T Nation

2 Day 5/3/1 Intermediate Program?

Can someone guide me into the 2 day week intermediate program cause I don’t how.
I’m limited by those days because of my highschool weight room.
Please help

Just tell me everything about it
And how to run it

Hi there. I have done (and I’m currently doing) 531 2 days a week programs. It’s really pretty simple:

Day 1:
Bench and Squat.
You can do PR set plus widowmaker for both, 5’s PRO for both, 5x531 for both. Or, do more volume for one (like 5x10) and less for the other (like 3xFSL)

Day 2
OHP and DL.
Same thing as before.

For assistance, if you can either add it to the end of these workouts (if you can only lift 2 days a week), or add in assistance work on off days. For example, do push ups, pull ups, ab rolls on an off day from the barbell work. Or choose things like curls, tricep extensions, etc… if you favor isolation work.

That’s it. Very nice for those that might need flexibility on the days they can commit to hitting the gym, because only 2 days are needed. I also liked that I could do more/less (or even no) assistance depending on what else I had going on that week.

Thank you for responding but I have no idea what all that means the widowmaker pr and stuff
Which one is gonna help me make new prs
Wait nvm i kinda get it
But the book is giving me a stroke

Widowmaker is a drop set of first
Set and try to
Get 20 reps. FSL is drop set of 5x5. Basically find a protocol and go with it 2 lifts a day so you’re doing full body both days

Hey I was wondering, does Jim wendler mention anywhere in books or anything about doing the assistance work on off days?

I wanted to try this out myself on his 2 day program but I can’t really find anyone who does this.

Yes. He does this for (at least) Limited Time and JW Classic. I have followed these templates, and really liked them. I have found that pushing barbell lifts 2x a week, and then having 1-2 days of “assistance”-style work, works really well for me.


  1. Recovery and joints. You’ll feel better than ever if you tend to feel beat up from heavy barbell work.
  2. Energy levels. You’ll really be fresh for each workout. I set a PR on bench recently running the Limited Time routine.
  3. Time. It’s easier to get in assistance work, both mentally and time-wise, compared to other barbell workouts. Plus, if you’re pushing the 2 barbell workouts, you can even skip the assistance if you have an especially active (or time constrained) week. This is great if you do sports or other activities.
  4. Change of pace. If you’ve been hitting the gym for long routines 3-5 times a week for years, it’s refreshing to cut that down to 2.
  5. Flexibility. You can use the assistance days to focus on bodyweight moves (or weight vest versions of these), or specific goals like yoke work, bodybuilding-style pump work, etc… Very customizable, but as long as you get those 2 days of barbell lifting, you’ve got your “strength” work taken care of.

Krypteia two days per week.

Yes I like these points you make. It’s good to know someone’s experience with this before I try it.

Also as life gets more and more hectic I know I can commit 2 days a week to solid barbell training and shoot for prs and have some kind of consistency

Let me put it this way: 20-rep squats won’t make you skinny.

How would this work? Squat and Bench one week, Deadlift and Press the next?

No you do them in the same week. For example Tuesday do Bench/Squat and Friday do OHP/DL.

I would do the Bench & OHP before you do the Squat or DL, after doing Widowmaker sets of Squat & DL you will not have enough energy for Bench & OHP.