This preseason has been very long, 9 months, and presented many challenges. I have rarely maxed out my allotted training hours due to time constraints and lack of indoor facilities. However, I have been able to stay consistent in the weight room, which I believe sets me up well a month away from my first outdoor competition.
The past 9 months, I have been doing the Wendler’s 5-3-1 program and have manipulated and tweaked the program several times to address weaknesses, time constraints, and preparedness for the competition season. Below I am going to outline some of the changes I have made to the program and the reasons behind them.
- I started with the traditional split of squat, bench, deadlift, and push press with basic single joint accessory work including machines.
- Roughly 2 months into the program, I shifted from single joint accessory work to compound movements, such as pendlay rows and straight leg deadlifts, for my accessory work due to time restrictions. I felt like I could get more bang (progress) for my buck (time) by doing these compound movements for my accessory work
- About 5 months into the program, I added power cleans and snatches as a secondary movement on leg days. I felt like I was becoming a little sluggish doing the basic split and accessory work, so I decided to add a more explosive and athletic movement into the program.
- About 6 months into the program I switched push press out for incline bench. I felt like I was having issues bracing with the weight overhead, and instead of dropping the weight and refocusing on the technique I decided to substitute push press for incline bench press. This decision also coincided with a renewed effort to try to improve my flat bench max.
Training the past 9-months has not always gone according to plan, and I have made adjustments to the plan when needed. Overall, though I have been able to get a substantial amount of work in, and have seen gains in the weight room. I hit a lifetime best bench press (305lbs) and incline press (245lbs) in April. I was also able to deadlift 405lbs after a workout, which is weight I hadn’t touched in over a year.
Even though I have been able to get back into shape and make some progress over the past 9-monts, I still have a long way to go. The plan going forward is to train through the next year, which means I will not peak for any meets this year. Instead, I will continue to prioritize the weight room while I practice and compete in meets this summer.