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Method 1 – This progression approach is for lifters who are still relatively weak and have a lot of strength left to gain.
Method 2 – The progression approach is for lifters who are relatively strong, but who will find adding 5 pounds each 3 week cycle nearly impossible. Method 1 will yield about a 175 pound gain on squats and deadlifts over the course of a year, and 85-90 pounds to your bench press and overhead press.
When you can perform more than 10 reps on set 3, add more weight the next time you perform this exercise. Dips and pull ups can be more challenging, especially if you do not have access to a harness to add weight. If dips or pull ups become too easy, it may be in your best interest to use dumbbell rows and close grip bench press as substitutions. The 3 day variation of the Primal 531 Workout program is the best choice for most natural lifters. The 4 day variation of the Primal 531 Workout program is a solid choice for experienced intermediate lifters who know their bodies and capabilities well. There are innumerable ways to structure a 4 day split, and approaches will vary wildly based on goals.
If you do not know how to structure accessory work based on your needs, then I do not recommend using a 4 day approach. I love automating things (lazy) to make my life easier (lazy) and more efficient (lazy), so I created a 531 workout spreadsheet that will auto calculate all your numbers after the first week. Travis Hlavka (9 Posts)I may act like a 12yr old a lot of the time, but that's because I have a genetic defect that will not allow me grow up. I seriously thought about that, but then found out I could get in legal trouble if I charge for it or make any money off of it.
Perfect timing (even tho my reply is a wee bit late, doh) since I’m sending out an email next week with updates and some cool new stuff (including a KG version).
I pulled back on the volume of weight that I would be lifting for Cycle 18 because I failed to meet my target lifts in Cycle 17. I did feel weak and tired at times during the cycle, which I blame on low iron, but I managed.
The loads are decent but not PR-worthy and I feel like I should have been able to crank out more reps. It might just be that I haven’t been eating properly the last few days, it might be that I’m tired from a weekend of landscaping.
I’m going to use this as a learning opportunity though because what’s really cool is that I can take a completely yogic approach to weightlifting. Yoga teaches me to tune into the subtleties of my body so that I can really be aware of when I feel that I’m off my peak and when I feel strong and energetic. When I calculated my loads for cycle 16 I knew it was going to be too much of a struggle for me to reach them, given that I barely made my lifts in cycle 15.
It’s funny that a mere 8 weeks ago I was ecstatic with the amount of weight I could lift and now that same amount feels like failure.
The last time that I had recapped with you at cycle 11 I took a step back in my training programme and repeated cycle 11 because I wasn’t quite prepared for the targets that I was supposed to reach.
Not only did I break all of my Personal Records last week but I had this especially exciting news. My bench press goal was so exciting it overshadowed all the other loads that I hit last week, and they were pretty impressive in themselves.
I mentioned last week that my friend, a holistic nutritionist in training, gave me a diet to follow to help me gain muscle. Aside from not having put on weight yet, I have been feeling much more stable (emotionally) and I my sugar cravings have been reduced which I attribute (I think) to having more fat in my diet. It’s a weightlifting programme created by powerlifter Jim Wendler that focuses on building strength. Figure out the maximum weight you can lift for one rep (or a good estimate of it) for the following lifts: squats, deadlifts, bench press, and overhead press. Each Cycle of the plan is four weeks—three weeks of strength building and one week for de-loading and recovery. The Cycle is based on 4 workouts per week—one of the four major lifts (bench, squat, deadlift, overhead press) each day. I like to workout two days back-to-back with one or two rest days in between, eg) Sun, Mon, Wed, Thu.
Repeat the same structure for each of squat, deadlift, overhead press, and bench press day, using the appropriate base load for that exercise. Repeat the same structure for each of squat, deadlift, overhead press, and bench press day using the appropriate base load for that exercise. You’ll be repeating some of the loads from the last two weeks for sets 1 and 2 then you’ll go for as many reps as possible at 95% of your base load for your final set. Using these new numbers, recalculate your Base Loads for each exercise, and start a new cycle!
If you don’t make the calculated load in any of the exercises, go back and re-calculate your 1 rep max and start over. I generally step back 2 cycles which drops my 1RM by 20lbs for squat and deadlift and 10lbs for bench and push press. Wendler recommends adding additional exercises called ‘assistance work’ to each workout day to supplement your 4 major lifts and assist you with your goals. But, if you want to keep it brainless anyway then lucky for you I’m an Excel Wizard by day and came up with this 5-3-1 Training Calculator. Just pop in your one rep max for each exercise into the calculator where the red arrow is and it will spew out the loads that you’ll be using for the next 3 full cycles of the programme. On paper they may not look like much, but it is extremely challenging to make modest improvements when it comes to strength training, so I’m really proud. I had a few setbacks during the year (as a result of a 3 week yoga teacher training and a 2 week vacation) and I had to step back a few cycles in order to regain my strength. If you want to know more about how the programme works, check out this post on Muscle and Strength.
I’m happy to have my husband back at the gym to spot me, just when I need him again (I was pretty terrified of crushing myself to death on that 150lb bench press) or injuring myself with the squat. I haven’t been doing too much cardio, so I feel like I should start incorporating some more cleans and snatches to get my heart rate going.
It took me 3 months to recover the strength that I lost with just 3 weeks of yoga teacher training. I know it sounds totally ridiculous and it was a mental struggle for me to have to cut way back on my loads, but it worked to help me rebuild my strength. For cycle 10 I was working on the same loads as I completed in cycle 6 right before yoga Teacher Training.
I’m so happy that I was able to push up more weight than ever with my push press this cycle (for 4 reps, no less!). My bench press loads are increasing (very slowly, but increasing nonetheless) to the point that I definitely need a spotter to prevent me from crushing myself to death, or I have to use the Smith machine. I hate the Smith machine. You may recall that I had to cut way back on my loads because of all the strength that I lost during my 3 weeks of yoga teacher training.
I focused on complexes and circuits that involved intervals or moving a little weight very quickly. So for cycle 8 I went way back to my cycle 4 loads and I’m trying to build back up from there.
But I find this quite boring and also I was becoming pressed to get cardio exercise in so I’m switching back to complexes and circuits that will elevate my heart rate and a get a good sweat going in just 10-20 minutes. With all the yoga I have been talking about lately you’re probably wondering how my weight training is going. Well right before I went away for yoga teacher training I squeezed in my 6th cycle of the programme and it was AMAZING. Immediately after cycle 6 I dove into yoga teacher training and completely cut weightlifting out of my life for 3 whole weeks. I really need a picture of me actually lifting weights…until then, The Beast will suffice.
I was also incorporating lots of conditioning workouts as cardio to get away from running (I had little motivation to run after the marathon in January).


I wanted to fatigue my muscles in a different way so I worked on this Tempo Weightlifting Routine which focused on slowing down my weightlifting and increasing the amount of time my muscles were under tension. Looking back I believe the combination of having just come out of marathon training and then choosing circuits with low weight and high reps is really what shaped my body in a way that I was uncomfortable with by August. This is when I started to make some changes to my workouts and decided to set a goal to lose size from my waist.
After watching the badass women’s weightlifters at the Summer Olympics I was inspired to start an Olympic Lifting routine. I would hog the squat rack for my entire workout so it was the kind of routine that I could only pull off during the summertime when people forget what the gym is. It was about 2 weeks into a 4 week Oly lifting routine that I set my Waist Goals although I didn’t post about them for a few weeks after that. I didn’t have a specific workout routine which is really weird for me so I had to look back at my Fitocracy profile to figure out what I was doing at the time! I really liked this style of workout because it incorporated heavy lifting with high intensity in a way that worked better than anything I had tried to come up with up to this point.
Now I think if I put even a little effort into my diet I think I could whittle my waist faster but it’s tough-going to cut calories when your workouts make you hungry all the time and when all you really want to eat is cookies.
I could probably make some healthy substitutions in my diet without sacrificing my quality of life in the process. Samantha Menzies is an opinionated young firecracker who just happens to enjoy distracting web surfers with chronicles of her mildly entertaining daily pursuits. In his own words, more or less, Wendler was tired of being a “fatass” who wasn’t good for anything other than waddling up to a monolift and squatting. Wendler decided to strip away the complexities of the Westside style of training that he had been using and he reverted to a simple percentage based program. To make my point explicitly clear, Wendler’s original program was specifically designed as an alternative to powerlifting training. At the end of each month, you increase your training max weight on the lower-body movements, the squat and the deadlift, by 10lbs; you increase your training max on the upper-body movements, the bench and the press, by 5lbs. During the last month, by eliminating the AMRAP sets, you allow for an extended “recovery” period where fatigue dissipates. In my opinion, getting your squat and bench frequency to at least twice per week is going to be the minimum acceptable level.
Like many other programs we’ve seen, the emphasis on the 1:1 bench to press ratio is just unnecessary and sub-optimal for powerlifters.
Similarly, deloading every fourth week means that you spend 25% of your training year not actually training.
When combined with the Joker sets and “First Set Last” additions, this makes a ton of sense and dramatically improves the overall quality of the program. Compared to the other programs we’ve looked at thus far, Wendler is extremely progressive in his use of autoregulation.
The main criticisms that remain, at least for me, is that he doesn’t provide a way to systematize the autoregulation provided by Joker sets and the overall volume done on assistance work. If you liked this articled, and you want instant updates whenever we put out new content, including exclusive subscriber articles and videos, sign up to our Newsletter! After each 3 week cycle, add 5 pounds to your bench press and overhead press and 10 pounds to squats and deadlifts.
If a 3 pound microload each cycle becomes too much, reduce the microload to 1-2 pounds per cycle. If you reach failure on any of the sets during a 3 week cycle you may be close to hitting a plateau. If you lead a busy life but still want to build strength (and muscle) at a rapid pace, then this program will serve you well.
In this case, perform only 10 reps on the first 2 sets, and knock out as many as possible on set 3 (up to 20 reps). It allows you to train hard and focus on the big lifts on Monday and Friday, while performing a minimum amount of accessory work.
If planks become too easy, feel free to find another ab exercise that provides progressive resistance. HOWEVER, I do take strength training and fitness very seriously and I love using what I know to help others reach their fitness goals and avoid the bazillion mistakes I've made in my 25+ yrs of training. HOWEVER, I do take power lifting and strength training very seriously and I love using what I know to help others avoid the bazillion mistakes I've made in my 25+ yrs of training. I managed to hit every prescribed lift, even on my ‘5 rep’ days (which I actually find harder than my ‘1 rep max’ days). It might be that I haven’t been getting as much sleep as I’d like (What I’d like, if we’re being honest, is 9 hours).
I want to use this ability to pay attention to what I’m doing (with diet, exercise, stress, sleep, etc) when I’m feeling my best so I can use that knowledge to optimize my training. I should have taken that into consideration when I looked at what I was supposed to lift in cycle 17. I missed a 275lb lift and then out of stress or confusion or weakness I missed a 265lb lift too. I know full well that it takes a lot of time to build strength (it took me years to get to a body weight bench press, remember?) but there’s always that hint of disappointment when my progress stagnates.
I need to build up my strength and lightening up on the amount of weight I lift is a good way to do it. I’ve had this goal for 2 years now though have been making the most effort on it in the last 14 months or so. I had initially gained a pound right away but I lost it again so I’m back at where I started. I’ve been working through it for over a year now (which, in itself, is saying something) and with it I’ve seen tremendous strength gains and I’m never bored. It may seem slow going at first, but you are able work toward your goals while still seeing some motivating improvements that keep you going. Figure out a way to spread out your workout days and rest days to fit everything in so that it works for you. You will perform exactly 5 reps in each set with lighter weights, never pushing yourself to failure. Main lift, the main lift again for 5 sets x 10 reps (50% 1RM), and another accessory exercise for 5 sets. You just have to know your one rep maximum for squats, deadlifts, bench press, and push press. You don’t have to waste time on minor muscle groups (holla if you loathe biceps workouts!) because muli-joint lifts target multiple muscle groups so you gain strength everywhere.
If you want to consistently get stronger you’ve got to follow a programme like this that has you pushing yourself harder and harder every week.
I’m excited (and also terrified, tbh) to move forward and start lifting heavier than I have before. When I got back I tried to pick up where I left off, repeating my pre-YTT loads in cycle 7 but I lost a lot of strength and failed miserably at hitting my deadlifts and squats. I had goals to increase my strength too, but I didn’t put any concrete focus on them.
It made me sweaty and hungry and tired so it basically emphasized my 3 favourite things (sweating, eating, and sleeping).
These workouts start off with Olympic lifts or big multi-joint exercises and then end with a high intensity conditioning component. By adding a high intensity conditioning component to the end of my workouts, I’ve set this programme up to be just like Crossfit Football but with a stronger focus on strength improvement which has helped me blast through PRs. He claims he was so out of shape that he actually lost his breath just walking around the block. From there, you repeat the exact same workouts that you did the month before with slightly heavier weights. So, even if the weight increases are only monthly, you can still theoretically make progress from week to week by adding reps.
In the first month, the lifter increases specificity by adding some heavy singles using his training max weight after he does his AMRAP sets. By still including the ultra heavy single, you prevent detraining and encourage further acclimation to heavy weights.


I personally prefer to see benching happening at least three times a week and even twice weekly pulling, but many people do just fine with benching twice a week and pulling only once. Now I’m not saying that you won’t get any stronger from working at lighter percentages, but I am saying that spending so little time in the powerlifter’s money range, 80-90%, is a recipe for sub-optimal progress.
The AMRAP set is removed from the 3×5 week and heavy singles at your training max are added to Weeks 1 and 3. With Joker sets, you can keep working up to heavier and heavier work sets after your AMRAP. On the one hand, you increase your training max by a fixed linear increment every single month. Unless you’re absolutely KILLING yourself in those three working weeks, deloading that frequently is completely unnecessary. However, unlike Tuchscherer’s Reactive Training Systems, Wendler hasn’t yet figured out how to systematize autoregulation so that anyone can use it. If anything, I haven’t yet come across a resource that addresses so many different and varied goals and demographics. I don’t think it contains enough frequency, enough volume, I don’t think it has you handling heavy enough weights often enough, I think it calls for deloads too frequently, and it just generally isn’t specific to powerlifting. The book contains over 100 pages of content, discusses each scientific principle of programming in-depth, provides six different full programs for novice and intermediate lifters, contains a spreadsheet that calculates the workouts for you, and, best of all, the book is available for as low as… $0.00! First add this weight to week 3, and then calculate the amount of weight to be used for weeks 1 and 2. There is no need to overly obsess about exact weight as long as they are in the proper ballpark. Wednesdays are used primarily for accessory work, and are considered a moderate training day.
You may choose to perform calf raises with the balls of your feet upon a 5 or 10 pound plate, but this is not a requirement.
If you can’t perform any pull ups, substitute in dumbbell rows or seated cable rows, and perform 3 sets of 10 reps. Aside from the calorie count I’ve been mostly neglecting the meal plan for the last two weeks and that could have very well  be contributing to my poor performance. Even my dad was impressed (and he is, by nature, not an easy man to be genuinely impressed).
Or it could be just eating more in general and not withholding food only to binge on sweets later. This is your base load from which you will determine how much weight you will lift for every workout. After my big lift I did a handful of exercises (usually 3 or 4) with a related muscle group, sometime for around 6 reps, sometimes for up to 12 reps. I like that the programme focuses on increasing strength in the big muli-joint lifts (squats, deadlifts, bench press, and overhead press) but lets me play around with the other exercises that I do in addition to these lifts. When I came back I tried to repeat the cycle 6 loads and I failed miserably at deadlifts and squats, feeling weaker and unable to lift for as many reps as I did just weeks before. So I made myself a 3 day full body circuit which got boring fast so I switched it to a 6 day full body circuit. It was fun and tiring and although I wasn’t lifting anything very heavy I felt like I was making improvements every week.
Wendler has made substantial changes and, in my opinion, improvements to that original template.
As such, he wanted to come up with a program that took a more holistic approach to strength; he wanted to incorporate conditioning and mobility into his overall plan of attack. This program, designed with the competitive athlete in mind, served as a fantastic frame work for someone looking to improve their overall condition rather than focus explicitly on powerlifting performance. The key notation to make is that the “+” sets mean you do as many reps as possible (AMRAP). In Week 11, where even all the assistance is cut out, you ensure full recovery going into Meet Week.
For the vast majority of trainees, this simply isn’t optimal in terms of technical development. The lighter percentages, while great for long-term, sustained progress, completely bias the program towards hypertrophy and away from strength.
In fact, if we’re being honest, even Wendler has recognized that this was a weakness of his program for powerlifters.
For example, after you go for your rep max on 3×3+ Week, you can keep doing heavier triples. This results in heavier poundages being used over time – also known as progressive overload.
In Weeks One and Three, you use the Boring But Big Variation where you do 5×3 at 90% of your training max.
If you find that you have hit failure on sets during back to back cycles, it is strongly recommended that you drop the weight by 10% and start the program over with this lighter weight. While weighted sit ups are a very effective choice, you can really use any abdominal exercise that allows progressive resistance such as rope cable crunches. Note: I am no longer a "certified" trainer, but I truly understand more about fitness and health now than I ever did with that official piece of paper.
When I was following her plan to a T was when I had my best lifts so there’s definitely something to it. So until the husband makes his triumphant return to the gym (at the same time of day as me) then Smith machine it is. You’re not supposed to go to failure on the AMRAP sets, but you are supposed to come within a rep or so of failure. Using this training max, all of your work set weights are calculated based on the percentages shown above. The entire program is designed to allow for more conditioning, more overall recovery, and a better general sense of well-being. But let’s be honest here, do you really think doing a couple of singles, which still represents a relatively small amount of volume, is enough to override the fact that the vast majority of work that you do on the program is below 85%? You are supposed to “listen to your body” and stop before you go to a weight where you would fail. The only issue is that there are soooo many templates and variations that the entire thing is somewhat of a jumbled mess that you’re going to have to sort out for yourself.
This allows for more volume at heavier weights and thus makes the program more specific to powerlifting. In cycle 6 I also set a personal record in deadlifts. As for push press and bench press, I had to reduce the weight for cycle 6 since I missed my goals during cycle 5 and I needed to build up my strength in these lifts before going forward any further. These goals and aims are well and good, but many run contradictory to maximizing powerlifting performance.
In other words, you’re supposed to incorporate autoregulation, but you’re given no real guidelines as to how to actually do that.
Tuchscherer’s system proves this isn’t necessarily true; you can be taught to listen to your body.
For powerlifting purposes, where technique is paramount, I think it is necessary to choose one of them. Beyond that oversight, the Joker sets do at least allow for you to get some work done in that 85%+ range. For powerlifting purposes, how useful do you think doing 5×10 at less than 50% of your real training max is?
Even so, for powerlifting purposes, we’d like to see more of the volume come at 80-85%+ rather than doing additional sets at ~70-75%. It doesn’t matter either way because, as long as you get the minimum reps, you haven’t “stalled”.
This week serves as a break from heavy loads, a bit of periodization, and a great way to keep the volume high without resorting to the extremely light, and practically pointless, 5×10 Boring But Big Variation.



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Author: admin | 12.01.2015

Category: Vert Jump



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