5/3/1 + Freeletics (Calisthenic HIIT)?

Hi guys!

I’ve been training for a while and I think that I’m not a newbie anymore, just got my “intermediate” level (in my personal ranking!)

I searched for different workouts and I’m pretty sure on the benefits of strength training. And after reading and reading I’d like to give a try to 5/3/1. I’m already studying the book, as long as I’m an “autodidacta” so I’ll have to pay attention.

Anyway, one of the things that is clear to me is that you should combine 5/3/1 with other things, assistance workouts or however you call it.

Some months ago, in order to get a fast fat loose I trained during four months with Freeletics. In case you don’t know it is a HIIT calisthenic training. There are several workouts that you do with your bodyweight and the goal is to - having the right technique - try to finish them in less time.

It was good to fat loss and also I liked the sensation of finishing always beyond my personal limits, it was very demanding. And also I think it was good for power and endurance, but maybe not for strenght. Anyway, I loved to do it.

Bad thing about Freeletics was that the coach (in the app that you had to use) was kind of random. It was okay if you had to do ONLY freeletics, was like a new challenge everyday, but not that okay if you have to combine with other stuff. But, do you think it would be a good idea to combine 5/3/1 with some selected freeletics workouts, maybe those that can be more adapted to a “full picture” vision?

Has somebody tried it?

Here is the thing about 5/3/1 that many fail to realize. The success or failure of the program lays within the focus that is given to the main lifts themselves, not assistance work. Think of assistance work like a dietary supplement. You use supplements to help fill in the small holes that your diet might have, but supplements SHOULD NEVER take priority over real food. It’s the same with assistance work. It should fill the small holes that the 4 main movements leave, but the overall program has NOTHING to do with assistance work. I feel like your question shows that you are already overthinking and overemphasizing assistance work. We have ALL been there, and we have ALL wasted our time while doing it.

So, if you want to use 5/3/1, do it exactly as written and don’t combine it with another program. You must get a feel for the philosophy behind the program, not just the sets and reps. 5/3/1 is much more than “X weight for X reps”. It takes a year or more to fully understand that.

My advice to you is to pick a version of 5/3/1 that excites you, I suggest the basic program, The Triumvirate, and run this for 6 months with no deviation no matter how much you think you know about training. Do the 3-day template and do 2 days of pure conditioning, not bodyweight movements, on your off days. In your main sets, move the bar as fast as you can for each rep (with good form), even your warmups. This is of paramount importance. When you get to your assistance work for the day, concentrate on the MUSCLE not the weight of the barbell or dumbbell. Think bodybuilding, not power for assistance work.

Do this for 6 months at least, then you will likely answer your own question. Good luck!

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Joey, thanks a lot for your reply, I get your point and that’s pretty much what I want to do.

Maybe the thing is not “combine” programs but “adapt”. It’s impossible to combine 5/3/1 and Freeletics, because as I said, Freeletics is very random. But I read in the book that one possible thing is to adapt 5/3/1 with some Crossfit, so I thought that it could be pretty much a similar thing. As I’m new to 5/3/1, I’m not sure :slight_smile:

What’s what I’m looking for? Some kind of assistance that allows me to work power and explosiveness. I read about sprint in hills and other stuff, but I can’t do that (I don’t have hills around and I have to workout at home). So I was looking for some kind of HIIT (wich is something that I love to do).

For example, going into specifics. One of the Freeletics workouts is called “Aphrodite” and is this: 50 burpess, 50 squats, 50 sit-ups, then 40 of each, then 30 of each, then 20 and then 10 (in the end, 150 of each). Other one, “Dione”, 75 jumping jacks-25 burpees - 50 straight lever - 75 jumping jacks - 50 situps - 25 burpees. Three times. Other, Venus, 50 pushups, 20situps, 50squats, three times. And there are many more. Would be crazy or a nonsense to do some of this workouts as assistance?

What I’m aiming for? I love to sprint, HIIT or whatsoever, this kind of dynamic-explosive stuff, and somehow I’d like to keep doing it, and don’t know wich template is best for me, so that’s why I thought about using freeletics workouts adapting them to the 5/3/1 program, wich has to be the core of everything.

Thanks again! (and sorry for my English, I’m from Madrid and I’m not used to write in English a lot)

I wouldn’t do that type of workout for assistance, as Freeletics is a program in itself. Adding it to something would probably not work well!

I understand wanting to do everything at once, but you have to prioritize. Think about one goal at a time. If you want to get stronger, then concentrate on that for 12 weeks, and then work on another goal like conditioning.

As far as doing explosive work, you can absolutely do that while you get stronger. The two go hand in hand pretty well. Try box jumps after your warmup, but before your training. Do 5 sets of 3 to 5 jumps. If you don’t have a box, do standing broad jumps.

Regarding sprints, they don’t absolutely have to be on a hill. If you can do regular sprints, do them, but remember that any kind of sprint is going to require some recovery. So, if you do a lot of sprints on your off days, your lifts may suffer some. It’s hard to say how many sprints to do, just try 5-10 sprints of 80M or so and see how you feel.

Just do the basic program like I suggested, and move the bar fast. Moving the bar fast, as well as doing box jumps before each workout will give you plenty of explosive training.

And your English is good, by the way!!

The above advice is some good stuff. If you find yourself hell-bent on doing calisthenics however, check out the 531 with bodyweight assistance in the 2nd edition book.

Thank you guys again, your replies are giving me the clue on wich way should I follow.

So more or less this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to mix a bit two templates, Bodyweight and Triumvirate. Why? Because some of the assistance stuff I can do it, and some other I can’t. Some I like them and some others don’t. So I’ll take this and that trying to be logic.

And what about my aim to burpee as if I’m gonna die? I’ve been reading and reading and thing is: what I like is not freeletics, is the kind of thing that you can do. So I’ll burpee and other things as conditioning way. As I read here (Conditioning 101) and here (Official Website | Jim Wendler - Elite Powerlifter & Strength Coach) . So I can do the conditioning with jumping jacks, burpess, jump rope and whatsoever.

Only thing that I have to figure out to get started is: how much conditioning is enough and how much is too much?

You’re right on the main thing. First is to get started, see how do I adapt to the program and after some months make a couple of changes and see what works better. What is more motivating to me is to have a core plan (531) that I can use forever, with adaptations depending on goals, moment, etc

Combining programs is always a bad idea. It’s like combining a pie recipe and a cake recipe - yes, they are both desserts but that doesn’t mean they compliment each other.

“And also I think it was good for power and endurance,” Maybe endurance but I highly doubt its made you more powerful, unless you are new to training. I’m also not a huge fan of doing this kind of stuff for time - some things are meant to be timed but lifting/bodyweight movements and stuff of that ilk - you race the clock instead of doing the movements correctly.

Hi guys!

After a month studying and practicing myself, this is what I found out.

What did I like about freeletics? I liked that it was a really intense activity. So, a really intense activity is a hard conditioning.

So I had everything but I did not knew it! Everything was in the book and the name was North of VAG.

What I’m doing is this, 4 days 5/3/1 + bodyweight, 3 days extreme conditioning (some days hill sprints for 30 minutes, other days something inspired in freeletics indoor…). And that’s all!

I’m happy with the results, I progressed in everything so far. After summer I think I’ll start some contact sport (I used to do boxing, but I think I can’t know because the place where I did it is far from where I live know and there is nothing close like it), and I guess that 3 days boxing equals 3 days hard conditioning. So I’ll keep exploring my options and reading you guys!