T Nation

5/3/1 Bodyweight


hey Jim I recently completed the beach body challenge and really enjoyed the progress I made. I decided to move onto a 5/3/1 variation and picked the bodyweight assistance template as I read that you said its slightly less demanding and I thought it would be good to begin with. A few quick questions:

  1. I dont have access to GHR so I am substituting 24kg kb swings is this appropriate?
  2. I can't for the life of me do single leg squats, should I replace these with lunges, overhead squats with dowel or kb goblet squats?
  3. I read that for conditioning you have used complexes and was wondering what complex you would recommend and whether it should be after assistance exercises on a training day or be on one of the rest days (maybe saturday)?

thanks in advance.


[quote]anon123 wrote:
2. I can’t for the life of me do single leg squats, should I replace these with lunges, overhead squats with dowel or kb goblet squats?[/quote]

If you mean pistols, then this isn’t a strength issue but a mobility & balance one - assuming no injury/condition. One your should put a lot of energy into fixing instead of working around as you’ll get lots of benefits from it.

  1. work on your ankle mobility like your life depends on it*

  2. until you sort the mobility out, do the pistols but grab onto something to help you from tipping over and of you need it, to help you back up from the bottom position. Bands, dip bars, a pole, a rack, all work. Try not to become reliant on this, use less support each time as a progress model

You should be right after 4 - 8 weeks and doing these no problems.

*Easiest way is to sit down (preferably well below parallel), move your foot back until your heel comes off the floor, then have someone SLOWLY sit (or put a weight plate) on your knee so your heel touches the ground again (be careful, trying to bridge the gap created by a heel raises too high is a good way to snap a tendon).

Also any mobility wod stuff on ankle mobility.


thanks for your advice ankle mobility is something I definitely need some work on. I was however looking at substituting a different exercise as the program calls for 75 reps single leg squats.

  1. I tend to think of kettlebells as more of a conditioning tool than a strength tool, but in this case i don’t see why it wouldn’t be appropriate.

  2. do one legged squats while holding onto something for balance. Alternatively, if you’re trying to do a pistol squat, swap it out for a Bulgarian split squat.

  3. I think he said the barbell complex thing was an inside joke. If you want to condition he typically recommends you walk (weighted), sprint, jump, run hills, push a prowler or ride a bike.


thanks I think I’ll try the split squats until I can do pistols abit better. Haha my bad must have missed the sarcasm, should of known because I only read it once. I want to purchase a vest when I get some spare cash. I’d be interested to hear people’s experiences with weight vest walking.


I think weighted walking produces much of the same benefits as jogging without the impact. It’s also a decent core workout since you need to stabilize in all directions.

Last summer I sprinted up stadium steps 12 times with 40lbs. I couldn’t walk down stairs for three days without using my arms and leaning on the railing, but I set a new 1 mile PR on what was supposed to be an easy recovery run.

I have a love/hate relationship with the vest.


One leg squat isn’t a pistol squat. It’s more commonanly known as a Bulgarian one leg squat. I have a hard time believing you can’t do one. If you still can’t, do static ISO holds before training and then do walking BDY weight lunges.

KB’s arent a good sub for GHR and so Id rather see you do back raises. If not, use the KB. I’m not big on complexes: I recommend Some Dude’s advice. The guy knows how I think and does a good job of adding his own spin as he sees fit.


Thanks for replying I thought the one leg squat was a pistol thats why I was having trouble.