5/3/1 Ideas? Lifting Background

Hello everyone, I’m new to the forums. I’ve been strength training for around 5 months now. I’m 5’9", 190 lbs. (up from 75-180ish when I began Starting Strength a month ago). I put 25 lbs. on my best 3 x 5 Squat, 10 lbs. on my best 3 x 5 Bench, I stalled on Overhead Presses, and I put 20 lbs. on my best 1 x 5 Deadlift. I made some decent gains, but I forcefed myself, and I’m really not as limber or athletic as I would like to be at this point. My current stats are:

Squat: 275 x 5 (up from 245 x 5 x 3)
Bench: 170 x 6 (up from 155 x 5 x 3)
Press: 115 x 5
Deadlift: 315 x 5 (up from 315 x 3 touch-and-go)

I don’t sleep much (only 5-6 hr./night), and I really can’t afford all the food I’m eating in a day, so I’m making the switch to 5/3/1 Jack Shit Template w/ added farmers’ walks. I can generally train 4x/week, but I don’t have that much time to train with, so I think this kind of plan will work for me.

What are your guys’ thoughts?

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My personal thoughts are that you need to find a way to get more sleep and eat more food. It really comes down to priorities, though. If you aren’t willing/able to change your lifestyle to eat, sleep, and train more, then the Jack program might be right for you. Just know that you are leaving a lot of progress out there given your current lifestyle and training. Doing the Jack program is certainly better than doing nothing, but don’t be the guy that runs the Jack program with too little sleep and food and then says 5/3/1 doesn’t work because you didn’t see great gains.


I have a one year old that doesn’t like to sleep and me and my wife work opposite shifts. I get home around midnight then I’m getting up anywhere between 6-7 depending if I train that morning to take care of my son. Ever since I started not sleeping as much due to well life I found that training 3 days a week on a rotating schedule works best for recovery. Week one a/b/c, week two d/a/b and so on. If your not willing or change your lifestyle or can’t because of family reasons just train when you can and when you feel good. You don’t have to fit all four workouts into one week. One week you could train 3 days and the next week if you got more sleep you can go four. You could manage this with using the rotating schedule.

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That sounds like a great idea. I’ll try that out. I happen to have a membership to two gyms (long story), and depending on where I am on a particular day, I’ll generally be able to get to one of them. One has trap bars, one has a kickass prowler. I went to my secondary gym today, and pushed 435 on the Prowler (assuming the Prowler itself weighs 75 lb.) for something like 20 yards. That was after I pulled a PR Deadlift (315 x 5) and hit a PR bench (170 x 6). I’m going back to one of the gyms on Friday to get Squat and Press Rep PRs, so I can start training on Monday.

Yea, I don’t wanna be that guy. I just want consistent progress that isn’t thrown off by a bad night or two of eating/sleeping. Starting Strength’s sessions were hell if I got 4 hours of sleep the previous night / didn’t eat enough food the day before. I’m hoping that 5/3/1 isn’t as rigid. I have a whole lifetime to lift, what good is there in racing to the finish line?