Archive for the ‘5/3/1’ Category

Training Log

Another successful Deadlift Day!

Yesterday, I approached my workout with some trepidation.  My workouts all week had been GREAT, and I was starting to feel a little bit of the wear and tear.  I was worried that my  hard work all week would negatively effect my important Thursday ritual.  Deadlifting isn’t my favorite exercise (Squats are), but I’ve learned to love them – especially after my gym got bars with a smaller diameter and bumper plates.  Suddenly, my stubby little fingers can reach all the way around the bar and my range of motion is much more realistic.  My numbers have been improving steadily since I’ve been working with the progressions in 5/3/1 and, even more so, since I have had those other little boosts.  Yesterday’s workout:


3 @ 100#

3 @ 115#

15 @ 130#


Hip Thrusts:

2 sets of 15 @ 45#


Single-leg Romanian Deadlift:

2 sets of 8 @ 16kg


Normally, I can hit 8-10 reps on my last heavy set – but FIFTEEN??  I was so excited (still am!).  Also, you may have noticed, but I decided to cut my accessory work since I had such a productive session in my main lift and was feeling so exhausted.  All in all, though, a successful day!


Have you tried Deadlifting?  You should, especially if you’re a woman.

Changing up my program

I’ve been doing some thinking about my current program.  While I LOVE 5/3/1 and am so excited with all my strength gains, it’s becoming clear to me that it isn’t a good long-term program for my body.  It is designed to be long term, but I’m finding that I need to mix things up a bit more.


I had a fantastic week of workouts.  I hit PRs with style all week, and then had some killer accessory workouts.  It was fun.  My body, however, is screaming at me.  I was planning to go to my favorite kettlebell class this morning, but when I woke up achy and tired today, I decided to take a rest.  Even my grip muscles are smoked – they tingle a bit when I make a fist.  Even after skipping today’s workout, I still feel really run down.


I have been (slowly) reading Todd Durkin’s book, The Impact Body Plan. It take s a holistic approach to fitness and has a circuit-based structure.  I think it will be a drastic change from what I’m doing, but it also will give my body an opportunity to REALLY change.  Plus, it’s a 10-week program, and there are 10 weeks left in 2010.  The timing couldn’t be better.


I’m a little sad to say goodbye to 5/3/1, even though it’s undoubtedly only temporary.  I still am toying with competing in powerlifting, and feel strongly that my efforts in 5/3/1 will only make Impact more effective.


Looking forward to the change…

Training log

For October 18 and October 19…

October 18, 2010

Squat (heavy) – 3 @ 125, 3 @ 145, 12 @ 160

KB Cleans – 8 @ 20kg, 5 @20kg, 5 @ 20kg

Squat (low weight, higher reps) – 2 sets of 15 @ 95

Barbell Cleans – 2 sets of 5 @65

Notes:  Felt great today.  Good mobility.  Glad to hit a PR in such dramatic fashion!

October 19, 2010

Military Press – 3 @ 65, 3 @ 75, 6 @ 85

DB Incline Press – 10 @ 40, 8 @ 45

DB Row – 12 @ 45, 10 @ 45

KB Long-cycle Clean and Jerk – 10 @ 16kg, 5 @ 20kg, 4 @ 20kg

Waiter’s Walk – 16kg, 16kg

Turkish Get Up – 1 @ 16kg, 1 @ 16kg

Notes:  Another great workout.  I wish I would improve faster on the  military press, but my other overhead work is improving dramatically.  While doing my TGUs, a trainer came over and told me I looked “impressive.”  It was just the pick-me-up I needed to complete my last set since I actually felt a little wobbly (maybe he was making sure I was ok!)!

Only One Workout Away from a Good Mood

I don’t remember where I originally heard that, but I think it’s becoming one of my mantras.  Right now, my focus is all about mindfulness and balancing the hard work in my life with the fulfillment that comes from doing something exciting.  Sometimes, though, we all have to put our noses to the grindstone and get some stuff done.  It’s part of life, right?  I’m in a phase like that right now, and each morning I wake up with a to-do list already started.  I was feeling a little frustrated this morning, but I dragged myself to the gym.  It’s deadlift day, after all.  In the parking lot, I sat and listened to just a little bit more of my audiobook – and then I caught myself.  I went into the gym, and began my warm-up.

I felt GREAT!

I was definitely moving better than I have in awhile.  I pushed myself and hit a PR in the deadlift.  After a tough kettlebell workout yesterday, my shoulders were tired, but I got through it.  Today’s workout:


5 x 95#

5 x 110#

15 x 125#

One-Arm Row

3 x 10 @45#

Kettlebell Swings

3 x 10 @24kg (53#)

Single Arm/Single Leg Romanian Deadlifts

3 x 8 @12kg (26#)

Not so bad.  I’m particularly excited about my deadlift numbers.  Deadlifting is normally my least favorite “big” lift, but I’m growing to love it.  Some recent tweaks on my form courtesy of some excellent resources from Eric Cressey and Tony Gentilcore have definitely helped.  I’m making steady progress in this lift and am looking forward to later in this training cycle when I can hit a PR with weight rather than number of reps.

During my Thursday workouts, there is normally another woman working out with a trainer.  She works hard, and I’ve always been impressed and motivated by her.  Today, she told me that SHE was impressed by ME!  Wow – that felt pretty good.  Between my post-workout happiness, and the compliment, I feel ready to face whatever life throws at me.

I really try to always remember how great I feel post-workout, both mentally and physically.  It really helps me find the motivation to hit the gym when everything else feels overwhelming.  Plus, it’s not safe (or even really possible) to NOT be mindful while moving some heavy iron, so I get those benefits too.

Warrior Dash 2010 – Background and Training

Have you heard of the Warrior Dash?  It is a race that is marketed as the “Craziest Frickin’ Day of Your Life!”  On September 19, 2010, Jeb  and I completed it!

The Past

I should back up, though, since this race meant a TON to me emotionally.  I was an athlete in high school – not an all-star by any means, but I could hold my own and I really enjoyed physical activity.  When I started college, I immediately joined the crew team.  I was successful, but because of some negative influences and poor decision-making, I quit the team.  This was, perhaps, one of the biggest regrets of my life.  As time passed, I became increasingly sedentary and my food choices became atrocious.  I became an emotional eater, and struggled to make healthy choices for several year.  Strangely, though, I was unaware of how unhealthy I had become or of how poor my choices were.  Everything was fairly mindless during that time and, in retrospect, is such a blur.

In October 2008 (almost 2 years ago!), everything changed!  I stepped on the scale and saw a number that I NEVER wanted to see.  I was ashamed and frustrated, and started changing that day.  I was woefully out of shape, and while I knew that I needed to make a big change, I also knew that a major overhaul would lead to failure.  I made small changes, lost 55 pounds (and counting), and almost two years after I struggled to use the Wii Fit for 15 minutes, I completed the Warrior Dash (and I even had a cold!).


The Training

Training for the Warrior Dash was tricky – aside from a satellite image of the location and some pictures of potential obstacles, I didn’t really have a solid idea of the layout and intensity of the race.  This made structuring my training very difficult, so I opted to follow programs that would increase my running ability, mobility/flexibility, general fitness, and strength.  Such a narrow focus, huh?

Before training for the Dash, I had been working on general fat loss.  After completing Rachel Cosgrove’s “Female Body Breakthrough” program in February 2010, I needed a break from general barbell/dumbbell training.  I spent a couple months focusing exclusively on Kettlebell training, both by taking classes at my gym and by following the program in “Body Sculpting with Kettlebells for Women” by Lorna Kleidman.

After registering for the Dash in April, I began training for the running portion by completing Couch to 5k.  I had a handy little app on my iPod which made all the timing really easy, and rewarded myself for milestones by downloading some new music to help motivate me!  On the days I wasn’t running, I completed Leigh Peele’s Lean Being program.  This program was a challenge for me, since it used the TRX suspension trainer and bodyweight exercises, rather than the iron I was used to!  I won’t lie – there were definitely days that I struggled to stay motivated on this program.  The TRX is really unique and useful, and I felt that my body moved better across multiple planes after a couple weeks – but it is NOT my favorite way to work out.  I still use the TRX occasionally, but I will never use it exclusively again.  I did find Leigh Peele’s programming to be very balanced and at an appropriate intensity that I didn’t feel like I needed to eat everything in sight after my workouts!

For the last 6 weeks before the race, I maintained my running (by this time, I was comfortable running a 5k – slowly, but I could do it!) and shifted my focus to strength.  I began following Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 program, a powerlifting program that focuses on 3-4 “main” lifts – in my case, squat, deadlift, and overhead press – with some flexibility for accessory work.  Since I LOVE kettlebells, I decided to create a kettlebell accessory program to support my barbell lifting.  It’s been working well, and I think the combination was really effective in helping me prepare for all the physical demands of the race.  The kettlebells had a dual benefit of providing a cardio effect in addition to the strength and mobility components.  Also, the barbell training definitely helped me increase the weights in my kettlebell work, which increased the intensity.


Stay tuned for part 2 – the Race Day recap!