Day One of My 5/3/1 Program

rogue gym
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And so it begins.

I took the day off of work because I have some errands to run, but that meant I didn’t have to show up at the gym right at 5. I did show up at about 10 after 6 just because I couldn’t stand the thought of wasting the day in bed when I have a lot to do.

I didn’t take into account that there would be more people in the gym than I’m used to…a lot more.

Fortunately, the weight room only had a few people occupying it and none of them was using the squat rack. That would change as time passed, but as I was doing my assistance lifts in the squat rack, I found myself alone. I thought maybe everyone had to get ready for work and I’d have the gym to myself.

I was wrong.

Before getting into all that, let me show you how day one of week one of my new 5/3/1 powerlifting routine went (and remember, I’m starting out with really light weights, so “power” has very little to do with it…oh, I don’t know if I’m documenting all this correctly relative to the 5/3/1 program, but it’s the best I can do at the moment).

Reps for week one: 5/5/5+, 90% of 65/75/85

Back Squat in Squat Rack (Main Lift)

5x 120lbs/54.4311kg
5x 140lbs/63.5029kg
5x 160lbs/72.5748kg (5+)

Back Squat Assistance Lifts 5×10

10x 95lbs/43.0913kg
10x 95lbs/43.0913kg
10x 95lbs/43.0913kg
10x 95lbs/43.0913kg
10x 95lbs/43.0913kg

bench press
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Barbell Bench Press (Main Lift)

5x 115lbs/52.1631kg
5x 130lbs/58.967kg
6x 150lbs/68.0389kg (5+)

Barbell Bench Press Assistance Lifts 5×10

10x 85lbs/38.5554kg
10x 85lbs/38.5554kg
10x 85lbs/38.5554kg
10x 85lbs/38.5554kg
10x 85lbs/38.5554kg

Barbell Bent Over Row Assistance Lifts

10x 115lbs/52.1631kg
10x 125lbs/56.699kg
8x 135lbs/61.235kg
8x 145lbs/65.7709kg
6x 150lbs/68.0389kg

Everything went more or less as expected. Interestingly enough, even though the weights on my main lifts for squats was still pretty light, and even though that let me get down into the squat without getting hurt, it was still pretty taxing. Moreover, the assistance lifts for squats were also tiring. It wasn’t the intensity (since there was very little), but the volume got to me, just as it did yesterday when I was practicing “assistance lifts” for the overhead press and deadlift.

I loved being able to get the barbell right down to my chest for my bench press. Even at 150 pounds, I found I could do one extra rep (since it was 5+) with effort but still letting the bar descend all the way down (I didn’t do additional reps for my 5+ on squats because I didn’t want to push my luck).

squat rack

Same experience with the bench press assistance lifts. Not heavy but the sheer repetition tired me out by the last set…but not too much.

One of the things I was concerned about is how long everything would take. As it turns out, I had time to burn, even if I had to be out of the gym in an hour (which today, I didn’t), so I felt I should do the one lift I’d been neglecting.

I didn’t really have a plan for bent over rows except to start relatively light and work my way up. I pulled from the floor rather than use the pins in the squat rack, so getting the barbell up started out a little like a deadlift. I hadn’t intended to lift as heavy as I did with my bench press, but it just sort of worked out that way.

When I was finished, I considered doing some cardio work, but because I wanted to simulate the timing of a regular weekday, and since I’d been in the gym about 50 minutes, I figured it was time to leave.

Also, the weight room was getting pretty crowded which always puts me off a little.

Remember when I said that at one point, the weight room was empty. That only lasted a few minutes.

crowded weight room
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One of the regulars was still in the gym and he periodically came and went, which didn’t bother me. A couple of women came in but that still wasn’t a problem. But then Brandee, one of the trainers (and I think one of the owners of the gym) came in with a class full of folks, and the space filled up fast. Next, a guy I mentally nicknamed “Gargantua” came in wearing a muscle shirt and performing very wide pull ups in the Smith Machine (probably because there wasn’t room under the actual pull up bars).

The joint was packed.

Fortunately, I’d gotten one of the bench press benches (is there a better way to say that?) before then, because the other bench was in continual use. One of the things I found amazing was one gal was doing dumbbell triceps kickbacks using the bench press bench! There were plenty of other benches she could have used, but she took up the one place required for bench presses.

Then there were the two guys who strolled in and thought it was jaw day at the gym. One of them set up the barbell at the incline bench and did some light work while the other sat down at one of the machines, still chatting with him. When I next looked over, they were gone and I figured they must be done. 5 or 10 minutes later, they came back in, but as near as I could tell, all they were doing was talking. One of the fellows even had on a cap, a jacket, and sweat pants. Really, all he had to do was start lifting. Then he wouldn’t be cold.

But I got over it and got over the place being so busy and just kept on with my lifts.

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Now I’m back home. When I get up from my chair, I can feel the soreness in the lower right lumbar area, but it’s just soreness. This tells me that it’s still weak and probably that my form is still bad. Only the fact that I was using light weights prevented it from getting worse (probably).

Not sure when it would be a good time to call Chase to inquire about training, but I’ll give it a little more time. I’ve got other things to do today.

Oh, and I’ve gotten some advice that suggests lifting 4 days a week instead of 3, but I think I’ll stick with my current adaptation and see where it takes me.

A smart person knows how to win an argument. A wise person knows how to avoid one.



One thought on “Day One of My 5/3/1 Program

  1. Just finished talking w/Chase, one of the personal trainers at the gym I go to. We’ve got an appointment to meet this coming Thursday at 5 a.m. This should be interesting. Is it too late to say I’m already feeling intimidated?


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