5/3/1 Beach Body Challenge – Jim Wendler

5/3/1 Beach Body Challenge


[caption id="attachment_3578" align="alignnone" width="620"] Probably cares a lot about your biceps.[/caption]     A couple of months ago I was talking with a friend of mine about what the 5/3/1 "beach muscles" would be. The list was easy to come up with:
  • Legs
  • Traps
  • Neck
  • Shoulders
  • Forearms
These obviously aren't the usual muscles associated with the beach, but I live next to a corn field, so cut me some slack. Anyway, it gave birth to the 5/3/1 "Beach Body" Challenge.  The key to the challenge is that performance is the main goal, not aesthetics. I always focus on performance. I believe that when one has a concrete training goal – for example, "press 300 pounds, box jump 45", and run a 6:30 mile" – training becomes more focused and goals become real.

Beach Body Template

Monday

  • Squat
  • Hang Clean
  • Press
  • Fat Bar Curl

Wednesday

  • Squat
  • Deadlift
  • Press
  • Dumbbell Row

Friday

  • Hang Clean
  • Squat
  • Press
  • Rope or Towel Chin-Up
As you can see, this is very typical of the 5/3/1 Full Body set-up. Each day has a squat, a push, and a pull. The only change is that there's an extra pulling movement on each day.

Sets, Reps, Percentages

For the hang clean, squat, deadlift, and press, you'll need to establish a Training Max (TM). The Training Max will be 90% of your best gym lift. (Don't base your TM off any competition lifts). For example, if your best gym squat is 400 pounds, your TM would be 360 pounds (90% of 400). This challenge will use the 5/3/1 for Powerlifting set/rep structure. Many of the lifts will use the 5's Progression, which is nothing more than the basic 5/3/1 program, except that you do 5 reps for every set, regardless of percentage. So your 3-week training cycle will look like this:

Week One

  • 70% x 5
  • 80% x 5
  • 90% x 5

Week Two

  • 65% x 5
  • 75% x 5
  • 85% x 5

Week Three

  • 75% x 5
  • 85% x 5
  • 95% x 5
After the third week, you'll raise your TM for each lift. The squat, deadlift, and hang clean will be raised 10 pounds per lift. If your hang clean TM is under 200 pounds, increase the TM by only 5 pounds. The press will be raised 5 pounds. For the remainder of the challenge (3 weeks), you'll repeat the sets/reps/percentages above with the new training maxes. Remember that all percentages listed in the program are based on your Training Max. If you're confused, just follow the program instructions below.

5/3/1 Beach Body Challenge: Weeks 1-3

Week One Monday A. Squat This program uses the 5's Progression. If you have any questions about the 5's Progression, check your copy of Beyond 5/3/1.
  • 70% x 5
  • 80% x 5
  • 90% x 5, no extra reps
B. Hang Clean 2 sets of max reps, without going to failure, at 70% Do 2 sets, going for as many reps as you can get on each set without going to failure! For example, on the first week (as indicated above), you would do 2 sets at 70%. The key to this is to shoot for a total amount of reps done on this day. If you do 12 reps on the first set and 9 reps on the second, your total reps would be 21. Keep a record of this. You want to beat the total amount of reps being done each week. Don't sandbag! C. Press  Work up to your TM for a PR set. Again, don't go to failure but shoot for a PR. The PR can be done for a repetition PR or an estimated max PR.

How to work up to your Training Max

You can start at whatever percentage of your TM you want. However, I advise you to start with the lightest percentage that you can put on the barbell. Remember that below is just an example of how to work up. It's not the only way. There's no reason why you can't do bigger jumps or do multiple sets at the same percentage. The goal of this lift, on this day, is to set a personal record. Do what's necessary.
  • 10% x 5
  • 20% x 5
  • 30% x 5
  • 40% x 5
  • 50% x 3
  • 60% x 3
  • 70% x 1
  • 80% x 1
  • 90% x 1
  • 100% (TM) x PR set
D. Fat Bar Curl 50-100 total reps If you don't have access to a fat bar, use any of the very inexpensive attachments that can easily turn a regular power bar into a fat bar. E. Neck Harness 100 total reps Wednesday A. Squat  Work up to your TM for a PR set. Remember to warm-up and perform one set with your TM. Do not go to failure. Be sure you have a goal of the total reps you want to achieve before you do your set.
  • 10% x 5
  • 20% x 5
  • 30% x 5
  • 40% x 5
  • 50% x 3
  • 60% x 3
  • 70% x 1
  • 80% x 1
  • 90% x 1
  • 100% (TM) x PR set
B. Deadlift
  • 70% x 5
  • 80% x 5
  • 90% x 5, no extra reps
C. Press 50 total reps @ 70% Using the weight for your first work set of the week (70%), perform 50 total reps. Use the Malcolm X Method. In other words, get to 50 total reps using as many sets as necessary. It's important that you pace yourself on the first couple of sets and don't blow your load with an excessive amount of reps. D. Dumbbell Row 100 total reps/arm You can use a variety of different weights for this. Just be sure you get all the reps. You can superset the dumbbell row with the press if you want. It's not critical to your success or the success of the program in any way. E. Neck Flexion 100 total reps Friday A. Hang Clean Work up to your TM and perform a PR set but don't go to failure. After the PR set, perform 3 sets of 5 reps at 85% of your TM.
  • 10% x 5
  • 20% x 5
  • 30% x 5
  • 40% x 5
  • 50% x 3
  • 60% x 3
  • 70% x 1
  • 80% x 1
  • 90% x 1
  • 100% (TM) x PR set
  • 3 sets of 5 reps @ 85%
B. Squat 1 set of 15+ reps @ 70% Using the first work set of the week (70%), perform a PR set. The goal is to shoot for at least 15 reps. Be sure to warm up properly so that your body and mind are ready for the set. C. Press
  • 70% x 5
  • 80% x 5
  • 90% x 5, no extra reps
D. Rope Chin-Up 50 total reps The goal is to perform 50 total reps. You can do these over as many sets as it takes to get the job done. If you suck at chins, shoot for a lower number (for example, 25). If you don't have a rope, use two towels and hang them from a chin bar. E. Neck Harness 100 total reps [caption id="attachment_3581" align="alignnone" width="320"] Everybody sharts. Even her.[/caption]

Beach Body Challenge: Week Two

Monday A. Squat
  • 65% x 5
  • 75% x 5
  • 85% x 5, no extra reps
B. Hang Clean 2 sets of max reps (without going to failure) at 65% C. Press  Work up to your TM for a PR set. Again, don't go to failure but shoot for a PR. The PR can be done for a repetition PR or an estimated max PR.
  • 10% x 5
  • 20% x 5
  • 30% x 5
  • 40% x 5
  • 50% x 3
  • 60% x 3
  • 70% x 1
  • 80% x 1
  • 90% x 1
  • 100% (TM) x PR set
D. Fat Bar Curl 50-100 total reps E. Neck Harness 100 total reps Wednesday A. Squat  Work up to your TM for a PR set. Warm-up and perform one set with your TM. Don't go to failure. Remember to have a goal of the total reps you want to achieve before you do begin.
  • 10% x 5
  • 20% x 5
  • 30% x 5
  • 40% x 5
  • 50% x 3
  • 60% x 3
  • 70% x 1
  • 80% x 1
  • 90% x 1
  • 100% (TM) x PR set
B. Deadlift
  • 65% x 5
  • 75% x 5
  • 85% x 5, no extra reps
C. Press 50 total reps @ 65% Using the weight for your first work set of the week (65%), perform 50 total reps. Remember, get to 50 total reps using as many sets as needed. D. Dumbbell Row 100 total reps per arm E. Neck Flexion 100 total reps Friday A. Hang Clean Work up to your TM and perform a PR set but do not go to failure. After the PR set, perform 3 sets of 5 reps at 85% of your TM.
  • 10% x 5
  • 20% x 5
  • 30% x 5
  • 40% x 5
  • 50% x 3
  • 60% x 3
  • 70% x
  • 80% x 1
  • 90% x 1
  • 100% (TM) x PR set
  • 3 sets of 5 reps @ 85%
B. Squat 1 set of 15+ reps @ 65% Using the first work set of the week (65%), perform a PR set. The goal is to shoot for at least 15 reps. C. Press
  • 65% x 5
  • 75% x 5
  • 85% x 5, no extra reps
D. Rope Chin-Up 50 total reps Remember, the goal is to perform 50 total reps using as many sets as it takes to hit 50 (or 25 if you suck at chin-ups.) E. Neck Harness 100 total reps  

Beach Body Challenge: Week Three

Monday A. Squat
  • 75% x 5
  • 85% x 5
  • 95% x 5, no extra reps
B. Hang Clean 2 sets of max reps, without going to failure, at 75% C. Press Work up to your TM for a PR set. The PR can be done for a repetition PR or an estimated max PR.
  • 10% x 5
  • 20% x 5
  • 30% x 5
  • 40% x 5
  • 50% x 3
  • 60% x 3
  • 70% x 1
  • 80% x 1
  • 90% x 1
  • 100% (TM) x PR set
D. Fat Bar Curl 50-100 total reps E. Neck Harness 100 total reps Wednesday A. Squat  Work up to your TM for a PR set. Remember to warm-up and perform one set with your TM. Do not go to failure. Be sure you have a goal of the total reps you want to achieve before beginning.
  • 10% x 5
  • 20% x 5
  • 30% x 5
  • 40% x 5
  • 50% x 3
  • 60% x 3
  • 70% x 1
  • 80% x 1
  • 90% x 1
  • 100% (TM) x PR set
B. Deadlift
  • 75% x 5
  • 85% x 5
  • 95% x 5 - No extra reps
C. Press 50 total reps @ 75% Using the weight for your first work set of the week (75%), perform 50 total reps. Get to 50 total reps using as many sets as necessary. Remember, pace yourself on the first couple of sets. D. Dumbbell Row 100 total reps 100 total reps per arm. Again, you can use a variety of different weights for this; just be sure you get all the reps. You can superset the dumbbell row with the press. Up to you. E. Neck Flexion 100 total reps Friday A. Hang Clean Work up to your TM and perform a PR set but do not go to failure. After the PR set, perform 3 sets of 5 reps at 85% of your TM.
  • 10% x 5
  • 20% x 5
  • 30% x 5
  • 40% x 5
  • 50% x 3
  • 60% x 3
  • 70% x 1
  • 80% x 1
  • 90% x 1
  • 100% (TM) x PR set
  • 3 sets of 5 reps @ 85%
B. Squat 1 set of 15+ reps @ 75% Using the first work set of the week (75%), perform a PR set. The goal is to shoot for at least 15 reps. Warm-up properly. C. Press
  • 75% x 5
  • 85% x 5
  • 95% x 5, no extra reps
D. Rope Chin-Up 50 total reps Perform 50 total reps using as many sets as it takes to hit 50. E. Neck Harness 100 total reps [caption id="attachment_3580" align="alignnone" width="432"] For those that are into dudes. Older dudes.[/caption]  

5/3/1 Beach Body Challenge: Weeks 4-6

Once you've completed the first three weeks of this challenge, you'll have established the following:
  • Squat – Rep records for each of the first sets (done on Friday). You'll have records for 70%, 65% and 75%. You'll also have a record for your TM set (done on Wednesday).
  • Press – Rep record for your TM set (done on Monday).
  • Hang Clean – Total rep records for each of the first sets (done on Monday). You'll have total rep records for 70%, 65%, and 75%.
The next three weeks will be devoted to beating or attempting to beat each of these records. This isn't an excuse to use horrible form, so don't get caught up in chasing numbers if your form suffers. However, you can learn how to challenge yourself during your training and learn how to push a bit harder. Learn how to breathe "easier" during sets and teach yourself how to mentally prepare days prior to your workout. These are all things that no book or seminar can teach you. Only time and experience can do these things. When beating your TM records, there are two ways you can do this:
  1. Repetition Max PR – Your old PR was 225 for 8 reps. You attempt to get 225 for 9 reps.
  2. Estimated Max PR – Your best estimated max for the press is 250 pounds. Figure out how many reps you need to do with your current TM to beat that record.

Notes

  • Flexibility/Mobility – I recommend you do the Defranco Agile 8 prior to training and at least two times per day. This will help with your recovery.
  • Conditioning – Your conditioning work must meet your current goals and your current fitness level. This is to be determined by you. It shouldn't interfere with the goals of the challenge. If it does, do something different.
  • Diet – I recommend using the same eating template as the Boring But Big Challenge.
  • Box Jumps/Med Ball Throws – I recommend doing only 3 x 3-5 box jumps or 15 med ball throws before you begin training. Do not do any more than this.
  • Use straps on the hang clean. Do not use them for the dumbbell rows.
  • Take adequate rest time between each lift. I like to take a 5-10 minute break between lifts to clear my mind and focus. There is an obsession lately with every part of your workout being done as quickly as possible, thus turning your strength session into a circuit session. Yes, you can work to improve workout density, but that's best done with assistance movements, not the main or supplemental lifts. If you've made the commitment to get stronger in the weight room, make the commitment to doing things correctly. Quality over quantity. Quality over everything.
  • If you wish to add, subtract or change any part of the challenge, you're of course free to do so. It'll be your workout, but it's no longer the challenge. I don't endorse any changes to this challenge.
  • If you feel your form is beginning to break when doing hang cleans, please stop. There's a difference between "strong but acceptable" and "really shitty." If you're toeing that line, recognize it. However, the Internet Form Police piss on any lift not done to their standards, which are inversely proportional to their strength and experience levels. Don't let any boy judge your lifts. Judge your own.
  • Be sure you're eating for performance. Too many people eat too few calories and are scared to succeed. Success in the weight room requires the discipline to eat correctly. If you wish to get stronger, don't sabotage your training via diet.
  • I believe in setting performance or consistency goals in several key areas of training. I have 10 areas that are examined and these are true "weak points."
  • For conditioning, I recommend you choose a "consistency goal" for this challenge. A staple in my training week is always doing 70 AirDyne miles. This isn't difficult and will allow you to remain in fairly good shape and aid in recovery.
  • This challenge (or any of the challenges I've written that are strength-based) should not have "performance goals" for conditioning. What you choose to do for conditioning is entirely based on what you have access to and what your current level is. This is not a time to be pushing any conditioning.
  • Don't neglect your mobility and flexibility. Devoting 10-20 minutes a day to these areas can help in the short term and the long term. Spend some time on it, but that doesn't mean you need to spend 4.5 hours a day on it, either. Balance does not mean "equal time."