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5/3/1 June 2012

Today, I finished another 5/3/1 cycle. Next week is deload. About time, if you ask me...

The past
Back in April before I started my first 5/3/1 cycle, I did proper 1RM testing. Here's what I found:

SquatDeadliftBenchPressPower CleanPower Snatch

Not impressive by any means, but it's a starting point. Now since squatting heavy ARMAP (as many reps as possible) and competeing in a kickboxing tournament are somewhat mutually exclusive, I couldn't really go all out during my last cylce. Hence, I didn't apply any linear progression to the weights but just stuck with my former 1RM's for this one. As I noted before, I modified the program a little - nothing serious though. I'd start each session with Chad Waterbury's Iron Core Circuit. Every now and then, I'd also do around 10-15 minutes of stationary bike riding before hitting the circuit. Martin Berkhan, the author of leangains.com, says that not keeping track of progress is a sign of what he calls fuckarounditis. I agree. Hence, here's this cycle's stats:

DateSetExercise 1Weight (kg)RepsHMxS* (kg)Exercise 2Weight (kg)RepsHMxS* (kg)
2012-06-13Power SnatchPower Clean
2012-06-18Power SnatchPower Clean
*hypothetical max strength, based on this 1RM calculator

 At least, hypothetically, based on the last workout for each lift, this means that I've increased my 1RM like so:

DeadliftSquatBenchPressPower SnatchPower Clean

Not bad for just 8 workouts, if you ask me. As you can see from the above table, I missed the first Snatch/Clean session. I expect increases on those to be greater after the next cycle. I didn't list any accessory work here. When I felt like it, I did some sets of whatever I felt up to. When I didn't, I didn't. Simple as that. To quote Wendler:  "It's assistance. It doesn't f*** matter".

The future
Besides not keeping track of progress, Berkhan lists not planning for progress as another common mistake. Good thing I don't have to do that planning all by myself - Wendler's system already implements a linear progression. In my next cycle (which will begin on 2nd of July), I'll add 5kg to my 1RM on the lower body lifts (Squat, Deadlift) and 2,5kg on everything else. So, I'll calculate weights based on the following (hypothetical) 1RMs:

SquatDeadliftBenchPressPower CleanPower Snatch

Following that logic, doing another 11 months of 5/3/1 should have me pull 200kg on the deadlift... Then again, I won't be doing this all out for 11 months. After all, I'm a martial artist, not a powerlifter. I'll try to time things in such a way that my regeneration weeks corresponf to my fights. Still, even after a fight, I usually need some recovery, so I'll lose the one or other cycle in any case. No point in whining about that, though. Strength, for me, is a means to ends. I do believe in the 5/3/1 system, so I'll stick to it (at least, for a time) and do more deload in times where balls-to-the-wall training just isn't an option. There's a cool event coming up on Saturday - but I'll post more on that tomorrow.

So long,

take care


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