I think one of my favourite parts about fitness is the linear transparency it has.
There are countless things in life where people say “what you put in is what you get out,” but in reality, it’s usually not true, as there are numerous variables that must be accounted for.
Fitness, on the other hand, allows things to be planned and regimented to the most minute details and does well to remove a substantial amount of those variables. It’s one of the few things in life where you can set your goal, plan your course of action, and then achieve it. Achieving one’s goal is a phenomenal feeling and results in the desire and motivation to succeed in other facets of life. Success breeds success, which is why fitness is so important in one’s daily life.
For the better part of the past decade, my main goals in fitness have revolved around “gaining” (a.k.a. putting on weight, preferably in the form of lean muscle mass). Very aesthetic focused, less-focused on strength and performance. A debilitating knee injury a few years ago caused my priorities to shift more onto performance and less on aesthetics. Since then I’ve slowly phased out the bodybuilding regimens for more athlete-catered, full-body workouts.
This brings me to my current goal: Strength.
“Use your BODY every way you can, it is the greatest instrument you will EVER own.”
-Baz Luhrman (Sunscreen)
The human body is a remarkable thing. Why not push it and see what it can really do?
The Quest for SuperHuman Strength Gains
The regimen is inspired by Jim Wendler’s 5-3-1 as seen HERE
The 5-3-1 is rather simple, focusing on FOUR movements. I have provided my training maximums for the “Big 4” when I started the program in October:
1. Bench Press – 160lbs
2. Military Press – 100lbs
3. Squat – 220lbs
4. Deadlift – 230lbs
The program requires 4 workouts a week, with each day based around the ONE compound movement, then followed up with other exercises of your choice, usually to compliment it. For example, on Squat day I will perform the squats as per the 5-3-1 regimen, and then finish the day with a superset of 1-legged squats, box jumps, and single leg dead lifts (all leg movements). That way I can be fully rested for chest day, if I wanted to do it the day after. The goal is to lift as much as possible, so the key is to not get carried away. Focus on the big lifts, the others are just extra.
What separates this program from all the others I’ve done in the past is its longevity. In order to see drastic strength increases, you need to put in the time. 5-3-1 is designed to be a year-long program, with steady strength increases over the course of 12 months. This may seem “less drastic,” however, a 10-pound increase each month for a year results in a 120-pound strength gain–very drastic indeed. I’m used to doing 1-month programs; the discipline for a year will be, bar none, the hardest part of this strength challenge for me.