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2-3 Day/wk 5/3/1 Template Cycle Advice?


Hey everyone.
I’m new to the forum but not new to 5/3/1. I’m a busy dad that works full-time and takes online college courses part-time. I’ve been lifting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday for the past few years because that’s what works best for me. I have goals for each lift, and am focusing on strength gains. My favorite template to run is the full body template from Beyond 5/3/1. I run it as written, sometimes adding curls at the end. I also finish every session with incline treadmill sprints per Jim’s suggestion some time ago. I understand and implement the 5/3 cycles, but I’ve been seeing Jim and Joey Waters suggesting running one template for 2-3 cycles and then switching intensities to another template for 2-3 cycles.

My question is what would be the best way to implement this into a 2 or 3 day/wk template? 4 days is not an option for me, and I like full body routines.

Any suggestions?


You can run many of the 5/3/1 templates 3 days a week and there are a couple of different ways to do it. One way is to focus on one lift per day and then the cycle would just take an extra week to complete. Also, just like you do in the full body template, you can combine press and deadlift on the same day to fit all the lifts in one week. Many of the templates can be done this way. However, I wouldn’t suggest doing this with one of the challenges as they are written to be done a certain number of days for a reason.


I understand that. I guess a better question would have been what templates could be used in my case to change intensities in each cycle. I’ve seen people suggest using BBB for 2-3 cycles followed by FSL for 2-3. I’m not terribly interested in BBB, but FSL seems to be the popular choice for strength cycles.


I like the ABA/BAB style.

Squat 5/3/1 (FSL, Pyramid, Jokers, nothing at all or whatever)
Bench assistance(5 Pro’s, BBB, 5x5, 6x6, nothing at all or whatever)

High Pull
Overhead Press-531

Bench 5/3/1
Squat assistance

High Pull
Deadlift 5/3/1
Overhead Press assistance

Squat 5/3/1
Bench 5/3/1

Overhead Press 5/3/1
Deadlift assistance

And however you structure your jumps and throws, chins throughout the workout, abs and whatever you do for conditioning. This has been really good for me. I just don’t match BBB w/ much else, but all the other combos work well.


That looks like something I’ve done before, and it worked out pretty well. Is that basically the 1000% Awesome template, or doesn’t that rotate through ABA/BAB like that?

Is this a template you typically fall back on and run until you feel like trying a new one? The thing is, I’ve been running the same template for quite a while, but now I feel like I should take Jim’s advice and split my 5 cycles up and vary the intensity.


I haven’t read the 1000% template, so idk. I just figured out what i needed right now pretty much. I rotate ABA/BAB. Squat/Bench twice one week and Deadlift/Press twice the next week. You can still do 5 up/3 back with this if you do all 4 lifts in one week. I haven’t done 5 up with this setup on every lift, but if i’m getting slow or sloppy on a lift I will drop it back 3 or reset the lift to the last weight I hit for a good 5 reps. You also can still run FSL for a couple cycles and BBB for a cycle or just about any other template you want to apply to a 3 day cycle. When doing BBB I look at 1 complete cycle as 6 weeks, seeing as it’s an assistance based template. The only thing that I’ve changed really is the frequency of my assistance.


The best thing i did was listen to jims advice and plan my 1-5 cycles. I like 4 day templates but you can organise your programming to suit 3 day aswel. Day 1-Squat. Day 2- bench press. Day 3-deadlift/press. If you dont like bbb you could do fsl amrap or 5x8 for cycles 1-2. Fsl 5x5 cycles 3-4. Fsl 3x5 cycle 5 or 5’s pro around cycles 4-5. I prefer bbb for early cycles so i can hit some higher volume lighter weight with a different variation for my supplemental work eg close grip bench press, olympic squat, stiff leg deads and incline press.


I like that idea. One of the main reasons I liked doing full body routines was that I could maintain weekly progress without going 4 days a week. I know I’ve seen templates that looked like:

Day 1
Squat 5/3/1 + FSL
Bench 5/3/1 + FSL
Day 2
Deadlift 5/3/1 + FSL
Press 5/3/1 + FSL

Would I be able to do this for a 3 day per week?
Day 1
Squat 5/3/1 + BBB
Day 2
Bench 5/3/1 + BBB
Day 3
Press 5/3/1 + BBB
Deadlift 5/3/1 + BBB

Do that for 2-3 cycles and then do the same template but switch the supplemental lifts for FSL for 2-3 cycles?

I thought I read somewhere that Jim doesn’t recommend using BBB this way but I feel like people have used it for FSL.

I just want to plan it out so I don’t have to think about it.


That could work but a squat press pull each day would prob work better with bbb. Snutts on this forum does something like this im pretty sure thats his name. If you can pick up the beyond book plenty of template and variation options to pick from in there. When planning out your cycles just take note of what cycle it is and what 531 variation best suits it so cycles 1-2 high volume, cycles 3-5 is moderate to low volume because your tm is at a higher intensity.