Monday, November 15, 2010

5/3/1: Level Up

Programs like crossfit and Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 program intrigue me out of their simplicity and their intrinsic nature of advancing only those with the will to push themselves. Both programs can be as easy or as hard as you make them, and are simple programs to follow.

If you already know what 5/3/1 is and just want a calculator to store your work, download this google spreadsheet and have your way with her.

5/3/1: Leveling Up Since 1899
The premise behind 5/3/1 is simple. Use basic compound lifts that increase in weight over time. Revolutionary, I know. The tables below represent the original 5/3/1 program (top) that Wendler designed, and an altered version (bottom) that I follow.

You may choose to stick to Wendler's original design, or take what you like and apply it to your own program. In general, you will want use the calculation based lifts on the compound exercises you use to measure your progress (i.e. Shoulder Press, Deadlift, Bench Press, Squat).

Although you can use it with other exercises as well (I use it for power cleans), you are better off finding your own system for exercises such as DB Bench Press, Hammer Curls, etc.

*Note* Any time I note an exercise proceeded by 'Singles,' I am referring to a max 90%-100% output done through single reps.

Calculating your Program
a. For each lift you plan on applying 5/3/1 to, you will first multiply your 1RM by 0.9
b. Take your 0.9*(1RM) and calculate the actual values you will use to lift (make a template or use mine to save time)

1 RM Bench Press = 225
1 RM Back Squat = 305

0.9*1RM Bench = 225*0.9 = 200
0.9*1RM Squat = 305*0.9 = 275

c. Your actual lifts for the week will use this 0.9*1RM value to calculate the percentages in the table below

Only 3 sets? What about the pump bra? Fuck your gay pump.

Week 1 Values
Bench (.65x200/.75x200/.85x200) = (130x5/150x5/170x5+)
Squat (.65x275/.75x275/.85x275) = (180x5/205x5/230x5+)

Anytime you see a 5+, 3+, or 1+, it is an indication to go balls to the wall and prison bitch the barbell for as many reps as you can (ideally making a new record each workout). This is truly the point where your will power battles your common sense, and you will surprise yourself with what you can do.

Week4 is the only portion of the cycle where you do not attempt to make any new records. This week is used for recovering from the cycle so that you are fresh and edgy to begin lifting heavier the following week.

Rest Period Guidelines
Between core exercise sets: 2-5min
Between assistance sets: 1-2min
Between workouts: Every 2 workouts, take 1 day off (ex: AB rest CD rest)

How to Level Up
5/3/1 bases your lifts off percentages of your 1RM (1 Rep Max) and your rep ranges on a repeating cycle. Each cycle spans 4 weeks, then starts over with +5lbs added to your upper body lifts and +10lbs added to your lower body lifts.

Final Thoughts
Although you will most likely make your own version of 5/3/1 with whatever it is you actually want to use, keep in mind that the most important lift of each session is the one you are tracking (a.k.a main lift). Your main lift should receive the bulk of your attention, and is the measure of your increasing strength over time.

Your first cycle will likely be very easy. Do not take this as a reason to add +50lbs to all lifts unless you have seriously underestimated yourself.

Think long term growth over short term vanity. Your routine will become hard faster than you think.

This spreadsheet (same as attached above) has all of the information contained in this post, and will be a useful tool in tracking both your workout requirements as well as the changing percentages of your 1RM.

XKCD takes 5/3/1 very seriously

No comments:

Post a Comment