T Nation

5/3/1 for Weakling/ws4sb


With college starting and a some what hectic work schedule, i would like to find a program which will improve my raw strength and support some hypertrophy gains.
I've tried Defrancos "Built like a badass" which essentially is ws4sb with a 5/3/1 rep scheme
and conditioning, i've noticed that people don't really advocate program mixing.

my problem with 5/3/1 is only adding 5 pounds to upper body lifts and 10 pounds to lower body lifts every month, would adding more weight each month be more efficient? for someone who's strength levels are so low? i.e 10 pounds for upper body,20 for lower every month?
squat atg-220
military press-115

would west side for skinny bastards 3 be a better choice? with the max effort method? i do like the variety of the template.


Remember, you're doing this for personal enjoyment. If you think you'll get more out of ws4sb, then run it. Confidence in a program is huge. You could have the best program in the world, but if you don't believe in it you won't get much out of it.


No. Scroll about half way down to "5/3/1 and its Discontents"


On the flip side, from memory the book also says that he's fine with using smaller increments, e.g. 2.5 and 5 lb increases, but I don't have the book on me at the moment.


I know 5 pounds a month seems small, but look at it this way:
Lets say day 1 of college your bench 1RM = 225. 5 pounds a month amounts to 60 pounds a year:

End of year 1 bench 1RM = 285
End of year 2 bench 1RM = 345
End of year 3 bench 1RM = 405
End of year 4 bench 1RM = 465

So after 4 years of college you'd add 240 to you bench, which is pretty unlikely as it is.

I sure as hell would take just 5 pounds a month on my lifts...


I see you're in MD what school are you headed to? I graduated from Towson.


You don't only add 5/10lbs a month, you add reps as well. Remember, it's a 5+, 3+, and 1+ set. That means those are the minimum numbers, and you do as many as you can.

The first time I ran the program, I was adding reps along with weight every cycle because the program was making me stronger each cycle. It should have the same impact for you. If it's not, you're most likely undereating, or fucking around too much with the assistance work.

Truth be told, most people fuck up westside type programs because they only train their strengths/things they like and avoid their weaknesses. That, or they can't figure out how to rotate maximal effort/assistant work in general. I would say that, if you have these sorts of questions at this point, WS4SB would be a poor choice. 5/3/1 is very simple and laid out already, making it a good choice for this situation.


This x 1000


You do not add reps to the first two sets...


Thanks for the replies, i see what you mean about adding reps to each cycle, i decided that tomorrow i'm starting beyond 5/3/1 for the next year and i'm going to keep a log as well as progress photos to document my physique changes.

and i'm going to montgomery college rockville campus this year and then transferring to UMD



Your max set can be as intense as you want it to be.

Jesus.... when will people just do perhaps the most popular new program in years, as written?

No offense intended to you OP, but just go by the book.

Edit: glad to see you are doing just that...good luck!


I made no such claim that one does.


Thanks for all the replies yall, i have another question..out of curiosity how does one keep progressing on ws4sb?
like with 5/3/1 there is a percentage and rep scheme that allows constant strength gains, but on a modified westside program how does one keep adding weight to the bar?
i.e if for max effort lower body i chose trap bar deadlift so week 1 i worked up to a max set of 3 at 355,so next week would i just shoot for 360 for 3? then rotate when i stop making progress on that lift?


"T3hPwnisher wrote:
You don't only add 5/10lbs a month, you add reps as well. Remember, it's a 5+, 3+, and 1+ set. That means those are the minimum numbers, and you do as many as you can."

What does the 5+, 3+ mean then? You even told him to do as many reps as he can because those are the minimum numbers...


Buy and read one of Jim Wendler's 5/3/1 books (There is A first and second edition, 5/3/1 for powerlifting, and Beyond 5/3/1) and it will explain everything you could ever need to know about the program.

Why do you keep ending your sentences with ellipses? I feel like you have more to say but aren't saying it.




Really? You stupid or something? You work up to to either a 5+, 3+ or 1+ set each week...................................................