Some might think I take 5/3/1 programming liberties because I'm friends with Jim. They'd be wrong. First, I am no longer trying to be a competitive powerlifter, so I can experiment without worrying about my next meet. Second, I have been powerlifting for over 30 years now. I better have learned something during that time to help steer my own programming. Last, well, Jim has given me some great ideas.

At the very least I stay true to having squat, deadlift, overhead press, and bench days. From there, all hell can break lose. Seriously though, it's nothing revolutionary.

For starters, I have been training with a lower percentage than the 90% training max. This has been in part because I have been moving down weight classes for eight years, so my numbers have constantly been changing. In addition, I have been battling through nagging injuries and have not wanted to push my luck with too heavy of weights.

As far as running the program, I follow the 3/5/1 template. I like having a week between the heavier numbers. One of the adjustments that I have made is that I have capped my AMRAP at ten. This saves me from pushing myself too hard while trying to get my body healthy. Also, I only do AMRAP on the 3's and 5/3/1 weeks. I like keeping the 5's week as is. That keeps me from burning out and it also allows me to train a little harder than customary on my deload week. For my deload numbers, I deduct 10 percent from my 5's week.

This is where the sh!t is really going to hit the fan. For my FSL sets I do speed work. Yep, you read that right, speed work. I love speed work. On the bench and ohp I stick with 5x5, but I punch those reps out really fast. For the deadlift and squat I go with 12 sets of 2. FSL sets consist of 15-25 reps, so whether it's 12x2 for 24 or 5x5 for 25 the work is still getting done. Plus I get to hit the speed work I value.

One of my favorite programs Jim set me up with was a 5/3/1 circuit. I really liked it for two reasons. First, it adds a little conditioning element to training. Second, I get through it really quickly. I mean I love the gym, but it's nice to get done in a timely fashion when you have the rest of life to contend with.

So here are the key points to my program:

-Training below 90% training max
-Following the 3/5/1 percentages (deload week is 5's week - 10%)
-AMRAP capped at 10 reps (3's and 5/3/1 week)
-No AMRAP on 5's or deload week
-FSL work is done as speed work: bench and ohp 5x5, sq and dl 12x2
-Assistance work is all done in circuit fashion

That's it. That's the program I have been running all summer long. I have been maintaining strength, dropping fat, and improving on my conditioning all at the same time. Most importantly my body has been healing up as well.