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5/3/1 for Women


I've been doing 5/3/1 for 14 months now with great success. Thanks for everything, Jim.

My question involves my wife and her monthly advancement in 5/3/1. She's 39, about 110 lbs, and due to start her second deload week tomorrow. When setting up her monthly worksheets, am I better off adding 5 lbs. to her squat/deadlift and 2.5 to her press/bench instead of the normal 10 and 5?

Thanks for your time, and thanks again for putting together such a great program.


My wife has been using 5/3/1 for about a year with great results.
She had no idea she was capable of the Gaines she has made.
That is the only change she made to the program...
2.5 lbs increase in the press and bench. And 5 lbs for the squat and dead.
She also tries to time/sync the deloads with her cycle.
It just makes sense.


Not Jim, but I would say the slower the better, especially considering the circumstances. With that said, I think it also depends on her goals and how experienced she is.

When my girlfriend first started 5/3/1, it was just after she had started lifting, so I had her increasing 2 or 3 pounds per cycle on ALL lifts. Now she's much more comfortable with the lifts, and she has been increasing deadlift by 10 pounds/ cycle, squat by 5 pounds/cycle, and upper lifts by 2 or 3 pounds/cycle.


My wife is an avid lifter and competitor (she used to compete in PL and figure) - she would know more about this than I would. She makes smaller jumps and has different challenges on each cycle (5/3/1 cycle, not monthly cycle). She changes volume and does a lot of conditioning (60 Prowler sprints per week was last challenge...15 hill sprints per day for a month was another).

I tell everyone the same basic thing - use the 5's progression with LOW TM and use 5's Jokers (5's PRO for Beginners). Also, you MUST involve other facets of training for her to be successful.


Thanks for all the information. You guys are fantastic.

My wife is a natural athlete, and she really values her conditioning work. We don't have access to a prowler, but she does hill sprints twice a week and kettlebell swings once per week.

The good news is she really likes having a heavy bar on her back, and is enjoying her early gains. I hope she stays with it long term, and finds the same "Zen" that I find under the bar.


As I posted before, my wife has gained more strength using 5/3/1 than she ever thought she was capable of. She is a runner and triathlete but is now hooked on strength training. She started lifting to help her running and has transitioned to more lifting than running. She started on a linear progression using the 4 basic lifts until she had a handle on some true rep maxes.

She used those maxes to start 5/3/1 and has made great progress. I mentioned this post to her and she would love to hear / read more on Juliet's training.
There is just not a lot out there on women training 5/3/1.