goals checkin 11042016

Even though I have a close grip bench session planned for tonight, I have completed my “big lift” sessions for my fourth cycle of 5/3/1. Here’s how I compare to my starting weights:

Lift Start of First Cycle (pounds) End of 4th Cycle Difference
Squat 272.280 297.458 25.178
Bench 170.960 202.624 31.664
Deadlift 308.28 363.7645 55.485
Press 139.98 159.4855 19.506

Somewhat slow progress on the press and the squat. The press makes sense, since it moves more slowly than any other lift. The squat seems odd, so I might take a look into what’s going on there. The deadlift has made the best jump of all, which is good to see.

I have also been tracking how I compare to various milestones in terms of strength standards, that you can read about here. The milestones I am referring to are (in pounds):

Milestone Squat Bench Deadlift Press
Novice 301.908 202.769 323.328 128.758
Needs-some-work 362.289 243.323 387.994 154.510
Not-to-Shabby 422.671 283.876 452.660 180.262
Solid 483.052 324.430 517.325 206.013
Formidable 543.434 364.984 581.989 231.765
Outstanding 603.815 405.538 646.657 257.516
Ridiculous 664.197 446.092 711.322 283.268

Now, these are my lifts at my maximum muscular potential, which I am not really close to just yet. My current lifts are categorized as follows:

  • Squat. Novice. 4.5 pounds from next milestone.
  • Bench Press. Novice. .145 pounds from next milestone
  • Deadlift. Needs some work. 24.29 pounds from next milestone
  • Military Press. Not too shabby. 20.776 pounds from next milestone


My goal is to reach 176.41 pounds of lean body mass. In July, I was at 125.13. I am now at about 146.239 pounds of lean body mass; a change of 21.1 pounds!

Over the past two weeks, I have actually raised my calories a bit to about 2200 calories and have been a little more lenient on cheating. This is helping me recover and is adding the weight on. I have gained a little fat, but I have been getting good results so far. I think I am realizing that I can just suck up being a little fatter than I would like to be for now and that adding lean mass will make it easier for me to diet down later on.

Regardless, I am 30.17 pounds away from my goal LBM. This is an improvement of about 6 pounds since my last goals check in.

Upcoming Work

I am going to forgo a deload next week and begin cycle 5. I do need to make a few adjustments based on how this current cycle has gone, where I am in my training, etc:

  • I have been doing some assistance movements consistently for about 4 months now and I am feeling a stall coming up soon. I will swap these movements out
  • Jerks, like the high pulls, are rough on my joints. I am going to cut them out. Using explosive lifts burned me in my youth, so there’s no reason to leave them in now
  • Three compound movements per workout is starting to burn me out a bit, so I am going to shift some things around and adjust
  • I want to include more work on the big lifts themselves. That means joker sets and more first last work
    • For the joker sets, I plan on doing two singles at 5% and 10% higher than my final working set for the day
    • For the last first sets, instead of going for a single rep set, I am going to do 3 sets of 5 reps

Here’s an overview of the plan:


  • 5/3/1 Bench Press
    • 2 Joker sets
    • 3 first last sets
  • DB Press, 4 sets
  • DB Flyes, 4 sets
  • Triceps Pushdowns, 3 sets
  • Hammer Curls, 3 sets

Notes: I am going to move the incline work to later in the week, so I can do some bench work on my military day to spread volume out a bit.


  • 5/3/1 Deadlift
    • 2 joker sets
    • 3 first last sets
  • Rack Pull, strength scheme
  • Lat Pulldown, 4 sets
  • DB Row, 3 sets
  • Barbell Shrug, 3 sets

Notes: I feel a stall coming soon on the cable rows, so I will do some dumbbell work instead. I plan on doing these as Kroc rows. That means high reps and heavy as possible. Once I get to 20 reps at a given weight with each arm, I’ll increase the weight. 


  • 5/3/1 Military Press
    • 2 joker sets
    • 3 first last sets
  • Incline Bench, strength scheme
  • Machine Lateral Raise, 4 sets
  • Rear Delt Flyes, 4 sets
  • Preacher Curls, 4 sets

Notes: swapping out the BTN presses for the incline bench, so I can spread the volume across the week. Otherwise, bumping the volume on the rear delt flyes by 1 set and we’re good to go.


  • 5/3/1 High Bar Squat
    • 2 joker sets
    • 3 first last sets
  • Front Squats, strength scheme
  • Leg curl, 4 sets
  • Leg extension, 4 sets
  • Calf Raise, 3 sets
  • Hanging Leg Raises, 3 sets

Notes: dropping the leg press for a cycle and seeing if that helps my squat at all. I almost wonder if the leg press is working against my ability to recover and isn’t transferring to my squat. I will add some ab work in to balance out the lower back work I am getting as well. 


  • 5/3/1 Close Grip Bench Press
    • 2 joker sets
    • 3 first last sets
  • Seated Press, Strength Scheme
  • Pec Deck Flye, 4 sets
  • Tricep Extension, 3 sets
  • Barbell Curl, 3 sets

Notes: I am doing seated press here so I can up the overhead frequency. I dropped the dips as well. I think I was just doing too much pressing and it is starting to pull my shoulders forward. Otherwise, everything is the same here.


I am going to add an ab workout at home on Saturdays. I will do things like planks, twists, side bends, etc. This is to balance out the fact that I am doing a ton of lower back work, so I think this might benefit my back squat a lot.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s