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Mon-23rd-April Cycle 4 Week 3 (5/3/1)


Had to work a night shift then headed right to the gym, to say I went carb heavy is an understatement. Warmed up with shoulder mobility, lighter sets & stretching.


OHP:  40kg x5 45kg x3 50kg x1 +7



OHP: Boring but big at 50% 4x10 27.5kg, 40% 1x10 20kg

Pull ups: wide grips 4x10  hammer grips 1x10

MTS hammer strength row: 1x10 20's 1x10 25's 1x10 30's



Absolutely beat at work during the night so wasn't holding much hope of getting many reps past the one on the last set. Warming up I felt great & the 50kg flew up.

I based my 1rm off of 50kg so to get seven & to get them as well as I did (also working a night) was hugely pleasing!  My OHP sucks as I hadn't trained a proper strict military before 5/3/1 so I have some work to do.


I added in the rows today as I want to work on strengthening my middle back. Went with the mts row simply because of how bad my lower back can be & as I squat, deadlift & db row my backs already taking a beating & in all fairness I really like the machine, one of a few I see a point in! 

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Tues-23rd-April Cycle 4 Week 3 (5/3/1)


Slept in to much yesterday but still managed a good nights sleep, really good.

Warmed up with some foam rolls, mobility & lighter sets:


Deadlift: 95kg x5 107.5kg x3  120kg x1+4


Assistance: this is where shit went wrong....


Deadlift: Boring but big, fail......

Front squats: 50kg x 10 55kg x 10 60kg x 5 70kg x 5 80kg x 5 90kg x 5 

Standing hamstring curls: 2x10

Hypers: 3x10


Ab circuit, leg ups, planks. 


Conditioning: 1 mile on treadmill.



Awful, fucking lower back is terrible again. Completely fell a part on the last set. No point even attempting the boring but big template. Currently lay on the sofa feeling dejected. My lower backs seriously holding me back.

I just did whatever once my back gave out,I guess I should of just stopped>:|

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Hope you can get your shit back together again soon man, lower back problems suck.


Turmeric is a great, natural anti inflammatory. I'd hit that in big doses and just do plenty of hypers (just lying on your stomach and pushing back with your arms); this movement can really help alleviate lower back issues. Take things easy though, no point completely blowing it out.


Apart from that, hope you are having a good week bro MF.

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Thurs-26th-April Cycle 4 Week 3 (5/3/1)


Finished work early today, had a couple meals/shakes before training so felt pretty decent going in.

Usual warm up of shoulder mobility/stretching/lighter sets.


Bench press: 72.5kg x5 82.5kg x3 92.5kg x1 +5



Bench press: boring but big at 50% 5x10 50kg

Dumbbell rows: all per arm in sets of 10. 30kg 28kg 26kg 24kg 22kg

Pull ups: 2x10 wide grip 2x10 hammer grips.

Tricep cable push downs/bicep cable curls: did these for shits & giggles.


Ab circuit of crunches, side bends & cable crunches 



Nice & strong on bench, no problems. 5 reps on the 1 set so no complaints here. Dumbbell rows also strong so will increase weight to the next dumbbells  up, though they jump in 2kg increments. Kept ret on the bbb sets to no more than a minuet, nice burn out to finish up. Good session.


To the matter of my back, I ve come to the conclusion I just need to switch from conventional to sumo deadlifts. After speaking with VeganEssentials it's now apparent I have a compression issue & looking at the symptoms it pretty much has to be. I have started some basic sciatic movements & it's brought to light just how stiff I actually am. All my lifts have grown this last year, even more so since starting 5/3/1 but deadlifts I make progres for Few months then have a bad bout of pain & need to start over. So the immediate thing is to at least try sumo's so see if it helps. If not I'll just have to not deadlift anymore or stay at a low weight until I get it resolved.


Thanks to VE for taking to message me:)

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A change to sumo could be good, so long as it suits you biomechanically. I'm sure you've got that covered though, and I have a chart/measurement guide if you need it; from that you can work out which lift will suit you better. I've heard from a number of powerlifters that it's a good guide to work to.


In terms of your back, strengthening your posterior chain & core should be top of your list mate. Maybe you could reduce the frequency of your deadlifting and make sure you aren't neglecting your other lifts ~ being strong in your ancillary movements is paramount if you want a decent deadlift.

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Hey mini,

   Randomly I had thought to hunt down that chart so if you could mail it over that be great.


I do a lot of reverse hypers, ghr ect & obviously 5/3/1 is all about the main lifts. I do abs now each training session (upper body days I do upper abs & vice versa lower), I do everything to strength those areas ( chain/core) but its just the position of deads  that get me. It's why I'm a lot better not coming to a complete a stop (I know this kinda defeats the name of the lift) & I favour touch & to. It's the initial pull that gets me more than anything. 


Squatting, front squats, hypers ect give me no issue, it's just that position on deads. Funny that a static bike has

Caused this latest load of issues:/ hoping sumo's take some of the pressure off & along with some rehabbing ect I'll get it sorted. Cheers for takin time to give advice dude appreciate it 

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No worries man, I'll hunt down that info and flick you an email.


Happy to try and help mate, anytime. Have a great weekend, take it easy and don't try anything stupid in the gym until your back is right.



Haha you know me, it's kept simple at the best of time:)


Have a good wkend amigo! Some jack & coke may numb the pain

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Fri-27th-April Cycle 4 Week 3 (5/3/1)


Worked today so ate a decent amount of food before squats...Had the yawns all day.


Warmed up with some sciatica relief movements,body weight lunges/squats/mobility & other things before some lighter warm up sets.


Squats: 97.5kg x5 110kg x3 122.5 x1 +5



Squats: Boring but big at 50% 5x10 65kg

Hypers: 3x10

leg curls: random weights 5x10


Ab circuit of leg raises/leg ups/ball crunches




Killed it tonight, Couldn't of been a better session after the issue with my back this week. Felt pretty revved up during this session, like a lot of tension in my body. Again 5 solid reps on the last set of 1, so pleasing! The sciatic movements are getting slightly easier each time I do them, which is the point. No back issue during squats & even the lower back work was comfy, Maybe just the pump of working out though.


Another gaining cycle done, deload next week:)

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Damn bro, great squats there. Strong!


Cheers mini, Not far from where I was before I had a bad bout of sciatica in sept last yr. No squatting/deads for like 10 weeks, then I got onto a basic rapid strength plan where you add 2.5kg each week to getting onto 5/3/1, going with a reduced weight for a steady climb has been key for sure. Sucks balls I blew out again on my back with deads. I went with a real low 1rp for deads/squats for 5/3/1 as well.


Still foam rolls & the sciatica stuff has helped somewhat. Going to try sumo tomorrow as it's deload so nothing that'll kill me

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You're definitely going to notice a difference with a good belt. I lifted beltless for years, but now after all the injuries, a belt REALLY helps keep me feeling more stable for squats, deadlifts, heavy rowing and occasinoally on heavy overhead pressing. Never planned on using one based on how strong my lower back USED to be (I always thought I'd lift beltless forever), but it's what helps keep me going after all these years!

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Really looking forward to taking it for a spin VE! The Zulu glove one I tried off my strongman friend was great & this is similar (though his had a quick release function)


I usually belt up on my last set on deads/squats (depending how the sessions gone) but will just wear this on deads from now on, on all my working sets. 


Cheers VE

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That's the belt I use, so your one looks pretty much the same as mine.


You should notice a bit of difference, might give you a few more lbs on the squat as when it's done up tight it will be creating extra intra-abdominal pressure. Look forward to hearing how you get on with it mate

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Built like an Ox. That back is huge.



Thank you for the Matt, though I ve some way to go my back is defiantly something I'm pleased with this far. Nothin fancy, plenty of pull ups, db rows & deadlifting. Putting in a little extra mid back work atm but I'll take what I can get , so thank you (not bad for a years worth of progress)

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Try out hammer grips, I focused on these & within a month I was banging out 5x10 & I had begun adding in a 5kg plate (12ish lb?) but I do more wide grips now.


A good tip is to do pull/chin ups (or various grips) between your pressing (bench/military or what ever pressing you do) little sets of 5 would be great for you. You can never do too many pull/chin ups, also your arms/shoulders are getting worked to. Once you blow out do lat pulls downs or something similar.


I never go past shoulder width grip on pull ups. my left nerve in the neck area is kind tight from a car accident

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Mon-30th-April cycle 4 Week 4 (deload 3x5)


So as its deload week I again did/shall be pairing up two upper/lower lifts with deloaded sets/reps/weight/assistance.


Warm up for upper/lower was the usual run through of mobility/lighter sets/stretching.


OHP: 20kg 27.5kg 32.5kg



OHP: borig but big at 50% 3x10 27.5kg

Pull ups: wide grips 3x10

Hammer strength row machine: 3x10 (extra back work light)


Sumo deadlift: 50kg 65kg 77.5kg



Sumo deadlift: boring but big at 50% 3x10 65kg

Hypers: 2x10


Ab circuit:side bends, cable crunch, standard crunch




Nothing to worry over on the upper body lifts, nice & easy. Just made sure form was tight & got a little bump on. Defiantly going to keep the hammer strength row machine as the focus for my extra back work, I'd like to do some barbell rows but as my lower backs complaining I'm working around it.


More important was having a play with sumo deadlifts today. Had a little play with width of my foot position, the bar didn't hit the shins at all which was good & it felt tight enough. However I still felt my back with these but I need to run with them for a full cycle to see if anything feels better/worse ect. No deads till next week so some time to rest my back. 

I'm defiantly not using boring but big again on deads, it's to much so I'm going to program front squats for cycle 5. Enjoy doing them anyway so will stick with them for a few cycles, made good gains for two months with them before....


Meeting with my strongman friend Thursday & he's going to watch my deadlifts (yes I know I said a week till I train them) but its an opportunity to have an experienced lifter watch my form, incase theres something I'm missing. Will go light with these though for sure & no more than a couple of sets.

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Thurs-3rd-May Cycle 4 Week 4 (deload)


Same as Monday, paired up two main lifts as the works deloaded.


Usual upper/lower warm ups.


Bench press: 40kg 4x5 50kg 57.5kg




Bench press: boring but big at 50% 3x10 50kg

Dumbbell rows: per arm in 3x10 22kg 24kg 26kg

Pull ups: 25 wide grips 5 hammer grips total 30 reps


Squats: 52.5kg 4x5 65kg 77.5kg




Squats: boring but big at 50% 65kg 3x10

Leg curls: 3x10 light running rack

Reverse hypers: 2x10


Easy peasy, nice deload coming off nights. So nothing of note.


Trained with my strongman pal today, had him look at my deadlift form/set up & he couldn't see any issue. 


Spotted him on some floor pressing, was good to do this as  I'm yet to train it & how I could at my gym.


As for the next cycle (5) I'm going to push the boring but big set percentages. I allowed myself a slightly easier cycle last with the bbb sets as to get use the more volume again, so now it's time to push the envelope. I have programmed 70% first set, 60% x2 sets & 50% the last two. See how I fair vs this as for deads, I ve gone with programming front squats. 

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So this is my current plan of attack for cycle 5, wanted to get it logged so I can keep a track of it vs the actual workout.


Plan is to push the boring but big sets this month. I used only 50% throughout in cycle 4 to get back into the swing of more volume, fairly easy in the end so time to push the envelope.


Gone, however are boring but big sets for deadlifts, it over loads my back way to much so I ve programmed front squats again (2nd edition 5/3/1 programmable assistance).


Set ranges on bbb shall be 70% 1x10 60% 2x10 50% 2x10



OHP 5/3/1



OHP: bbb sets

Pull ups (between OHP sets)

Mts Hammer Strength Machine/face pulls/cable rows (extra back work)



Now I'm not a huge fan of altering program's (providing they were created by people who know their shit) but my mid back needs strengthening a little, it's highlighted when my bench becomes heavy. It's not a huge problem but I just feel a little improvement for stability is in order.

Also I'm no longer counting pull ups as a movement, I should be just doing them regardless between pressing movements (OHP/bench days) but the focus shall be wide grips.




Sumo Deadlifts  5/3/1



Front squats (programmed)



Switching to sumo deads for the time being to see if this help with my lower back issue. Not ran sumo style before so shall be interesting to see how these go & if it helps with my lower back.




Bench press 5/3/1



Bench press: bbb

Pull ups (between bench sets)

Dumbbell rows



Nothing to add here really.




Squats 5/3/1



Squats: bbb

Standing hamstring curl

Reverse hypers


Again not much to add here. Other than only hitting reverse hypers once a week now as to again not overload my lower back. I am weirdly strong as hell on hypers..go figure





Ah this is such a love/hate affair right now. I love the idea but hate doing it. Gone are my days of smashing out x3 6 mile runs a week just for the hell of it. During my weight gain period I did no cardio & I have now pigeon holed myself. I will hit a bit here & there but it's really not good enough. I have to address it. 


My main thing with dodging conditioning also is that fact I'm a firm believer that, as we are vegetarians/vegans here our sessions need to be kept to the point & not drag out. I'd think this even if I did eat meat but....I just feel training needs to be kept to under an hour. That's why I focus on multi jointed movements more ( well they're the best anyway).


I'm keep my fingers crossed that the gym owner, who's currently expanding the gym with an awesome looking setup eg farmers walks, atlas stones ect but also crossfit -_-...More importantly (for me) is that he's having a couple of prowlers made which is music to my ears.


Conditioning/strength/power in one is amazing. My lower body days will  onsist of squat/deadlift then push prowler.


Looking forward to this cycle, shit looks hard on the main lifts & now on my bbb stuff. Get bigger & stronger or die trying

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Sounds like the gym extensions will be pretty good, worth waiting for !!


I agree, if you're training for PL'ing and you are training both hard and smart you should be in and out in an hour or less (unless you're training with people which will obviously take a little longer).


Dropping cardio is largely in the head, I think you will be surprised how little your conditioning may change. Sure, if you're running 30km a week in just 3 x runs then you may need to keep on eye on/readjust your macros to compensate for the reduction of aerobic training, but it shouldn't become any big issue. Keep the intensity and pace of your weights high while you aren't doing the cardio in order to keep your post exercise fat metabolism stable.


I'll be interested to see how it pans out for you mate. Have a great weekend MF.

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