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5/3/1 Full Body 2 Day Split with a Middle Day for Assistance

I’ve tried the two day template with the suggested assistance but I feel like I’m overtraining on my workout days causing recovery issues that are making my trips to the gym more sporadic. I feel like I can make better progress with shorter, but more consistent workouts that hit the full body, but with three different exercises each day of the week. I find that the triumvirate template philosophy of the 4 day upper/lower body split also applies for a full body split as well. It’s been my experience that anything more than three exercises is usually met with less than optimal effort. That why I’ve included a third middle day (typically Wednesday) that doesn’t have any of the big 4 powerlifts, but still incorporates three compound movements none the less. My reasoning for putting this third assistance day in the middle of the week as opposed to the end is that it would allow more rest time between the squat and the deadlift.

Please provide any feedback, approval or disapproval of this three day, full body template:


Squats - 5/3/1
Benches - 5/3/1
Barbell (Pendlay) Rows - 5/3/1


Power Cleans - 3s PRO
Dips - 5x10
Chin-ups - 5x10


Deadlifts - 5/3/1
Presses - 5/3/1
Dumbbell Rows - 5x10

Or beyond 1.1-1.2 or limited time template, krypteia etc. He has written several 3 day programmes and a busy man workout. However what you’ve written doesn’t seem wrong.

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Are you doing “+” sets for your 531 lifts, or running 5’s PRO? If you are pushing your last, heaviest set to “as many as possible”, that could be why you’re burned out. Try dialing back your TM and running with 5’s PRO (just doing straight sets of 5) for the main lifts.

Well, that’s why 531 is divided up into main lifts, supplements, and assistance. Your assistance work should not require nearly the effort, nor cause nearly the exhaustion, of your main lift. Just getting in reps for curls, pull downs, etc… should be doable even after a hard barbell workout on a main lift.

I don’t see anything inherently wrong with your program. That said, check out “Wendler classic”, “limited time”, and some other programs that have 2 days of main lifts each week, and use assistance for the other days.

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Thanks. I’ll try 5s PRO on my next cycle. For the time being I’m limiting the reps in my + sets to 10


Good article. Thanks!

Absolutely love that system, 3 days when possible, but 2 day flexibility when needed. (You can mix and match 5/3/1 templates in there too with common sense, lots of possibilities).

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