T Nation

5/3/1 3 Consecutive Days as a Beginner

Hi all,

I’ve purchased and read 5/3/1 2nd edition and 5/3/1 beyond and have re-read them for about a week while deciding what program to move to. Due to work/gym/life I am only able to go to the gym on 3 consecutive days (fri/sat/sun) but still enjoy doing all the main lifts each week. I decided to do a 6 week training cycle to get used to following the program. In that regard, it would be great if you could look over my plan and see if anything looks ridiculous. I have a few months this year and last doing the lifts and am comfortable with them, but don’t have anything above beginner numbers.

Day 1
Bench 531, fsl 3x5
Squat fsl 3x5 (of that week’s squat %s)
Push: close grip bench
Pull: DB row
Leg/abs: side raises

Day 2
OHP 531, fsl 3x5
Deadlift 531, fsl 3x5
Push: dips
Pull: chins/pull-ups (negatives at the moment)
Legs/abs: weighted lunges

Day 3
Squat 531, fsl 3x5
Bench fsl 3x5 (that weeks %)
Push: DB bench
Pull: Lat pull down
Leg/abs: straight leg deadlifts

I’m not going to do the double 531 sets for squats/bench as the days are consecutive. This example follows the %S used in the book, instead of the article here which suggests doing double 531 each day.

If I’ve messed up and have misunderstood please tell me where I can improve.

Thanks ~

From what I understand, you’re looking to do the 4 main lifts on 3 consecutive days. Don’t do this. You’re not going to be able to cram 20 pounds of shit into a 10 pound bag without something ripping along the way. So, my suggestion would be as follows:


Day 1

  • Squat 531 (emphasize the PR set)

  • Bench 531 (emphasize the PR set)

rest 1 day

Day 2

  • Deadlift 531 (emphasize the PR set)

  • OHP 531 (emphasize the PR set)

  • 10 min. AMRAP Push-ups

  • 5 x 10 DB Row

  • Chins/pull-ups (negatives at the moment)*


*if you’re doing negatives, focus on keeping the reps lower (15-20 range), because you’re going to be sore as a motherfucker if you do 50 negatives.

This plan isn’t going to be easy, but you will adapt to the workload in time. At this point, you don’t need direct ab work if you’re busting your ass on the PR sets. If anything, you can choose to PR your OHP and DL one week (while only doing the required number of reps for Squat and Bench), and you can choose to PR your Squat and Bench the next week, (while only doing your required reps on Deadlift and OHP). Good luck. Set your TM at 85% of your estimated 1RM and get working. Get some kind of movement in on your off days (a walk, mobility work, whatever). Take a deload every 4 weeks and work up to your TM for a moderately heavy single, and you’ll be fine.

Thanks for taking the time to look over my routine and provide feedback. I’ve taken on board the advice on the accessory work, but I think I’ll try the 3 day for a cycle or so and see how it goes. I’ve been in the gym a while and believe my work load is high enough, and that my current working weights are low enough, that it shouldn’t adversely effect me after the training days.

If the work starts deterioration I’ll definitely work on the 2 day routine idea, Thanks.