Do you have any ideas of how to incorporate some strongman training into 5-3-1. I compete in both pl and strongman. Right now I am doing
Sun- Log 5-3-1, Oh 5x10, Upper back, tris, bis, grip
Mon-Squat 5-3-1, quads, hams, lats, calves, grip
Tue- Axle Power Clean 5-3-1, db snatch, abs (3 exercises)
Thur- Bench 5-3-1, Inc bench, Upper back, tris, bis
Fri- DL- 5-3-1, Lats, Abs, Traps, Calves, Grip
I have access to barbells, dbs, log, axle, 2 stones, farmers walks, sled, prowler, sandbag, power rack with pullup. Some days I use my gym at work and that has all the basics. My lifts are Squat- 480, DL 565, Bench 360, Log 242 right now I am weighing 200 at 5'9. I am looking to add in some strongman exercises (when the weather permits here in NJ) but keeping a good balance of gym lifts too.
Also, I live in NJ by edison if you are ever over here you are welcome to come train in my basement/backyard.
Sorry for not getting back to you right away, I did not have computer access for a couple of days while traveling.
I noticed that you have mentioned mostly physique goals but you were following a program that was based around exercises (strength/performance). What I typically recommend is a push/pull/lower split for someone looking for a general balance of hypertrophy and strength. You can throw in an additional 'accessory' day for direct arms/shoulders/calves training. Because of the shoulder problems I would abandon barbell bench press and replace it with dumbbells, incline, or other alternatives. Your chest development will be as good or better; but your shoulders will thank you.
There is a 4-day split earlier in this thread that may be a good option for you. Have you taken a look at it?
Diet is going to be the biggest factor when it comes to body composition and bodyweight. If you are looking to shed some fat it can usually be done with some moderate dietary changes and the addition of low intensity cardio or interval training.
What are you currently doing in terms of diet?
Please let me know what you think of the split that was posted earlier and what you are doing in terms of diet and then we can customize a program for you from there.
The back support that I was talking about is a neoprene belt. They provide warmth and some very light compression which can be great for preventing injuries. The belts only cost $10-15 and can be purchased at any sporting good store, Walmart, etc. (you can wear your power belt over the soft belt if you wanted additional support, but a power belt would not replace a 'warm belt').
You can use strongman equipment for GPP/cardio if you use very light weights; although this can sometimes impact your recovery (especially when coupled with intense gym work). Typically I recommend keg/sandbag carry, sled drag, or tire flip for GPP work.
The best way to incorporate strongman implement work would be to dedicate a training day to these movements. For recovery days I would perform low intensity cardio such as cycling, swimming, or walking.
Let me know if you would like to discuss how to structure your training split or the protocol for the conditioning workout.
"What do you typically each each day? Also, what is your bodyweight and estimated bodyfat?
Here are some high calorie foods that you might want to consider:
- Natural Peanut Butter
- Lean Red Meat
- Heavy Cream (Mixed w/ Protein Blend)
One of the most important times to eat is before bed, and you can also build your appetite by following a good balanced training program (including squats/deadlifts).
Please let me know what you are doing right now in terms of diet and then we can come up with a customized diet and supplement program that will meet your needs / objectives."
In terms of your training, what does your coach recommend? Does your team perform any weight training or conditioning; or just technique work?
It sounds like you are performing a good amount of volume assuming that those eight sets per movement are all working sets. What kind of progression have you been following? And how long have you been training?
Also, what are your current numbers in the big three?
I have a couple of programs in mind for you, but would need a bit more background before making a recommendation.
If you wanted to do a 4-Day split and hit each muscle group twice per week you could do something like this:
Monday: Upper Body (Primary - Chest / Back)
Tuesday: Lower Body (Light)
Thursday: Upper Body (Secondary - Arms / Shoulders)
Friday: Lower Body (Heavy)
I can put together a more detailed program if this is more in line with what you are looking for. We can also modify the upper body days and perform general upper body movements on both days (splitting incline/flat and rowing/chins); although those programs can be a bit more tricky as they can sometimes lead to overtraining.
The eight sets for the compound movements include two warmup sets and perhaps an intermediate set. My training history has been all over the place. I started in high school and am now 38.
I played soccer my entire life and low level professional until I switched to a job that required a little more muscle. I ate and lifted everythin in sight for a few years and got to about 270 pound. I squatted over 700 and benched 405 at different times. I never really deadlifted much. Very sporadic, perhaps a year combined.
That was in my mid twenties when I had a much healthier hamstring. I got into boxing and mma about ten years ago and fought as low as 176 and as high as 215.
I still box for cardio, but gave up on the ground stuff because the hamstring couldn't take it any longer. It seems to tolerate
Squatting if I am prudent. I have been a steady 240 and like that as it allows me to maintain some athleticism.
My current totals are approximately 440 squat (which is concerning and usually a strength
500 dead and 330 bench.
I've been bastardizing the Westside method as far as benching. I switch pressing movements from week to week, but, don't use a DE day or chains, bands, and the like. I've just basically been doin one of the heavy compound movements and hitting the other muscles for a few sets.
I also believe this was too much volume as I never took time off for the maybe three months I was on it.
I need a three day a week program and got two days in of the pull, press, lower body post you submitted. I was going to play aroud with switching one of the days to a little lighter; perhaps every other week.
I've got eighteen months until I turn 40 and my goal is a raw 1607. I don't know if it's feasible, but, I would like to give it my best .
I can't wait to see what you have in mind and appreciate your time. The letters on my phone keypad are kind of close, so I hope this resembles English.
Last edited by john o; 12-29-2009 at 12:26 AM.
There are a few strongmen who use the 5-3-1 protocol for their gym training. Typically those programs are structured with three gym days during the week and then an events day on the weekend. Hitting (5) gym workouts per week is a bit much and it would be hard to incorporate any events training, even if the equipment is easily accessible.
Since you have three objectives with the program (increase power lifts, build strength in gym movements that have carryover to strongman, and train strongman events) I would recommend a dual-progression program.
Here is a template:
Monday: Deadlift 5-3-1, Upper Back, Grip
Wednesday: Bench 5-3-1, Triceps
Thursday: Front Squat 5-3-1, Quads, Hams, Calves
Saturday: Heavy Events Day - Log, Farmers, Stones, Sled Drag
Monday: Chins, Rows, Power Cleans
Wednesday: Power Squat 5-3-1, SLDL, Calves
Thursday: Close Grip or Incline Bench 5-3-1, Accessory Work
Saturday: Light Events Day - Axle, Farmers, Sandbag, Prowler
*The protocol is 1,2,1,2,1,2, etc.
I have set up this program to maximize your gym days when power lifts are being performed, but to also include all of the necessary gym work to improve your performance with strongman implements. The strongman workouts are also structured to optimize performance in both sports.
WannaBeBig is going to be releasing a comprehensive 'Strongman Training for Hypertrophy' program that I recently put together which also may be of interest to you. This program should be available in the next couple of weeks.
Please let me know what you think; and if there is anything else that I can help you with.
Monday - Squats (5/3/1), Lower Body Machine Work.
Tuesday - Pressing (5/3/1), Chest
Wednesday - Rest
Thursday - Deadlift (5/3/1), Back (Chins, Rows, Etc.)
Friday - Rest
Saturday - Arms / Biceps & Triceps (Dips, Curls, Extensions, etc.)
Anyway it seems really good, after doing some research im still confused on how 5/3/1 really works. Also since weekends are tight for me could i do arms on friday? Also since my shoulder is hurting, maybe cut out dips on friday? And what kind of accessory stuff can i do on mon/tues/thurs. Thank you tom.
Also my diet is as follows:
breakfast: 2 eggs w egg whites and toast or Oatmeal
lunch: turkey/ham sandwich
squeeze a powerbar somewhere in the afternoon pre-workout
post workout: 2 scoops of whey w skim milk (was doing nitrean but went back to whey for past month, any difference, tried opticen but didnt see significant gains for the more expensive product-in college so tight budget)
dinner: anything from chicken to pork to pizza to pasta/ravioli
late night: some yogurt and skim milk
Thanks for your help tom!
I have attached an excel template that a friend of mine put together; you basically just plug in your numbers and it will calculate your workout poundages. You can replace Front Squats with Power Squats and replace the OHP work with bench press (once per week).
This program works well for RAW powerlifters because of the frequent de-loading and consistent progression.
For accessory work I would mix in squat and deadlift variations such as deficit work, rack work, box squats, and good mornings. Accessory work for pressing can include weighted dips, board press, and you could probably even get away with some speed work for bench if you wanted to use the pressing movement #2 for that.
I would probably go Monday / Wednesday / Friday and put your pressing day in the middle so that your lower body and CNS have some time to recuperate.
Please let me know what you think and if you would like I would be happy to write up a full template including all of the accessory work.
Wednesday: Cardio / Abs / Stretching
Friday: Arms / Shoulders
- Deadlift: (2) sets of 2-5 reps
- Chins / Assisted Chins: (3-5) sets / goal of 25 total chins, 50 for advanced.
- T-Bar Rows: (2) sets of 5-8 reps
- Close Grip V-Bar Pulldown / (Superset) / Seated V-Bar Row: (2) sets of 8-10 reps each.
- One Arm DB Rows /or/ Underhand Barbell Rows: (2) sets of 10-15
- Incline Bench Press: (3) sets, 3-8 reps
- Flat Dumbbell Bench Press: (2) sets of 10
- Decline Flyes: (1) sets of 12
- Hammer Strength Incline Press: (2) sets of 8
- Cable Crossover: (2) sets of 12
- Squats: (3) sets of 5-8 reps
- Standing Lunges: (3) sets of 8-10 reps
- Stiff Leg Deadlift: (3) sets of 8-10 reps
- Superset: Option 1: Leg Extension / Leg Curl: (2) sets of 10-15 reps each
Option 2: Hack Squat / Leg Press: (2) sets of 10-15 reps each
Arms & Shoulders:
- Seated DB Military Press: (3) sets of 5-10 reps
- Dips / Weighted Dips: (2) sets of 8-10 reps
- Barbell Curls: (2) sets of 8-10 reps
- Overhead DB or Barbell Extension: (2) sets of 8-10 reps
- Lateral Raise / Front Raise Superset: (2) sets
- Close Grip Bench / Pushdown Superset: (2) sets
- Preacher Curl / Hammer Curl Superset: (2) sets
**I typically perform deadlifts every other week.
Since you mentioned some shoulder issues you can replace the Dips on Friday with Close Grip Bench Press. If you are interested in applying some of the 5/3/1 principals I posted a bit of information in the previous post, but would be happy to go over any points that you may want to discuss in more detail.
Here is what I would do in terms of diet:
PFM Diet Plan:
- Breakfast Meal (8 AM): 2 Eggs & 1/2-3/4 Cup Oatmeal
- Mid-Morning (10:30 AM): (1) Scoop Nitrean, Banana
- Lunch (12 Noon): Turkey Sandwich on Wheat Bread, Skim Milk.
- Afternoon Snack (3:00 PM): PowerBar, Novus Bar, etc.
- Pre-Workout (5:30 PM): Creatine, Beta-Alanine, Dextrose
- Post-Workout (6:30 PM): Two Scoops of Protein, 1/2 cup oats (No Milk)
- Dinner (7:30 PM): Pizza, Chicken, etc. + 1 Can Tuna
- Late Night (10:00 PM): Two cups of skim milk.
I kept things as close as possible to your original program but added 50+ grams of protein along with some carbohydrates pre-workout and mid-morning for energy support. I also modified the PWO protocol.
Please let me know what you think and we can tweak things from there.
Tom. Wow thanks so much for the response. So i shot over to the gym to test out my shoulder for the first time in 2 weeks (had just been doing back, arms, legs). and there is still some pain in the shoulder blade area. I do not have any symptoms of the rotator cuff injury, and my form is flawless from the amount of research ive done on it. Also i just did flat dumbbell, and did 50 lb weights each for 10-12 reps, usually do 85 lb dumbbells for 5 or so reps. Been icing all day on and off. anyway ive heard that doing decline can put less pressure on shoulders, so i am thinking of doing that. The incline could also be detrimental, but i am not sure. Also i have been talking w other powerlifters in the gym who swear by just doing light shoulder work, so i may try that as well. Also i usually do 10min of abs after each of my workouts, bad idea?
The diet is PERFECT, just what i am looking for. My creatine 500 is out and so is my old crappy whey so i will be ordering my new shipment of nitrean/creatine 500 soon. I have been putting the creatine in after my workout w my PWO shake, just because i usually go from class straight to the gym, and i had heard this wasn't really that bad to do. wrong? And always go no milk pwo shake, just water? And i have heard from some people to stuff yourself before going to bed to grow, but i guess since im going more for physique, then 2 cups of skim should do it. Thanks again tom for all this, ive learned a great deal in these past 2 posts - you are the man.
Last edited by PFM8241988; 12-29-2009 at 06:57 PM.
Sounds great. I'm at work so I just got to peruse the template. I like the idea of managed progression. I've never really tried that in a formatted way before. I just put more weight on when I thought my body was ready.
If you would be kind enough to create a program like this with the compound movements based on my #'s and the corresponding accessory work for that particular day it would be most appreciated. I don"t have a training partner and can steal someone for a spot from time to time. The gym has chains (not sure how heavy), and no bands. There is a reverse hyper machine and most of the neccesities.
I may not be able to do the exact split because when I work it is literally twenty four hours at a time. I'll work around that as best as I can.
I'm smart enough to defer to your expertise and look forward to the final program. If you are ever in St. Louis a steak dinner is on me.
With regard to abdominal training I would not work them everyday, but you can hit them 2-3 times per week as long as you are not going crazy with volume/intensity.
Mixing your creatine in the PWO shake is fine; timing is really not that important with creatine and the main thing to focus on is simply taking it on a daily basis. Skim milk in your PWO shake could slow down digestion, so I would stick with water.
Bedtime is a crucial meal for all athletes, and stuffing yourself before bed is a good way to gain mass but could lead to some fat gain if you are not making the right food choices. Fat free cottage cheese would actually be a better choice than milk; but personally I have found that milk or a protein blend sits better with me and is easier to eat. A can of tuna fish will also work; that is what I did for my first couple of years of weight training (can of tuna before bed every night).
Let me know if you have anything else that you might like to discuss and keep me posted on your progress with the routine / diet.
Here is a basic template that should work well for you:
John O's Split:
Saturday: Active Recovery
- Deadlift (5-3-1 Protocol) / 3 Sets
- Chins / 3 Sets
- Rack Pull or Deficit Deadlift (alternating) / 3 sets of 3 (not to failure)
- One-Arm DB Rows / 2 sets of 10-15 reps
- SLDL / 2 Sets of 3-8 Reps
- Reverse Hyper / 2 Sets, High Reps
- Bench Press (5-3-1 Protocol) / 3 Sets
- Floor Press or Board Press / 3 Sets of 3 (not to failure)
- Incline or Decline DB Press / 2 Sets of 3-8 Reps
- Dips (weighted) / 2 Sets
- Chest Flye / 2 Sets of 10-15
- Pushdowns / 1 Sets of 75-100 Reps
- Face Pulls / 2 Sets, High Reps
- Squat (5-3-1 Protocol) / 3 Sets
- Good Morning / 3 Sets of 3-8 Reps
- Speed Box Squats / 5 Sets of 2
- Football Squat (machine) / 2 Sets of 10-15 Reps
- Walking Lunges or Standing Lunges / 2 Sets of 10+ Reps
- Weighted Abs / 3 Sets
(Saturday) Active Recovery:
- Low Intensity Cardio (Walking or Swimming) / 20-35 Minutes
- Stretching / 5-10 Minutes
- Foam Roller (if needed) / 5 Minutes
This routine is flexible; if you have a long day at work just skip the workout and move it to the next day. The main focus is to have at least one day of rest between training sessions and to perform them in order. It is better to take an extra day of rest than to have a bad workout.
You should not have to worry about spotters other than for your bench press training. If you wanted to do some chain work you can include that on the box squat and deadlift variations; but it is not necessary unless you just want to change things up.
Depending on your diet and recovery abilities you can always drop 1-2 sets of accessory work. Just listen to your body and focus your energy on the initial 5-3-1 lifts.
Let me know what you think and we can tweak things from there if necessary.
Exactly what i was looking for! I know this takes some time for you to do, but know it is appreciated and a great help to people trying to achieve their goals.
The only thing I might change somewhat is cardio. I box twice a week for about 45 minutes. I can whittle that down to about twenty five minutes. This may be a little counterproductive (hopefully not much), but I enjoy it too much to let it go. Plus it has self defense benefits.
Say I wanted to concentrate on strongman only and drop the powerlifting what would you change about this while still using 5-3-1?
Do you feel it is better to train each muscle group once a week or twice?
Last edited by ironwill727; 01-01-2010 at 01:52 AM.
my deadlift seem to be stuck for quite some time,can i use rack deadlift to replace deadlift to break through the plateau?
I've been doing this excellent routine for a few weeks now. Just wondering how you recommend I go ramping weights for those exercises not on 5/3/1 protocol. Also, I've seen another one of your posts where you recommend a GVT cycle for a certain body part on a 4 - 5 week rotation. Do you think that is something I could incorporate into my routine from time to time?
One other question . . .Could I possibly alternate weeks on the explosive pulling day? What I mean is that could I, on an alternating week basis, do more of a traditional bodybuilding back / pulling day one week and then the explosive OLY lift day on the next week? In this type of template I'm assuming that I'd move deadlifts from the lower body day to the back / pulling day?
Last edited by ericpad; 01-04-2010 at 09:14 AM.
I'm 6'2", my weight stabilizes around 203-205lbs. I'm not quite sure on my bodyfat as I guess it may be 13-14% as evident by my barely visible abs. You seem to know quite alot about routine building which is something I think I need to work on. I have been working out since August 2008, starting at 145lbs, my main workout has been a 3-day split, generally chest/tris, shoulders/legs, and back/bis on different days; Or in some cases chest/bis and back/tris with the shoulders/legs split staying the same. Recently I joined a gym which has broaden me in the freedom of better and more versatile equipment to choose from but also forced me to broaden out my routine too.
As of this point I wish to focus on a combination of strength and hypertrophy. I feel a lot of work needs to take place on mainly my squat and bench. My squats are fairly weak because, for much of my training I would do half-squats so adjusting to much lower squats is tough due to the added workload and balancing issues. So currently I squat 4x8 - 205lbs. My bench is different, I switched from bb bench to db bench around early August and gradually worked my way to 90lbsx8 for one set; messing my shoulder up twice in the process. I find 85lbs to be my current limit on db bench at this gym, that is doing db bench, Jim Cordova style which just focuses on moving the dumbbells up above your sides rather then fully extending your arms while centering the two dumbbells above your chest; which make my shoulder feel incredibly in risk.
So those are two immediate problem areas that I can pick out, but I find alot of cause for any lack of upper body strength, to be my arms. My arms are long, they are small in general measurement(They may be 15"'s at my side), aesthetically they look fine and even quite large when pumped but strength and size they lack. I also have the case where my left arm is alot smaller than my right, and strength varies as well. I find that on alot of exercises that my arms tire out much quicker than the main contributing muscle,(hammer strength inclined bench, any loaded plate machine, t-bar rows).
Before continuing, nutritionally I've been bulking since the first of september on a calorie surplus which was very strict in terms of food eaten to mainly getting the important stuff in and filling in different meals with protein heavy fastfoods(fried chicken, ribs, steak, etc).
I'm looking for a 4/5 split focusing on one muscle group per day, stacking biceps and triceps and shoulders on the same day. Something to really get my strength increasing on the main compound lifts. Only problems are, I've never done lunges before, you wouldn't want them to be replaced by heavy leg presses? And close-grip bench press has never done much for pumping my triceps and places alot of pressure onto my wrists, would rope extensions be an alright replacement? I know rope extensions is more of a isolation lift and you don't go nearly as heavy as close-grip bench press. That and alternations for db shoulder press, would the plate loaded machine, smith machine bb shoulder press work or standing bb shoulder press as possible substitutions?
To change the program over to strongman-focused I would actually switch to a protocol like what you discussed above; alternating weekly between squats and deadlifts on your lower body day, and incline / close grip or OHP on your pressing day. You can do some OLY lifting with Back training once per week and save your events days for mostly moving events along with some ME OHP work (log/axle). It would be a completely different template and the 5-3-1 would basically just be a guide for progression on your primary lifts.
With regard to frequency, I have always made the best gains training each muscle group directly once per week. This is especially important if you are going to be incorporating implement training as most of the events involve your entire body and so your muscles will be worked indirectly multiple times per week.
Let me know if you would like me to put together a strongman-focused template using some of the information from above.
I would not recommend switching over to only rack pulls unless you have an injury or have been having recovery problems. You can always alternate between rack pulls and deficit pulls from week to week - this would basically be an overload/deload protocol and would add some variation to your training. Another movement that can substitute the deficit pulls would be SLDL's.
One mistake that a lot of people make is that they deadlift too frequently or they do not follow a specific progression scheme and end up hitting a plateau. I have made my best gains by deadlifting every other week and keeping a fair amount of variation in my pulls - usually chipping away at various rep PR's. The 5-3-1 protocol works well for deadlift progression and there are also a few other programs out there. Some people have adapted the Coan-Phillipie program and simply perform each workout every other week with good results.
If you can let me know a bit more about what you are doing now and what types of programs you have done in the past I am sure that we can come up with an effective way to break through your plateau.