T Nation

5/3/1 for Military?


Hey all,

So I am looking to join the infantry Reserves here in Ontario Canada while a University student. I'm hoping to get in this summer. My understanding so far is that my local unit does their BMQ (boot camp basically) over weekends and a week night/week, rather than the usual 8 weeks away. Assuming this is the case, boot camp may not be the catabolic activity it usually is for me, and I may be able to maintain some strength.

I am looking for a way to incorporate 5/3/1 (Bench, Squat, Military Press, DL) into my routine so that I can continue to improve my strength some while also upping my pushups, situps, pullups, and run time/endurance. Obviously my focus is on the body weight exercises/running. However, I have been doing just the body weight stuff, and although I have improved, I hate the feeling of losing all of my strength... and my weeks of working out just suck without weights. I don't need to be a competitive power lifter... just want to lift weights and have a respectable amount of strength.

One idea I had was to use the strength template obviously, since it has less volume than say a body building template. I could even do only two days of 5/3/1 a week. Or, I could drop either the deadlift or the squat, saving my legs some for running.

Anyone have a template, or enough experience with 5/3/1 and military training to help me put together a good plan?



1. Bench 5/3/1
2A. Pushups
2B. Chins
3. 20 minute run for distance

1. Squats 5/3/1
2. Situps/crunches/whatever ab work you test on
3. Interval runs

1. Mil Press 5/3/1
2A. Dips
2B. Pullups
3. 20 minute run for distance

1. Deadlift 5/3/1
2. Situps/crunches/whatever ab work you test on
3. Interval runs

It'll work. It's what I do with good results and I usually max the APFT and have decent strength levels.

Wendler also recommended the same thing (except running in the mornings) in a Q&A over at EliteFTS.



So I am doing this 3 days per week correct? On the off days, would it be a bad idea to do some push ups and sit ups... not to max, but to just add some volume and to keep the movement ingrained?

Also, I should have mentioned that I usually run the armstrong pullup program or recon ron pullup program. So I am doing some amount of pull ups 5-6 days a week. With the weights, I'll probably stick to 4-5.


What kind of intervals do you run? 100m or 400m repeats? Just curious.


carter12's looks pretty good. You may want to add something to the lower days, maybe something for low back/hammies... just for some more volume.

JFG, you'd be lifting/running 4 days a week, not 3. For the push-ups, if you want to do them 2x a week, just do them on each upper body day. For pull-ups, honestly 2x a week is enough if you are doing chins on one day, and pull-ups on the other day.


And Therizza, you didn't ask me but what I used to do was:

Week 1 = 6x400m, followed by 5x50m
Week 2 = 8x200m, followed by 5x50m
Week 3 = 10x100m, followed by 5x50m
Week 4 = 20x50m

Then start it over (after a week of rest if you want). I got the above ^ from one of Ross Enamait's book.


roger that. thanks


Hey man,

3days/wk is fine but 4 is better. It all depends on how much time you've got. I'm in the military full time plus school full time so I only do 3 days/wk. It's enough to get stronger and maintain max APFT.

The extra pushups and situps are fine so long as you don't go anywhere near failure. Consider them extra workouts. Go for records on every exercise on the template I provided and you'll be good.

I would definitely drop the armstrong and recon ron pullups. Chins and pullups every week is plenty enough to get better on these.

No need for extra lower body work. Your run time will suffer if your legs are too fatigued to go hard on the runs. Eventually you'll have to accept the fact that you can have a big squat or a good run time, but never both at the same time. I still keep my squat in the low 400's (which I'm ashamed to talk about in a powerlifting forum) and 2 mile run time in the mid 12 minutes, but if I improve either one any more than that, the other will suffer. That's just me, though.

Honestly man if you just follow what I wrote you'll be in great condition and much stronger in 6 months. It's similar to Wendler's "North of Vag" idea. Stick with what works and cut out all the bullshit.


I like longer intervals because we test on the 2 mile run. I'll do sets of 800 or 1200m.