I’m a hard gainer. I’ve always been a pretty scrawny guy. It took 7 years in college of pizza 5 nights a week (Burger King the other two nights) and a couple two liters of soda per day to get me moderately chubby.
In the summer of 2011 I found myself plateauing on my lifts, so I decided to take matters into my own hands and try out a strength program mixed in with my regular CrossFitting. After doing a lot of reading and asking others for recommendations, I decided to begin with a Wendler 5/3/1 program. It’s simple and according to the interwebs, very effective. The program involves 3 weeks of build-up followed by 1 week to recovery. My results are provided below.
Unfortunately, my training schedule became a bit sporadic at the end of my 3rd cycle, so I have no data to report for it. Based on the first two cycles though, I saw a 28% increase in my shoulder press, a 14% increase in my bench, a 9% increase in my back squat and a constant deadlift.
Now let me discuss an important point that I believe hindered my progress… I had no idea what the hell I was doing. I hadn’t realized that 5/3/1 is meant to include supplemental work for each of the lift days until most of the way through my second cycle. This is what I get for half-assing my upfront research. Unfortunately, since the three cycles I performed that summer, I have not been able to complete another one. Though since then, I have put members of my gym through the sequence with pretty fantastic results. Stay tuned for future posts on this topic.