T Nation

5/3/1 Forever, Beginner Prep School Question


I picked up a copy of 5/3/1 Forever and would like to use the “Beginner Prep School” template.

It was pointed out in another thread that Beginner Prep School is a two week cycle.
Here is the link: Cycle Length in Beginner Prep School?

However p.40 shows % of Training Max for Week 1, Week 2 and Week 3.

I am trying to reconcile how a two week template uses percentages for three weeks.

Would appreciate any insight into this.


It means cycle 1, cycle 2, cycle 3. Just like other 531 programs.


Hello! Yes a cycle is three weeks but not actual weeks:) a cycle is
completed when you have done every workout 3 times and this program has 2
different workouts. After actual week 2 you have done 3 of both. So 2
actual weeks.


Thank you, for the clarity!

CYCLE 1.1, CALENDAR WEEK 1: ABA at 70%, 80%, 90%, FSL
CYCLE 1.2, CALENDAR WEEK 2: BAB at 70%, 80%, 90%, FSL
CYCLE 2.1, CALENDAR WEEK 3: ABA at 65%, 75%, 85%, FSL
CYCLE 2.2, CALENDAR WEEK 4: BAB at 65%, 75%, 85%, FSL
CYCLE 3.1, CALENDAR WEEK 5: ABA at  75%, 85%, 95% FSL
CYCLE 3.2, CALENDAR WEEK 6: BAB at  75%, 85%, 95% FSL

Is the 5% reduction in Cycle 2 for recovery?

Beginner Prep School: Number of Workouts in a Cycle?

It’s just 3/5/1 loading.



Oh nice! By that logic, then TM only changes every month and a half on paper. Is this correct? Or is it supposed to increase every 2 weeks since a cycle is 2 weeks?

Reason I ask is because I would think slower progress would always be beneficial, so why don’t you have pro athletes running a program like this? Is it because at some point, there are diminishing returns on building workload, and you can’t get physically stronger without increasing TM more often?


Recently asked this myself. OP has it wrong. Your TM increases every 2 weeks. It works like this:

A(week 1 percentages), B(week 1 percentages), A(week 2 percentages)
B(week 2 percentages), A(week 3 percentages), B(week 3 percentages)


Thanks! Makes sense. I’m surprised no one ever told OP that they interpreted it incorrectly. I guess some guy out there is super jacked and strong because of the misunderstanding hahaha