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Roman Kladivo

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Hi everyone,

After more than year of dedicated kettlebell lifting, I decided to switch to barbell and slowly prepare myself for SFL. Unfortunately, I am not really experienced when it comes to barbell programming so I would gladly accept any pieces of advice I can get. But first few things about me:

Gender: male

Age: 25

Height / Weight: 180 cm / 87 kg (15,3 % body fat)

Medical history: more than year ago I injured my rotator cuff, but its already fully healed and rehabilitated.

Training history

  • Started training seriously in 2016 by going through old program minimum from EtK, after few months I switched to SaS
  • Achieved Simple in the middle of 2016 and switched to RoP where I spend few cycles before reaching 28 kg
  • Switched to Brett Jones SFG 1 prep program in January 2017, get injured and returned to full training in April
  • Get my SFG in November 2017 and switched to Two weeks blocks of PttP (MP+DL) alternated with SaS. It worked great, but after few round I lost daily access to the barbell, because of frequent travelling so I switch to NW (4 times per week) and SaS (2 times per week) in February
  • Conquered OAPU, Pistol and 40 kg for SaS in time between beginning of February and end of April,
  • Now I settled down, test myself and discovered that my barbell lifts are…well weak…so I decided to return to the barbell.
My Current Best (tested with my competitive power lifter friends)
  • MP – 1 RM 60 kg
  • BP – 1 RM 80 kg (but decided to start lighter as I never really benched in my life so I need to get the technique down first)
  • DL – 1 RM 145 kg
  • BSQ – 1 RM 90 kg (but some as Bench Press decided to start lighter for the sake of technique)

Goal: Achieve SFL standards (hopefully I can make it in 12 months) and keep my SFG I lifts sharp

Program
So, this is what I have so far. Any advices and / or critique are welcomed.

Monday

Movement Prep: Foam Roller and some easy mobility work (GFM / SuperJoints / Kalosthenos GU etc.)

Main Lift: Barbell Military Press 5/3/1

Accessory lifts: KB MP + Weighted Chin ups 3-5x5

Conditioning: Farmer Walk


Tuesday

Movement Prep: Foam Roller and some easy mobility work (GFM / SuperJoints / Kalosthenos GU etc.)

Main Lift: Deadlift 5/3/1

Accessory lifts: Swings 5-10 x 10, DFSQ 3-5x5 (I love this one, it works wonders for my abs and upper back)

Conditioning: Good question, I was thinking about Snatches but I am afraid that it can be too much of hip hinges for my body to handle


Thursday

Movement Prep: Foam Roller and some easy mobility work (GFM / SuperJoints / Kalosthenos GU etc.)

Main Lift: Bench Press 5/3/1

Accessory lifts: KB MP + Pull ups 3-5x5

Conditioning: Farmer Walk


Friday

Movement Prep: Foam Roller and some easy mobility work (GFM / SuperJoints / Kalosthenos GU etc.)

Main Lift: Back Squat 5/3/1

Accessory lifts: Swings 5-10 x 10, DFSQ 3-5x5

Conditioning: Same as Tuesday


I plan to switch between KB and BW accessory work every 4 weeks to keep myself focused for the next 12 months
 

JeffC

Level 7 Valued Member
I recently started Wendler 5/3/1 for the first time. I like it so far. Your assistance exercises look good. I have been looking for a place to add Farmers, but still not sure where. Putting Farmers on a upper body day and thinking of them as a back exercise sounds logical. I was thinking of adding them on Squat day. I have also been contemplating SST. I will stick with what I am doing for at least another month.
 

Maine-ah KB

Level 7 Valued Member
so no experience with barbell training but a few ideas for conditioning post Deadlift/Squat. programming wise looks good to me, but like I said ive touched a barbell like 4 times in my life.
1. simple move swings from Accessory to conditioning or 3-5 sets of heavy swings, drop the weight and go for shorter intervals for 5 sets.
2. Sprints or if you have access to a sled (or old tire and rope) Drags.
3. Crawling+or- any front loaded carry.

theres I guy named Brian Alsruhe on youtube whose a strongman with some... fun... ideas for conditioning
 
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LukeV

Level 6 Valued Member
training your primary lifts once per week is really sub-optimal if your goal is strength. Assuming from your post that you can lift four days per week why not do a bp/bs and mp/dl split with each twice per week and rule of 10 (mixing it up with 2x5, 3x3, 532, 5x2) for sets/reps to keep it interesting. assistance with whatever but certainly sled or a loaded carry. every now and then throw in an extra day and some heavy singles. Nice and simple! I made probably my greatest strength gains across four lifts on a program like that
 

Taranenko74

Level 1 Valued Member
As a certified weightlifting coach, couple of hints from that perspective:

Your pressing seems to be in reasonable level related to your body weight. However, the legs are weak so I'd focus to squat and deadlift first.

General guidelines for a successful programming:
- create 6-8 weeks blocks where you focus on one issue at a time
- training 3-4 sessions/issue/week => development
- training 1-2 sessions/issue/week => maintaining

I'd start with a simple leg strength block with you, something like
- squat 3-4x week
- DL 2x week
- throw in some accessory work for core/midsection every session
- press 1-2x week
- 3 weeks hard, then 1 wk deload, then hard again, then deload; total 8wks (3+1)*2

Then, test 1RM squat, see where you are and make a decision for a new focus. You may take a pressing cycle in between and then redo the leg strength cycle with a small change, perhaps DL 3-4x week and Sq 2x week.

Hope you got the idea and find this helpful. Good luck! :)
 

Kyle Kowalczuk

Level 5 Valued Member
Definitely try to get in two lifts per week for the particular movement or type of lift you are trying to improve. Especially during the 3x5 and 3x3 parts of Wendler. On the 5/3/1 week, once would probably be enough since it is a max effort.

For the other day besides Wendler, a speed/dynamic day would fit nicely as long as they are at least 2 days apart
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
@Roman Kladivo , My training for SFL was a lot like you have laid out -- 5/3/1 with some conditioning and other kettlebell work added. I now think it was a poor choice. I was a novice on most of the barbell work even though I had a few years of kettlebell (and barbell deadlift) behind me. I think I would have been much better off to focus on a linear strength progression program like the one I'm doing now, Starting Strength NLP, cutting out the conditioning for a few months and getting all the novice strength gains that come faster than you might have ever thought possible.

There is plenty of time to add the accessory and conditioning later after you acquire the strength standards you'll need for SFL. In fact, with those strength standards met, you'll have more capacity to to any other training that you choose.

I have written an article that should be published very soon on the StrongFirst blog about the SFL. Keep an eye out for it!
 

Antti

Level 9 Valued Member
I can't comment on the 5/3/1. But at that age, weight and lift weights, I agree with some of the above: get some higher frequency lifting done and hit the weights aggressively. You can progress fast if you train accordingly. No sense driving under the speed limit if there are no issues.
 

Manuel Fortin

Level 6 Valued Member
If you really want to run the 531 program, I would suggest to use The 5/3/1 Philosophy for Beginners. Otherwise, the linear progression (starting strength, ...) is probably you best option. I have heard of people who had never run a linear progression despite training with a barbell for years and who still got good results with one (not starting with the bar obviously, but still starting light and building from it).
 

Roman Kladivo

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Thank you all for your advices. I really appreciate them. Originally I choose 5/3/1 because it allows me to focus all my attention on just one lift per day which for some reason keeps me motivated and “on track” much longer then regular “all lifts in one day” programs. But maybe I should use some more linear approach such as the program from Deadlift Dynamite (either original version with the MP as accessory lift for BP, or split it into four days a week with one extra day dedicated to MP)
@Anna C I will definitely wait for your article !
 

jef

I am a student of strength.
Elite Certified Instructor
I am not familiar enough with Wendler 5/3/1 to comment it. As I heard, it works, so why not.

With your stats, and considering you may gain a little with barbell work, I base targets on 90kg bodyweight. It means :
Strength:
Deadlift: 180kg x 1
Bench press: 112,5kg x 1

I don't see the deadlift as an issue within one year. You will have some more work to do on the bench press.
Technique
Deadlift: 135kg x 5
Squat: 90kg x 5
Press: 60kg x 5

Those are almost your stats as your current 1RM, that must become your PERFECT 5RM within one year (ideally more).

The little thing is that the SFL is NOT really about strength (this coming from someone who failed the SFL because of the bench press strength test, but, hum, let's keep going ROFL), it is about technique. See, the strength required is a 1RM test done the first day, when you are fresh.
But the technique test happens at the end of the weekend, and there is a checklist of technical points as long as the one for the SFG standards. It is not about squatting 5 times with 90kg, it is about 5 good squats (no back rounding, to depth, standing properly...).
To improve technique, you need to practice a lot. This is where once a week per lift seems a bit too little to me.

I would rather do a PTTP approach (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday to keep the same week pattern) with Deadlift and Bench press at first. That will allow to really focus on the technical aspect, while increasing strength. Then, a few month later, you can modify programming by introducing presses and squats. Or directly a classic LNP like Starting strength.

As for conditioning, it is not the priority. :)
Walking and heavy swings a few times a week, along with barbell work, should keep you well conditioned, considering you start from a good level already.
 

JeffC

Level 7 Valued Member
I disagree with the lack of volume in 5/3/1 for skill practice. You could do SST or other variations for two big lifts per day. On variation with one lift per day you could add joker sets, pyramid sets, and/or FSL. There are options for focused, quality volume greater or equal to a three day a week 5 x 5 or 3 x 5.
 

jef

I am a student of strength.
Elite Certified Instructor
I am not familiar with 5/3/1, so I have no real idea of the weekly volume, and it may very well be more volume than a PTTP or SS approach.
For skill practice, I prefer to increase training frequency rather than overall volume. Personal preference. YMMV.
 

Roman Kladivo

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
Once again, thank you all for your answers. In the end i sticked to the old classic PttP with Bench Press and Deadlift for few rounds befor I started to miss swings and change it to two weeks blocks of PttP and two weeks blocks of SaS.
Now as my numbers are slowly growing I am starting to think about the way, how to include Presses and Squats in my routine.
So the question is, should I use the block template (two weeks of BP+DL then two weeks of MP+BSQ, repeat until...) and limit the kettlebell work or should I switch to completly different program?

By the way right now its just purely theoretical question as I dont want to change my program until I hit the 2xBW deadlift and 1,25x BW bench press
 

Anna C

Level 9 Valued Member
Team Leader Certified Instructor
Elite Certified Instructor
Sinister
There is an option in the SFL manual that shows you how to switch the PTTP program to the other two lifts while maintaining the first two. But as you say, you don't want to change your program until you get to your strength standards for SFL. Personally I would limit the kettlebell work for now, yes. Keep the goal as the priority... other activities which compete for your strength and recovery resources will divert your momentum in acheiving it.
 

Marlon Leon

Level 3 Valued Member
5/3/1 is a great program. Really solid and with tons of variations. Doing the barbell lifts once per week is totally fine. I mean Ed Coan did that for his whole career.
I'd only suggest to choose different assistance exercises. KB press and barbell press have not that much carryover. KB press to bench press even less, but of course you can experiment and she whether the lifts go up or not and adjust accordingly.
 

Kozushi

Level 7 Valued Member
I'll throw in my own experience to help you compare and contrast. I did S&S for over 2.5 years and still do it as my base program of 2-3 times a week. On top of it I decided to try out barbell deadlifts about half a year ago. I found I could almost right away lift 1.5 times my bodyweight (330lbs) 5 times in a row, like the SF test requires. I don't know about the 2X bodyweight deadlift because I haven't tried it for the 1 rep max that is demanded by the SF curriculum, but my suspicion is that I could pull it off (do NOT pardon the pun!) So, in my experience, S&S gave me enough strength to suddenly be able to hit one of the two SF barbell deadlifting goals. I actually found pressing to be harder to develop. It's taken me a few months to progress from pressing the 24kg with ease to pressing the 32kg with relative ease and with a 1 rep max of 40kg to date. I thought the TGUs would better prepare me for the presses, but I'll say that they prepared some aspects of the press but not others. There were weird feelings through my lower back and hips for the first month pushing my pressing training, which have all gone away now, and I'm much stronger now too!

My other 2 cents is that if you're already getting cardio through walking, running or a sport, then in my not so humble opinion a regular diet of deadlifts and military presses is all one needs.
 

Roman Kladivo

Level 5 Valued Member
Certified Instructor
@Marlon Leon Thanks for your advice, I really appreciate it, but as I stated earlier in this thread, I am currently on PttP and I don´t really want to change my program before I reach my goals or before the program stop working. After that I will probably think about 5/3/1 one more time.

@Kozushi Yeah I love SaS too and it gave me really solid foundations but what I need for SFL is more then that. I neet strength and superb technique in barbell lifts which SaS can not deliver to me. Thats why I am currently focusing more on barbell then Kettlebell.
 
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