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Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 12:59 pm
by Mister
Hi, I enjoy lifting and my main purpose is to get strong.

I'm a beginner (I think) I weigh 80 kilos, 183cms tall (6 feet) and I had been lifting for some 6 months or so, prior to an injury.

My maxes back then were as follows (numbers in Kilograms) at 75kg bodyweight:

100x5x1 Deadlift
45x5x5 Press
80x5x5 Squat (Low bar)
60x5x5 Bench
60x5x3 Clean
60x5x5 Bent over rows

The workouts were getting particularly brutal towards the end of my linear progression and I got injured due to poor form (back too arched) and poor genetics I think, I broke a bone in my L4 vertebra (pars interarticularis) causing L4 to slip forward over L5. In medical terms it's First Degree Lytic Spondylolisthesis. In layman's terms well: My $h1t got ruined.

Now all the doctors told me to stay away from lifting but I don't think so. After a month or two of rest I decided to return to lifting to strengthen my lower back.

I've been lifting for a month after my injury pain free, and I think I'm eating well.

Breakfast: 7 tablespoons of oatmeal + 3 tablespoons of honey + 1.5 cup of whole milk.
Lunch: Usually 250-300g of fish or chicken breasts + around 50-70g of complex carbs (rice or potatoes) + salad (cucumbers, tomatoes, olive oil and onions).
Dinner: 4 Eggs or 4 tablespoons of beans + 80 grams of bread + fruit (typically 2 mangos or 2 bananas or 6 dates)

I get a solid 8 hours of sleep everyday.

I'm an Ectomorph (I think) my thumb and middle finger overlap around my wrist.

As to what goes inside the gym I'm following 5/3/1. (Main Lift + Assistance Lifts)

Workout 1: Bench + Pullups and Pike Press
Workout 2: Front Squat + One-legged Squats and Hanging Leg Raises.
Workout 3: Press + Dips, and Tuck Front Lever Rows.
Workout 4: Deadlift + Natural Leg Curls, and Dragon Flag.

I sprint 400mx2 once a week too.

I chose these exercises because they can all be loaded or made harder to keep the reps low.

My concerns are the following:

Natural leg curls only work the knee end of the hamstring, what about the hip end? Should I be worrying about this? Replace them with RDLs maybe?
I subbed in front squats because I'm still scared to back squat heavy and aggravate my back, I also figured Deadlifting is working my posterior chain plenty, no need for back squats, specially with a slow progress program like 5/3/1. Is that the right thing to do?

But my biggest concern is:

I do way too many reps on my last set, for those of you unfamiliar with 5/3/1 you go all out on the last set. (I reach typically 10 reps).

Will this $h1t make me strong?

My current maxes are (numbers in Kilograms):

35x10 Press
55x12 Bench
55x10 Front Squat
65x10 Deadlift

Do you see a strong lifter in the future if I stick to this program?

I don't do much mobility work because I'm pretty flexible (It's how I got injured in the first place).

No ballistic barbell lifting because that's definitely bad for my back.

Also worth mentioning that I am an insulin dependent diabetic, my nutrition is very strict and I'm against eating 6 times a day.

I was impressed by the exercise directory on this website, and I thought I might ask here. Although I think the forums are separate from the website, I would guess they would attract people of an educated background.

Thanks in advance.

Re: Program

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 4:08 pm
by robertscott
everyone that does 5/3/1 thinks they are hitting too many reps on their all out sets when they first start. Enjoy it while it lasts.

Re: Program

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:05 pm
by Mister
Hey thanks I think I understand what you mean.

About my other (minor) concerns with the natural leg curls working only one end of the hamstrings and the front squats instead of back squats, do you have any opinions? Or am I overthinking this? (I've been known to do so)

My gym isn't equipped with a GHR machine, I could however substitute some of the abdominal work or the natural leg curls for RDLs.

I've thought very long and hard about this program I hope I didn't miss anything that would be left untrained.

Re: Program

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:46 pm
by Jungledoc
Yeah, overthinking.

You can't work one end of a muscle and neglect the rest. The whole muscle contracts. We've had arguments over this here, but the exceptions that might be valid are unique situations like the abs.

Go look at the sticky about "The ultimate final word on workouts" or whatever the title is. It will tell you that you have a sound routine. Accessories are accessories. Don't fall into the trap of treating them as primary exercises or of worrying about them very much.

By the way, this thread doesn't really fit into the basic idea of "Exercise Science", so I'm moving it to General.

Re: Program

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 5:54 pm
by Jungledoc
And yes. You'll get strong. Be patient and persistent and smart.

And the high volume on your 5/3/1 is a good thing. Keep raising the load every time, and the volume will go down.

Re: Program

Posted: Fri Oct 12, 2012 8:13 pm
by Mister
Thanks that answers all my questions and exactly what I needed to hear.

Sorry for posting in the wrong place too.

Re: Program

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:11 am
by Jungledoc
No problem. I'm still a noob moderator, and still get excited over a chance to exercise my moderator powers.

Re: Program

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:55 am
by Dub
I think it's a big misunderstanding that you can't get stronger if you do sets over 5 reps. Especially if you are a beginner. What 531 really does with those last sets is that it wants you to recruit all the possible motor units to contract the muscle. And that is eventually one of the reasons we get stronger. Sets under 5 do this on heavy conditions, and so do submaximal sets that lead close to failure or even to failure. So fear not. Plus, the fun only lasts for a couple of cycles. I started 531 some months ago, and now I'm struggling to get the needed reps in on some exercises.

About the hamstrings. I don't know where have you gotten the information that only one end could be stressed. Muscles contract as one. They go all or nothing. Not in sections. It's true that hamstrings are actually three different muscles, and contain four different heads (Because of Bicep femoris). But all of the muscles start from the bottom of your hip, and end up on below your knees. So they all contribute to knee flexion and hip extension, which is what you will need to do the natural leg curl.

Re: Program

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 8:18 am
by Mister
Well you know how the internet is...bad information everywhere.

I was reading up on the difference between the leg curl machine and the natural leg curls because I'm only doing natural leg curl partials and negatives, so I thought the leg curl machine is the same movement and I can build up progressively to natural leg curls instead of doing negatives all the time kind of boring.

One of the arguments against the leg curl machine was that it only worked the knee end of the hamstring leaving out the hip end. Other arguments included bad for the knees, unnatural movement, etc.

That's how I came to the Idea. It does sound kinda stupid but it wasn't mine in all

Re: Program

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 11:57 am
by stuward
There is a view about only doing leg curls when the hip is in extention, as in natural leg curls. I can't say one way or the other and I'm kind of in the same boat as Jungle Doc in that a muscle is a muscle.
Here's Lyle MacDonald's view. ... nsion.html" onclick=";return false;

Here's Joe DeFranco's view: ... rings.html" onclick=";return false;

As with most bro-science type stuff, there is experience and research and sometimes they match up and sometimes they don't. That doesn't mean one is always wrong and the other right. That's when you need guys like Kenny Croxdale to step in.

Re: Program

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 2:14 pm
by Mister
I guess I'm all set then with my program.

Thanks guys.

Re: Program

Posted: Sat Oct 13, 2012 5:12 pm
by Jungledoc
No. You're never all set. It will change a little in a week or two, and a lot withing a month or two. The key is to pay attention to your own body, and learn what works well for you and what doesn't. You will come across routines that you will be tempted to try. Just be willing to give them up again when you realize that they aren't what they were promised to be. You will hear about lifts that you just have to include. Go ahead and include them if they aren't to goofy. But take them out if they don't help.

You don't ever want your routine to be completely set in stone. You just have to learn to change it often enough, but not too often! The longer I do this, the less often I change the routine. But I'm more willing to change what I do moment to moment in the gym.