Strength Monday – 08/13/12

photo –

In my quest for lean superhero-ness, I’m following the Wendler 5/3/1 strength training program. Twice a week, Dave and I are hitting the craptastic gym in our Converse to lift heavy and crank through a mini-metcon.

I like cupcakes, but not cupcaking.

Oh, dear. Today was pretty lousy in terms of feeling successful under the barbell. Between my T3 experimentation and my monthly hormone poisoning, I had nothing going on today.

5:00 elliptical
10 2-count PVC back squats
10 PVC good mornings
10 air squats
10 behind-the-neck press, PVC
shoulder mobility


3 @ 70% of max = 135#
3 @ 80% of max = 150#
max reps @ 90% of max = 170# – I did 3.
Man! I expected to get at least 5 at this weight, and it was really disappointing to go for the 4th rep and just have nothing happen.

Overhead Press:
3 @ 70% of max = 65#
3 @ 80% of max = 75#
max reps @ 90% of max = 85# – I did 3… as push presses.
I couldn’t do even one rep of a straight press at 85#, so I squeezed out 3 push presses, took a rest, and tried for 80#. I did ONE rep at 80. Sigh.

How was your workout today?

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  • Tom R. says:

    Hang in there, Mel. Some days our sh*t just isn’t together.

    Had a decent one today. Hit a 2RM on my back squat at what was my 1RM a month ago. I’d like to run a little more, but I have one goal in life right now – squat like a dude. Less running and pass the fork…

  • Louise says:

    Hey Mel,

    How do you feel about Wendler’s N.O.V. slogan? (I find it female-unfriendly, but maybe I take metaphor too seriously.) Do you have to perform some kind of mental jiu jitsu to get behind his program?

  • Louise says:

    North of Vag…it’s on his t-shirts. You can see an explanation in the Wendler quotation here:

    I have no problem with strength and lifting for strength instead of body-building. It’s just the macho association of girlness with weakness, incompetence and superficiality that bugs me. Also, I haven’t really noticed that our society is emasculated.

    Kinda makes me want to make a Mighty Vag t-shirt…

    • Mel says:

      Good lord. That’s just stupid. I’m going to pretend I never saw that. Yuck.

      And… brain is cleansed of that image because I like the program and it’s working for me.

      • Louise,

        Good find! Thanks for linking it.


        What was disgusting? My blog on what I believe N.O.V. means to me or just that Vag stands for Vagina?

        -Activate Fitness

        • Mel says:

          I didn’t say it was disgusting, I said stupid 😉

          I don’t like the sound or the inference of the word “vag.” To me, it sounds degrading and dismissive.

          You are totally welcome to your POV and expressing it in your blog.

  • Sarah says:

    I just got the 5/3/1 book in the mail today from Amazon. Any tips on getting started? Did you have a trainer or somebody to help you start, or did you work through the book yourself?
    I’ve been doing a 5×5 program focusing on the same major lifts, but not really getting anywhere. I think this more structured routine might help…

    • Mel says:

      I didn’t have a trainer, but I had already been lifting at my CrossFit gym, so I had a sense of what my 1 rep maxes were. The book includes a lot of detail, so if you read through it slowly, you should be OK working through it yourself.

      The structure DEFINITELY helps me. And I customized what I’m doing since I lift 2X a week instead of 4, and I can’t do a lot of high-intensity cardio stuff right now.

      But the structure for increasing the weights is dead-on. I follow that exactly.

      • Sarah says:

        So do you just stretch his 4 week schedule into 8 weeks? I’m planning to just do two lifting days a week as well, because of some health issues. (I have PCOS, and don’t want to cause overproduction of testosterone, or overstress any aspect of my endocrine system.)

        Thanks for your help!

        Also, I hadn’t checked your blog for a month or so, until a week ago when I realized you were doing a Whole30 from August 1-23, which is exactly what I’m doing, I got excited. B-)

        • Mel says:

          Hey, Sarah! The book provides really clear instructions for how to adapt it to 2X per week. He explains it better than I ever could.

          Good luck with your Whole30!

  • Jared says:

    Great info on weight training for women, I keep passing on thigns for my gf to try out. Have to say I’ve been coaching her using your advice, keep up the good work 🙂

    • Mel says:

      Sweet! Thanks for stopping by to comment. I’m never sure if anyone cares how much I’m lifting, so I’m glad to know it’s helping.