As you know, I’ve been using Wendler’s 5/3/1 progression on my main four lifts – bench, deadlift, squat and overhead press. However, up until now we’ve been adding our deadlift after bench pressing, when really, the four exercises should be done on different days. I’ve found deadlifting after benching is getting increasingly difficult. Arching for the bench still makes my back ache and it feels a little fatigued by the time deadlifts come around afterwards. Though I’m making all my reps and exceeding them on my +rep sets, I still felt I could be stronger if I did the lift first on its own day.
So, after our latest deload, we re-jigged our routine and have just finished the first week. And f*ck, my body feels like it’s been hit by a truck! I’ve not felt so sore in a long time and I know that is mostly down to performing new exercises that my body is not used to but also due to training 2 days on, one day off, 2 days on, 2 days off.
I’m still following the Wendler 5/3/1 progression on all big lifts, just the accessory exercises have changed and chest/back have been split up and are performed on their own days. So now my programme looks as follows:
Monday – Chest & biceps
Incline bench press – 5/3/1
Flat barbell bench press – 3 sets of 6-10
Dumbbell flyes – 3 sets of 6-10
Cable bicep curls – 3 sets of 6-10
Preacher curls – 3 sets of 6-10
Tuesday – Legs/glutes
Barbell back squats – 5/3/1
Romanian deadlifts – 3 sets of 6-10
Front squats – 3 sets of 6-10
Lying leg curls – 2 sets of 6-10
Walking lunges – 3 sets of 20 paces
Calf flex (on leg press) – 3 sets of 10-15
Glute bridges – 3 sets of 10-15
Wednesday – Rest
Thursday – Back & Triceps
Deadlifts – 5/3/1
Chin ups – 3 sets AMRAP (currently band assisted)
T-Bar row – 3 sets of 6-10
Straight arm pulldown – 2 sets of 6-10
Close grip bench press – 3 sets of 6-10
Tricep pushdown – 3 sets of 6-10
Friday – Delts & Abs
Military press – 5/3/1
Seated dumbbell press – 3 sets of 6-10
Leaning lateral dumbbell raise – 3 sets of 6-10
Chest supported rear delt raise – 3 sets of 6-10
Hanging leg raises – 3 sets of 10-15
Cable crunches – 3 sets of 10-15
Barbell hip thrusts – 3 sets of 10-15
As you will see, there is a lot more volume than I used to do. This is because each muscle group is only being targeted directly once per week so it needs to be stimulated sufficiently. Also, if you notice, biceps have been added to chest days and triceps have been added to back days, whereas usually it’s the other way around – back & biceps, chest & triceps.
The reason for this is because the biceps and triceps play a very important role in the (upper body) big lifts. Therefore, I want to hit them when they are feeling fresh and not fatigued from previous exercises that utilise them. As an example, triceps are hit hard on chest days from 2 lots of bench press. However, by the time I come to train them on Thursday, they should be recovered sufficiently to train them properly.
You’ll also notice that I have switched from front to back squats as my primary move. The reason for this is because I have aspirations to compete in powerlifting this year. As the back squat is one of the main lifts, it makes sense to begin training this again as I have been front squatting since before the new year.
One thing I have noticed is that front squats have drastically improved my back squat form, as you will see from this picture…
As you can see, I’m much more upright in the second picture and I can only attribute this to front squatting over the past 4-5 months. I don’t think my excessive forward lean was due to poor mobility, I think I just had to learn to remain upright properly.
Here is a little video of my front squats from this week…
And my deadlifts, where I got a new rep PR at 107kg – 9 reps!
I’ll leave you with a picture that demonstrates just how much the scale doesn’t give the whole picture. In the first picture, I’m actually 4lbs lighter than I am now, yet I’m definitely fatter. It goes to show how the figure on the scale doesn’t mean a whole lot when you’re pumping iron :)
Enjoy the long bank holiday weekend and I’ll be back with more training updates and videos next week.