Finished Cycle Six of My 5/3/1 Program And Progress Is Slow

Except for Sunday, this week has been lousy at the gym. I thought today would be a lot better.

Yesterday, my legs felt pretty beat up from Wednesday’s workout, so I skipped cardio and stayed in bed an extra half-hour. Figured today, I’d be ready for rack pulls.

I woke up pretty clear-headed. One cup of coffee, one glass of water, and a small bowl of yogurt later (all out of bananas), I was approaching the gym at a couple of minutes to the hour. I assessed the cars in the parking lot and their owners. No one who squats. I was golden.

Felt like I could either match or make a new PR today. I didn’t know how wrong I was. Here’s how I ended cycle six of my 5/3/1 program.


Main Lift

rack pull

Rack Pull in Squat Rack

10x 155lbs/70.3068kg (warm up)
10x 185lbs/83.9146kg (warm up)
5x 225lbs/102.058kg
3x 255lbs/115.666kg
3x 285lbs/129.274kg
1x 295lbs/133.81kg (joker)
0x 305lbs/138.346kg (joker) -failed rep-


Elliptical 20 min

Mobility Work

Hamstring stretch #2 35 seconds x2

Quad stretch 35 seconds x2

I didn’t realize it until I got back home and checked my workout log online, but I made a PR about a month ago doing a single rep rack pull with a 300 pound barbell. Two weeks ago, I made my most recent rack pull PR at 305. For some reason I forgot about the latter one, and had it stuck in my head that 300 pounds was the best rack pull I’d ever performed.

With that in mind, once I was finished with my working sets, I was determined to pull 305, thinking I’d never done it before. Last Sunday, I set a new PR for deadlifts by doing a single rep at 295 pounds. What’s 10 more lousy pounds, right?

My first working set at 225 felt heavy, but not so much that I couldn’t do 5 reps. Moved through the other two working sets, resting 2 1/2 minutes or so in-between.

The thing is, there isn’t that much “wiggle room” between 285 and 305 pounds…maybe 2 joker sets tops. So I did my first joker at 295 and only got 1 rep.

Chase’s little training class was buzzing all round me, and I wanted to pull 305 just to spite them. They were doing cycles between the hack squat machine, box squats using a kettlebell, decline sit ups, and bench presses.

I set up the weight for 305, rested what I thought was a reasonable amount of time, took several deep breaths, assumed my stance, pulled just enough to tighten my lats, and then really pulled.

And nothing.

It was like barbell was welded to the rack. I couldn’t budge it. The funny thing is, when I let go of the bar and stood up, I got really light headed for a few seconds. Probably not a good sign.

Photo credit:

That was it, I knew I didn’t have it in me for another try. I unloaded the barbell and straightened up the rack.

Did some light cardio and stretches just to round things out and then headed back home.

Now I’m stuck about whether or not I want to do another deload week or go right into the seventh cycle. I’ll give myself a day or so to think about it.

Wish progress on this program wasn’t so painfully slow.

It is not enough that we do our best; sometimes we must do what is required.

Winston Churchill


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