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My second Jim Wendler 531 cycle [Article]

Posted by Pascal Landshoeft

Oct 22, 2015 1:35:29 PM

My second Jim Wendler 531 cycle

My second cycle on lifting with this program still goes string. I have turned 30 now and I was never fitter or stronger in my entire life. Still daily life creeps in and you have to make some adjustments here and there, but overall it is going on track.

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How to combine work with 5/3/1

If you are busy like me you will come to the point that you have to combine business travel with your exercise regime. The question is, how to do that in a smart way. The good thing about the Jim Wendler program is that you have a deload week, Newer versions of his program propose to skip this week and two six weeks back to back, but that shall be tried and commented at a later point in this experiment.

If you stick with the classic Wendler model and train four times a week, every fourth week will be a deload week. Check my blog post on how to use the wendler calculator I have created to understand the underlaying calculations of the core program. 

Now the fourth week is prescribed as a week of rest and not going over board. What I did then was to put the squat and bench and the deadlift and overhead session in to one day each. This can be done if you are fit and experienced enough. 

What this does for you as a busy sales representative is that you can hit the gym on Sunday, go on a business trip from Monday to Friday, and hit the gym again on Saturday, to get all of the necessary work in and not miss a rep, without exerting yourself too much.

I made strength gains in the second cycle like this. Still this is not ideal, but better than not sticking to your program.

A second thing i realised is that if you really just do "I don't do jack shit" which is basically 3 warm up sets, three work sets and out, you can be done with your routine in less than 20 minutes if need be. Also not recommend, but a tweak that the busy man can make here and there to catch up with some extra stuff like joker sets on a day with more time.

Still progressing with Jim Wendler

Jim Wendler second cycle

As in the first cycle i hit all of the prescribed lifts in the second cycle. At no time i felt exhausted or drained. In the late stages of Stronglifts 5x5 i would have failed lifts and repeater sessions over a four week period, no question about that. 

In the second cycle I paid more attention to calculating my goals for the top set by comparing my progression and knowing which number of repetitions I had to it, I could determine whether I did a good or bad workout and adjust accordingly for supplementary sets. On a good day I do joker sets and push it that bit further out. On a bad day a finish with a quick 5x5 with the load of the first work set and leave. (again check my other article if you do not know what warm up sets, top sets & joker sets are. No, they are not pieces of music).

1 repetition maximum comparison

My first broken personal record using the program

In the second cycle i managed to match my old squat record of 140kg and break my deadlift record of 175kg by 5kg to a new 180kg. For me that is cool stuff and shows that the program works. The third cycle will be interesting as I would expect, if the trajectory continues, to do my first 150kg squat. We'll see. Here's the proof in the gym. Enjoy!


Further reading on Wendler 531




Topics: Lift stronger, Jim Wendler 5/3/1, Powerlifting, Bodybuilding, Strongman