Stagger Lee's 5/3/1 Log Stagger Lee's 5/3/1 Log

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Thread: Stagger Lee's 5/3/1 Log

  1. #1
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    Default Stagger Lee's 5/3/1 Log

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    Started 5/3/1 on the 8th. I am making this log partly because I am excited about the program, and partly because a lot of people seem to be curious about 5/3/1 and might be interested in watching the slow progress at work.

    This is the "Option 1" variant, with 65/75/85% for week one and four workout days per week. I am working out in my garage, so the assistance work is whatever I can manage, and I won't be recording weights or reps for that, I think.

    I took Wendler's advice and set my working maxes pretty low, using essentially the weights I had done for very heavy work sets on my previous bastardized NDTP-program, with the exception of the press, which weight I arrived at using Wendler's rep formula. It has already proven the most difficult lift.

    Deadlift: 420
    Press: 180
    Squat: 365
    Bench: 275
    6'1" 275ish.

    Week 1:

    8/8/10:
    Deadlift 275x5, 315x5, 350x8
    The final set was supposed to be 360 but I erred loading the weight.
    Rows and pull-ups. (a note about "pull-ups": when I claim I did pull-ups, I am talking about 2 or 3 reps, maybe 2 or 3 sets.)

    8/9/10:
    Press 120x5, 135x5, 155x6, 155x5
    I didn't feel good about this press and it made me worry about week 2, but my mom and nieces had come by and were chatting with me while I was lifting. I did an extra set.

    8/11/10:
    Squat 240x5, 275x5, 315x10

    8/13/10:
    Bench 180x5, 210x5, 235x10
    Dips.

    Week 2:

    8/15/10:
    Deadlift 295x3, 340x3, 380x6
    Rows.

    8/16/10:
    Press 130x3, 145x3, 165x5
    Skull-crushers.

    Squatting tomorrow, looking for 8 reps at 330.
    Last edited by Stagger Lee; 08-17-2010 at 11:45 PM. Reason: Forgot height and weight.

  2. #2
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    Week 2 (cont.):

    8/18/10:
    Squats 260x5, 295x5, 330x8

    I guess I am still adjusting to the program: I did sets of 5 instead of sets of 3. I gave myself a little longer between the last two sets to recuperate and with a few extra grunts managed to get my 8 reps.

    Did some light snatches and overhead squats as assistance, but was mostly just satisfied with the big fat work set.

    Some thoughts...Loving working out four days a week. I think the reason it works is the lower volume the program calls for, but with this routine I don't get soft and lazy between workouts, which was a problem that affected my motivation before. It might be too early to make any definitive statements, though.

    Also, after going back and forth for a while, I decided not long ago to stick with the high bar squat. The narrower stance feels more natural for me, and with my knee bands (TK brand!) squatting is downright comfortable these days. I mention this because someone else said something similar on the forum recently. I agree.

    Anyway, a nice day.

    (BTW, I am 27. For two more months, at least.)

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    Week 2 (cont.)

    8/20/10:
    Bench 220x5, 235x3, 250x10!!

    Accidentally started with a set of 5 again. oops. But then I just demolished my last set. I have to attribute the improvement over last week to the "So You Think You Can Bench" series over at EliteFTS.com. I watched that yesterday and employed several of Tate's technique tips today. Anyway, I found myself fantasizing about hitting 405 for 1.

    Followed up with a set of 10 dips, then 4@+25, then 9 more at bodyweight. Also did about 4 good chinups and another 4 kipped.

  4. #4
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    Good benching man. Have you been watching the whole series of Tate's bench vids? I only caught one, but just learning a better setup position really helped me. I'll have to check out the rest.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kittenSmash View Post
    Good benching man. Have you been watching the whole series of Tate's bench vids? I only caught one, but just learning a better setup position really helped me. I'll have to check out the rest.
    Thanks, kitten.

    I watched the whole series all at once yesterday. Things that I was able to make use of were his general attitude towards the intensity of warm-ups; the "weight on the traps" cue; the foot position with the "push the heels into the floor" cue; and especially the correlation of grip width to elbow depth: Coach Tate makes the point that if your grip is narrow enough to put your elbows significantly lower than the bench's padding in the bottom position, you're pressing the bar out of the negative, putting you at a disadvantage.

    I forgot to try his "pull the bar apart" cue, so there is something to work on with my week 3 95% set.

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    Week 3
    8/22/10:
    Deadlift 315x5, 360x3, 400x6
    Straight-bar curls, EZ-curl reverse curls.

    This felt great. I was not feeling very energetic, having had some poor sleep the past few nights (aside: anyone else feel like late evening milk-drinking precipitates relentless dreaming?), and my lats were still sore from Friday. The final set's number was intimidating, too. But I went at it a lot stronger than I expected to, and part of it was, I believe, an adjustment to my stance. I moved my feet in to the width that I snatch at, and moved my grip in to just outside my legs. I think I might be able to pull a bigger number the other way, but this adjustment made my reps noticeably less dependent on leg fatigue; normally, when my legs get tired, I am done. Today I pulled at least 2 reps after my legs felt like they were ready to give up.

    I am really feeling like this program was made for me. I feel strong, I can recover, and I am able to attack my workout with a whole lot more ferocity than before. When I was doing 3x5 at my absolute 5-rep max, I knew that, even if I did great, I was still going to get my ass kicked, and that knowledge often killed my intensity. Maybe that makes me a pussy, but I don't feel like one on 5/3/1.

    Pressing tomorrow.

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    Thumbs up

    Nick Cave?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Carnivroar View Post
    Nick Cave?
    Verily. The only thing in my diet more excessive than whole milk is Nick Cave's music.

    Thanks for checking out my log, Carn.
    Last edited by Stagger Lee; 08-22-2010 at 05:45 PM.

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    Oh yeah, great numbers btw!

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    starting strength coach development program
    Quote Originally Posted by Carnivroar View Post
    Oh yeah, great numbers btw!
    Thanks!

    Week 3
    8/23/10:

    Press 135x5, 155x3, 175x3
    Push press 205x3, 195x3, 195x3

    Yowch. I really wanted more than 3 reps on this one, but I sort of knew it was going to be a test. My press will almost certainly stall way before the other lifts. I arrived at the 180 working max by doing work sets of 5 and then using the formula from the 5/3/1 book. I reduced that total by 10%. Maybe three reps is closer to what the program is intended to produce at 95% of the working max, though.

    The push presses scared me. 205 feels so heavy that I can barely imagine pressing it cleanly. Mostly it is uncomfortable on my wrists when I try to keep my elbows forward, per Rippetoe's technique instruction. I have no wrist issues with heavy benching, but with the bar out of alignment with my forearms I do not feel strong at all. Any pressing tips?

    Also, my weight is fairly consistently just over 280 now. I don't mind too much because I have actually gotten slightly slimmer around the middle lately, and my BW exercises haven't gotten worse. Still, being so heavy only makes my lifts look worse.
    Last edited by Stagger Lee; 08-23-2010 at 06:53 PM.

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