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5/3/1 Beginner Prep School: 4 Days a Week? Weekly % Progression?

Hey all,

First I’ll provide some background about me. I’m 17, been “training” for around 2 years but never took progression seriously / dicked around / did typical bro routines. As a result I haven’t made a whole lot of strength progress.

I’m not technically a beginner per se because I don’t think I can do linear progression, but I’m still pretty weak and could probably benefit from increased exposure / frequency of main lifts.

Which brings me to my question about the 531 Prep School Routine which I think is a good idea for me to run. Mr Wendler says he uses it with his high school kids, also

I have a couple of questions about the routine though

  1. I noticed it was a three day program, with the split being either 2 squat/bench or 1 deadlift/press. Is this because of beginner’s decreased ability to recover? I was thinking I could just do 2 of each day (4 day a week program). Jim says in the book,

I usually have the kids lift three times a week, this is due to practices, school, sports, and life of a high school kid

I don’t play any sports and I am good at time management so I have a lot of extra time on my hands, and I get better grades than all my peers so I’m not wasting it either. So technically could this program be done by me 4 days a week? Good idea?

  1. Why is week 1 70/80/90, week 2 65/75/85, and week 3 75/85/95? Shouldn’t it be in ascending order?


Do it 3 days as written, use your 4th day to condition would be my advice.

1 Like

Question 2
It’s written with 3/5/1 percentages. Should not be ascending.

ok i was wondering if there’s a specific reason for that…was curious.

It’s not like that. It just rotates. Say squat/bench is workout “A” and deadlift/press is workout “B.” Week 1 is yes, A/B/A, but then week 2 is B/A/B. It always rotates, so you always are doing two of one of the workouts in a week.

I have a similar question regarding this. Could it be done with 5/3/1? I know Jim didn’t write it like that, but is there a reason why it goes 3/5/1 instead? And why it’s only sets of 5, no sets of 1 or 3?

@dagill2 @believer423
Because of the frequency, does this mean you will finish a cycle in 2 weeks? Since each workout will have been done 3 times (weeks 1-3) within 2 weeks, you’ll finish it that quickly?

Hey, what are your TM for all the lifts? Are you able to complete the assistance circuits?