T Nation

5/3/1 for Powerlifting and 7th Week Protocol



Started using 5/3/1 about 3 years ago. Somewhat “lost my training way” when I began competing in powerlifting 2 years ago with different high frequency programs and all that bullshit. Want to get back to just training hard and simple. Recently had to take some time off training almost all summer due to Army requirements and I’ve built a base back up and am ready to start hitting it hard again.

My question to you is if I am looking to run the 5/3/1 for Powerlifting template (3/5/1) with the off-season for strength program, would you apply the 7th week protocol and do 2 cycles in a row, followed by 7th week as deload/test, or would you just keep the standard “3+ singles, 5, 1+ singles, deload” so it’s heavy, medium, heavy, light like what was written in the powerlifting book. Where I get confused is if you did 2 cycles in a row without a deload in the middle, then you would be doing heavy singles two weeks in a row (1s week first cycle and 3s week 2nd cycle). Was also thinking that the “SVR” from Beyond would be an option too since it’s balls out last set on 3s week, 5x5 waving up and back down on 5s week, and singles on 1s week. That way you’re not doing singles 2 weeks in a row on a 6 week cycle.

I own 2nd edition, Powerlifting, Beyond, and Forever, and at this point I’m mind fucking myself trying to stay up with the latest methods. I love the idea of the powerlifting template and I want to just keep it as simple as possible so I can stop playing mind fuck games with myself.


Not sure how others run 5/3/1 for powerlifting but this is my rough plan for my next meet:

Week 0: Run 7th Week Protocol: TM Test. This is to ensure all your TM’s are correct and I also get a rough projection of what my goals will be for the meet so during training I can see how I am progressing.

Weeks 1-6:

Run 2 cycles of a Leader template like BBS or SSL.

Week 7: 7th Week Protocol: Deload

Week 8: 7th Week Protocol: TM Test

Weeks 9-11:

3/5/1 Format with Jokers and PR sets on 1st and third weeks. FSL on all weeks

Weeks 12-14:

3/5/1 Format with Jokers on 1st week minimum reps on 2nd week and on third week use Jokers to work up to openers for a single. **No FSL for this cycle.

Week 15:

Squat on Monday 3x5, Bench on Wednesday 3x5 and then compete on Saturday.

Kind of a rough idea of what my plan is. I think I am going to do the BBS Challenge for my Leaders and then do the Anchors roughly what I just typed out. But I am sure there are many other ways to program for a meet.


What the “Bomb” guy above sayeth be thy truth.