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5/3/1 - 2 Days a Week

I am looking for a strength program but only have 2 or sometimes 3 days per week that I can get to a gym because of my work/travel schedule - I can get to the gym on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Does anyone have any experience with the 5/3/1 at 2 days per week?

Thanks for your help.

The book covers this, but if you dont have it I can provide with some examples.

example one: upper/lower 1.

upperbody day:
militarypress: 5/3/1.
benchpress: 5/3/1.

  • supportive excercises for upperbody( row, chins, dips etc. )
  • take the one pressing excercise that you want to improve the most, if thats bench do it before mp.

lowerbody day:
squat: 5/3/1.
deadlift: 5/3/1.

  • supportive excercises for lowerbody( quads, hams, low back, abs )

example two: upper/lower 2.
sample cycle for upperbody.
week 1-3-5: militarypress: 5,3,1.
week 2-4-6: benchpress: 5,3,1.

sample cycle lowerbody.
week 1-3-5: squat: 5,3,1.
week 2-4-6: deadlift: 5,3,1.

  • search for the article “5,3,1 reloaded”. in that article it is an example of a 5,3,1 split for two days a week thats similar to the upper/lower 2 example.

example 3: totalbody:
day 1:
benchpress: 5,3,1.
squat: 5,3,1.

  • supportive excercises.

militarypress: 5/3/1.
deadlift: 5/3/1.

  • supportive excercises.

About supportive excercises:
This is not set in stone and the total volum depends on your work capacity, If its low try to increase the volum for cycle to cycle. + The most importent would be from my wiew to balance out the pressing with upperbody-pulling and doing some core work.

ps. since you have a third day sometimes, you can use that as a filler day, where you hit muscle groups thats neglected on the other days.

Hope that was helpfull :slight_smile:

good luck.

Thank you very much, that was very helpful.

I’ve done 2/week with 5/3/1 for some times when traveling for a few weeks or just really busy and I think it works great. Pick your lifts to maximize training economy and hit them very hard. I always did mine as a total body each day as follows:

Cleans 5/3/1
deadlift: 5/3/1.
militarypress: 5/3/1.
Chin-ups (between press sets)
Any other assistance or conditioning (though generally little of nothing)

Cleans 5/3/1
squat 5/3/1
benchpress 5/3/1
DB Rows (between bench sets)
any other assistance or conditioning (though generally little of nothing)

I structured my days that way because my deadlift is significantly higher than my squat and I care about it more, so I would rather squats suffer on thursday than deadlift. Put whichever pair is most important on the Tuesday when you will be most well rested. I always do the lower work first, but if you care more about the upper body work then you may want to do it first – set priorities. Obviously the cleans are optional (and I just did them as a heavy warm up and never rep out on them).

I found this to be effective for me. Good luck.

Oh, and if you are not doing total body, I would just do it as Jim suggests having 4 distinct days spread across 2 weeks, rather than stacking bench and military on one day and squat and deadlift on another day. Were I to stack them, I would just put them as assistance:


Press 5/3/1
Bench 5 sets of 10

Deadlift 5/3/1
Squat 5 sets of 10


Bench 5/3/1
Press 5 sets of 10
DB Rows

Squat 5/3/1
Deadlift 5 sets of 10