Intermediate 5/3/1?

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KenDowns
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Intermediate 5/3/1?

Post by KenDowns » Tue Aug 02, 2011 9:00 pm

Last week I asked about intermediate programs, reviewed many suggestions, and the most persuasive was 5/3/1.

My misgiving was that it is advanced. Where advanced means progress is obtained in a 4 week cycle, and there is one major lift per day. Since I've been doing 3 lifts/day for the past 18 weeks, this seems like t0o great a leap -- I ought to be able to make progress faster for several months before I am forced to a monthly cycle.

So I thought, why not do two lifts per day and create a 5/3/1 two week cycle? Something like this:

Code: Select all

          --------- Week 1 ----------  ----------- Week 2 --------------
             Day 1    Day 2   Day 3       Day 1    Day 2   Day 3
  Squat        5                3                   5/3/1
  Bench        5                3                   5/3/1
  Dead                   5                   3              5/3/1
  Press                  5                   3              5/3/1
The designations "5", "3" and "5/3/1" refer to Wendlers 5/5/5+, 3/3/3+ and 5/3/1+ reps.

And one or two accessories per major lift.

Does this make sense? It makes sense to me :grin:

EDIT: notice there is no deload day. I have not worked out how to make that fit.
Last edited by KenDowns on Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:48 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Intermediate 5/3/1?

Post by Jungledoc » Wed Aug 03, 2011 9:29 am

If you feel that you can handle squatting and DLing that often, give it a try. Start conservatively in setting your training max.

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Re: Intermediate 5/3/1?

Post by KenDowns » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:06 am

Jungledoc wrote:If you feel that you can handle squatting and DLing that often, give it a try. Start conservatively in setting your training max.
Well StrongLifts had me doing 6 squat days + 3 deadlift days in 2 weeks. Madcow drops that to 6 squat days + 2 deadlift days.

The program above is 3 squat + 3 dead across 2 weeks for *less* total squat+dead than I'm doing now, but more than I would do on a monthly 5/3/1.

That's why I figure it's a good next step. It's a half-way point between stronglifts and a monthly 5/3/1.

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Re: Intermediate 5/3/1?

Post by mark74 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:33 am

KenDowns wrote:Well StrongLifts had me doing 6 squat days + 3 deadlift days in 2 weeks.
SL only has 1 work set + W/U rather than 3 ramped W/S + W/U, though.

Maybe you could move the two lighter DL days on the same week and/or cut volume?

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Re: Intermediate 5/3/1?

Post by KenDowns » Wed Aug 03, 2011 10:47 am

mark74 wrote:
KenDowns wrote:Well StrongLifts had me doing 6 squat days + 3 deadlift days in 2 weeks.
SL only has 1 work set + W/U rather than 3 ramped W/S + W/U, though.

Maybe you could move the two lighter DL days on the same week and/or cut volume?
Agreed. SL is 5 sets across (except deads), and 5/3/1 is 3 ramped sets. A good compromise would be 4 ramped sets, and for deads 3 ramped sets.

Hadn't considered putting the light DL days together, that might be a good idea. I will see if I can make that work.

I'm a bachelor tonight so I'll probably go into heavy detail on this, any comments I get I'll try to work in.

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Re: Intermediate 5/3/1?

Post by mark74 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:23 am

KenDowns wrote:Agreed. SL is 5 sets across (except deads)
Yeah of course I was referring specifically to DLs. So basically you would merge W/U with W/S and do 3 sets in total?

Another idea would be to drop W2D1, and then you would deadlift only once a week and free up your last session to use it as a deload day. i.e.

Code: Select all

             Day 1    Day 2   Day 3       Day 1    Day 2   Day 3
Squat        5                3                    5/3/1   Deload
Bench        5                3                    5/3/1   Deload
Dead                   3                   5/3/1           Deload
Press                  5                   5/3/1           Deload
Or change that day replacing the DL with an accessory exercise for the posterior chain.

Code: Select all

             Day 1    Day 2   Day 3       Day 1    Day 2   Day 3
Squat        5                3                   5/3/1
Bench        5                3                   5/3/1
Dead                   3                   -              5/3/1
Press                  5                   3              5/3/1
AccW                   -                   5              5/3/1

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Re: Intermediate 5/3/1?

Post by KenDowns » Wed Aug 03, 2011 11:56 am

mark74 wrote:
KenDowns wrote:Agreed. SL is 5 sets across (except deads)
Yeah of course I was referring specifically to DLs. So basically you would merge W/U with W/S and do 3 sets in total?
Just on the issue of deads, I'm not so sure the 1x5 of deadlifts is true. To get the benefits of warmups I knew I had to do 3 reps. So in a real sense deads (for me) was ramped sets of 3 followed by a top set of 5.

Madcow instead says 4 ramped sets of 5, with my weights being low enough that warmups are not required. (Lowest set is where I would start warming up anyway).

And 5/3/1 if done as written would also, for me, require warmup sets of 3 climbing to the working sets.

So I guess I'm saying Stronglifts "1x5" has to be taken with a grain of salt. I don't think its accurate to say you're doing only one set, not if you're warming up. Well, in my case anyway.

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Re: Intermediate 5/3/1?

Post by mark74 » Wed Aug 03, 2011 12:23 pm

KenDowns wrote:I don't think its accurate to say you're doing only one set, not if you're warming up. Well, in my case anyway.
Just to clear this up, on SL I would typically do 2x5 "warm up" sets and 1x5 top set, so 15 reps total. Basic 5/3/1 as written by Wendler has you do 40%x5+50%x5+60%x3 as a warm up, then 3 ramped work sets, and the top set is always an all out effort.

E.g. yesterday (C2W1) I did 13+18=31 reps and on C1W3 (the 5/3/1 session) I did 13+16=29.

Even if you did 20 reps on SL you're still looking at 50% more volume. That said, I quote:
Jungledoc wrote:If you feel that you can handle squatting and DLing that often, give it a try.

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Re: Intermediate 5/3/1?

Post by KenDowns » Wed Aug 03, 2011 2:23 pm

@mark74: regarding deadlift volume, I would think we could work that out as the last variable. Deads are always done a bit differently from the others, so they would end up different on this program as well.

With that said, of your two suggestions I like the first box first. When I get home later I'm going to begin with that one and see what I get.

To restate my reasoning more succinctly:

1) A beginner can do 3 lifts/day because the weights are small. Small weights are also why progress can be made session-to-session.

2) An advanced lifter can push enough weight that only one major lift/day is done. Progress also moves to a longer cycle for the same reason.

3) So an intermediate might expect 2 major lifts/day.

4) Only real variable to play with is, do we use Madcow reps/sets or 5/3/1? That's kind of what I'm rolling around right now. 5/3/1 has huge appeal for those all out sets and the PR at the end of the cycle, but a 2-week cycle means one of the 4 days is cut out.

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Re: Intermediate 5/3/1?

Post by KenDowns » Wed Aug 03, 2011 6:51 pm

@mark74, I made a spreadsheet using your first suggestion, with a couple of assistance exercises:

http://www.downsfam.net/Intermediate5-3-1.xls" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

or OpenOffice:

http://www.downsfam.net/Intermediate5-3-1.ods" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Intermediate 5/3/1?

Post by Proper Knob » Thu Aug 04, 2011 5:05 am

KenDowns wrote:Last week I asked about intermediate programs, reviewed many suggestions, and the most persuasive was 5/3/1.
Have a look at this Ken.

http://www.t-nation.com/strength-training-topics/1316" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Intermediate 5/3/1?

Post by mark74 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 6:38 am

KenDowns wrote:@mark74, I made a spreadsheet using your first suggestion, with a couple of assistance exercises:
I don't feel I'm experienced enough to say whether the schedule itself is any good (in fact I'm following a textbook version of 5/3/1 myself), and will leave that to others.

With that out of the way, this is what hit my eye:
  • the press schedule is out of whack, e.g. no 5/3/1 day
  • the deload day seems too busy to me, I'd do either the BP or the OHP, and no rowing
  • rowing follows 5/3/1 percentages which is not what Wendler recommends for accessory work
  • assistance work may simply be too much
  • intuitively, I would say do the deadlift before the press

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Re: Intermediate 5/3/1?

Post by KenDowns » Thu Aug 04, 2011 9:05 am

mark74 wrote:
KenDowns wrote:@mark74, I made a spreadsheet using your first suggestion, with a couple of assistance exercises:
I don't feel I'm experienced enough to say whether the schedule itself is any good (in fact I'm following a textbook version of 5/3/1 myself), and will leave that to others.

With that out of the way, this is what hit my eye:
  • the press schedule is out of whack, e.g. no 5/3/1 day
Actually that's a mistake on the copy of the spreadsheet I posted. to make everything fit Press got a 5/5/5 day and a 5/3/1 day, no 3/3/3.
mark74 wrote: [*]the deload day seems too busy to me, I'd do either the BP or the OHP, and no rowing
Since the numbers are my own, I can look at them and feel how much work it looks like. Not surprisingly as deload number every individual exercise looks downright easy. It's an open question how they will add up. I'm tempted to try it as proposed, and if it runs long or i tire out drop rowing first. I'd prefer not to drop Press since it already has lost one day, the 3/3/3 day. This is all open to revision.
mark74 wrote: [*]rowing follows 5/3/1 percentages which is not what Wendler recommends for accessory work
Yeah, I'm just coming to recognize that rowing is thought of as accessory. I'll have to read more Wendler on that to get closer to textbook.
mark74 wrote: [*]assistance work may simply be too much
Yeah, I put everything in to see what I'd get. But if I keep in mind that I'm transitioning from late beginner to very early intermediate, I ought to be able to maintain a linear progression (on a 2 week cycle) on the major lifts just by doing the lifts. So the Pin-Pause squats and the Rack Press will be the first to go if I decide to simplify. I have to say I'm leaning very heavily towards dropping them until a 2 week linear progression stops working, at which point it would be time for textbook 5/3/1.
mark74 wrote: [*]intuitively, I would say do the deadlift before the press
The sequence is left over from Stronglifts, where every session would have started with squats. I'm also mulling around the exercise order.

Finally I'm thinking to make the "smallest plate" increment specific to each exercise, so I can round to five pounds on everything except Row and Press, where I'd like to keep rounding to 2.5.

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Re: Intermediate 5/3/1?

Post by mark74 » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:03 am

KenDowns wrote:Since the numbers are my own, I can look at them and feel how much work it looks like. Not surprisingly as deload number every individual exercise looks downright easy. It's an open question how they will add up.
The deload week in the original program is there for a reason, that's why cramming many exercises in just one day seems counterproductive to me.
KenDowns wrote:Finally I'm thinking to make the "smallest plate" increment specific to each exercise, so I can round to five pounds on everything except Row and Press, where I'd like to keep rounding to 2.5.
I haven't really found a neat solution, the unelegant one is a CEILING( ..;2) (so I don't have to use 0,5 kg plates), and next to that I put the difference between the true value and the ceiling. Then I take a look the sheet and decide which weight to use.

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Re: Intermediate 5/3/1?

Post by KenDowns » Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:12 am

mark74 wrote:
KenDowns wrote:Finally I'm thinking to make the "smallest plate" increment specific to each exercise, so I can round to five pounds on everything except Row and Press, where I'd like to keep rounding to 2.5.
I haven't really found a neat solution, the unelegant one is a CEILING( ..;2) (so I don't have to use 0,5 kg plates), and next to that I put the difference between the true value and the ceiling. Then I take a look the sheet and decide which weight to use.
Why not just MROUND()? That's what I use. Mround( 1RM * Percentage, Plate*2)
Last edited by KenDowns on Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:21 am, edited 1 time in total.

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