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5/3/1 for Size?


Hi mr Wendler

I would like to know if you would advised you 5/3/1 routine for someone who is trying to go from 75 kg (7 % body fat) like me to 85 kg. Or do you think the 5/3/1 is more of a strength routine and if I built muscle of it it would take me much longer for the simple fact it is more focused on strength gains?


There are plenty of variations for size in 5/3/1. You could start off with doing a supplemental approach with Boring But Big, or try Building the Monolith, a 6 week size focused 5/3/1 training program (just google it).


Not Jim, but after my 6 month run with Building the Monolith, I highly recommend it as a program for size.


Use the typical 5/3/1, BBB with FSL and follow the basic assistance guidelines - do this for 6 weeks.

After 6 weeks, do the PR sets, with 5x5 FSL and again, the basic assistance guidelines.
However, all of this is moot unless you are eating to gain, which I have found only a small (single digits) percentage seem to do. So eat red meat, eggs, milk if tolerable, potatoes, rice and fruit/vegetables. Try to get at least your bodyweight in whole food protein.

Your diet will make/break you unless you are a physical freak.

And when did getting bigger become removed from being stronger? Holy shit -you guys must stop reading the internet because it seems 99% of the shit you read sucks. Really sucks.

Best 5/3/1 Template for Strength & Size

Yep and for clarification when he says BBB with FSL that means you will do 5x10 (BBB) with your first set percentage for that week (FSL) I know you probably already knew that but just to be clear - you don’t do BBB AND FSL in the same workout


Thank you, Danzig Skull - that was a good clarification.

To say it again: do 5 sets of 10 reps with your FSL weight. YOU DO NOT DO BBB AND 5X5 FSL IN THE SAME WORKOUT. THIS IS CALLED BEING A “DUM-DUM”.

From heretofor, whoever does BBB AND 5x5 FSL in the same training day, shall be known as “DUM DUM” which is taken from the Latin, “Idiot”, which is taken from the Sumerian, “Fuck Nugget.”


FSL BBB will do wonders for putting on size so give it a shot. I’ve done it, and I can say that these following things are very fucking important:

  1. Eat

Also another thing cut back on assistance that could interfere with your recovery during the BBB FSL phase, meaning just some abs for the single leg/core and doing tricep pushdowns/extensions instead of weighted dips, stuff like that. Sleep a lot & sleep good. Don’t get psyched up - keep stress hormones (like adrenaline, cortisol, etc.) from getting unnecessarily elevated. The supplemental work for BBB is stressful, so don’t shit the bed by adding more and more unnecessary stressors on top.


It actually helps the fact that you’re explaining cause I’m new to this forum and a few days ago was the first time I saw mr Wendler workout routines and articles, I found it interesting, all the articles I read, but I don’t really get the BBB and FSL thing, I’m still kinda confused on how to schedule this workout program


I highly recommend buying the new 5/3/1 Forever book, it is going to have everything explained in great detail, along with several different programs to choose from. But to clarify:

Your Training Maxes will need to be 85% of your 1 rep max. Base all percentages off of your training max. Do not use your actual one rep max for calculating percentages.

LEADER (Cycles 1-2) (this will consist of two 3 week cycles)
Main work: 5s PRO (this signifies that you will do sets of 5 reps for all of the 5/3/1 main working sets. No PR set on the top set)
Supplemental work: FSL BBB (5 sets of 10 reps at the percentage of the first working set of the main work)
Assistance: 25-50 total reps per workout for push category, 25-50 total reps for pull, and 0-25 total reps for single leg/core work.

The main work and supplemental will look like this:
Week 1: 65% x 5, 75% x 5, 85% x 5; 5 x 10 at 65%
Week 2: 70% x 5, 80% x 5, 90% x 5; 5 x 10 at 70%
Week 3: 75% x 5, 85% x 5, 95% x 5; 5 x 10 at 75%

Now, increase training maxes by 5 lbs for bench/press and 10 lbs for squat/deadlift

Week 1: 65% x 5, 75% x 5, 85% x 5; 5 x 10 at 65%
Week 2: 70% x 5, 80% x 5, 90% x 5; 5 x 10 at 70%
Week 3: 75% x 5, 85% x 5, 95% x 5; 5 x 10 at 75%

This completes your Leader phase, once finished, use the 7th week protocol - Deload

ANCHOR (cycle 3 of the total program, do one anchor cycle)
Main work: 3/5/1 PR sets (PR sets on the first and third week, 5s PRO on the second week)
Supplemental work: FSL 5 x 5
Assistance: 50-100 total reps for each category

Week 1: 70% x 5, 80% x 5, 90% x 5+; 5 x 5 at 70%
Week 2: 65% x 5, 75% x 5, 85% x 5; 5 x 5 at 65%
Week 3: 75% x 5, 85% x 5, 95% x 5+; 5 x 5 at 75%

After completing this, perform the 7th Week protocol - Training Max test to test your TMs and make sure that they are correct to start your next program. The new book can answer any questions that you may have and has alot of great programs to choose from for getting bigger, faster, and stronger. Be sure to follow the guidelines that Jim has provided, he knows a thing or two.




listen to Lukets that was some great explaining.
And to be honest, you should buy at least one of Jims books. I think the first or second edition that really explains 531.
I havent read Forever, it’s way to expensive to ship to europe.
I have the first and Beyond and they serve me well.
Just remember these days you put the TM a bit lower and use Leader Anchor cycles.
Those aren’t for me. I love those PR sets knowing I have to knock out 12 reps because last time at that weight I did 11. That is awesome.
But for your size question listen to Lukrets that is a good plan.


Kinda got it, thanks for the help!


I had to buy new pants in 2 months after doing BBB and eating like a champ and not because I grew a beer gut.

It works. It just does.


Sorry to bother mr Wendler but can I use this routine but do a “pre exausthion” exercise before to get a better muscle activation/mind muscle connection?

Cause most of the time for example when I bench press I don’t feel my chest or at least I don’t feel it fatigue like the triceps and front delts (more the tricep)




Yes …

It’s your workout so of course you can. Is it 531 maybe not.
Try it out for a 2 - 3 cycles. If it works keep doing it. If not. Skip it.

It’s a fraction of your lifting career.
Practice, failing, succeeding is all part of the game.


I would not do any pre-exhaust stuff. You are benching to get stronger.

However, I have had the same issue of never ever feeling my chest work so I can understand the frustration. What I did was to keep hammering my Bench work hard and then on my Squat/Deadlift days I would do 75-100 pushups with a controlled decent, pause at the bottom, and controlled but fast ascent. I benched to get stronger, and used the pushups to help develop the mind/muscle connection. After a few weeks of this I was able to better use my chest during my benching. I use the main work to get strong, and the assistance work to build muscle.


I would not recommend “pre-exhaust” during 5/3/1. I would encourage you to ask the same question to competitive bodybuilders if this is a subject that you would like to further explore.


@ lukets72 what would you do instead of FSL BBB deads?


I’d either do BBB but at a different (lighter) weight/percentage, or I’d do FSL 5x5, instead of the 5x10 with BBB