T Nation

5/3/1 for Military/First Responders


Hey Jim,

As you know, 5/3/1 has quite a following in the military/LE/Fire/EMS etc communities.
The simplicity of the basics makes it so anybody can tailor it to their needs.
Still i believe your input would be most beneficial in a discussion about training for the above mentioned jobs (military and police/EMS are totally different training worlds).

So the question is: have you ever considered writing something up about it?

I am a police sergeant in Europe and use 5/3/1 for about 9 to 10 months of the year, 24th cycle now.
Main pro's for 5/3/1:
never to tired to do at least the Jack Shit.
If i train before a shift i'm still fresh enough to handle whatever comes up.
I can plan the assistance work depending on what sort of work/weather/training etc is coming up.
Being big and strong prevents more stuff then being able to run can get you out of.
And yes, sprinting and squats make a footpursuit a lot easier, as the first 25 yards are the ones that really count.
And many smaller things.

Thank you for an excellent training program which, for me personally, has helped me get out of some pretty shitty situations in one piece.


As a fireman I would buy this in a heartbeat.


"So the question is: have you ever considered writing something up about it? "

Not really - specialty books don't sell very well and my passion right now lies in the new "Athlete" book, the NOV book and figuring out what the fuck to do with my kids. I would assume your job requires you to be fast, strong, conditioned, agile and flexible/mobile...right? So how is that any different than an athlete?

I don't believe that every athlete/profession or whatever needs to train much differently than others - read my article here on TNation about Preventing Male Rape - it's a Copenhagen in cheek about training, athletes and the similarities between all the things that most people seem to need.

For example, after my 5/3/1 for Athletes article, I got a nice, well-mannered email from Reading/Comprehension Grade One Guy who said "I do marshall arts and ,e needs that there grip worrkkk so you don't know anything bouttt traineng." Grade One Guy forgot to actually think and realize that other than martial arts other athletes such as football, baseball, wrestling, lacrosse, weight lifting, powerlifting, cricket, tennis, hockey....etc need grip training. And it can be easily done without adding any other exercises other than the ones they are doing for their sport.

What I'm trying to say is that what you need and what other athletes need - isn't that far off. MANY of my friends who played football have gone on to become firefighters or policemen - none had any problems with any of the physical tests. Let's pretend you did this every day:

Every day:

Weight vest walk for time (or other "easy" cardio work for 20-30 minutes) - 2-3 miles
Agile 8 - 2 times/day

3 times/week:

Jump Rope
Box Jumps/Long Jumps/Throws
Main lift
2-3 basic assistance exercises

And did this for 15 years, not once missing a day. Would you be strong, fast, agile and in shape?


Thanks Jim,
your input is always appreciated.


Yup ive trained martial arts most of my life and i was always looking for a magic program. People like jim, actually jim specifically finally spelled out the common sense of...get stronger, get faster, do basic conditioning and that functional strength is a bullshit concept. Cus it is...you get the skill to apply strength actually practicing your sport. Conditioning is no more difficult than developing the energy system you need. For example sprinters, short distance athletes and wrestlers all use nearly the same energy system and as far as conditioning..sprints are great, maybe some burpees or non metrosexual circuits but hit your sport itself hard. As far as you op, just do something you like maybe from the list jim gave you and stop worrying and enjoy your life.


I agree with Jim. In fact as a 21 year retired Army vet, I can tell you if I had 5/3/1 earlier it would have made a lot of difference. I didn't get 5/3/1 until 2008-09 in Afghanistan. My body weight was down to 228-230, but you should have seen the looks on the Italian and Macedonian soldier's faces when I deadlifted 475 for reps! And I was 44 years old!!! You just add ruck marching and some body weight work or some cross fit and 5/3/1 IS tailored for military or first responders.



Thank you so much for your advice, finally i can stop worrying and start picking up my life.


Thank you so much for your advice. Finally i can let it rest, stop worrying and get on with my life!


Perhaps you can stop overcomplicating trainng asshole . You want functional training lol go do crossfit :wink:


Again thank you, i realise now that asking if Jim had ever considered writing something about it means i'm overcomplicating my training!
And thanks about the Crossfit tip. Been there done that do.
Thank you for spreading your vast knowledge here.


look i can understand your sarcasm and frustration but one of the best things i learned about conditioning was that it was more energy system related than any special exercises. Some things like prowler, sled, jumps are probably better for lifting... either way, no need to be hostile if I took my time to care about your problem.


Ok i'll try one more time.
I only asked Jim if he ever considered writing something up for LE/Mil. That's all.
My training is fine, i have no problems and have spent years and years being trained in a lot of stuff so no need to worry about me, i'm fine.

But i have also learned to listen to people who know what they are talking about. Jim knows his stuff so that's why i asked (even though i pretty much knew the answer already).
Your replies have nothing to do with my question and are a little insulting even.
I wish you a lot of PR's in your lifting and life.


Perhaps you could start spelling correctly (over complicating, training) & less asshole, then your posts might be taken more seriously.


okAY sheldon


I know this is an older post, but thank you for the awesome advice Jim. I was considering what to do for my own training since I am getting back into shape for the Army (ROTC) and was kind of lost. With all the misinformation out there both from "experts" and from the Army itself (I.e. FM 7-22, although it's better than what proceeded it) it's good to hear someone give non-bullshit advice. Once again thank you, I don't think people say it to you enough.

Keith Norman (there nay sayers I posted my real name to not hide behind a forum handle)


Thanks Ketih - it's a shame this post has turned into people arguing. Good luck in your training but especially your new direction in life.


Also just wanted to say thanks Jim, I was curious about the OP's question too along with some of my teammates but I'm glad it's been answered. My unit is in afghan right now and half of my platoon is running 5/3/1 during off time, and as far as conditioning goes there are plenty of spare MATV tires to be flipped and space to do flak runs. That's all you need really, take the gear you've been given in your field of work and condition with it on.


I stumbled upon this and think it needs repeating. In case anyone, like me, hasn't seen it.