T Nation

5/3/1 A/B Template for 2 or 3 Days a Week

I need an A/B style format for training. Some weeks I can train 2 days a week and other weeks I can train 3 times a week.

On off days my conditionig will be light. Possibly walking.

Would this leader and anchor be suitable for this type of training?

Are weighted carries suitable for the core portion of assistance?


A Workout:
Squat - 5’s Pro, 5x5 FSL/push-ups x 50 - 100
Bench - 5’s Pro, 5x5 FSL/rows x 50 - 100
Weighted carries

B Workout:

Deadlift - 5’s Pro, 5x5 FSL/dips 50 - 100
Press - 5’s Pro, 5x5 FSL/chins 50 - 100
Weighted carries


A Workout:
Squat - 5/3/1, 5x5 FSL/push-ups x 50 - 100
Bench - 5/3/1, 5x5 FSL/rows x 50 - 100
Weighted carries

B Workout:

Deadlift - 5/3/1, 5x5 FSL/dips 50 - 100
Press - 5/3/1, 5x5 FSL/chins 50 - 100
Weighted carries

not sure how your training days are spread out through the week but another way to set this up, especially if some weeks you need to train two (or more) days in a row then maybe work 2-3days was to set up A/B with main focus on a single lift rather than two main lifts/day.

A Squat or Deadlift (alternate) + main lift supplemental + assistance
B Bench or Press (alternate) + main lift supplemental + assistance

I guess the first question here is, can you handle these workouts week after week? You’re doing two main lifts, two 5x5 FSLs, and then a bunch of assistance. It seems like a lot to do in one workout to me. Maybe if you’re only training twice a week and have a lot of time those two days this works for you and you can get through the workouts. If you only have two days a week to train and your body can handle this, then it’s not a bad solution to getting in all four lifts during a week. Again, provided you can handle all of this.

Since you are doing two days worth of main lifts and supplemental work, you can always get rid of or scale back on the assistance work. Really, since you only have two days a week to train, you could just do the main work and supplemental work, and not do any assistance if you had to. If you sometimes get a third day to train, you could make that your day for assistance.

Remember, when training two main lifts in the same day, calculate your TM for the second lift after doing your first set of lifts. If you try to use the TM for the second lift as if you were fresh, you could wind up burning out.

Weighted carries can be core exercises, particularly farmer’s walks. Yoke walk/runs are also a good core workout if the rest of your lower body can handle it. If you find that your core gets a good workout doing front carries, go for it. If not, try something else. Again, though, doing weighted carries after everything else you have seems pretty taxing, so listen to your body and back off if all of this ends up being too much for one day.

If you haven’t tried this yet I would suggest just doing the main lifts and supplemental work, and doing the assistance on a third day if you get that chance. If your body can handle that, then add in some assistance work after a couple of weeks. If you really want to do some farmer’s walks and your body can handle it, go for it. If not, try some leg raises or ab rollouts. Good luck.

Thanks that’s a great idea.

I’ve been training like this already, but the assistance totals are more like 50 reps for each category.

On weeks where I’ve been able to train 3 times and the Deadlift has fallen twice in the same week, I have to admit that’s tough. Taking your advice I will probably do an assistance workout on the third day if it would mean deadlifting twice in a week.

Having an A/B Template is ideal for me because sometimes (quite often) I can only train 2 times a week. On the other hand sometimes I can train up to 5 times a week (not so often).

Question is do I do 100 reps from push, pull and core on the optional 3rd day? I suppose it could look like this.
DB Squat 50
Dips 50
Chins 50
Triceps pushdowns 50
Curls 50
Hanging leg raise 50

Many thanks

Will try this after I’ve done the leader and anchor for my current template.

Do you mean using Krypteia style assistance and would you drop the Press day?

Really, don’t sweat the assistance too much. Fit in in as you can and how your body and schedule will permit.

Do you know your schedule for a given week at the beginning of the week for how many days you will have to train? If so, I suggest something like this:

2 Days: day 1- squat/bench; day 2- deadlift press. Only do the assistance you have time and energy for. If a third day magically appears, do more assistance then if you want to.

3 Days: day 1- squat; day 2- bench/press; day 3- deadlift. You should have time on these days to fit in your assistance. Ideally it would be great to not have these three days consecutively without rest, but we do what we have to do when work/life schedules get crazy.

4 Days: day 1- squat; day 2- bench; day 3-deadlift; day 4- press. Again, you should have time and energy to do the assistance here, but again be mindful of trying to get a rest day in without training 3-4 days in a row.

I wouldn’t schedule a third day to just do assistance work. I suggest a third day of assistance only if you’re schedule is unpredictable and you know you only have two guaranteed days to do the main lifts. In that case if a third day pops up you can use it for assistance and you’ve still done your main lifts. But if you know at the beginning of a week that you will have 3 days to train, split it up so you do a main lift(or two) each day you train. I hope you understand the difference.

Again, don’t sweat the details on the assistance stuff too much. If your body can handle 100 chins after doing a workout and it doesn’t hurt your recovery, go ahead and do it. If you can only do 25 good chins after a hard workout before your form goes to crap and you start kipping around, only do 25 (or take longer rests if that’s an option.) Your main focus, especially if you have a crazy schedule, is to get the main lifts in and then the supplemental work. Whatever assistance you manage to get in after that is a bonus, and good on you for finding a way to knock it out. Do what your body can handle, what time permits, and what you can recover from.

And I personally discourage training deadlift as a main and supplemental lift twice in one week. That seems like a lot to try to recover from.