Nemesis + 5/3/1: Getting Stronger

Over the past year or so I’ve spent several months following Jim Wendler’s 5/3/1 programming for building strength. I’ve seen steady strength gains but am always interested in learning new ways of training and building strength.

Enter Nemesis

In January I set a couple goals for myself for this year.

  1. Snatch my body weight.
  2. Clean and Jerk 1 1/2 times my body weight.

In order to help me reach these goals I joined Weightlifting Academy to get some coaching and more specific programing. Here I was exposed to the Nemesis style of programing. I gave it a shot for a couple days but just didn’t have the time to commit to doing it properly.

Over the past couple weeks Weightlifting Academy has been holding a 21 Day squat challenge and I’ve been hearing about everyones gains and PR’s. I’m a little jealous.

So I’m going to give Nemesis a shot in a experiment.

Why I’m doing this

Weaknesses as displayed by Beyond the Whiteboard

Weaknesses as displayed by Beyond the Whiteboard

My pressing strength is the worst. I used Beyond the Whiteboard to track my workouts. It offers a an analysis of my lifts and shows relative strengths and weaknesses. As the image shows my pressing strength is way below my squat and deadlift. Performing 5/3/1 is producing strength gains but everything is going up at the same rate. I want to get my pressing strength closer to the same as my squat and deadlift.

The Experiment

I could just focus on pressing strength and do Nemesis style training for bench or shoulder press for several months and my pressing strength would go up, but at the expense of my squat and deadlift. So I need to maintain/improve those lifts minimally while pushing my pressing strength gains with Nemesis.

So I’m going to combine Nemesis and 5/3/1. 5/3/1 is based on a 4 week cycle. My plan is take those 4 weeks and do Nemesis on my Shoulder Press and continue 5/3/1 on my squat, deadlift and bench. Then the next 4 weeks perform Nemesis on my squat, and do 5/3/1 on the other lifts. Continue this for all 4 lifts alternating between upper and lower body movements. My thinking is that I’ll be able to improve weaknesses without neglecting my other lifts.

The Schedule

This means I’ll be focusing on strength for at least 4 months and my conditioning might go down a little bit. I’ll have to stop doing CrossFit workouts except for maybe 1 or 2 times a week to keep a little bit of conditioning and participate with my class at The Militia Box.


  • AM = Front Squat 3rm, Weightlifting, Pulls
  • PM = Nemesis Shoulder Press


  • AM = Crossfit WOD
  • PM = Nemesis Shoulder Press


  • AM = Front Squat 3rm, Weightlifting, Pulls
  • PM = 5/3/1 Squat & Nemesis Shoulder Press


  • AM = 5/3/1 Bench Press


  • AM = Front Squat 3rm, Weightlifting, Pulls
  • PM = Nemesis Shoulder Press


  • 5/3/1 Deadlift, Nemesis Shoulder Press, conditioning


  • Rest Day

I’ll be keeping detailed notes on progress, and eating all the foods. This may end up killing me but we’ll see.

Now go move better.