My intent was to run a version of 5/3/1 over the school year, as it allows for consistency and not having to worry about how much I need to lift each training session. However, my engineering design class is requiring a butt-ton more time outside of class than I could have predicted which has already impacted my ability to train (I've already pulled 4-5 all-nighters, two of which were consecutive). As it is, my study / course work schedule is inconsistent in both frequency and duration. In other words, I am unable to predict when I will have the actual time to train for my goals, and how much time I'll have for each individual session. The only constraint I have to fulfill is averaging going to the gym 3 times per week to get my health insurance reimbursement. On top of that, I work part-time 2-3 days Friday through Sunday.

In the interim, I've settled on the following 'program' (see below). The overall question is: is this enough?

Sorry in advanced for the length.

Original goals:

  • Increase maximal strength
  • Lower body-fat %
  • Improve conditioning

Current Goals:

  • At least maintain strength
    • Though moving towards my original goals would be preferred.
  • Lower body-fat %
    • I'm less worried about this aspect, as I am still able to effectively control my nutrition.
  • Maintain some aspect of conditioning

Current performance:

  • Movement: (current, goal)[1RM]
    • Back Squat: (280, 315)
    • Front Squat: (205, 225)
    • Power Clean: (165, 185)
    • Deadlift
      • Sumo: (370, 405)
      • Conventional: (340, 365)
      • Snatch-Grip: (220, 255)
    • Military press: (125, 135)
      • Actual military press, as in feet together, back straight, etc.
    • Push Press: (155, 175)
    • Bench Press: (160, 185)
    • Pendlay Row: (200, 225)

Current Program:

  • Cycling through the following days:
    • Squat Day:
      • Back or Front Squat to a max double or single
      • If a double, perform 3x5 @70% of the double
      • If a single, perform 3x5 @75% of the single
      • If daily max was the same as last time, increase the 3x5 by 5 lb
    • Deadlift Day:
        • Power clean to a max triple, double, or single
          • If triple or double, perform 3-5 singles at same weight
          • If single, perform 3-5 singles @85% of the single
        • Sumo Deadlift to a max double or single
          • If a double, perform 3x5 @70% of the double
          • If a single, perform 3x5 @75% of the single
          • If a single and grip almost failed, repeat this max until it can be completed as a triple
          • If daily max was the same as last time, increase the 3x5 by 5 lb
    • Press Day:
      • Push Press to a max double or single
      • If a double, perform 3x5 military press @68% of the double
      • If a single, perform 3x5 military press @73% of the single
      • If daily max was the same as last time, perform 4x5 military press instead of 3x5
    • Bench Day:
      • Bench Press to a max double or single
      • If a double, perform 3x5 @70% of the double
      • If a single, perform 3x5 @75% of the single
      • If daily max was the same as last time, increase the 3x5 by 5 lb
    • Pendlay Progression (no dedicated day):
      • Row to daily 5RM
      • Perform 2x8 Pendlay Row @85% of daily max
      • OR Perform 2x8 Bent Over Row @80% of daily max
    • Assistance movements / options:
      • Incline Dumbbell Rows *
      • Kroc Rows
      • Dumbbell Press (standing / seated / Arnold)
      • Incline / Floor Dumbbell Press *
      • Dumbbell Pullover *
      • Lat Pulldown ^
      • High / low row ^
      • T-bar Row *
      • Face Pull *
      • * = a personal favorite
      • ^ = plate loaded machine available
    • Conditioning Options:
      • Rowing
      • Stationary Bike
      • Walking Dumbbell Lunges
      • Kettlebell swings / complexes
        • My gym just installed the kettlebell rack, so I'm still unaware of how heavy they go up to. Heaviest looks like it might be 45-50 lbs.
    • Things that I need / would like to add:
      • Chin-ups
        • Smith machines at my gym are too low, cable machines only offer grips for pull-ups or neutral-grip pull-ups, and dip stations provide a grip that's greater than shoulder-width (plus the knurling eats my hands).
      • Conventional, deficit, stiff-legged, and snatch-grip deadlifts (I love deadlifts, lol)
      • Paused rep work for squats and deadlifts
      • Pin squats and rack pulls
      • Clean and snatch pulls

Days with the highest priority are the squat, deadlift, and press days. I'm not a powerlifter, so benching is less important for my goals (plus I have a history of shoulder injuries, so less frequent benching isn't horrible [and frankly, I'm just not the biggest fan of it]).

Subsequent questions would involve: Should I add anything in particular? Should anything be removed? Is the program organized well enough as is, or can that be improved? Is this type of program better off performed whenever I can fit it in, or when I currently do it, which is first thing in the morning (I wake up at ~5:30 am almost every day, school work permitting)?

Edit: I'm still looking for more feedback from a possibly different perspective / or that address the subsequent questions.

  • 1
    Unfortunately, your edits really broaden the scope of the question. SE protocol is generally 1 post per question. I would recommend changing your original question to "Is this enough, or should I add/remove any segments?" The question about when to workout is very much personal preference, so I'd leave that out as well. But +1 for one of the best "rate my workout" questions I've seen on the site. :)
    – JohnP
    Sep 24, 2015 at 4:25
  • How does your body feel with your current program? Based on your outlined schedule, it doesn't seem like you have much time to rest. I'm not sure how much progress you can make without adequate rest. Sep 24, 2015 at 5:15
  • @JohnP: I see your point. Would asking some of those questions on their own with a reference to this question be acceptable? Or would it be best to simply reword the main question here?
    – Alex L
    Sep 24, 2015 at 22:18
  • @Kneel-Before-ZOD: I agree in part about the lack of rest, but that stems mostly from my school / work schedule. It seems like quite a bit, but that's because I tried to include as much as I could so that other's would have a better view of what I'm doing. At the minimum, I rotate between the squat, press, and deadlift days and hit at least the main exercise listed for that day. If time permits, then I might add in some accessories on a particular day.
    – Alex L
    Sep 24, 2015 at 22:20
  • Probably be best to reword the final question. The last part of it is entirely personal opinion anyway, different times work better for different people.
    – JohnP
    Sep 24, 2015 at 22:25

1 Answer 1


You know, it looks pretty damn decent. The program you are currently following is well and beyond sufficient for you to constantly improve as far as your strength goes.

I'm sure you know that you'll improve on conditioning and lower your bodyfat at the same time and just a suggestion maybe add some sprints into the mix, not a requirement however, what you currently have is great.

Training in the morining isn't at all bad, some actually recommend it. I myself cant ever get myself to workout before night. But if you do it whenever it fits you for that particular day it should be fine also.

Weight training is not such an exact sience and little things that you worry about dont really matter as much, the key is to keep it consistent and not give up. Sice you work as well as study just try to stick to your program as much as possible and you should be fine.

Best of luck!

  • +1 Before I mark your answer as accepted, I'm going to see if any other answers come along that also address the organization of the program and the additional things I want to do in it (rack pulls, pin squats, etc.). I do appreciate the answer though.
    – Alex L
    Sep 11, 2015 at 20:09

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