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5/3/1 for Bodybuilding, Bad Back


Ok, so i'm looking at doing 5/3/1 probably the boring but big template or the bodybuilding template, the problem is i have a bad back after an accident with bent rows therefore obviously it will be near impossible to progress, strength wise, with deadlifts and squats.

On the dead and squats days how can i change it so its more bodybuilding focused and not strength?

Or should i just not do 5/3/1 as i cannot train for strength in my lower body/lower back, and do a different program more focused to bodybuilding.

Also been training for 1 - 2 years seriously but been off 3 months due to back.



I have done 531 before, I just did the strength percnetages for the 1st exercise and then just went mad on the volume for the rest of the session doing what exercise I would do for bodypart type split. On the deload reduced volume, reduced weight and gave joints a break.

Bench day = chest day
Squat day = lower day
Deadlift day = back day
Military press day = shoulders

Tag triceps and biceps in where you can, I had to do biceps on back day as had a shoulder issue

Does that make sense?


Yeah, that makes sense, thanks

guess i can add triceps to chest and biceps to back.


5/3/1 is not a rehab routine. Heal yourself, then you won't have to 'tip-toe' through your training!


Nothing wrong with what you did, but it isn't 5/3/1. % based programs have been around for over sixty years...using %'s doesn't make a routine 5/3/1.


Understand % comment, but why isn't it 531 in the words of Jim "You have the book, so you know what to do. Do whatever assistance work/template you feel is appropriate."


Honestly just don't do 5/3/1 until you can do all 4 lifts. The program is not good if you have a bad back since at least 2 of the 4 days involve back for the main lift, if you do bentover rows after bench that's 3 of 4 days. Do a program that revolves around lifts you CAN do with minimal substitutions.



I'll say it again, DO NOT DO THIS PROGRAM.

I have some bad lower-back issues from a long time ago, and this program made it much worse, and did so rather quickly. Trust me on this.


SSC is right, don't train through your injury just for the sake of doing the 531 program.

Get whatever problem you have with your back fixed.

until then find good exercises that don't hurt/aggravate your situation and train like a mofo on those exercises.


If you're injured then you should get it fixed. If you like the progression/rep set scheme of 531 then you can use that for your bench and mil press. You dont HAVE to do the entire program... but dont go around telling people you're doing 531 one when you're not ya know?

If youre a BBer then you should probably be doing a bodypart split. Just use the 531 set/rep/progression for bench and mil press and then on your other days hit exercises that dont hurt your back.