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5/3/1 for The Not (Yet) Very Strong

Hello there,

I have a friend who has gotten really worked up about trying 5/3/1 after I explained it to him. The problem is that he can just barely bench press the lady version barbell, let alone shoulder press it.

Is there any way you could make the program work with maybe dumbbells until sufficient strength has been acquired?

(Can’t really convince him to do something else for a while, and can’t say I want to either, because the program is best I’ve tried (the only one I’ve stayed with))

Thanks in advance!

Your friend can’t bench press 45 lbs? How old is this person?

[quote]Ramo wrote:
Your friend can’t bench press 45 lbs? How old is this person?[/quote]

Short answer is No. There are personal reasons for this, but I’m just open to suggestions.

[quote]LimberSlacker wrote:
Hello there,

I have a friend who has gotten really worked up about trying 5/3/1 after I explained it to him. The problem is that he can just barely bench press the lady version barbell, let alone shoulder press it.

Is there any way you could make the program work with maybe dumbbells until sufficient strength has been acquired?

(Can’t really convince him to do something else for a while, and can’t say I want to either, because the program is best I’ve tried (the only one I’ve stayed with))

Thanks in advance![/quote]

He will have to have to do another training program. I’ve worked with kids and adults at the level you are talking about. All you have to do is develop a training program that allows them to progress and get stronger (and address any other goals they have).

Beyond 5/3/1 book goes into beginner training (5s Pro), and if the max is less than a bar, you can always use a lighter exercise bar, or frankly, even something like a broomstick to just develop some basic coordination.

If it were up to me I’d just have him bang out reps with the bar for awhile to develop some movement ability, sounds like the issue runs deeper than muscular weakness, so just getting in the habit of doing the movements at whatever load is probably a good place to start.

Doing the math, you’d need a “max” of around 65 lbs on any of the big lifts to be able to carry of the regular 5/3/1 scheme with a barbell.

Beyond the barbell work, I’d think things like pushups, fatman rows, bodyweight squats, back extensions would fit the bill. Good luck.

[quote]Jim Wendler wrote:
He will have to have to do another training program. I’ve worked with kids and adults at the level you are talking about. All you have to do is develop a training program that allows them to progress and get stronger (and address any other goals they have). [/quote]

Will do that! Thanks.

[quote]Ramo wrote:
Beyond 5/3/1 book goes into beginner training (5s Pro), and if the max is less than a bar, you can always use a lighter exercise bar, or frankly, even something like a broomstick to just develop some basic coordination.

If it were up to me I’d just have him bang out reps with the bar for awhile to develop some movement ability, sounds like the issue runs deeper than muscular weakness, so just getting in the habit of doing the movements at whatever load is probably a good place to start.

Doing the math, you’d need a “max” of around 65 lbs on any of the big lifts to be able to carry of the regular 5/3/1 scheme with a barbell.

Beyond the barbell work, I’d think things like pushups, fatman rows, bodyweight squats, back extensions would fit the bill. Good luck.[/quote]

I was thinking of doing something like that. He wants to train with me, so I might mirror the excercises to match mine, and have him do something like that.

Might I suggest Mark Rippetoe’s Starting Strength program. It was made specifically for people who are either complete beginners or are very weak. It will make anyone very strong very fast. After a few months of that you can have your friend do the base 531 template. Please do not have him/her do the BBB as most people on here will advise until your friend is completely capable of keeping good form in a fatigued state.

Use DBs for pressing until strength builds up.
Do goblet squats until they can do it with a bar
Deadlifts with DBs or do it off blocks

Use SS as suggested and within a few weeks they’ll be ready to use the bar. Assuming they are healthy and just weak and don’t have some issue.

Make him eat food.