T Nation

5/3/1 for Beginners Template Question


Hi all

Planinng on starting with this template this week. Just a little confused - On Jim’s website it says this

_Monday _
_Squat – 5/3/1 sets/reps, 5x5 @ First Set Last ( or FSL) _
Bench - 5/3/1 sets/reps, 5x5 @FSL

_Wednesday _
_Deadlift – 5/3/1 sets/reps, 5x5 @ FSL _
_Press – 5/3/1 sets/reps, 5x5 @ FSL _

_Friday _
_Bench – 5/3/1 sets/reps, 5x5 @ FSL _
Squat – 5/3/1 sets/reps, 5x5 @ FSL

I use the Black Iron Beast calculator to work out my percentages etc, and it gives the benches on the Monday and Squats on the Friday as 3 sets of 5 at 55%, 65% and 75%, rather than the 5/3/1 sets. I’ve also seen this version referenced on forums.

So my question is (and I expect I know what the answer would be) which is right.

And if its the 5/3/1 sets twice a week for squats and bench, is it 3x5 twice rather than once in a week, and then move onto the 3x3 twice in the second week? So you’d be doing the same sets and reps with the same weight twice in the week?


Squat session #1
-Warm Up

  • 5 reps, 5 reps 5+

Squat session #2
-Warm up

  • 3 reps, 3 reps, 3+

Squat session #3
-Warm up
-5 reps., 3reps, 1+


@locamo Thanks for the reply.

My question is though, is the squat session on the Friday a full 5/3/1 set/rep scheme ie squat session #2, or not. If it is, there would be 6 sessions before deload - would squat session 1 and 2 be the same, 3 and 4 be the same, 5 and 6 be the same?


You repeat Monday’s workout on Friday…so it still takes 3 weeks for a cycle. If you search there are a bunch of threads giving more details about this template.


So here’s what I did on my first day today




Push exercise 50 reps
Pull exercise 50 reps
Core/leg exercise 50 reps

Is this right?


Bench is the same percentages, not deload percentages


Thanks @strong_runner, so in that case, is the squat/bench workout done twice in the same week, on the Monday and Friday, with the same sets/reps/weights?


I think it’s the same. Day 1 and 3 would be squat and bench 5 x65%, 5 x 75%, 5 x 85%. Day 2 would be deadlift and press using the same percentages. Week 2 you would use the second weeks percentages (70,80,90), performing squats and bench twice using the same percentages.

You should do a search to verify.


I’ve done a bit of a search around, but I see conflicting answers. The one i see more of is what i did today - with the Monday bench presses being lighter, and without the FSL sets.


Look at Jim’s response at the end of this thread…