Some Tough Love Q/A's – Jim Wendler

Some Tough Love Q/A's


Some Tough Love Q/A's

[NOTE:  If you are part of the Protest Not Work Generation, than some of these answers might be offensive.  But when has lifting weights or heavy metal become PC?] Question:  Assistance Work:  for my BBB sets I took your advice to heart and started light, using 40%, 50%, and 60% for the 10 rep sets after my 5/3/1 work.  The last working set prior to BBB is always a ball-buster, so dropping to 40% provides a lot of relief, but I don't feel like I'm doing any work.  Should I bump up to 50%, 60%, 70% for my BBB sets, or just leave it alone?  I want to make sure I'm actually getting the benefit of doing the extra sets, but don't want to jeopardize making progress on my main lifts.  I'm trying not to overthink here, but I can't help but wonder if the 40% lifts really are too easy or if they are meant to be that way. Uppers:  I am not a huge fan of caffeine (aside from my morning cup of coffee) but there are times when after a long day at work it is really tough to get up for a good workout.  My drug of choice here would be sugar-free Red Bull, but I am leery to start introducing something like that to my routine.  What do you think - good, bad, who really gives a crap if it works for you? Bars:  I have a serviceable bar, but as I keep adding weight I'm getting less and less comfortable with it.  Frankly I think it would be a good idea to invest in the thing I'm holding above my chest/head or strapping across my back with hundreds of pounds on it.  It looks like there are quite a few good options out there, and I'm wondering what you might recommend.  I admittedly don't have the budget for an Eleiko, but also don't want to end up replacing a mediocre bar with something only marginally better.  I'm also curious what you think about center knurl/no center knurl. It seems to me like a good thing to have, particularly for stability during squats, but I'm finding quite a few without. Answer: 1.         I highly suggest you check out the Boring But Big 3 Month Challenge on TNation.  http://www.t-nation.com/free_online_article/most_recent/the_boring_but_big_3month_challenge   2.       If you can tolerate it, it’s fine. If not, don’t use it.  It’s not like you are injecting heroin so I wouldn’t worry too much about it. 3.       Get a Texas Power Bar.  If it doesn’t fit in your budget, get a new budget.  Having good, QUALITY equipment is paramount. ----------- Question:  I've met lots of people using your 531 system in e CrossFit community.  I would like to become very proficient in your system and train others.  Do you have any training seminars or a certification for your system? Answer:  I am pretty much burnt out on seminars.  If someone wanted me to do a 5/3/1 seminar, I don’t know really what I’d do other than read from the book.  It’s pretty clear cut and explained.  As for certifications, we have no plans on ever doing that.  Thanks for the interest but if one wants to become a better trainer I highly recommend these two things:
  1. 1.        COMPETE.
  2. 2.       Learn how to be a better communicator via public speaking.
These two things will serve someone better than any certification or seminar.  Givin’ ya pearls here….
Question:  I have seen this question asked dozens of times online:  “I am 30 years old and squatting and deadlifting for the first time in my life, what type of training program should I follow?” And the answer is usually “Since you’ve never lifted seriously before, you can add weight very frequently, start with Rippetoe’s program since it adds weight frequently, and when you plateau move to 5/3/1 because it is the best system for intermediate and advanced lifters” I know from my own experience that I was able to add weight more quickly than the original 5/3/1 would have prescribed, but I wondered if you would recommend any tweaks to 5/3/1 for new lifters so that they add weight quickly at the beginning and then settle into the normal program? Answer:  Yes, I would change some stuff but I HIGHLY suggest you read this piece.  http://www.jimwendler.com/2012/02/12-months-with-531-a-beginners-insight/ ---------- Question:  Quick question though.... I've decided to go with triumvirate approach to assistance work (starting the program next week). My question is (and I apologise if you've answered this 1000 times) would you recommend I do the triumvirate assistance template with no ab work, and then incorporate something like the ab circuit that you outlined in the book as an extra piece to strengthen abs? My thinking is, my abs and obs are weak, and I want to strengthen them but not at the expense of dropping leg curls or good mornings from the triumvirate? Would it matter if I did the ab circuit twice a week after my assistance work, or would you do it on an "off day"? Answer:  Do ab work.  Lots of it.  You don’t have to drop the GM’s out of the workout either.  Here is what I have recommend: Squat – 5/3/1 GM’s – 5 sets of 10 reps Abs – Lots Deadlift – 5/3/1 SS Bar Squat – 5 sets of 10 reps Abs – Lots Press – 5/3/1 DB Bench – 5 sets of 10 reps Chins – 5 sets of 10 reps Bench Press – 5/3/1 Incline Press – 5 sets of 10 reps Rows – 5 sets of 10 reps Note: You can also use  the Simplest Strength Template and the percentages/exercises. ---------- Question:  What do you think about doing multiple last sets of required reps, like 4 x 5 4 x 3 to focus more on pause and form.  Also to get some more volume in.  This also helps because high reps typically crush my joints, would this be a viable option? Answer:  If done appropriately then it can be a positive thing.  The advanced 5/3/1 workout is based on this.  The key is you have to do it and be smart about it.  I have seen very few programs that address this in a logical manner. ----------- Question:  I’m lovin the 5/3/1 concept…. Knocking out my workouts.  This is my deload week, next week will be part 2 back to 5s I know but How much weight do I go up by.  I am using myself to test this program out if I get the HS weightlifting job I want to go this way, my next question is when to do power cleans and Plyos.  My money is tight right now(fam of 5 all I have is lifting and coaching) so I have not got your book yet but I will.  I have gotten most info online and that is great stuff.  I know I am not as hard core as you cats but I am climbing that Mountain again where I was in college. Answer:  My answer is this:  if you can’t invest $19.99 in your future career you had better reevaluate your goals and expectations in your life.  And all of these questions have been answered in articles on jimwendler.com.  If you’ve gotten any of the info on “message boards” be wary – no one on a message board has ever done anything worthwhile other than tuck his junk and make his father embarrassed. ----------- Question:  This is Garrett.  You responded to my question/comment on the EliteFTS Q&A a little while back about getting back into lifting, doing my first meet, and using 5/3/1.  The big day was Saturday and it was awesome. I made it down to 181 by cleaning up my diet the last couple months (it was only about 9 pounds).  I've had a beard for a couple years, so I was already prepared on that front. I went 8 for 9 at the meet.  My squat and deadlift broke my gym PR's and my bench was just a bit below my touch and go best. I also talked my father-in-law into competing.  He had a great day, too. I just wanted to let you know how it went and thank you for your program and all the support you offer on the interwebs. Hope your shoulder rehab and everything else in life goes well. Answer:  Thank you for the update and the kind words!  Congrats on the meet. ----------- Question:  Are you aware of any company that makes a Wide weightlifting shoe? Answer:  I am not.  Perhaps a reader of this website can comment? ----------- Question:  First of all thank you for writing a wonderful book. I just recently bought your 2nd edition of 5/3/1 and I spent last week trying to get my maxes for all the lifts and will be starting today on my first lift day (bench press).  My question is, how strong can you get without gaining too much size? My goal is strength, in particular I would like to close a COC #4 by the end of the year and break PR’s in all four lifts. My only concern is that I do not want to be too big for my height (I am 5’7) otherwise I would look just weird. I am by no means looking for only aesthetics (been there done that already) but I wanted to know what your advice is on this. Should I just follow the 5/3/1 method and reduce my assistance exercises? My goal is max strength with the least amount of size increase. If that is not possible screw it I am going all the way. Answer:  Change your attitude and goals.  You sound like a woman (“I don’t want to get too big.”) ---------- Question:  How big of a hill do you recommend for hill sprints? Answer:  http://www.jimwendler.com/2011/12/hill-sprints/ Got a question for Jim Wendler? Email him at jim@jimwendler.com or northofvag@gmail.com.  Legitimate questions will be answered via the website/blog.  All older questions will be answered in time via www.JimWendler.com. 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