goals check in 10082016

After completing my final working session for this cycle of 5/3/1, I wanted to check in on my goals and reflect on the progress made since my first 5/3/1 session.


Lift Start of First Cycle (pounds) End of Third Cycle (pounds) Difference
Squat 272.28 283.30 11.02
Bench 170.96 197.97 27.01
Deadlift 308.28 338.29 30.01
Press 139.98 153.99 14.01

Slow, but steady progress for roughly 2 months of training. I have generally always sucked at benching, so I’m surprised that my bench has been doing relatively well.

I have also written about my short term goal of getting to the data driven strength standards for my maximum muscle potential, that you can find here. My short term goal is to get to the “needs some work” category. Here’s where I am at:

Lift Distance from Milestone (pounds)
Squat 79.0
Bench 45.4
Deadlift 49.7
Press 0.5

I’m getting there. I think at the end of my next cycle, I might retest my lifts to see if I can make a larger jump.

Lean Body Mass

Although I have been sick this week, I have still done a very solid job in terms of putting muscle mass on since starting 5/3/1.

Taking an average of my last two LBM measurements, I have put on about 15.15 pounds of lean body mass. Not bad for two months of work! Thank God for muscle memory.

I am currently at 140.28 pounds of LBM or 36.13 pounds remaining from the goal of 176.41 pounds.

Upcoming Deload

My plan for this deload is to do a complete deload. My planned lifts are:


  • 5×115#
  • 5×145#
  • 5×170#


  • 5×140#
  • 5×170#
  • 5×205#

Military Press

  • 5×65#
  • 5×80#
  • 5×95#

Bench Press

  • 5×80#
  • 5×100#
  • 5×120#

I will drop my assistance lifts down to about 80% but keep the reps/sets the same.

Upcoming Cycle

In the upcoming cycle, I want to keep my lifts the same and keep progressing on them. I am going to make a few, minor adjustments:

  • I am going to add a “first last set” to each 5/3/1 lift. Basically, that means hitting the AMRAP set, then dropping down to the first work set’s weight and doing a second AMRAP set. This will give me more work on the big lifts without
  • Front squats and incline benches are going to move to a 5×5 approach with Wendler’s strength phase loading scheme, but I am adding two additional sets at the max weight
  • The high pull is doing something bad to my shoulders, so I am going to remove that lift. I am going to replace the movement with rack pulls, which will follow a 5×5 approach as the incline bench and front squat will
  • I am going to replace skull crushers with tricep extensions on a machine. The skull crushers are bothering my elbows, so I want to be proactive and cut them out. I might have to play around until I find a movement that feels good, so we’ll see how that goes
  • For my assistance work, I have been focusing on mastering a given weight before moving up. In the past, if I got 10 reps but had to cheat on the last two or simply struggle through them. Right now, I’m keeping the loading and workload the same until I feel like I have dominated that weight, then adding reps or weight. So far, its feeling better because I am not approaching failure as often.

I am also going to make a bigger adjustment; I’m going to add a 5th workout to the week to get more volume into my upper body, so I am going to train Monday through Friday and I am going to add a close grip bench press day on Friday. To make this fit:

  • Schedule goes to:
    • Monday: Military Press
    • Tuesday: Deadlift
    • Wednesday: Bench Press
    • Thursday: Squat
    • Friday: Close Grip Bench Press
    • Saturday and Sunday: Off
  • Some of the assistance work is going to move from my Military Press and Bench Press days, so those workouts will be a little less volume, but this means more volume to the week overall
  • I am going to add additional reps to the jerk. Depending on feel, I will go as low as 4 singles or as high as 8 singles. This will get me more out of this lift
  • On my first day back after the deload, I am going to go for a max single at an RPE of 9 to create a loading lift for Friday’s workout. I’ll take 90% of whatever I get on this lift. This will replace the jerks for that press workout, but I will resume jerking the following week



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