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Personal Updates: 3. Trying out something new – Wendler’s 5/3/1

As you may or may not know, most of my fitness goals for this year are heavily based on the numbers that I am able to lift (Refer to http://cakestoweights.com/2015/01/jadesh-updates-2-2015-year-numbers/ ).

To help me in achieving this, I have decided to change my training split to something more strength-orientated. Wendler’s 5/3/1 is a relatively new split that has become immensely popular with both powerlifters and bodybuilders alike in the past year or so. Aimed at solely building strength in the “big four” (deadlift,squat, bench and overhead press (OHP)), the programme consists of a short four week cycle. There are 3-days-per-week and 4-days-per-week variants but what is common for both is the use of percentages to calculate how much you perform/lift on each particular day.

Week 1: Warmup followed by 3 sets of: 75% x 5, 80% x 5, 85% x 5

Week 2:. Warmup followed by 3 sets of: 80% x 3, 85% x 3, 90% x 3

Week 3:. Warmup followed by 3 sets of: 75% x 5, 85% x 3, 95% x 1

Week 4: Deload week – 3 sets of: 60% x 5, 65% x 5, 70% x 5

This is what swayed me into using this training regime as it recognises the impossibility to gain strength optimally when you’re constantly trying to test your one rep max and instead suggests using fluctuating cycles to do so. The aforementioned percentages are each based on a 90% value of your 1RM and the idea is that after each cycle your theoretical 1RM should go up 10lbs (4.5kg) for your squat and deadlift, and 5lbs (2.25kg) for your bench and overhead press. Meaning, THEORETICALLY, a 130lb gain and a 65lb gain respectively in a year!

Alongside this I will be doing bodybuilding accessory movements, as advised in the programme, as this continues to be my primary long-term focus. In terms of these accessory movements, Joe Wendler leaves these primarily up to you; you can even choose just to leave after the three working sets of each lift, which makes sure that the workout regime is still enjoyable and customizable to each individual.

I shall be trying this for at least a good few months, and shall hopefully report to you guys soon on what I make of it any the progress made by then. In the meantime I would encourage all those curious about it or wanting to gain strength to try it out themselves and give your feedback on the routine. But remember: STAY BIG!

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