Archives For 5/3/1

I’ve only been performing progressively heavier, below parallel squats with a barbell on my back on a regular basis since around November of 2010, and have noticed some unintended, unexpected and unwelcomed side effects.

If you’re thinking of training with weights, perhaps embarking on a program that calls for below parallel squats with a barbell on your back while increasing the weight on a regular basis such as Starting Strength, 5/3/1, Stronglifts 5x5, or any other squat centric training program, you might want to take a look at this list of side effects I've experienced before you dive in:

1. Favorite Jeans Do Not Fit

Before I dedicated myself to training seriously, I was a size 32. I used to have an old favorite pair of jeans that fit me PERFECTLY. It was a pair of Levi’s 527 low boot cut jeans (apparently boot cut jeans make you look taller). It wasn’t too tight, and it wasn’t too loose either.

In fact, back then almost all my jeans were around size 32. They were mostly bootcut. I had a few size 33-34 jeans as well. I remember those size 34 jeans being too loose, and reminded me of my youth where everyone wore baggy jeans.

These days most of my size 32 jeans do not fit. The only size 32 jeans that do fit are my Levi’s 569 loose straight jeans, but even they’re tight on me now!

Now, my most comfortable and new favorite pair of jeans are my size 34 DKNY Madison boot-cut jeans, which only a few years ago felt too loose. And even now, they’re starting to feel tight.

UPDATE: I just discovered that my new favorite jeans now have a rip in the crotch.


Thank you, squats.

2. Ripped Shorts

Ripped Shorts From Squats

The bottom position in a deep, ass-to-grass squat does no favors for your favorite pair of shorts.

It’s not uncommon for people to hear a loud ripping sound in the middle of their set of squats. I’ve heard it before, and thankfully the hole in my shorts wasn’t that big. But when I heard the rip, there was a momentary lapse in concentration: my focus went from squatting the bar up, to “dammit I just ripped my shorts!”.

Thankfully I train at home and there was no one around to laugh at me, but I’m sure other people who train at a gym surrounded by strangers haven’t been so fortunate.

It’s distracting and potentially embarrassing.

3. Stretch Marks


I’ve seen stretch marks on my legs, hips and buttocks before squatting 3 days a week, but now they are even larger and more pronounced than than ever.

It looks as though the skin on my butt and legs have been pierced and ripped by the claws of some wild animal.

They say lifting weights make you look good naked, but with all these stretch marks on my ass, I’m not so sure. Unless you like tiger stripes.

4. Underwear Feels Too Tight

I wear briefs. I like how it makes everything feel safe and secure. All my underwear were medium size.

However, one side effect of squatting 3 times per week is that your butt gets bigger. A big butt takes up space in your underwear, leaving less space for everything else. For guys, this anterior compression from the underwear due to an enlarge posterior is an uncomfortable feeling.

And not only do squats make your butt bigger, but it also makes your legs bigger. This is a problem for my boxer briefs, because now that my legs are thicker, there doesn’t seem to be enough leg room. Everything is tight, and seems to ride up no matter how long the legs on the boxer briefs are.

Not comfortable.

5. Become Agitated When People Do Not Squat At All, Do Not Squat Deep Enough Or Do Not Squat Properly


When I first started learning the back squat and actually made progress, I began to see how other people around me were wrong.

I found myself shaking my head in my own mind at those who exercise at the gym all the time, have a massive upper body but never squat!

If if they did, it’s usually on the Smith machine performing quarter, or at best, half squats.

I used to have to restrain myself from yelling offering unsolicited advice to unsuspecting strangers to squat deeper, correct their form, or use the squat rack.

I can’t tell you how annoyed I used to be when personal trainers never tell their clients to perform an honest ass-to-grass squat in the squat rack.

And don’t even get me started about those who curl in the squat rack.

Fast forward to today: I have accepted the fact that not everyone will squat properly, squat using a rack or even squat at all.

With time and experience, I have developed tolerance to gym rats and curl bros and have accepted them for who they are.

I am now at peace.

Whey Protein Powder


I have been training seriously for about 9-10 months now, however I haven't taken any "bodybuilding" supplements for almost 9-10 years. I've made some pretty good progress, but lately I've been thinking about adding some whey protein to my diet.

So after weeks (maybe months?) of thinking & debating with myself, I finally ordered some whey protein.

I find that sometimes:

  • my meals don't contain enough meat
  • takes too long to prepare and cook meat
  • the quality of the meat is pure crap (i.e. hot dogs)
  • I'm just to lazy to cook up a high protein meal

So to remedy this, I picked up three 5lbs tubs of whey protein isolate from (best deal I could find in Canada).

Personally I don't think you should be taking bodybuilding supplements unless you're already training, making progress, and have a fairly decent diet. But since I got these covered, increasing my protein intake & keeping it more consistent via supplementation seems like a good investment.

25% off & free shipping probably influenced my decision too LOL.

Anyways, here are some good reads I've come across this past week:

  1. tells you why you should "TRAIN" and not "workout"
  2. Stevo from SAPT shares his opinion and raises some good points about Crossfit.
    • My take on it: Some people love it, others hate it. Personally, although I don't do Crossfit myself, but I think it's probably better than most things out there available to the general public. I'm talking infomercial programs, fitness/muscle magazine's cookie cutter workouts, martial arts McDojo's, etc etc.
  3. Jim Wendler explains how to use "5/3/1" for beginners. He also shows you how you can increase your squat & deadlifts by adding power cleans at the beginning of your training session, and how awesome it is to develop a huge yoke.