KimD Kim D. warming up and shining brightly!

Today we are going to begin a three month strength cycle loosely based on Jim Wendler's 5-3-1 system. For the first three weeks of each month, we'll train the front squat, deadlift, press and bench press at increasing percentages of your one rep max (1RM--more about that in a moment). The last week of the month is for deloading, and then we'll start over again, this time with a higher estimated 1RM.

Here's how it works: if you know your 1RM, take 90% of that number as your WORKING 1RM (W1RM). All percentage calculations will based on this number, NOT your actual 1RM.

During Week 1, you'll warm up with 5 rep sets @ 40%, 5 reps @ 50%, and 3 reps @ 60% of this W1RM. Do this every week. Work sets begin with a set of 5 @ 65%, a set of 5 @ 75%, and then a final set of 5 @ 85%. On this last set, you are allowed to "rep out" up to 10 reps. Week Two we'll do sets of 3 @ 70-80-90% (repping out up to 7 reps on the last set), and Week 3 we do a set of 5 @ 75%, 3 reps @ 85%, and 1 rep @ 95% (again, repping out on the last set). Week Four, deload, is just three sets of 5 reps @ 40-50-60%.

Wendler's accessory lifts are folded into a timed couplet after the main lifts are completed. Finally, there's a "cash out" of a core exercise and an arm exercise.

We've done variations of 5-3-1 before with good success. You can pretty much count on putting 30-40lbs on your front squat and deadlift and 15-20lbs on your bench. An additional 5-10lbs on your press, while that may not seem all that impressive, is actually a terrific improvement.

IF YOU DON'T KNOW YOUR ONE REP MAX: today do six sets of five (5-5-5-5-5-5), working up to a best set of five. We'll call that your five rep max (5RM), and we can use that to determine an estimated one rep max (E1RM) with this formula:

weight x reps x .0333 + weight = E1RM.

For instance, if you work you work up to 205lbs for five reps on the front squat, multiply 205 x 5 x .0333 + 205 = and E1RM of 239 (round to the nearest 5 or 10lbs is fine).

For next week, determine your working 1RM like this: 240 x .9 = 215. So for Week Two's 3-3-3+ (70-80-90%), you'd lift 150 x 3, 175 x 3, 195 x 3+.

Strength days will alternate between Mon and Thu and Tue and Fri. If your current goals include losing weight/body recomposition, DON'T blow these days off; increased strength and muscle are important for getting leaner, and you still have three other days a week to metcon your brains out. If getting big and strong is your goal, hit these days HARD, and then maybe one extra metcon/week.

Eat big and sleep big and good things will happen!

Be sure to do your ten minutes of pre-class dynamic flexibility work.


  • Front Squat 5-5-5+ (15 min)
  • Bench press 5-5-5+ (15 min)


4. "Narf Narf Narf” Level III: 21-15-9 reps for time of front squats 135/95lbs and toes-to-bar. 6 min cut-off. Level II: AMRAP :75 front squats. If you get to 21 before time is up, move on to… AMRAP :75 toes-to-bar. If you get to 21 before time is up, move on to… AMRAP :60 front squats. If you get to 15 before time is up, move on to… AMRAP :60 toes-to-bar. If you get to 15 before time is up, move on to… AMRAP :45 front squats. If you get to 9 before time is up, move on to… AMRAP :45 toes-to-bar. If you get to 9 before time is up, you’re done.

For load, use your 60% front squat warm-up weight. Err on the side of conservative. Record time to completion, or total front squats/toes-to-bar. Level I: 3 x 5 front squats, 3x 5 supine leg raise, 2 x 5 front squats, 2 x 5 toes-to-bar, 1 x 3 front squats, 1 x 2 front squats, 1 x 5 supine leg raise. Rest 30-60s between sets. Have fun! With time remaining, MOBILIZE. Have fun!

Cash-out: Four rounds not for time of 5 Glute ham raises or back extensions 10 Triceps press downs

Have fun!