The end of 5/3/1

Anecdote 1

Emilio eyed one of my bench sets.  “You’re doing 300 lbs for close grip?” he said, somewhat enviously.

“Actually it’s 305”

“I need to increase my bench,” he said.  “It’s plateaued.  Actually, everything has plateaued”

I think he likes training 4x a week, so after some discussion, I recommended he give Westside a try – though modify it for raw lifters.  I sent him my collection of 80 Louie Simmons articles – a number of which contradict each other – and will bring my Westside manual for him on Sunday.  I also recommended a number of alternate programs, some of which I am very familiar with (some I actually designed, lol) and some that I know nothing about, but he could check out if he wanted.

Anecdote 2

I watched a guy come in with one of those binders that college strength coaches like to hand out.  He was doing squats.  His first set, with 135, was almost legal.  Successive sets became increasingly disgraceful.  At 285, he barely dipped a few inches.  I dunno why, but I asked him if he played a college sport.  Turns out he played soccer collegiately, but it was several years ago.  One of the trainers at the gym got him started on 5/3/1 (though he admitted he hasn’t been to the gym in a week or two).  Dude, Matt Hoff called and said your squats were high.

Anecdote 3

Has nothing to do with Westside, but there is this desperately weak guy who has been training here for several years, fairly regularly.  He is probably 5’9, 145 lbs.  He used to just screw around.  Then he had several appointments with the same trainer mentioned above.  (As a side note, this trainer is a nice guy who also manages the gym and has always been friendly to me and all powerlifters/meatheads in general.  He once looked on approvingly as I told some high school kid not to drop his 225×8 deadlifts with metal plates from the top position.  However, he also is 5’9 and 145 lbs and I’ve never seen him lift weights).

Anyhow, after that, he performed a more legitimate selection of exercises with passable form.  However, after 1 year he is still using the most laughable of poundages (145 lb squats, 105 lb deadlifts, I’m not joking).

This guy comes up to me and says “How often do you squat 500 lbs?”

I didn’t know exactly what he was talking about  How many reps I could do with it?  One.  How many times I had ever acheived that?  Once.  How often do I squat a weight, that, to the idiot eye, looks like 500 lbs?  Daily.

So I mumbled something about how I was using 580 the other day, but it was for quarter squats.

He then said something like “Well why would you need to lift that much ever?”

Finally I got what he was talking about.  I remembered him asking me the same thing a year ago.

I just talked about how I compete, and the world record was 650 (i dunno, it’s something like that for raw, no wraps, tested 181, whatever).  Then I put my headphones back in.

I was mostly just puzzled.  I mean I understand why someone might think lifting weights was stupid or pointless, or might choose another physical activity like swinging a kettlebell, or running.  But if you’re gonna lift anyway, wouldn’t you want to be better at it?  I hate distance running, but if I ran 5Ks, I would want to run one in 13 minutes.  Even if that would never happen because I just did it recreationally, I would still see the point of trying to reduce my time!

When I told Emilio what the guy said, he exploded and said something like: “What kind of stupid question was that?  You should have asked him why he wanted to be so weak.”  Which the guy may have heard as he was returning from the water fountain – but probably not.

When I told Karena, she also was outraged and said that I should be offended.  I said, “I dunno, maybe he was in a crippling car wreck or something.”  For example, there is this poor bastard at my gym (the bf of the girl whose squat rack position I corrected the other day) who has tried squats and deadlifts and real lifting three different times in his life – and is currently recovering from his third hernia operation (at least he is dating the sexiest girl in the gym).

So she thinks that the next time I see him lifting, I should innocently ask, “Are you recovering from an injury?”  I will probably do this.

High Bar Squats: 45×4, 115×3, 185×2, 255, 325, 350, 375, 385, 395

Box Squats (3): 135×2, 225, 295, 325, 330

High Bar Squats: 265,315,335,345,350,355, 265,270,275,280,285,290×2

Closegrip Bench: 45×10, 95×3, 135×3, 175×2, 215, 255, 285, 305, 315, 325; 265,270,275,280,285,290, 265,270×2, 275×4

Pecs were sore.  I dunno.  Emilio was still impressed, I guess.

RDL: 135×3, 205×2, 275, 300, 325×3; 230×5, 235×4, 240×3

BB Rows: 135×5, 155×5, 160×8

Neck Work

Did band work and tried some mobility stuff @ home.


9 thoughts on “The end of 5/3/1

  1. Life is not an episode of Pokemon, and not everyone wants to be the very best like no one ever was. I’ve learned to accept this fact about other people and move on with my life.

    • On a semi-related note – you fail at failing. There are 2 guys at my gym out of hundreds who can do a 225 front squat to parallel or below. Me and Emilio. If you used a weightlifter’s grip instead of California or straps – congratulations. You’re the only one who can do that. If not, well – top 3.

      All right, time to say goodbye to my 6 year old son. He is about to wander the country with this weird professor guy from next door. Guess I’ll see him in a few months.

      • Weightlifter grip. 180ish lbs bodyweight. Probably will be 170s again once I stop eating cookies and Christmas candy.

        Yesterday I decided to try 225 for 1 on a front squat after doing 225 for a double on the back squat, just messing around after skating. The guy in the other rack was doing front squats cross arm with like 105lbs to parallel. Then I ATGed 225 all cool.

        It’s great. Sometimes I think I’m a Bulgarian guy in an Ironmind video compared to the mere mortals at my gym. Then I realized to said Bulgarian dudes I’d be like the guy front squatting 105 cross armed next to me. I also feel bad that there’s a mopey Asian who’s been lifting like 8 years or 10 years who’s better than me, but mopes that he’s not as good as his South Korean cousin who broke his elbow snatching at the Olympics.

        BTW, there’s one guy who’s deadlifting higher than 400s who’s at like 200ish bodyweight (fairly lean) who I’ve seen front squatting either 185 or 225 for a few reps. Not to super ATG Olympic lifter level. But past parallel. He wasn’t using a weightlifter grip but at least he tried, he just used straps. One day I’ll bench enough that I won’t be able to get a nice front squat grip. Will life be better then?

        • benching won’t affect your front squat grip. if anything it will make a nice chest shelf for racking. i have problems racking because I don’t care enough about FS to mob or practice it. I can guarantee that your life will improve significantly when you can FS 230 lbs. Contact me then for the next step in your self-improvement plan.

  2. People who can only do 235 are weak sissies. When you can do 240 you will be a real man. Seriously, though, there are only two possible meanings of life – happiness through the pursuit of excellence, i.e. eudaimonia. Or that the only thing that matters is the afterlife. The good thing is that you can choose both.

  3. Pingback: Showdown | Coach's Blog

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