Just finished 4 cycles of 5/3/1 and want to offer how it went for me. I found it worked for my squat and DL but no real progress on the OHP and Bench. It seems my OHP responds better to volume training as well as the bench to some degree. I lost some size in the upper body while my strength only marginally improved.
Before 5/3/1 I had been following a Starr 5x5 routine for about 8 months. Before that I had been following 30 years of Weider-style muscle confusion training, some HIT, some 4 sets of 8, and some powerlifting routines where I competed a little bit back in my 20’s. I am 48 now, been lifting since I was 16, basically never really learned how to train right until a friend introduced me to powerlifting in college and for the firRst time I discovered programmed progression.
Before that I changed routines monthly, usually coinciding with the latest issue of Muscle and Fitness magazine. The Bertil Fox leg Blast Routine, or the Gary Strydom Cut Routine, etc. (Guys my age, you know what I mean). So I figured, except for the limited success I had with powerlifting training, I wasted many years in the gym with uncoordinated training, so I figured, why not started at the beginning and train like a beginner using smarter routines with a system of planned progression? You know, re-discover lifting. So, I did about 8 months of 5x5 and got fantastic results in both size and strength. After stalling on 5x5 I tried some 5/3/1 and didnt really like it. So, I am back to 5x5 and loving it.
Now, my questions is…this 5x5 is toted as a Beginner Program, but what the hell…I like it and will stick with it. Anyone been using it throughout one’s lifting career? I mean Reg Park did a variation of it. I plan on doing a few more cycles of it until I totally stall on 5’s, then change up the rep scheme to 3’s, then try some 8’s, then back to 5x5. Something like that. I thrive on straight sets and dont really get the same hit with ladders and pyramids and such. I remember seeing a Riptoe interview with Ed Coan and Eddie said that your base of strength comes from 5’s. I felt he was right on.