Starting a New 5/3/1 Cycle – BBB @ FSL

I just finished my 4th cycle of 5/3/1 BBB and was starting to feel like my training maxes (TMs) were getting away from me. I thus reset them (ca. 1-2 cycles, depending on the lift) before jumping into another cycle.

I’m sticking with opposite lifts for the assistance work, and still doing a capped FSL set on the main lift before getting into the assistance. But I’m also making a couple of changes. First, I’m sort of combining FSL and BBB. I’m doing all of my assistance work at FSL weights (so 65% in 1st week, 70% in 2nd week, and 75% in the 3rd week), but with a modified rep scheme.

Note: FSL = First Set Last and BBB = Boring But Big.

During the first (3×5) week, I’m doing 5×10 for the extra sets, just like regular BBB. During the second (3×3) week, I’m doing 5×8. And during the third (5/3/1) week, I’m doing 5×6. In other words, I’m sort of easing into doing BBB at FSL weights. Or at least that’s my plan.

The other change is that I’m dropping back from fours days per week to three days per week. Schedule permitting, I’m aiming to lift on M/W/F to improve recovery and allow me to spend more time on the erg. This effectively converts the normal three week cycle into a four week cycle.

Week 1:

  • Mon: Press 3×5
  • Wed: Deadlift 3×5
  • Fri: Bench 3×5

Week 2:

  • Mon: Squat 3×5
  • Wed: Press 3×3
  • Fri: Deadlift 3×3

Week 3:

  • Mon: Bench 3×3
  • Wed: Squat 3×3
  • Fri: Press 5/3/1

Week 4:

  • Mon: Deadlift 5/3/1
  • Wed: Bench 5/3/1
  • Fri: Squat 5/3/1

We’ll see how it goes, but the low back fatigue from running BBB on a four day schedule really cut into my rowing. I did less conditioning than I should have, and relied much more heavily on the Assault Bike than I wanted.

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