5/3/1 Strength Training Rebooted: Day One

dark weight room
Photo: gfucrescent.com

Sunday finally got here and the missus and I were at the gym right when it opened up. In fact, the receptionist guy was just getting out of his car, so when he opened the door and walked in, we followed right after.

That was kind of important since it was hovering around 18 degrees F this morning and we were freezing our buns off on the short walk from the car to the gym.

Nice thing about being the first two people there is that no one’s in the weight room. The missus headed for a cardio machine while I made for the squat rack. I decided to drag a bench in the rack with me and practice getting low while maintaining a neutral spine. Not as easy as it sounds, especially as the weight goes up.

Here’s the drill. I didn’t really time my rest periods between sets until I got to dumbbell bench presses, and I started only because I was getting kind of tired.

5/5/5+

Main Lifts

Back Squat in Squat Rack

5x 95lbs/43.0913kg (warm up)
5x 115lbs/52.1631kg
5x 125lbs/56.699kg
6x 145lbs/65.7709kg (5+)
5x 155lbs/70.3068kg (joker)
3x 175lbs/79.3787kg (joker)
3x 180lbs/81.6466kg (joker)

Barbell Bench Press

bench press
Proto credit: bizzfortune.com

8x 75lbs/34.0194kg (warm up)
5x 95lbs/43.0913kg
5x 110lbs/49.8952kg
6x 125lbs/56.699kg (5+)
4x 135lbs/61.235kg (joker)
2x 140lbs/63.5029kg (joker)

Assistance Lifts

Barbell Bent Over Row (5×10)

10x 125lbs/56.699kg
10x 115lbs/52.1631kg
10x 115lbs/52.1631kg
10x 115lbs/52.1631kg
10x 115lbs/52.1631kg

Dumbbell Bench Press (5×10)

10x 45lbs/20.4117kg
10x 45lbs/20.4117kg
10x 45lbs/20.4117kg
10x 45lbs/20.4117kg
10x 45lbs/20.4117kg

Core and Ancillary Work

Roman Chair Back Ext (bodyweight)

x10
x10
x10
x10

lunges
Photo: bodybuilding.com

Standard Lunges (bodyweight)

x10
x10
x10
x10

Bodyweight Bar Squat

x20

Body Hang w/Shoulders Engaged

x30 seconds

Dead Hang

x15 seconds

Squatting down so I was seated on the bench before pushing back up worked for my warm up and up to 115 pounds, but I could tell I wasn’t going to be successful at anything heavier, so starting at 125 pounds, I aimed for getting my butt down to within an inch of the bench, which worked better. When/if I ever do squats as an assistance lift, I’ll go sufficiently light so I can go sufficiently low. That way, I was able to manage somewhat heavier weights and still protect my back.

Oh, did a new PR on the final joker adjusted for training.

I have the same problem with my bench press that I do with my squats. Below a certain weight, I can get the bar right down to my chest and push it back up again, but starting at 125 pounds, I can only get the bar to within an inch of my chest. Any lower and I can’t guarantee that I’ll be able to push it up again. I nudged the last joker up to 140 pounds but even with not quite getting the bar down all the way, I still was able to do only 2 reps.

I thought I could do 10 reps of bent over rows for my assistance lift at 125 pounds, but after the first set, I could tell I wasn’t going to make 4 more, so I lightened the weight to 115. By this time, a small group of Sunday regulars, plus a guy I’d never seen before were in the weight room, so the place was filling up. The new guy was doing curls with a 90 pound fixed weight barbell. As I watched him, I discovered it much be “biceps day” for him, since everything he did was some sort of curl.

dumbbell bench press muscles worked
Photo: scoliosisworkouts.com

In fact, he was using the only pair of 40 pound dumbbells to curl when I was ready to use them for my assistance bench press. I selected a pair of 45s and hoped I’d be able to complete all 5 sets with them. Fortunately I could, but just barely on that last set.

Technically, that was that, but I figured I’d get in some back extensions and lunges. I had intended on doing 5 sets of back extensions on the roman chair, but somewhere in the fourth set, my lower lumbar area started to ache a little, and I figured that was a signal to back off. I did only 4 sets of lunges just because I hate lunges and I typically only do 3 sets anyway.

The missus wasn’t quite done with her workout yet, so noticing that the squat rack was free, I used it to do a set of Bar supported bodyweight squats. Chase had me doing these between sets of barbell squats last week to improve my form, balance, and mobility. They’re remarkably difficult. I had a heck of a time getting my butt far enough back so my knees were directly over my ankles, which is where they should be during a back squat. I could also feel the ache in my lower right back as I twisted at the bottom of the squat, so I knew I’d reached some sort of limit for today. Since it was bodyweight and I had the racked barbell for support, I did 20 reps and called it.

Just for giggles, I did some body hang work, but let go when I felt a wave of nausea hit me. It wasn’t bad and it didn’t return, but something wasn’t right and I figured it was a good time to quit. I’d been working out for 70 minutes and finally broke a real sweat when I was doing dumbbell work. I think I was just on the edge of getting worn out.

I ate a couple of eggs before my workout at the gym this morning, and sucked down a protein shake when I got home afterward. I did weigh myself when I first got up, and while my bodyweight wasn’t a disaster, I’m going to have to work just to get it back to where I was before at 190.

rogue gym
Photo credit: bodybuilding.com

For the past couple of days, my quads and glutes were sore from my last workout, or maybe even from my last training session with Chase, but once I got to the gym, all that was forgotten. I’m feeling tired at the moment, but that could be because I didn’t sleep well last night. Most noticeably, my quads and glutes hurt every time I get out of my chair, and my lower right back area as well as my lats and traps are aching as well. Not so much the pecs, but I can feel it in my triceps and front delts. Hope this means it was a good workout.

I’m happy to be on the right track again, rebooting my 5/3/1 program. Tomorrow, the main lifts are overhead press and deadlifts. Especially with deadlifts, this is where we see if my private training sessions have paid off.

If you are not a better person tomorrow than you are today, what need have you for tomorrow?

Rebbe Nachman of Breslov

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