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5/3/1 Getting Out of Control?

I own all of Jims books including 5/3/1 Forever and have read pretty much everything he has ever written on training. Does anyone else agree with me by feeling that 5/3/1 has evolved and changed so much that it is out of control? The different variations are so far removed from the original program that it doesn’t even resemble it anymore. It used to be touted to being one of the most simple and basic programs for strength, but now I feel that it is getting complicated and more consistent. Instead of a base program, it is now evolved into dozens of templates. It’s almost gimmicky it me now.

I actually feel that I have a much greater understanding and belief of Conjugate principles. No matter where you read about Conjugate or Westside, the message and principles always stay the same. Whether you read, Defranco, Wenning, Tate, Louie or any other practitioners, the message and program/principles are consistent. Conjugate is based off science, physics, russian/bulgarian methods etc. I feel 5/3/1 is just what Jim uses for his athletes rather than based off agreed upon methods.

It kinda sucks because I really like Jim and much of his philosophy. It’s just that I don’t love his programming anymore. And being that he did train for a short time at Westside, it seems that he totally disagrees with everything they do now and mentions it often in his writings. I know he had a kind of falling out over there when he left. Also he was at EliteFTS for so long and they are heavily conjugate/westside influenced(Tate.)

I am gonna stay with Conjugate, but was just curious if anyone else feels the same.

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The different templates are just different variations for different goals. Conjugate can be adapted for 1000 different things as well. Its just never been written out as a definitive “do this for this” like 531. I’m sure there’s the marketing side of it as well. He’s trying to sell as many books as possible. But every single template has a place and purpose and are based around the same principles. Slow progression, basic lifts, etc. Conjugate is fine but suited to more advanced lifters that can assess their own weaknesses, and actually get benefit from dynamic effort work. 531 is specifically for newer lifters(less than 10 years or so). So no I do not agree with your statement. If you want to say it’s gimmicky then, what is the reverse hyper if not gimmicky. Bands and chains are a gimmick in my opinion. They’re fine for advanced lifters and especially geared lifters. But they serve very little purpose for raw guys. But that’s just my opinion. If you don’t like 531 don’t do it.

Jim uses conjugate training, even though it is not Westside. Don’t get caught up in details.

You might want to check out the Beyond training and the Never Peak Again (from the forum). With these you can go with the bulgarian/russian way of training.

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What’s gimmicky about the reverse hyper? The guy has a god damn patent on the machine. Its been copied by others, has saved countless lower backs/spines, and has tremendous support by orthopedics, therapists and lifters for it’s restorative and strengthening capabilities to the structures of the spine as well as it’s function to decompress and traction the spine. It’s also a great way to build the muscles of the posterior chain without the compressive forces of always loading the spine with a barbell.


In my opinion it’s a more expensive shake weight

531 is what it is. A tool. The more jobs a tool can do the more times it will sell so 531 is adjusted to different goals. Also most lifters are always seeking new methods. So programs are added to keep “us” entertained. And challenges are added to keep us honest.

Through out all of the 531 templates I’ve used they all stick to similar principles. Start light, add slow, keep and beat pr’s, big compound movements etc etc. Just because it’s evolved from version 1.1 into the 100’s off different versions does not mean it’s out of control. More that these principles works for a range of different goals.

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Start light, progress slowly, use compound movements are still the core principles of every 5/3/1 template.

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Have you considered using the stuff you like and not worrying about the stuff you don’t?


From what I understand Louie is always tweaking things at Westside .

If this is such a pressing issue in your mind that you posted it to 2 forums, just post it in the 531 forum.

What’s wrong with posting it in two forums? Not everyone reads the all the forums so it is a better way to get the question viewed by more people which could lead to more responses and good ideas.

Why don’t you try posting something constructive rather than being a smartass?

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I was constructive in another of your posts. Why post to dog a program when the guy that wrote it is literally on this site? And if your going to do that at least do it in his specific forum.

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Skipping class, drinking, associating with undesirables. I have to say I’m worried 5/3/1 will come home pregnant one night.


Was the original program BBB, triumvirate, or “I’m not doing jack sh*t?” All were in first edition.

EDIT: I want to clarify that my question is not a rhetorical one, since it seems like a lot of folks are employing that approach here.

Cross-posting threads in multiple forums is against forum policy. It’s confusing and disrespectful to members who post in either thread, and generally redundant.

This topic is most appropriate here in the 5/3/1 forum, which is why I moved it. If people don’t “read all the forums”, that’s their choice. The thread still appears on the Home and Latest pages, so it’s certainly up for open discussion to anyone.

Which variations don’t resemble “Main lift PR set followed by lighter work. Do conditioning and throws. Choose loads based off a Training Max and progressively increase the loads each week.”

5/3/1 can be as complicated or as simple as a lifter decides to make it.


I think its a good sensible safe system that works for the vast majority of people. Some people can do the same thing over and over without getting bored but some people need additional stimulus to keep going.Others have different goals. Good luck to the fella.

Watch them both, it might help explain some of the rationale behind what Jim does


I haven’t read his latest book and I don’t follow everything he does so I can’t speak on the newer stuff, but you have to realize that if he just stopped writing books and coming out with templates then he would basically become obsolete and not make any more money. The original 5/3/1 program still exists and works just as well as it did when he first wrote it, there is nothing stopping anyone from using that. For certain people it wasn’t quite optimal, like people who want to train for powerlifting an newer lifters, so it only makes sense that he came up with a bunch of other templates.

In my opinion, one of Jim Wendler’s greatest talents is the ability to come up with so many different templates for different goals. No other coach I know of has such a wide variety. And the fact is that people like his programs and make progress on them so he’s doing something right. I’m not a big fan of him personally since what he is doing doesn’t really align with my goals, but that doesn’t really matter.

Apparently there are a bunch of lawsuits against chiropractors whose clients fucked up their backs on reverse hypers. It works for some people but not for others. Stuart McGill, the world’s leading back specialist, says that the reverse hyper is actually a high risk for injury and gradually breaks down the intervertebral discs. And despite the fact that you don’t have a bar on your back, there are actually very high compressive and shear forces on the spine while using it. If you know nothing about biomechanics you might think otherwise, but that is a fact.

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Yeah, I was reading some of his newer articles a couple weeks ago, for speed work he mostly has them doing 5x5 now and the bar weight is much higher than before. He even has them doing reps for deadlifts and breaks between DE sets are longer, I think he said 3-4 minutes or something like that because fast twitch muscle fibres take longer to recover. I think Westside is getting out of control!


Yep exactly! Can’t fault Jim for evolving the system. Especially when you base a argument over the fact Louie doesn’t do it which has never been the case