are dumbbell pressing, reverse fly, and lateral raises.

- Bench Press advanced from an estimated 155 maximum to 225 real max; a 70 lbs. improvement. I've had good luck using dumbbell bench presses and my new favorite triceps exercise, the Lying Triceps Extension with an E-Z Curl bar. I believe fat bar curls have also helped, but the LTE has been a massive game changer in making heavy (for me) weights feel light. I will also be switching from regular one arm DB rows to Kroc style, max top set for high reps.

- Squat progressed from an estimate 155 maximum to a real max of 250 for a total 95 lbs. improvement. At times I have used pauses, higher rep backoffs (i.e., BBB), and front squats, but since I've still not reached anything like my basic limit, I have not had to get very creative. At some point that will change, but not yet, and in the meantime I will slowly gather together the equipment for belt squats. I also have found that I am not wild about squatting three times a week; I don't mind the work but my right knee bugs me. When I squat once a week it's fine.

- Deadlift advanced from an estimated 225 to a real 315 and I could have done substantially more, but DL'ing really taxes me so I try to do the minimum required to make progress, so that I don't stall everything else by getting vain. As with the squat, I don't really need "assistance" yet so I will probably just do chins and abs.

I have enjoyed and plan to continue with the basic NOV Powerlifting template, which is essentially one day per big lift, plus lighter assistance. I get bigger as I get stronger, but I find that getting stronger is what really motivates me and I'm not really looking to pack on weight. For conditioning I mostly do hiking and some LSD running in the mountains, but I would like to add hill sprints in slowly and see how it goes. Finally, I have just begun playing with various load variations, really just the 3/5/1 alternate structure. That has you doing singles after your top set on the first and third weeks, and while I made some of the biggest lifts of recent memory, it also let me know that I wasn't quite in shape for that yet. By the third week I was draggin' ass, so I may go back to a 5/3/1 approach or I may alternate between the two.

Finally, for the longer term, I would like to:

- Educate myself more about RPE, based on our discussion in the training forum.
- More chins. More face pulls. More pull-aparts.
- Get set up for belt squats.
- Get some better gear for my home gym, including a power rack, a new bar, and a chin-dip station.
- Find a low-key PL meet to participate in; this has been in my mind since forever but I don't really know where to start.

Aloha!

PS Pic related.
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Ripe Turd » Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:24 am

Interesting! <<<<q

My goals are similar to you (get stronger, a bit bigger) and I do local hiking a few times a week.

Have you tried incline bench rows? I found that they put on a lot of mass (well for someone skinny like me...) on my back pretty quick.

Is the NOV Powerlifting template you are using in the 2nd edition of 531?

Are you mixing kettlebells with your weight training?

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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Hanglow Joe » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:39 am

Sounds like you're now North of Nipple.

Good work. I ran that program for awhile. Never was a BBB fan, I liked total body and first set last.

So many people get caught up in the assistance work that they miss the big picture. When I ran it, I would do pullups of 3-5 between each lifting set. I found for me, it was a great efficient way to get the resistance work in.

I would love to do it again, but there is no way I wouldn't pop my sacrum.

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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by SubClaw » Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:54 am

Any changes in body composition?
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Fat Cat » Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:39 pm

Ripe Turd wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:24 am
Have you tried incline bench rows? I found that they put on a lot of mass (well for someone skinny like me...) on my back pretty quick.
That's interesting. I haven't tried them but I would like to. I am, more and more, aware of upper back as a weakness of mine. One of the things I need to acquire, equipment wise, is a really solid adjustable bench. I have the Iron Mind 5-Star Bench which is very solid but not adjustable and all in all, a stupid stupid stupid piece of equipment.
Ripe Turd wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:24 am
Is the NOV Powerlifting template you are using in the 2nd edition of 531?
It from 5/3/1 for Powerlifting, pg. 40 on.
Ripe Turd wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 3:24 am
Are you mixing kettlebells with your weight training?
Not at this time, although I would eventually like to, perhaps as a finisher type thing. What I was relearning this past year is that "in shape" can mean a lot of different things and I am not "in shape" for lifting heavy weights, so I am giving myself time to adapt before trying to push the volume button thoughtlessly.
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Fat Cat » Tue Feb 25, 2020 5:42 pm

SubClaw wrote:
Tue Feb 25, 2020 11:54 am
Any changes in body composition?
I have probably gained about 6-8 pounds but I am visibly much more muscular and my waist has not increased at all. I haven't taken any measurements other than weight.
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Sangoma » Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:59 am

How much do you weight and how old are you? Sorry, I know it's personal, but needed to put it in perspective.
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by newguy » Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:26 am

Sangoma wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:59 am
How much do you weight and how old are you? Sorry, I know it's personal, but needed to put it in perspective.
Take it to grindr......

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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by newguy » Wed Feb 26, 2020 2:29 am

That's all fantastic progress for a year of training.

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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Luke » Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:48 am

Well done, FC.

5/3/1 is a program I wanted to love. Always felt like I was doing way too little, and the AMRAP sets never moved the 1RM needle. The Beyond versions looked way better than the OG program.

So many people got/get so much out of it, makes me wonder if I was just too new to everything when I ran it.

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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by SubClaw » Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:42 am

Luke wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:48 am
Well done, FC.

5/3/1 is a program I wanted to love. Always felt like I was doing way too little, and the AMRAP sets never moved the 1RM needle. The Beyond versions looked way better than the OG program.

So many people got/get so much out of it, makes me wonder if I was just too new to everything when I ran it.
I always wondered what would happen if I did a loooooooong stint of Not Doing Jackshit.

I know it's too low volume and far from optimal. Still, since I a not a strength athlete, I keep wondering...
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Fat Cat » Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:32 pm

Sangoma wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 12:59 am
How much do you weight and how old are you? Sorry, I know it's personal, but needed to put it in perspective.
In the future let's keep the homo shit on PMs. Where we can be alone.

But I'm 6 feet and went from like 224 to 230 over the course of a year. Which I'm not too stoked about TBH, but since it's mostly upper body muscle I'm not too upset about either.

EDIT: Am 44, 45 in July.
Last edited by Fat Cat on Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:31 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Fat Cat » Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:38 pm

Luke wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 4:48 am
Well done, FC.

5/3/1 is a program I wanted to love. Always felt like I was doing way too little, and the AMRAP sets never moved the 1RM needle. The Beyond versions looked way better than the OG program.

So many people got/get so much out of it, makes me wonder if I was just too new to everything when I ran it.
To me, it's been great because it gives me a clear "program" where I know what I am trying to achieve each day, week, and month, but has a lot of flexibility within the system. I actually think there's a little bit of genius in Wendler's creation because it addresses the needs of the non-pro athlete so well. I've also learned a lot over the course of this year by watching what worked and did not work for me. That said, nothing is perfect, nor is there one way for everyone, nor does anything good last forever. But I just wanna lift breh, and right now it's working well.

As far as the classic dig on 5/3/1 that the volume is too low, I think that there are so many ways to address that that it's not really an issue: BBB 5 x 10 back offs, First Set Last, Second Set Last, Pyramids, 5's Pro, etc. I can think of about five more ways that he's elaborated on the basic 5/3/1 skeleton to overcome that objection.
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Alfred_E._Neuman » Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:33 am

I think the best way to add volume to the main lift was BD's idea of First Set Last. After the money set, drop back to the first set weight and keep hitting 5'ers with it until the bar speed slows down. I think a set rest time would work good with this method so fatigue is building consistently from set to set.
Not sure if you'd want to take the money set to bone grinding effort if you're looking to throw a good bit of volume on afterward. Maybe just the 5/3/1 number for that day and maybe another rep or 2 if it was easy.
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Sangoma » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:02 am

Fat Cat wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:32 pm
since it's mostly upper body muscle I'm not too upset about either.
Three view pics in panties of STFU.
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Sangoma » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:10 am

Seriously though, your numbers make sense. Reading this place everyone seems to deadlift 500 lbs and bench 300 lbs. Placing your numbers against your anthropometrics makes me feel better. Being Black Belt in BJJ means that you are very athletic. On the other hand, you don't deadlift and squat twice your bodyweight means mere mortals don't necessarily need to get to those standards to be good at some sports.

Thanks for the report. These kinds of personal experiences are very valuable.
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by SubClaw » Thu Feb 27, 2020 8:51 am

Alfred_E._Neuman wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:33 am
I think the best way to add volume to the main lift was BD's idea of First Set Last. After the money set, drop back to the first set weight and keep hitting 5'ers with it until the bar speed slows down. I think a set rest time would work good with this method so fatigue is building consistently from set to set.
Not sure if you'd want to take the money set to bone grinding effort if you're looking to throw a good bit of volume on afterward. Maybe just the 5/3/1 number for that day and maybe another rep or 2 if it was easy.
That would be a fine approach to keep hitting higher PRs, but...

What if you did 5x10 (or whatever sets/reps scheme) for pure accessory work: shurgs, curls, seal rows, dumbbell stuff, dips, pull ups, GHRs...
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Hanglow Joe » Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:22 am

Alfred_E._Neuman wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:33 am
I think the best way to add volume to the main lift was BD's idea of First Set Last. After the money set, drop back to the first set weight and keep hitting 5'ers with it until the bar speed slows down. I think a set rest time would work good with this method so fatigue is building consistently from set to set.
Not sure if you'd want to take the money set to bone grinding effort if you're looking to throw a good bit of volume on afterward. Maybe just the 5/3/1 number for that day and maybe another rep or 2 if it was easy.
I agree with this so much. At first, for the money set, you get 10-12 if you're doing it right, but then, as you progress, it is only 1 or 2, maybe it's just the money set. This is especially true with military presses, because that's where everyone stalls first and you have to back off.

Doing first set last and doing 5 x 5 with that is a great way to get extra volume.

Wendler did such a great job with so many templates that it confused a lot of lifters. Throw in Joker Sets which he has since backed off of.

It can be so simple, yet so effective.
Lift 3-4 days a week, do first set last 5 x 5
Throw in some pullups and rows in between or after the main course
Sprint or do 300 swings 2 days a week.
Eat plenty of food and avoid eating crap.

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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by SubClaw » Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:48 pm

Hanglow Joe wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:22 am
It can be so simple, yet so effective.
Lift 3-4 days a week, do first set last 5 x 5
Throw in some pullups and rows in between or after the main course
Sprint or do 300 swings 2 days a week.
Eat plenty of food and avoid eating crap.
But you can't sell a book without making things absurdly complex. People won't believe it will work.

The only 5/3/1 templates that resonate with me are:

- 5x5 FSL.

- 5x10 accessories.

- Not doing jack shit.

Anything else is way too complicated.
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by newguy » Thu Feb 27, 2020 4:08 pm

Sangoma wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:02 am
Fat Cat wrote:
Wed Feb 26, 2020 5:32 pm
since it's mostly upper body muscle I'm not too upset about either.
Three view pics in panties of STFU.
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:49 pm

Sangoma wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:10 am
Seriously though, your numbers make sense. Reading this place everyone seems to deadlift 500 lbs and bench 300 lbs. Placing your numbers against your anthropometrics makes me feel better. Being Black Belt in BJJ means that you are very athletic. On the other hand, you don't deadlift and squat twice your bodyweight means mere mortals don't necessarily need to get to those standards to be good at some sports.

Thanks for the report. These kinds of personal experiences are very valuable.
I will squat and deadlift twice my bodyweight to spite you.
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:51 pm

Hanglow Joe wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:22 am
Alfred_E._Neuman wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:33 am
I think the best way to add volume to the main lift was BD's idea of First Set Last. After the money set, drop back to the first set weight and keep hitting 5'ers with it until the bar speed slows down. I think a set rest time would work good with this method so fatigue is building consistently from set to set.
Not sure if you'd want to take the money set to bone grinding effort if you're looking to throw a good bit of volume on afterward. Maybe just the 5/3/1 number for that day and maybe another rep or 2 if it was easy.
I agree with this so much. At first, for the money set, you get 10-12 if you're doing it right, but then, as you progress, it is only 1 or 2, maybe it's just the money set. This is especially true with military presses, because that's where everyone stalls first and you have to back off.

Doing first set last and doing 5 x 5 with that is a great way to get extra volume.

Wendler did such a great job with so many templates that it confused a lot of lifters. Throw in Joker Sets which he has since backed off of.

It can be so simple, yet so effective.
Lift 3-4 days a week, do first set last 5 x 5
Throw in some pullups and rows in between or after the main course
Sprint or do 300 swings 2 days a week.
Eat plenty of food and avoid eating crap.
Good posts guys. I will play around with the FSL 5 x 5 back off sets for military press, it could be a good thing for me. But yes, basically, lift some fucking weights and go for a run/prowler/ruck. It's not that complicated.
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:55 pm

SubClaw wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 2:48 pm
Hanglow Joe wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 11:22 am
It can be so simple, yet so effective.
Lift 3-4 days a week, do first set last 5 x 5
Throw in some pullups and rows in between or after the main course
Sprint or do 300 swings 2 days a week.
Eat plenty of food and avoid eating crap.
But you can't sell a book without making things absurdly complex. People won't believe it will work.

The only 5/3/1 templates that resonate with me are:

- 5x5 FSL.

- 5x10 accessories.

- Not doing jack shit.

Anything else is way too complicated.
I dunno about that brah. Basically working up to some top sets of 5, 3, or 1 and then doing a few accessory movements isn't that complicated.

Bench 5/3/1
Dumbbell Bench 3-5 x 10
Lying Triceps Extension 3-5 x 10-15

...or press/row/curl...or deadlift/goodmorning/abs...
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by SubClaw » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:20 pm

Fat Cat wrote:
Thu Feb 27, 2020 5:55 pm
I dunno about that brah. Basically working up to some top sets of 5, 3, or 1 and then doing a few accessory movements isn't that complicated.

Bench 5/3/1
Dumbbell Bench 3-5 x 10
Lying Triceps Extension 3-5 x 10-15

...or press/row/curl...or deadlift/goodmorning/abs...
Exactly my point!

You can't sell something that simple and efficient to Average Joe. You really, really, really need to overcomplicate things, adding dozens of templates which are basically the same stuff rehashed (the Forever book), plus a few purposely obscure terms that sound cool (anchor, leader...).

I have all the 5/3/1 books and I fail to see anything useful that Wendler could have omitted in his original T-Nation article.

If you can't explain a program in less than three of four sentences, it's not that good.
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Re: A Fatty Special Report: One Year of 5/3/1

Post by Fat Cat » Thu Feb 27, 2020 6:58 pm

Yeah, I think I misunderstood you. There are some wrinkles that he's added, like the 3/5/1 pattern, Spinal Tap, etc. that are true departures from his system, but most of it is very true to the original programming "idea" and can be expressed in just a few sentences. I find Wendler to be an absolutely awful communicator, but his basic ideas are very sound and very flexible.

I read Marty Gallagher's (another totally shit writer) Coan: The Man, The Myth, the Method recently and it was interesting how similar his approach was to 5/3/1; train each of the big three once a week, add another day for shoulders, go for you big movement first, then toss in 3-4 bodybuilding movements to finish and Bob's your uncle.
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