5/3/1, Extra Squat Day Instead of Shoulder Press

Hey all. All summer long my schedule has been very hectic and I haven’t been on a program in almost 2 months (I’ve just been doing 5x5 for my core lifts), but now I’m going to give 5/3/1 a shot.

For those of you who are familiar with 5/3/1 and have run it before, how important is it to include standing shoulder press as one of my 4 core lifts? I’ve heard it has a significant carryover to bench press; however, I’ve never had a problem increasing my bench with any other program, and I’ve never really even considered SSP to be a core lift. Jim says “you’re expected to train 3 to 4 days a week,” without training more than 2 days in a row.

Although he explicitly states to not deviate from the program whatsoever, I’m too ignorant to take that to heart. The tweak that I would like to make is using SSP as an accessory to bench press, and replace the SSP day with an extra squat day. According to someone who responded to my first and only other post, “my squat sucks,” which is something that I’ve been self conscious about for a long time. I don’t know why my squat sucks, but it does, and I’d like to emphasize squatting for at least 3-4 4 week cycles of 5/3/1 so I can break out of the nasty, embarrassing rut that I’m in.

Please let me know what you think. My deadlift and bench aren’t amazing, but they don’t suck. My squat does. Will I have the same results on my squat if I only squat 1x/week, or will I benefit from squatting more than Jim prescribes? I know that all my core lifts will improve, but I’d like to see my squat be closer to my deadlift numbers than my bench numbers ASAP. Thanks in advance guys!

Do you have any of his books? He has several variations that squat every single training day.

If I remember correctly his 5/3/1 Beach Body Challenge (found on this site) also squats every day, but I think it utilizes OHP rather than Bench.

I went and looked at your other post; and the guy was just bugging you when he said your squat sucks.

It’s all relative.

How long have you been working out? What is your age, height, weight? Are your arms or legs particularly short/long?

How much focus have you put into specific lifts?

In high school when I hit my 285lb bench for 1 rep I had a 1RM of 405 for squat and 465 for deadlift.

Some people just have better leverages with certain lifts than others.

I don’t have any of his books, all I’ve seen from Jim is his article that lays out the basic percentages for 5/3/1 on this site. I do want my squat to increase, but not at the expense of regressing in bench/dead. In your opinion, would using OHP as an accessory to bench be an acceptable tweak?

I wouldn’t do it personally.

Depending what template you use for assistance you are already squatting twice a week. That is plenty for me, and much beyond that I would be limiting recovery. Also, OHP is awesome. I lean towards Strongman oriented training which puts a large focus on your overhead strength and IMO is much more impressive than ‘how much you bench, bro’.

Often his setups are:
Day 1: Bench, with OHP Supplemental
Day 2: Squat, with Deadlift Supplemental
Day 1: OHP, with Bench Supplemental
Day 1: Deadlift, with Squat Supplemental
Whatever order works best for you, splitting the upper/lower days ofc.

If you search 5/3/1 in the search function on the main site there are several variations. I would pick your favourite and just follow it. I would refrain from tweaking it until you have run it for a couple cycles and assess your progress after that. You might surprise yourself with some big squat improvements without having to squat as frequently as you think.

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Just do a different template, probably a full body one where you deadlift or squat everyday but most likely more squatting than deadlifts. The simplest solution to this just seems to be squat on your deadlift day after doing deadlifts, thats what most others have been doing, it addresses your main complain about only squatting x1 per week.

If you really want to work on squat work on some mobility and bw squats on some other days, enough where it doesn’t count as a big lift for that day but at least get some more practice. Squatting twice per week and promoting recovery other days should be ideal for most people.

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Thanks so much for the positive feedback, I really appreciate it!

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I had great results with a second squat and a second bench.

  1. I replaced the OHP day with Bench so I had 2 bench days
  2. On deadlift day I would squat first, that would be my second squat. Then I would do the deadlift as normal. The squat on this day would be just for volume/reps and not tire me out, so the deadlifts were fine.

I didn’t use BBB with this, but did use Joker sets, and First Set Last, plus lots of accessories.

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Did you deadlift after your squats on squat days as well? & thanks for the response, I’ll start throwing in some First Set Last on days when I have plenty left in the tank!

On my squat days I did a deadlift variation after squat. Pause deadlifts was my fav but also did SLDL and snatch grip.

The whole structure was like this:

Day1: Squat 531, Deadlift Variation, Accessories
Day2: Bench 531, Dumbbell Incline, Accessories
Day3: Light squats, Deadlift 531, Accessories
Day4: Bench 531 (instead of overhead), Dumbbell shoulder press, Accessories

Spread over 7 days, rest days as needed.
I often threw in front squats as well to get more squat volume, they didn’t seem to take away from recovery too much as can’t go so heavy on those.

Another great way to do it instead of 2 competition bench days, have one day comp bench and the other close grip bench or close grip incline. That’s closer to the overhead press load on the triceps but not so far away from the comp bench that you’ll still get carryover

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Thanks for the thorough response man. I really appreciate it