5/3/1 for Hardgainers Substitutes

Hi guys, I plan on starting the 5/3/1 for hardgainers next week.
I have some questions for you Jim.
Can I use a Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Saturday ?
It fits better my schedule at the University.
Besides that, I have 20 years old, I feel that I have a good recovery and I like to do the big lifts (I’m used to squat at least 2-3 times every week).
May I squat another day to practice my technique? (just at about 40%, something easy, maybe some speed work?)
I like a lot the program, but here in my gym we don’t have the prowler nor the sled nor an airdyne bike… Can I use the row or a normal bike to do the 20-30 minutes of work?
Maybe doing something like the workouts provided here ?

Thanks a lot!

Dont have a prowler at the gym either

We do farmers walks with heavyass dumbells and homemade carry straps for plates
waiter walks
Fireman Carries
use battle ropes and tie them to weights and pull them
some slippy slidey thing they use in group classes we sit on and pull and push each other.

There are ways to improvise

No. Do not add an extra squat day.
-if you are hitting a true rep PR in both squats and deadlifts in the same week and widowmakers etc for assistance I guarantee you will appreciate that 4 days is plenty

Changing the days like that is fine.

HIIT on rower or bike is fine if thats what you have access to. Jim is a big fan of hill sprints also

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Thanks reconbyfire and RampantBadger.
I was thinking about farmer walks too but as it seemed to me that it was more about a lower body conditioning/hiit for the plan, that’s why I was asking for the row or bike.
Thanks for the article too, I’m thinking that doing sprints could be a very nice option to me.
I’ll wait for jim answer for the cardio options that I posted, as I think that are good options to substitute what Jim wanted with the prowler work.
And thanks Rampant, I didn’t think about that future day when I’ll be doing PR and widowmakers lol.
As I tend to work long sets of squats, I don’t expect widowmakers to be that killer in the first weeks (hopefully haha)

The program is the program - I have not used it/coached it with any of the variations. Everything has a specific place and is there for a specific reason. Since you cannot do the program, I recommend you create or try something else. With all the changes, it’s not even close to the original program.

Jim, I just plan changing the prowler or sled because I don’t have that
equipment. What would you recommend? Or can you recommend me another
program? (I’m a kind of hardgainer)
Thanks in advance

I’d recommend BBB or the Krypteia. The latter is on my private forum but is kind of the new “go to” program that outshadows anything I’ve done; we’ve had more success with size/strength/speed with this program than any other. It will be in the new book so until then, I’d recommend BBB with AirDyne/Bike and 1600m (total) tempo runs 2 times/week (100m x 16).

Jim how can I access to that forum and where?
Besides that, when will the new book be released?

Assuming you’r talking about this program: Boring But Big 3-Month Challenge
Must I start 5/3/1 with a TM of 85% or 90% of my 1RM?
And since it is a 3 month challenge, then I max in the next week and I start again?
Thanks in advance Jim!
(Even though I think that I want to access to that forum lol to try krypteia)

That’s the three month BBB challenge. If I remember correctly the difference between that and normal BBB is that you go for PR sets and keep supplemental work at 50% rather than increasing to 60% and 70%.
Jim’s private forum is on his website, if you google it I’m sure it’ll be at the top.
I’d recommend 85% training max to start with.
If you want to learn more I’d recommend buying 5/3/1 second edition and beyond 5/3/1 and/or joining the private forum.

I’m talking about the basic BBB - from the book.

And what about building the monolith?
Would you recommend it?

As you sound totally new to the system ‘triumvirate’ would be the best place to start…

I suggest you read a bunch of his artcles also especially ‘Letter to a young Jim Wendler’ and ‘Blood and Chalk’ series(and buy the book obviously!)


You are thinking too much, think less. Eat more.

  1. Find a program
  2. Follow program
  3. Evaluate results
    4 Ask yourself, what could have been done better ? what needs work ? nothing ? ok.
  4. Repeat