My name is Jonathan Lewis and I am summer intern at Fitness Quest 10 from Tennessee. I am a firm believer in the Wendler 5/3/1 lifting method as a way to break personal lifting records.
Life is busy, working out can easily be pushed aside, and one can quickly lose sight of personal workout goals. However, I have a solution if you’re ready to break your past personal records and be in better shape than ever before. Programming is a great way to keep track of your progress, hold you accountable to consistently working out, and provides opportunity for attainable goals to stay motivated while in the gym. Aimlessly floating around the gym can create a lack of purpose and ennui towards exercise (to learn more about goal setting check http://todddurkin.com/how-to-save-time-energy-and-productivity/ or http://todddurkin.com/one-thing/.
Jim Wendler’s workout program and book, Wendler 5/3/1, explains how to simply and effectively increase strength and is proven to produce huge strength results for lifters of all levels. I understand that beginning a new program can appear as a daunting task; however, through my previous experience with this method, I have provided all the information you will need to complete the program successfully. This program will motivate you and easily help make exercise a part of your weekly life.
Wendler 5/3/1 incorporates four main lifts: the deadlift, overhead press, squat, and bench press. It entails a four-week cycle, typically 4 days per week. Progression is slow and steady: 10 lb. increases per cycle for lower body movements and 5 lb. increments for upper body.
Before beginning Wendler 531 you need to know your 1 rep max for all four lifts. Once you calculate 90% of your 1RM for the lifts, these numbers are what you will use to calculate your sets for the first cycle.
Calculate your 1RM by lifting a lighter weight for more reps, and work your way up from there going more weight and less reps until you reach one rep at the heaviest weight you can handle (without injury!). Once you know your 1RM multiply it by .90 to find 90% of your 1RM. If you are having trouble use this simple equation: Weight x Reps x .0333 + Weight = Estimated 1RM (then multiply by .9 for 90%)
Start each workout by foam rolling your upper and lower back, quads, hamstrings and hips. Following the foam roll, each workout begins with a warmup of three sets for the exercise of the day.
Warm Up: 2 sets of 5 reps using 40 % and 50% of your 1RM, and 3 reps using 60% of your 1RM
–Week 1: 3 sets of 5 reps. Set one: 65%, set two: 75 %, set three: 85%
–Week 2: 3 sets of 3 sets. Set one: 70%, Set two: 80%, set three: 90%
–Week 3: 3 sets for 5, 3, then 1 rep (hence 531). Set one: 75%, set two: 85%, set three: 95%
–Week 4: Deload/Recovery week. Complete 3 sets of 5 reps this week for each workout. Set one: 40%, set two: 50%, set three 60%
*Every last set of the main lift (minus for the deload week) should be done for close to maximal reps (Rep it out as many times as you can without injury!) You should reach close to fatigue, but not total fatigue. This will give each workout special purpose, and a specific goal of beating your previous personal best!
Following completion of the structured portion of the program, you can include assistance exercises for the workouts to supplement the main lifts and strengthen weak areas of the body. Choose any two exercises for 5 sets of 10 reps and rest for 30 seconds – 3 minutes between sets, and make sure to use the same exercises for at least four weeks.
Lastly, make sure to include two conditioning sessions per week. This could include prowler pushes or hill sprints. Complete 10-20 reps.
Now go crush your personal records and increase your strength!