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The Wendler Way

By admin | In Uncategorized | on February 25, 2011


February is coming to a close and the Challenge is almost upon us. With that in mind, we’re going to continue our quest for strength gain by adopting a training program that has proven quite effective. Jim Wendler, editor of Elite Fitness Systems and author of 5/3/1: The Simplest and Most Effective Training System to Increase Raw Strength, developed a simple way to get stronger by taking multi-joint lifts (squat, deadlift, press, bench press), starting light, and progressing slowly.

Now I know I just lost some of you by using the words light and slowly, but snap out of the ego induced daze and focus on the word PROGRESS. Wendler says, “You don’t need to operate at your max to increase your max. Why people get so bent out of shape about taking two steps back if it means they’ll be taking 10 steps forward is beyond me.” For those of you who have been with us for a while, you’ve managed to make some great gains on our linear progression which is a great novice program and our newbies will stay on that program until they become familiar with the lifts and make significant gains. Those of you who have hit the reset wall (and perhaps fought our advice to reset at a lower weight) and are banging your head against the same darn work set, eking out a 5-3-2 week after week, will be transitioning to the 5/3/1.

The Wendler 5/3/1 program has a definitive start point based on your 1RM (those of you who don’t have a 1RM, don’t worry, we have a solution for you), with varied work sets/loads every week. First you take 90% of your 1RM and make that your “working 1RM”(W1RM) to calculate all percentage on. After one month, you add 5# to your upper body W1RM and 10# to your lower body W1RM and continue the program:

Step 1: 1RM x 90% = W1RM

Week 1:
5 reps of 65% W1RM
5 reps of 75% W1RM
5+ reps of 85% W1RM

Week 2:
3 reps of 70% W1RM
3 reps of 80% W1RM
3+ reps of 90% W1RM

Week 3:
5 reps of 75% W1RM
3 reps of 85% W1RM
1+ reps of 95% W1RM

Week 4 (Deloading):
5 reps of 40% W1RM
5 reps of 50% W1RM
5 reps of 60% W1RM

Where you see the “+” sign, you do that number of reps, or more. This is similar to our burnout set, but the difference is that you always want to leave “1-2 in the tank” and NOT go to failure. Going to failure may require so much more recovery that it hinders strength gain.

CrossFit One World posted a great FAQ on the program. CrossFit Inland Valley and T-Nation also have great articles about this program if you want more info.


WOD 2.25.11

Power Clean 3×3

AMRAP 15:
Buy in with 20 burpees

5 Toes to Bar
5 Ring Push Ups
15 Double Unders

8 Comments to "The Wendler Way"

  • Anna says:

    February 25, 2011 at 8:22 AM -

    That’s why you’re our mom, you always know how to diagnose our problems. This post speaks right to me, I’ve been stuck on the same worksets for months, even when I reset I go back to that same spot. Excited to try the new “way”!

  • Nik says:

    February 25, 2011 at 8:46 AM -

    Websites system is awesome. Did 3 weeks of it (I have program add ok?) saw massive gains in lifts by progressing slowly and intelligently. Nice stuff Ruth!

  • Nik says:

    February 25, 2011 at 8:47 AM -

    Stupid I phone…w

  • Nik says:

    February 25, 2011 at 8:48 AM -

    iPhones on CRACK!! wendler! Not website. Ya I’ve turned into that guy who has like 9 posts on 1 topic

  • Michael H says:

    February 25, 2011 at 11:47 AM -

    Nick, you need to take a look at fuautocorrect.com

    I’m ready break my plateaus

    BTW Marcus, your Oven Roast Chicken recipe was delish! Made it twice this week but we added garlic cloves which was a great crispy complement to the chicken. (Correction, Steph made it, I ate it :) )

  • Xuan says:

    February 25, 2011 at 12:41 PM -

    Reason #159 that Intrepid is like family: Family always wants to help you get better and are super excited for you when it happens.

    Reason #160 that Intrepid is JUST like family: I got busted yesterday for doing something I knew deep down I probably shouldn’t do, but did it anyways. Thanks for setting me straight “Mom” :)

  • Nick says:

    February 25, 2011 at 12:42 PM -

    Sounding even more like weight lifting club…

  • nik werre says:

    February 25, 2011 at 12:44 PM -

    @Michael,
    Dude that is the funniest damn thing I have read in a while. I’d have to post on there every hour, how the iPhone corrects things is beyond me.

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