Tag Archives: 5/3/1

Months of 5’s, 3’s, and 1’s

I’ve been lifting via the 5/3/1 program since December 2011. In the last year, I’ve completed 8 months of lifting.

Consistent, not so much, but I was stalling enough in the last couple of months that I decided to recalculate my maxes last week.

When I started last December, I was still doing shoulder rehab (at home) thrice weekly. My shoulder hurt every day. Even trying to do an assisted pull-up would cause days’ worth of escalation of shoulder pain.

It’s hard to make a true assessment of my upper-body strength at the time, because so much is driven by the ability to strongly and painlessly rotate ones shoulders: pushups, pull-ups, rows, lifting objects higher than the waist, and raising anything overhead. Even crunches were painful–the curling motion is the exact opposite of the good posture I have to maintain to prevent the bone spur from grinding various things in my shoulder.

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A Month of 5/3/1

Back in December, I ran across and fell in love with the idea of Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program. After my weights arrived, I wasted no time crafting up a plan spreadsheet and getting rolling.

Again, wow.

As a refresher, the program focuses on four main lifts–military press, deadlift, bench press, and squat–one per day. Add assistance exercises around those to complete the workout.

Core Lifts

I’ve had to make some interesting adaptations over the month. I have no bench and no squat rack, so those are the two exercises I’ve had to be the most careful with. I hunted for a way to avoid learning how to do a power clean in order to do the squat, but I haven’t found a good way around it. And really, it’s not that bad (scary picture aside), although I still worry when the weights come off my chest a bit in the process of doing a front squat. I think my elbows aren’t high enough, resulting in a lower and less stable bar.

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5/3/1: First Two Workouts

I’ve done my first two workouts (bench and leg press) of the 5/3/1 program, and wow.

Just… wow.

I included lat pulldowns and rows as the assisting exercises in the bench workout. Mmm, balance. Wonderfully, my shoulder gave me no guff at all, even in the ensuing soreness.

(And oh, the delicious soreness.)

I think this might be a serious way for me to finish rehabilitating my shoulder. I’ve been stalling for weeks with all the light-weight, high-rep rehab exercises, and the pain levels were staying the same. I iced heavily after the bench workout, and suffered no bone spur-specific pain in the following days.

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