Staggering 5/3/1 waves

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Ausbris
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Staggering 5/3/1 waves

Post by Ausbris » Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:01 am

I'm been progressing with 5/3/1 for about 4-5 months now. The annoying thing about my training is that I don't have any set days training. I don't work Wednesday's or Sunday's, so always train then. However the rest of my week has been dependent on the mood of my daughter (only 4 months, so can't blame her too much!).

So some days I am training on consecutive days. This isn't a problem for my recovery at the moment. However, has anyone else been in the same boat (with 5/3/1), and have you changed the timing of your waves? If so, has it helped recovery?

For example instead of completing the first wave of lifting for Bench/DL/Press/Squat. Have them all rotating at different stages of the cycle at any one time.

e.g.
  • this week: Bench wave1 / DL wave2/ Press wave3/ Squat wave4
    next week: Bench wave2 / DL wave3/ Press wave4/ Squat wave1
    etc...
Like I said its not an issue yet, and the book is on my Xmas list :grin:

KPj
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Re: Staggering 5/3/1 waves

Post by KPj » Fri Nov 25, 2011 8:38 am

I have the same issue. I quite often train 2, 3 and sometimes 4 days in a row, and have done for the last couple of years. Not every week but, maybe every second or third. This week, I trained lower body on Monday night, Upper body on Tuesday afternoon, and Lower body again Wednesday afternoon. Upper body will be Saturday or Sunday this week, probably Saturday.

I don't think you need to over complicate it. Part of the beauty of it is how much you can adapt it. So, if it's your second or third day in a row training, you're not exactly going to be feeling fresh. Just hit the minimum reps and move on. You'll still make progress, and you'll feel that significantly when you get to hit that day feeling fresh and can go all out. In other words, if your recovery is already compromised, don't go 100%. Leave some in the tank. The way i see is, if you can keep hitting minimum reps in less than ideal conditions, that's as good as getting over the minimum reps in ideal conditions. So, strive to be happy with the minimum on those days.

Also, I'm like you in the sense that there's generally always 2 days that I can train fresh. So, whatever lifts you are prioritising, make it these 2 days. I was prioritising Military Press when I was doing 5-3-1, so this was always first in the week.

If you get to the point that you can't hit minimum reps, just reset your training max on those lifts and keep going.

Also, 5-3-1 has a 3 day per week option, which really just puts the 4th day into the beginning of the 2nd week. The cycle changes to 6 weeks instead of 4 as a result. It's possible you should "cut your losses", so to speak, and go to a 3 day a week schedule. Sometimes I think I would of made much better progress over the last 2 years if I just bit the bullet and accepted a consistent 4 days per week of training wasn't realistic. I currently have 1 person on the 3 day 5-3-1 schedule (I don't train him, I just sent him the article on t-nation with the 5-3-1 BB split), and another on a modified 3 day per week schedule (basically, a legs push pull program, using the 5-3-1 progression on the first lift of each day). Both are progressing pretty well.

KPj
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Re: Staggering 5/3/1 waves

Post by stuward » Fri Nov 25, 2011 10:43 am

Ausbris wrote:...e.g.
  • this week: Bench wave1 / DL wave2/ Press wave3/ Squat wave4
    next week: Bench wave2 / DL wave3/ Press wave4/ Squat wave1
    etc...
...
You could try this but where these are all CNS intensive lifts, I think it's prudent to take an actual deload week once in a while, if not every cycle, maybe every second one. A heavy 5-3-1 workout (wave 3) has a systemic toll on the body, and a wave 3 workout every week, even with different exercises may cause issues in your recovery at some point. The deload is not just for muscle recovery, it's the total body that needs the break. Just a thought.
Stu Ward
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Ausbris
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Re: Staggering 5/3/1 waves

Post by Ausbris » Fri Nov 25, 2011 1:18 pm

KPj wrote:I don't think you need to over complicate it. Part of the beauty of it is how much you can adapt it. So, if it's your second or third day in a row training, you're not exactly going to be feeling fresh. Just hit the minimum reps and move on. You'll still make progress, and you'll feel that significantly when you get to hit that day feeling fresh and can go all out. In other words, if your recovery is already compromised, don't go 100%.KPj
Point taken, hit the minimum when you have to, but take my opportunities when I'm feeling fresh. Looking at my log, I feel I have been doing this - but this is good advice.
stuward wrote:I think it's prudent to take an actual deload week once in a while, if not every cycle, maybe every second one. A heavy 5-3-1 workout (wave 3) has a systemic toll on the body, and a wave 3 workout every week, even with different exercises may cause issues in your recovery at some point. The deload is not just for muscle recovery, it's the total body that needs the break. Just a thought.
Another good point, and probably more important. As I develop through this program, my CNS will need a break as much as my muscles (if not more, as my muscles my more readily adapt?!). I was concerned about having 4 workouts of "wave 3" intensity close to each other (within 5 days, depending on my availability), but I guess I would also be gaining a fair chunk of deload following this.

So far, I'm leaning towards:
a) Continuing as I am - taking the good sessions, with the bad (or rather 'minimum sessions')
b) Be prepared to have a break for 1-2 weeks if required, maybe early next year

Oscar_Actuary
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Re: Staggering 5/3/1 waves

Post by Oscar_Actuary » Sat Nov 26, 2011 1:16 am

so mislead by title.

_______________
Ausbris wrote: However the rest of my week has been dependent on the mood of my daughter (only 4 months, so can't blame her too much!).
It's never to early to learn respect for the barbell. Don't let her off too easily. Pretty soon, she'll start using your rubber coated dumbbells for a chew toy*


* is that the proper term for baby toys during the teething years? I don't have kids, can you tell?

Ausbris
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Re: Staggering 5/3/1 waves

Post by Ausbris » Sat Nov 26, 2011 4:23 am

Oscar_Actuary wrote:so mislead by title.
hehehe
Oscar_Actuary wrote:It's never to early to learn respect for the barbell. Don't let her off too easily. Pretty soon, she'll start using your rubber coated dumbbells for a chew toy
Hmmm only have metal ones, it could end in tears...

Oscar_Actuary wrote:is that the proper term for baby toys during the teething years? I don't have kids, can you tell?
"Teething Chews" or "Teething Rings" are what I know them by. And I sell them!

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