My Training Update – December 2011

Training has taken a turn for the better for me as of late.

For the past 2 months I've been really focusing on getting stronger, so I've been using Jim Wendler's 5-3-1 Program and applying it to The Squat, Military Press and Deadlift.

You can pick that program up HERE =>

No cardio, no conditioning, no “arms” (unless you count chin-ups) and no – dare I say it – KETTLEBELLS!

That's right.  I really stripped my training down and focused only on the 3 lifts mentioned above. For my warm-up I'll do lots of shoulder “pre-hab” (like band pulls, face pulls & dislocations), and I'll do 3 or 4 sets of glute ham raises. After my workout I would do 40 chin-ups in as few sets as possible.

But other than that, I would just focus on those 3 foundational lifts. Each month that's gone by my numbers have gone up.  And when it's time to drop the hammer on the last set (you have to have the program to know what I mean), I'm breaking PR's like it's nobody's business.

I feel healthy and strong, and I feel great. I feel so good, that now I'm ready to add some variety to the program.  So I will continue to work hard on the 3 barbell lifts, but now I'm ready to add in some double-KB training.

The reason for this is two-fold…

1. I'm getting bored.  As strong as I feel, I also feel like I need more.  I'm a kettlebell guy at heart, so it's just logical for me to add some kettlebell assistance work in.

2. My wife and I booked a vacation.  For the first time in ELEVEN YEARS, my wife and I are going away – just the 2 of us – for an extended period of time (8 days).  We've got good friends that are getting married in Jamaica in early 2012, so it's about time that I work to really get in shape for that.

The double-KB stuff is inspired by my buddy, Master RKC Geoff Neupert's book Kettlebell Muscle.

In the past when I've done the KB Muscle program, I put on almost 10lbs of solid muscle. I was eating like a horse packing down EVERYTHING that I could get my big lips around. So this time, I'm going to try an experiment. I'm combining the 5-3-1 template and KB Muscle to see what kind of results I'll get.

There are, obviously, a few very important factors that I must watch religiously:

  • Frequency – With an intense training template like this, I am only going to train 3 days per week. I ride my bike for transportation everyday and I go for a 40 minute walk every morning.  I'm thinking that will suffice for my active recovery periods.
  • Sleep – I need to recover in order for this program to work so making sure that I get at least 8 hours of sleep per night is imperative.
  • Food – Because we're going to Jamaica, I'd like to maintain my current bodyfat levels (which right now is around 8%).  So, I'll be using a carb-cycling routine and fasting on my low-carb days. On the other days I will get the bulk of my calories from healthy fats, protein and fruits & veggies
With a template like this, it's going to be very easy for me to run myself into the ground.  So using Wendler's template, I will schedule a strategic de-load week every 4th week to reset, lift light and focus on technique.
What about you?
Have you ever given up KBs for an extended period of time?
P.S. In other news, I recently wrote an article on 23 Random Health Tips That Won't Break The Bank on my blog.  You can check that out HERE => 23 Cheap Health Tips That Work


  • Reply December 5, 2011


    Great job, I’ve beem following Wendler’s 5/3/1 as well. I’ll do 5/3/1/ one day then kettlebell conditioning the next day. It’s been working great, and like you my strength has improved, and my BF has gone down. Fun stuff! Just one question though, you say you were following 3 lifts; squat/military press/deadlift…do you not do bench press then? Was there a reason for this, or was that just a typo. Just curious. Cheers and happy training!!!

  • Reply December 8, 2011


    Hey Chris,

    I do not have Jim’s book 5/3/1. I have another book (3XM) that emphasizes strength over hypertrophy. It also emphasizes the alternate set principle which I really like. You get a lot of heavy work done in a short amount of time AND you change the rep ranges with each set so you stimulate a lot of different muscle fibers (at least I think that’s the theory). In any case I’m getting waaaaay stronger. I recently saw this video


    and I would recommend it to anyone that squats and wants to get strong(er) at the squat. These guys throw out some “F bombs” so if your offended by that language I would not watch it.

    I also LOVE your “23 Ways to Improve Your Health Without Breaking the Bank”. I’ll be directing my list to read it because its that good. My favorites are (not in this order obviously) #1, #2 (but I always forget), #10 (so irritating to me for some reason), #11, #16 (ever since I read T. Ferris’ book or maybe it was a blog post), #17 (really really simple way to jack your conditioning) and I do #22 once a week. I haven’t been training with kb’s for a few months but that’s going to change next month. Strength First.

    Have fun in Miami & Jamaica Chris~I’m so jealous.



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