5/3/1 Big But Boring - what the government doesn't want you to know
I've been doing 5/3/1 BBB for just over a month now. A few observations:
1. While I had a really hard time limiting the exercises, I finally settled on the following.
Overhead press 5/3/1
Close grip bench 5x10
Front squats 5x10
Bench press 5/3/1
Incline bench 5x10
Dumbbell rows 5x10
Power cleans 8x3
Stiff leg deads 5x10
I'm still trying to forgive myself for not doing dips, but there's just no room for them.
2. Damn this feels good. Upper body days in particular. I didn't get nearly as sore on StrongLifts. I know soreness doesn't necessarily mean it's working, but it sure feels good.
3. Damn this makes me hungry. Intermittent fasting is out of the question for now. I'm up 13 pounds from a month ago, though a big chunk of that is surely water retention from creatine.
4. I'm not sure how I feel about pyramids. If they work, then fine. I just wouldn't have thought it's a good idea to wear yourself out before your heaviest set, which will then not be as heavy as it could be.
It also makes it harder to observe progress. On StrongLifts, I overhead pressed 100 lbs for 5 reps when starting fresh (after some easy warmup sets). On 5/3/1, I overhead pressed 95 lbs for 7 reps after pre-frying my shoulders. So did I make progress, or not?
5. Deadlifts might be a problem with this much volume. It hurts to stand up before I even get to the last set. Not fun, especially when followed by front squats. I might have to drop some deadlift sets.
6. Why all this confusion about what percentage of your max to use for the BBB sets? Why not just do sets across with the most weight you can do for 5x10?
7. I skipped the deload week after the first cycle. I hate taking time off, and I didn't think I needed it. I think after the next cycle, I'll just take a week off instead of doing a deload week. That would be less of a tease than warming up and going home.
8. I guess they call the 5/3/1 book the Bible of strength training because of all the contradictions. Like he says something like, "Have a shake with 50g of protein powder after every meal, no matter how full you feel. If you can't do this at least 90% of the time, you sound very average to me." Then later, "I don't recommend protein powders. You should get all your protein from whole foods."
Then there's some BS like "Dumbbell bench presses cannot be used for the main lift, only for assistance. If you have to ask why, then you obviously haven't been lifting very long." And "I forgot to include worksheets to calculate the numbers for you, but here's what I know about Excel" and "This is how I do math, because I never learned fractions or algebra." It's still a decent book, it just needs a lot of cleaning up.